The QAT and OneNote 2010 Drawing Tips

The past two Microsoft OneNote features may have you wondering how OneNote 2010 is any different from Microsoft Word 2010. Well, one thing that separates OneNote 2010 from Word 2010 is the ability to write and draw simultaneously with no boundaries between where you can draw and where you can write. You can use the built-in highlighter to highlight important text, or use a pen to draw a picture next to some notes. You can even draw a picture over your notes if you fancy it.

The Drawing Tab

All the drawing commands are located in the Draw tab of the ribbon.

Available from the Draw ribbon are a set of pens and highlighters in a variety of colours, and shapes along with editing tools and the convert commands (we'll go into more detail about these later). To start drawing, you must first select a pen or highlighter. The 12 pens and highlighters displayed in the Pen Gallery, are the 12 default favourites. To use a pen, click on the pen so that a yellow box appears around its icon and then draw onto the page by holding down the left mouse button in exactly the same way you would with Microsoft Paint.

If the pen you would like to use is not in this gallery, click the More button in the bottom corner of the Gallery.

Once you have clicked the More button, you will see the complete selection of favourite and built-in pens available. At the bottom of the list there are two options labelled More Color and Thickness Options and Pen Mode.

When you click on More color and Thickness Options you can adjust your pen's properties, in the Pen Properties dialog box, which then appears. Using the Pen Properties dialog box, you can create a pen or highlighter using any of the options available.

The other option in the More drop-down menu is Pen Mode. From there you can choose to use the pen to:

  • Create both handwriting and drawings
  • Create drawings only
  • Create handwriting only
  • Use the pen as a pointer

Depending on the settings selected, the pen will behave in different ways to suit your requirements. It's worth experimenting with the different settings to see how differently configured pens work and how well you work with each pen.

How to Erase

If you accidentally colour over important text while doodling during a boring meeting, or something equally horrific, then the eraser tool is just one click away. Staying on the Draw tab, the eraser is in the Tools group, just to the left of the pen gallery. Click the Eraser icon to use the eraser in its current setting. If the eraser is not in the setting that you need, click the down arrow on the bottom of the Eraser command button and you will be given four settings to choose from.

Three of the four options are for the size of the eraser and the final setting is a Stroke Eraser. This means that the eraser will remove everything from the full stroke of the pen that was drawn. For example, if you have written a word using a different stroke for each letter, and you run the rubber (with the left mouse button clicked down) over the letter, Stroke Eraser will delete the whole letter and not just the area the eraser has touched. When you click on one of the eraser settings, the Eraser command picture will change to reflect your chosen eraser.

Lasso drawings

Another common mistake is drawing something in the wrong place. Fortunately OneNote 2010 has a solution for that problem in the shape of the Lasso tool. The Lasso is a tool you can use to move a single drawing or a group of drawings to a new location on your page. To use the Lasso, ensure you are in the Draw tab and click on the Lasso Select command. With the Lasso tool selected, draw an outline around the shape you need to move. Once you have lassoed the drawing, a move box will appear around it. As you move the mouse over this box, the cursor should change to your pre-set move cursor. Drag the box to the desired location.

Using the Quick Access Toolbar with Draw

Regular users of OneNote who do a lot of drawings will find customising the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) with their most used commands, very useful. To add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar, right-click the command icon on the ribbon and select Add to The Quick Access Toolbar from the right-click menu. This will then create a button for the selected command in the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the ribbon. To use this command, click its icon in the Quick Access Toolbar and use as normal

Using the same instructions above, you can add the entire Pen Gallery to the Quick Access Toolbar, right-click within the Pen Gallery and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

If you only want to add your favourite pen to the Quick Access Toolbar, then you need to follow a slightly different process. Click the Customise button in the Quick Access Toolbar, this will reveal the Customize Quick Access Toolbar menu, from this menu you can pick and choose what you want to appear in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Remove items from the Quick Access Toolbar

Sometimes the Quick Access Toolbar can become a bit unwieldy with too many unused command buttons present. To remove a command from the Quick Access Toolbar, right-click on the command and, from the right-click menu, select Remove from Quick Access Toolbar.

How to move the Quick Access Toolbar

If you find that you become a heavy user of the Quick Access Toolbar, you may find this next tip very useful. You can choose whether you want the Quick Access Toolbar to appear above the ribbon or below the ribbon. If you've set-up your Quick Access Toolbar with all your most used commands and you're regularly switching between the commands while using your Notebook, it's far easier to have your commands closer to the page so you aren't moving around the window so much.

To move the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Customise Quick Access Toolbar button to open up the menu. From the menu select Show Below the Ribbon.

To move the Quick Access Toolbar back from below the ribbon to above it, follow the same instructions, but this time the command will read Show Above the Ribbon.

In this article we have been through the basics of using drawings in your notebooks. We looked at drawing, erasing and lassoing objects, and how to make the most out of the Quick Access Toolbar as a heavy user in OneNote 2010. Hopefully you now have a solid understanding of the various commands available in Microsoft OneNote2010, if this is your first time with using OneNote you may like to look at our OneNote starter guide.