For years OneNote’s toughest competitor has been the paper notebook. It’s versatile, flexible, and extremely easy to use. It never stops working, it’s always available, and it never complains if I misspell a word. But one thing I can’t easily do with a paper notebook is search my notes. Sure, I can turn the pages and scan them, but I have to visually search each page until I’ve found what I’m looking for. If I have several notebooks, it could take a while to complete the search.
OneNote 2010 has an intuitive and powerful instant searching capability. I’ve found myself, on more than one occasion, thankful for the advantage of instant search in OneNote. It has saved me on numerous occasions. You just type a search string into the Search box and you get back a wealth of information, all in a neatly packaged little display. You can narrow the scope of your search to a notebook, section and now in OneNote 2010, the current page. OneNote will even find occurrences of the search string in pictures and audio you have in your notebook too.
By default, the search scope is set to All notebooks, which means that when you type in your search string, OneNote will search across all notebooks you currently have open. If you want to change the scope, click the Search Scope arrow next to the Search box. You can then set the limitation of your search to the current page, section, section group current notebook or all notebooks. Then enter your search term. OneNote will immediately begin displaying a list of the results of your search and navigate to the first hit. You can click on any of the results to have OneNote instantly take you to the page where it’s found. Each search result is highlighted in Yellow for easy recognition. OneNote even keeps a list of your most recent searches handy so you don’t always have to type it in.
If you prefer, you can open the Search Results pane by clicking on the Open Search Results Pane link found at the bottom of the list of results. It will open the pane with all the results listed inside for easy navigation. Simply click on a result to have OneNote navigate you to the hit. In the Search Results pane, you can easily change the search scope by clicking the Search dropdown at the top of the pane. You can also change the sort order by section, title or date. In addition, you can sort by ascending or descending order.