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OneNote Q&A: Your Questions Answered

This is a special guest post from Legacy Webinar Speaker, Tessa Keough.

Using OneNote with Genealogy

We got lots of questions during last Wednesday’s webinar Using Microsoft OneNote with Your Genealogy. I answered most of them, but a few of them only partially and one or two stumped me. As promised, I did a bit of sleuthing and found the complete answers for you. Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar, asked questions, and posted comments after the webinar. I really appreciated the feedback and hope you will give Microsoft OneNote a try. I think you will enjoy using it as one of your genealogy tools.

1. Stanley asked "Does OneNote support footnotes?"

I did not use OneNote for writing and publishing my work (I use Microsoft Word or Scrivener) but was aware that OneNote has a style entitled “citation.” I took a look at citation – it simply formats what you type into 9 point font. If you select Home, then select superscript at Basic Text features, you could add a footnote number at the end of a sentence and manually add a footnote (I wouldn’t). So, No, OneNote does not have a footnote feature, as Microsoft Word does.

Best Tool

2. Jerry asked "If you have shared a OneNote Notebook, can the person who has privileges share your Notebook with others without your permission?"

There is a difference between Sharing with "Can View" permission and "Can Edit" permission.

Notebooks marked Can View – person has view-only permission so they can only open and read the notebook. They cannot move it or change it.

Notebooks marked Can Edit – person and move and copy the notebook and share the notebook with others.

While you could add a message asking recipient not to share without permission or a footer to your notes with copyright information – you need to Share with Can Edit permissions with those you trust.

3. Clara asked "Does OneNote have storage limitations?"

The free OneDrive account comes with 5 GB of storage and theOffice 365 accountOneDrive account has 1 TB of storage. If you don’t have a subscription to an Office 365 account and are interested in storage only, you can purchase 50 GB of additional storage for $1.99/month.

4. Stanley asked "If you attach a file in OneNote, does it need to be located on OneDrive?"

If you are using the OneNote App and saving to OneDrive, you would need to save your PDF to OneDrive as well if you are linking the document to OneNote. If you are adding the PDF file, it will be on the page in your OneNote (and synced to OneDrive) so the PDF would not need to be located on OneDrive.

5. Matt asked "What the difference is between Windows Snipping Tool and OneNote Clipper and which would be best to use with OneNote?"

The OneNote Clipper is specifically designed work with OneNote AND to clip from your Internet browser to OneNote – it sits in the upper right hand corner of the browser ready to work (full page, region, article, or bookmark). The clip contains the source as a link, and you can add a note to the clip before clipping. You can also choose where to file the clip (you choose the notebook and section). If you are doing online research, use the tool designed to clip and file automagically to your OneNote notebook(s).

The Windows Snipping Tool sits on your taskbar and can snip anything from a browser’s full screen, window, or a region. However, that snip is then saved as a capture (in the form of a png, gif, jpg, or single file HTML) in Windows Photos (by default). You must name and file that capture (on your desktop, with images, in a document, etc.) but the snip does not contain source information. Note that theWindows Snipping Tool is moving and will now be Windows Snip & Sketch. It looks like it has the same features; however, your capture is now called an annotation and it includes the date. An added feature is three choices for a time delay before snipping. The look of Windows Snip & Sketch is similar to the updated Windows Photos and Windows Printing function.

Clipper vs Snipper

6. Beverly asked "How to find which version of OneNote you are using?

In OneNote 2016 (or earlier versions) you will select File (on the Ribbon) and select Account. Your Office product information includes About OneNote, listing the version and build. In OneNote App you will select the three dots in the upper right hand corner and select Settings and select Account. Your OneNote product information lists the version and build.

7. Finally, Marnie and Linda both asked "Are there size limitations for OneNote?" – page limits, section limits, and notebook limits.

There is no limit as to how many notes you can take in OneNote, you are only limited by how much storage you have. If you use the OneNote App, check your OneDrive storage limit. If you use OneNote 2016 (or earlier versions) and keep your notebooks on your local drive only – check your hard drive storage limits. And from Microsoft OneNote Support - there are no maximum number of notebooks, sections, and pages you can create in OneNote AND the maximum size of a file upload to OneDrive is 10GB. I think you have plenty of note creating and note keeping storage available!


Tessa Keough takes advantage of 21st century technology to work on her own family history as well as engage in specialized projects. These projects include a one-place study of her grandfather's native community of Plate Cove East, Newfoundland, and a one-name study of her Keough surname. Check out her webinars in the Legacy Family Tree Webinars Library.


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Thank you for providing this. The Webinar was excellent

I have used Microsoft OneNote for over 12 years and have over 10,000 pages of research.
I keep all my genealogy research there and only use my tree to document structure and for identifying relationships. I could not live without it :)

After I downloaded OneNote, my Office16 programs vanished. Still struggling through this as I had to uninstall OneNote, then re-install my original Office13 products with the old Product Key I had. As Office13 is no longer supported/updated, I am stuck with an inferior Office suite, and have not found solutions in the Microsoft support community. Curious if anyone else had this problem?

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