Searching in OneNote 2010

OneNote is a great application because it allows you to collect all types of digital information – text, images, audio, video and organize it all in a fashion of tabbed notebooks. And then, after all the info is collected, OneNote allows you to search through tabbed sections of an entire notebook or all the notebooks you have open. "Search" is a powerful feature of OneNote.

Until recently I was disappointed with "Search" in 2010. You could still search all the places I described, but in OneNote versions prior to 2010, when you searched, the search results pane would open and you would be able to cycle through all the search results by clicking on Next and Previous icons in order to see each of the occurrences. In 2010 I thought the Next and Previous options were gone, at least they weren’t visible in my OneNote.

I started thinking maybe I had missed a settings option. So I started researching. I learned the search features are different, but I am happy some of the old benefits are still available. Here is how it works now. [more]

You still click in the search box and type what you want to find (you get to set the default scope of the search as well as select it each time if you want). When you do this, OneNote opens a pop-up box to show you the quick results of your search. If you see what you need in the pop-up box, you can click on it and see the page. However, if you click outside the pop-up box to view more content on a page, the pop-up box closes. That was frustrating because I thought there was no way to see all the individual search results.

There are more options. When the pop-up box appears, you can elect to "Open the Search Results Pane" (click a link at the bottom of the pop-up box or type "Alt-O"). In previous versions of OneNote, the Search Results Pane would open automatically which I liked. With the Search Results Pane open you will see all the pages listed where the searched text appears and they remain available as long as you keep the Search Result Pane open. You can click on any page and see the first occurrence of the found text. Then I learned when you press "Return" you will jump to the next occurrence. By repeatedly pressing ‘Return’ you will be able to see all the search results. Not the old way, but in time I may like it better.

A bonus OneNote feature is the character recognition. When you paste an image that contains text, OneNote gives you the option of making the text in the image searchable. In testing the search features I saw OneNote was searching the text in images, even though I had not previously made the image searchable. Very cool.

General OneNote