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Microsoft OneNote 2010 : Prioritizing and Categorizing Notes with Tags (part 2) - Search for Tagged Notes, Removing a Tag from a Note

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1/30/2015 8:36:17 PM

Search for Tagged Notes

The real power of tagging notes is the ability to search for specific tags and instantly retrieve the notes that are associated with them. This becomes more and more useful over time, as your notebook grows in size and complexity.

To begin looking for tagged notes, do the following:

1.
On the Home tab, in the Tags group, click the Find Tags button, which is located just to the right of the tags list.

2.
In the Tags Summary pane that opens near the right side of the OneNote program window, OneNote will display a list of all tagged notes in the current notebook (see Figure 3). This initial view lets you step through all of your tagged notes so you can review them and remind yourself about any important items that you might have forgotten about.

Figure 3. The Tags Summary task pane displays all tagged notes that are found within the constraints of the search scope (in this example, the list of tags represents all of the tagged notes that exist in all open notebooks). To go to the page where a tagged note appears, click the note in the results list.


3.
To review the results list, use the scrollbar in the task pane (if displayed) to go through all of the tags that OneNote found. To go to a tagged note on its original page, click its entry in the results list.

You can customize the display of the tagged notes results list by changing the Group tags drop-down at the top of the Tag Summary task pane to a different sort option. For example, you could choose to display the tagged notes by the name of the sections they appear in. When you change this filter, the results list is instantly updated with your new display preference.


If you have a large number of tags applied to copious amounts of text, you might want to change the search scope to narrow your results to what you’re really looking for. At the bottom of the Tag Summary task pane, under Search, click the drop-down menu and then change the default search scope (“This notebook”) to one of the other options you want. For example, you could narrow the results list to only show tags in the current section or only tags applied to notes you’ve taken today. Likewise, if you’re having trouble finding a tagged note again, you can temporarily change the search scope to include tagged notes in all notebooks.

Finally, if the results list is showing you the tagged notes you were looking for, you have the option of creating a tag summary page, which causes OneNote to take the note tag search results and copy them over to a new page, which you can then use to create lists of your tagged (i.e., categorized and prioritized) notes and follow-up items.

The multifaceted benefits of tagging your notes will become more evident over time, when your notebooks will contain more and more notes in a larger variety of subjects.

Removing a Tag from a Note

When a tag is no longer needed to mark a specific part of your notes, you can remove it. This is recommended if you don’t want to keep seeing old tagged notes in your current results when the search scope is fairly broad.

To remove a tag, do the following:

1.
Navigate to the note that contains the tag you want to remove. (If you still have your tags displayed in the Tag Summary task pane, you can click the search result containing that note and tag to quickly jump to it.)

2.
Click the note text that contains the tag you want to remove.

3.
On the Home tab, in the Tags group, click the small downward-facing arrow at the bottom of the tags list box. A ToolTip will say “More” if you hover over this arrow .

4.
At the bottom of the pop-up menu that appears, click Remove Tag.

Customizing Note Tags

If some of the tag icons and their descriptions don’t quite match your needs, you can modify any existing tag or create your own.

To customize a note tag, do the following:

1.
On the Home tab, in the Tags group, click the small downward-facing arrow at the bottom of the tags list box. A ToolTip will say “More” if you hover over this arrow .

2.
At the bottom of the pop-up menu that appears, click Customize Tags.

3.
In the Customize Tags dialog box that opens, do one of the following:

  • To customize an existing tag, select it in the list and then click Modify Tag.

  • To create a brand new tag, click New Tag.

4.
After you have modified or created a tag by specifying the name, icon, and optional highlight color you want (see Figure 4), return to the Customize Tags dialog box and then use the up and down arrows near the upper right of the tags list to move a selected tag up or down in the list. For example, you could move the tags you create and modify to the top of the list so they appear before all of the others.

Figure 4. When you want to modify an existing tag that comes with OneNote 2010, this dialog box lets you change the tag’s name, icon, and colors. When you’re happy with your customization results, click OK to save your changes.


5.
Click OK to save your changes.

If you use OneNote on more than one computer and you want to use the note tags that you’ve created or customized on all of your computers, you can copy a single file that stores this information. On the computer where you created or modified your custom note tags, find the Preferences.dat file that is located in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft OneNote\14.0\ and copy this file to the same location on any of your other computers running Microsoft OneNote 2010.

Alternately, if you only have one or two custom tags you want to transfer to another computer, you can quickly do so by applying each custom tag to some notes text and then e-mailing that page to yourself on your other computer. There, open the page in OneNote 2010 and then right-click any custom note tag. On the shortcut menu that appears, click Add to My Tags. Repeat this for any additional tags. When this is done, the custom tags will be available in the Tags list on the other computer. Note that this method only works for tags that contain an icon. If you created custom tags that only change the highlight color of text, for example, you’ll need to do it the long way and transfer your preferences file.


When you’re done trying out the tagging features, close the Tag Summary task pane by clicking the X in the upper-right corner of the task pane.

Searching for tagged notes is only part of OneNote’s powerful search capability. I’ve saved the best for last—the ability to search for and instantly find virtually anything in your notes.

 
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