11 New OneNote Features Teachers Will Love

OneNote Graphic

While you’ve been busy teaching and innovating, the OneNote engineering team has been hard at work bringing improvements that make teachers’ lives even easier. Here are some of the many new features released in the past few months that we think you will love! You can download OneNote for free anytime.

1. Convert hand-drawn shapes into perfect-looking shapes while inking*

Math teachers rejoice! With the new Ink Shape Recognition tool announced last November for iPad, iPad Pro, and the Windows 10 app, OneNote will recognize hand-drawn shapes from squares and circles to quadrilaterals and pentagons, as well as flowcharts and Venn diagrams, and allow you to automatically convert them into better, sharper versions of themselves. To turn on the feature, simply tap the new Convert to Shapes button on the draw tab. Presto!

Screenshot of the Convert to Shapes function

2. Easily convert your OneNote Notebook into a Sway**

So you have an awesome OneNote with great content but want to present it, perhaps as a lesson plan, perhaps at a professional development training. The new Send to Sway OneNote Integration, announced January 2016, allows you to export your OneNote Notebook directly to a Sway presentation in a matter of seconds. Just download the Sway Add-In for OneNote (Preview) and the button will appear on the OneNote Menu bar.

Screenshot of the Send to Sway button

3. Embed a Sway with automatic display in seconds

If you’ve ever wanted to embed a Sway into your OneNote Notebook, and have a preview of it render beautifully, that’s now a reality. It’s as simple as pasting the URL of the Sway in OneNote, and like magic, the Sway will appear fully in your notebook within seconds.

Preview of an embed Sway into OneNote Notebook


4. Connect OneNote with your LMS (Learning management systems) to create and grade assignments all in one place**

With the new OneNote features announced on April 14, OneNote is now integrated with over 25 top learning management system (LMS) partners like Canvas and Moodle, allowing you to create assignments and assign grades in OneNote that go straight to your LMS of choice. Find out how here!

Learning management system graphic

5. See transformational differences in accessible learning with OneNote Learning Tools**

The winner of Microsoft’s company-wide Hackathon last summer, OneNote Learning Tools is a great example of how technology can make tangible differences in making comprehension easier for students with special learning needs. The free add-in, which can be downloaded here, has features like enhanced dictation, immersive reading, and comprehension mode, all of which have proven, research-backed benefits (see below). It has already been selected as a 2016 “Top Dyslexia app” by Dyslexic Advantage, with many teachers raving about the benefits for their students.

Feature Proven Benefit
Enhanced dictation Improves authoring text
Focus mode Sustains attention and improves reading speed
Immersive reading Improves comprehension and sustains attention
Font spacing and short lines Improve reading speed by addressing “visual crowding”
Parts of speech Supports instruction and improves writing quality
Syllabification Improves word recognition
Comprehension mode Improves comprehension by an average of 10%

Screenshot of OneNote Learning Tools

6. Distribute a page to all your students in just two clicks with the Class Notebook Add-In**

With the Class Notebook Add-In, launched March 2016 in 43 languages across 61 worldwide markets, you can distribute a page from your Content Library to all the Student Notebooks with two clicks! This means students no longer have to go to the Content Library to copy it for themselves. Download it for free here!

Screenshot of Class Notebook homework add-in

7. Distribute content to specific subsets of individual and groups**

Sometimes you have content you’d like to distribute to a specific subset of students. We fully understand the benefits of individualized learning, and the new Class Notebook Add-In allows you to distribute pages to specific students, and even define your own groups of students to make the differentiation process even smoother.

Screenshot of content distribution sub sets

8. Review and give feedback in rapid succession with the Review Student Work pane**

Teachers would rather use their time to give quality feedback than flipping back and forth between different Student Notebooks. Whether it’s homework, assignments, or quizzes, we’ve made the process more efficient with the Review Student Work pane in the Class Notebook Add-In. Clicking on a student brings up the student page without having to navigate back and forth in the Notebook pane.

Screenshot of review student work pane

9. Your Class Notebook is now one click away in your OneNote menu bar**

To save even more time, we’ve added four common Class Notebook actions right within your OneNote app so there’s no need to open your browser; simply click on the desired action and the app will launch to that function with one click.

Screenshot of adding and removing students button

10. Get in-depth teacher training and resources from within your OneNote

For those of you always looking for fresh training, content, and updates, you can now access that from the Class Notebook Add-In, which links you to in-depth training, a guide for the Add-In, the official OneNote Education Blog, and the 1.5 million-member strong Microsoft Educator community, where you can find free lesson plans, professional development, and a global community of like-minded innovative educators.

Screenshot of training and resources from OneNote

11. Search your handwritten notes in OneNote through Office Lens

We understand that not all notes are taken digitally. With the free Office Lens app, you can take a photo of a piece of paper or a whiteboard with handwriting using Office Lens and search for what you wrote in OneNote! Office Lens identifies printed text with optical character recognition (OCR) so that you can search by key word for the image in OneNote or OneDrive.

Office Lens converting written notes to OneNote

*Available only in OneNote for Windows 10.
**Available only in OneNote 2013/2016.


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