Be Wary of Using Cut/Paste to Move Pages in Microsoft OneNote

I have discovered one potential issue for unschooled users who like to cut/paste pages instead of move/copy pages that could cause OneNote to not function as expected. Therefore I my best practices recommendation is to use the Move or Copy function instead of the Cut function whenever possible. Here’s why:

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You don’t have the option to cut/paste sections or section groups, but you do with pages. And most users are familiar with the simplicity of Ctrl + X / Ctrl + V. So why not use it? I’ll explain:

If we select Option #2 to move the page (in this example to Sales Planning Section in the Sales Notebook)…

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…the results are what we expect. The page disappears and if we search for the page title, we’ll find it where we put it:

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If we select Option # 1 to cut the page and then paste it in a different location (in this example to the Materials section of the Training Notebook)…

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…when we search for the page title, two results now show up – one for the location you’ve moved it (Training Notebook) as well as the location it used to reside in (Sales Notebook)…

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… if you click on the page that’s supposedly in the old location (Sales Notebook) you’ll get an error message because OneNote hasn’t completed syncing yet. Once it’s synced you’ll see one of these results when you perform a search:

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Clicking on either of these will take you to the old Notebook’s Recycle Bin… not a good result for ensuring “one version of the truth.”

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Moral of the story: Always move pages. Avoid cutting and pasting pages whenever possible. If your search results are cluttered with duplicates in your recycle bin, go into your bin and delete them!

2 responses to “Be Wary of Using Cut/Paste to Move Pages in Microsoft OneNote

  1. Another thing to add, when you select cut, it removes the page permanently from OneNote and stores it in your clipboard. If you either get interrupted (co-worker interruption, computer freezes or crashes) or copy something else, then you loose the page forever. It does not show up in the Notebook’s Recycle Bin. File Explorer does not have this issue because it doesn’t permanently move/remove the file until you give the paste command.

  2. Another thing I found out is that even if you use the move feature, you are at risk for things getting deleted. I have been using the moving feature at your suggestion, but if my program crashes (which it is for some reason), it seems like the move is getting caught in limbo, and thus the page just dissapears from existence….

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