How I Use OneNote For Life And School Organization

Ever since from high school, I have tried using multiple note-taking systems and software, including the most popular ones out there like Notability, Evernote, OneNote etc. Right now, I am using OneNote mostly for my school and learning notes, as well as life organization. I use Evernote for blog and work. Having gone through briefly about how I use OneNote for taking class notes, here I will be sharing with you all how I use OneNote for everything – my organization method, my note-taking method and more. This is to sum up all my Tumblr posts and previous posts on this blog, and will serve as a comprehensive guide to using OneNote.

Notebooks I have on my OneNote

I don’t actually have a lot of notebooks in OneNote, I’ve just got three. They are “Personal“, “MOOCs” and “Semester V“.

  • Personal: I put most the information I want to keep for future here, and that includes
    • Some ideas in my mind
    • links that I am interested in, or those I want to read later
    • Book lists
    • Goals
  • MOOCs: notes I have taken from online courses
  • Semester V: I am taking my fifth semester in my college now, so that’s how I named my school notebook for this semester

Personal Notebook

One of my favorite things about OneNote is how you can move around things. The high flexibility of the note-taking page allows you to set things however you want it to look. In this notebook, I love to store my ideas and references.

Reading lists

For reading lists, for example, I normally would search it up online for the categories of books that I am interested in. If I see a list of books that I want to read in the future, I would paste in on the note page. I divide my lists according to categories, and some pages (like the one – Education – I am showing below) consists of several lists from different sources.

My reading list for all the education books on my OneNote
My reading list for all the education books on my OneNote


MOOCs Notebook

This is where I store all of my notes for online courses.

Study Plan

The first thing you will see in the Notebook is a section called “Study Plan”, where I organize all the online courses that I would like to study on the page.

My study plan for online courses on OneNote
My study plans for online courses on OneNote
  • I divide the courses according to their online platforms.
  • I make sure to put down the university and course code of the course so I can easily find them on the platform if I didn’t link the course.
  • Using the highlighting system, I can highlight courses that I want to take or differentiate a certain category of courses from others.
    • e.g. here, yellow represents courses I would like to take soon
    • and pink represents courses regarding learning and language skills

To make things clearer for myself, I also make myself a sorted list according to subjects.

Sorted course list according to topics
My Sorted course list on OneNote according to courses’ topics.


I make use of the Section Groups and have each topic as a group. Here I have English, Learning, Philosophy, Psychology and UBC Business (notes I took during the summer school I joined in Vancouver).

Categories for my MOOCs notebook

Notes for each course

For each course, I like to have the course syllabus here for easy reference.

Course syllabus for online course PSYCH101x on EdX
Course syllabus for online course PSYCH101x on EdX
  • Basic information like course name, institution, link of the course and progress is here so that when I look back at the notes I can easily know what course this is
  • I have noted the key concepts, guiding questions, readings of the topic

For the course notes, I just use the Cornell method as shown in How I Take Notes For Classes.

My notes using Cornell method for PSYCH101x on EdX
My notes using Cornell method for PSYCH101x on EdX


School Notebook

Instead of looking into how I take notes during class or how I make my study guides, I will cover more on how I organize my learning in this notebook instead.

Course Schedule

This page to me is my absolute life saver. I use this mostly to track my learning and reading progress.

My course schedule for this semester.
My course schedules for this semester.
  • I have a table with all the weeks for this semester on the left column, and each column consists of the topics and readings for the respective courses.
  • I use blue for weeks that have already passed and red for the current week.
  • Once I have finished reviewing a topic, I would cross it out.
  • Similarly, if I have done reading a required piece, I would tick it off.
  • If I have made notes and reviewed that notes of the reading, I would cross out the reading.

In this case, every study tasks I have to do is clearly listed out, and my progress is shown as well. This would motivate me to complete tasks, and also make sure that I didn’t loose track.


For each semester, I would use the course I take for each section group. I use their course code for the name.

My section groups for school notebook.

And for each course, I would have tabs for course info, lectures, and tutorials.

Sections for my course.

Course Syllabus

The course syllabus for one of the courses I take this semester.
The course syllabus for one of the courses I take this semester.

This is where I list out the following things.

  • Course topics
  • Readings for each topic
  • Office hours
  • Time for lectures and tutorials
  • Information of the instructor and tutor
  • Assessments and its respective weightings

And finally, for each lecture and tutorial, I will just type in my notes and record the class with it. Sometimes I would also insert a pdf or ppt slides of the respective class. For more details on how I take notes, make sure to see my updated note-taking method for lectures and tutorials.

Want To Read More?

That’s it for my OneNote organization! Here are some posts on note-taking that you may love!


  • Rocky
    Do you have a template that you allow people to download?
    • Hi Rockey, unfortunately we do not have any OneNote template available for you to download. We will work on that soon!

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