Docked note + Table of Content = a Powerful workflow !

Version :      √ OneNote desktop


You can dock a note on the right side of your desktop, so that it’s always visible while you look at other programs (or other notes) on the left portion of your desktop.

The intended purpose of this OneNote feature is to take linked notes while visiting a web site (works with IE, but not Edge) or any other Office document (Word, Powerpoint, OneNote, but not Excel) : This adds a link to their source with a thumbnail.

Passing-by the mouse over the Office program’ logo will show a thumbnail ; clicking on the logo will open the document !


 But you may also benefit from this feature to speed up the navigation in your notebook (like flipping pages in a notebook). Below, I describe 2 slightly different workflows :

Workflow 1 : the table of Content is always visible on the right, and your notes are on the left : this is the consultation mode ;

Workflow 2 : Two notes simultaneously visible : the one you are writing on, plus another you are referring to ;


Workflow 1 :

  • Assuming you have a Table of Content for a specific Project / Topic (I suggest that this Table Of Content be located in a dedicated section – see below to understand why) :
  • Click on the links (the various entries of your Table of Content), to open your notes on the left side of the desktop, until you find the requested information ;

Demo of Workflow 1 : consultation mode (flipping pages)Fairly simple ! Now lets move to a significantly more complex, but powerful workflow. I am well aware that it may seem tricky at first sight, but if you follow this step-by-step process, and repeat-it a few times, you will manage it quickly.


Workflow 2 :

  • Assuming you have a Table of Content for a specific Project / Topic (again I suggest that this Table Of Content be located in a dedicated section – see below to understand why) : go in this Table of Content ;
  • Add an entry in this Table of Content, typing [[page title]] (refer to my blog post Table des matières in [French] for more details about this feature) ;
  • Move this newly created note just below the Table of Content ;
  • Head back to the Table of Content (one page before then : Ctrl Page up may come in handy);
  • Dock it (Dock to desktop) ;
  • Make sure you have the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) visible on this window
    • Click on the triple-dot handle bar
    • Click on the Ribbon Display Options
    • Select Show Tabs
    • If you don’t already have the Next and Back buttons in your QAT, add them (see my blog post about “Navigation” for more on that)
  • You may now click on the links (the various entries of your Table of Content) to open your notes on the left side of the desktop, until you find the requested piece of information needed ;
  • Switch to Full Page View on the left OneNote window ;
  • On the right side of the desktop, click on the Next Page button to come back to your note (see blog post Navigation on this matter) ;
  • Take notes (on the right side of the screen) while having the other note on the left side of the screen (don’t forget to disable Linked notes if you don’t need them) ;
  • When the note if finished, move it to your main section.


With some practice, this workflow will become familiar to you, and you’ll be able to make the most of OneNote on a wide screen.

Feel free to watch the video I have made for the OneNote Learn Conference 2016, on this topic.

Hope you liked it !


Why having the Table of Content in a specific section (not in your main section) ?

1.To find it quickly !

Having the Table of Content in a section dedicated to this Project, that purposely contains a limited number of notes (no more than what fits on the screen’ height) allows to head back to the Table of Content quickly : you just have to click on the section’ tab, and then on the first page’ tab.

LIRE AUSSI  Task management using template

That’s why my dedicated section look like this one :

A Table of Content’ note first, then very few essential notes related to this project


2.Because you may have several Table of Content : one by Project of course, but also other Table of Content to help navigating through notes related to any topic or area of interest.

3. Because a note may contain information related to several projects : a minute meeting with a customer for instance may contain information related to Turnover’ forecast, new product launch, contracts… : that’s the reason why I suggest to keep a Main section to store most of your notes (sorted by dates for instance), and a dedicated section that contain the Table of Content, and few essential notes on this Project (Contact, to do…).


Additional considerations :

Behaviour of a docked note :

You may not be able to keep the ribbon open (“pin the ribbon”) directly, to keep the commands always visible : to do that you need to press the Ribbon Display Options button (see n° 3 in picture below) and choose Show tabs.

Note the difference between the docked window (right) and normal window (left).


Note that you can increase the size of a docked note, but it may not exceed 50% of the screen (it is thus different than multi-window in Windows 8 ou 10).

The ribbon overlaps with the upper portion of the page (where normally you have the title of your notes !) : annoying (as in any normal window…)

Finally, a docked window shows a “Fixed” note (but you may navigate with Previous / Next Page buttons) : clicking on any link on the docked window will show the corresponding note on another window : that’s the feature used to keep the Table Of Content always visible in the previous workflow !

In summary :

Using docked notes without a Table of Content :

For the reason shown above, I prefer to work on the right window (the docked note), and use the left side to navigate in my notebook (using Page tabs), seeking for information.
In this case, don’t forget to disable linked notes !

Launching a docked note :

There are 3 different buttons, in two different Tabs (View and Review ) to get a docked note, with subtle differences : don’t get confused !




Update 20/11 : Curiously, it seems impossible to link notes to Excel file… As far as I am concerned, I never managed to do it. This Microsoft web site seems to acknowledge it…

Update 29/11/2016 : OneNote Gem seems to bring this feature (as well as support for .pdf document, and other browsers like Chrome Opera and Safari). Not cheap, but may be useful.

Update 06/05/2017 : I have switched the order of both workflows, to start with the easiest (as an introduction), and then explain the intended one (which is fairly more complex). I have added some steps on workflow 2, that were clearly missing : it should be understandable now ! Also, I have re-organised the Feature of a docked note paragraph to make it easier to understand (the first paragraph was not specific to docked notes).

Nota 04/01/2019 : Here are some useful tips on hyperlinks.

First, if your hyperlink is not blue, underlined :

Second : a nice formatting proposal from Marjolein Hoekstra to stress hyperlink pointing outside the current notebook/section (because they behave distinctly, after you move notes) :

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