Inside OneNote 2010

  • 9/27/2010

Formatting Text

Regardless of its original source, any text on a OneNote page can be formatted using the same tools you use elsewhere in Office. The Basic Text group on the Home tab contains common formatting options, giving you the capability to select a font, change font size and color, and add character attributes such as bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough formatting. You’ll also find the Format Painter button on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group. Most of these options are available on the Mini toolbar as well.

As in Word and PowerPoint, you can apply some character formatting without making a selection first. If the insertion point is in a word, for example, and you press Ctrl+B or Ctrl+I (or click the Bold or Italic button), your formatting is applied to the entire word. To apply formatting to a phrase or sentence, you have to select the text first. One formatting shortcut you’ll find only in OneNote is a toggle to apply or remove strikeout formatting: Ctrl+hyphen.

The Ctrl+A (Select All) keyboard shortcut works a bit differently in OneNote than it does in the rest of Office. If the insertion point is within a paragraph, pressing Ctrl+A selects the entire paragraph. Press Ctrl+A again to select the entire contents of the current note container, and press the combination once more to select the contents of all note containers on the current page.

If you’ve used indenting to create an outline, you can select the current paragraph and all its subordinate paragraphs by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+hyphen.

Unlike previous versions, OneNote 2010 allows you to automatically select from a small group of ready-made styles to apply to text. The list, shown here, includes six heading styles as well as predefined styles for page titles and some common types of body text.


Styles on this list are applied to all text in the current paragraph, regardless of whether any text is selected. In addition, Word users will appreciate that some common style-related keyboard shortcuts work just as well in OneNote. Use Ctrl+Alt+1 through Ctrl+Alt+6 to apply the Heading 1 through Heading 6 styles, and use Ctrl+Shift+N to quickly convert all formatting for the current paragraph to the built-in Normal style.

There’s no keyboard shortcut for the built-in Page Title style, but it’s worth noting that Ctrl+Shift+T jumps to the page title and selects all text there. You can apply any text formatting to all or part of a page title; if you are unhappy with the results, reapply the Page Title style.

The bad news about OneNote styles is that the formatting associated with this list cannot be customized, nor can you add your own styles to the list.