Organizing Pages in a Section in Microsoft OneNote

When you start to use Microsoft OneNote to store all of your notes, the number of pages in a Notebook can become overwhelming.

Visual clutter has a negative effect on my brain. I compare it to having 16 tabs open in an internet browser. It’s hard to focus.

After a while you start looking for ways to group pages together. If you go the route of dividing them into separate Sections you end up with a whole new visual clutter issue – and you end up clicking between locations a lot more to navigate to what you’re looking for.

Our team at itgroove have come up with two ways to group notes in OneNote 2016. One is fairly obvious, and the other is a little more creative.

Option 1: Sub-pages

(If you’re not familiar with how to use sub-pages in OneNote 2016, check out this Microsoft Support article.)

Here’s what sub-pages look like when the sub-pages are collapsed:

Here’s what sub-pages look like when the sub-pages are expanded:

Sub-pages work pretty well when you’re dealing with a short list of pages. They can be less useful when you’re looking at a section with several dozen pages. See how they lack a clear dividing line between each group of sub-pages:

This is why I tend to prefer using Option 2…


Option 2: Hyphens or Underscores

A more creative ‘workaround’ is to add a page to a section and use hyphens or underscores in the Page Title. I always used hyphens until I noticed another team member used underscores which is now my go-to as I find it even easier on the eyes. Here’s what it looks like:



Which option do you prefer?
Do you have a creative way to organize your OneNote pages that isn’t listed here?
Share yours in the comments below.

One response to “Organizing Pages in a Section in Microsoft OneNote

  1. Hello Kelly,
    Thanks for sharing this tip with us ! Marjolein gave the hint to use dividing notes using hyphens, which I regularly use now, but using underscores is much neater for sure !
    It’s a pity that sub-pages can’t be collapsed in OneNote for W10, even in the “Experimental feature” (or Preview) mode, but I’m sure this will be fixed soon…

    A word of caution regarding sub-pages (when collapsed) : when you conveniently select the “header” note, and Print, the sub-pages are not included : you have to expand, select all notes, and then print : annoying.
    Similarly, if you Export to PDF (for example to backup you entire notebook), you need to expand first all subpages, otherwise you end up with an incomplete backup.
    Notwithstanding this misleading behaviour, I do love sub-pages !

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