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The notebooks you create in OneNote let you collect and keep all kinds of information in one place. Inserting information from other sources is a great way to save time. Instead of retyping information or relying on links to documents and files that may become unavailable when you go offline, you can bring the content you need directly into OneNote — either as an attachment or as a printout that you can annotate.

Attach a file

Attaching a file (such as a Microsoft Word document) to a page in OneNote places a copy of that file in your notes. The file appears as an icon that you can double-click to open and edit the contents of the file.

  1. In OneNote, click anywhere on the page where you want to insert a file.

  2. Click Insert > File Attachment.

    Insert a file into your notes as an attachment

  3. In the Choose a Document to Insert dialog box, click the file you want to attach, and then click Insert.

  4. If prompted for additional options, click Attach File

    A copy of the file is inserted on the current page and shown as an icon that you can open.

Attached files are stored as part of their associated notebook. If you move a notebook to another location, any inserted files move with the notebook. 

Important: OneNote attaches only static snapshots of the source documents or files you insert into your notes; it doesn’t maintain a link to the source file. Changes you make to the copy in OneNote won’t show up in the original. And changing the original won’t update the copy.

It’s possible to embed two types of Microsoft Office files into OneNote that maintain a relationship between their embedded version and their source files: You can add an Excel spreadsheet to a page or add a Visio diagram to a page.

Insert a file as a printout

Inserting a file as a printout places a picture of its contents on a page in OneNote. You can’t edit printouts like regular notes, so they’re a good choice if you want to keep the original formatting. The inserted printouts work just like inserted pictures. You can resize them and move them anywhere on the page.  You can add notes or annotations to the image, and even copy text from a file printout and paste it as editable text.

  1. In OneNote, click anywhere on the page where you want to insert a file printout.

  2. Click Insert > File Printout.

  3. In the Choose a Document to Insert dialog box, click the file you want to insert, and then click Insert

Note: If you want to insert a password-protected document, you’ll need to enter the correct password before the document will be printed to OneNote.

Copy text from a file printout

You can extract text from a file printout and paste it in your notes. This is useful if you want to make changes to the text or if you want to copy any part of the text into an email or other file, like a Word document.

  1. Right-click the image, and then do one of the following:

    • Click Copy Text from this Page of the Printout to copy text from only the currently selected image (page).

    • Click Copy Text from All the Pages of the Printout to copy text from all the images (pages).

  2. Click where you’d like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V.

Note: The effectiveness of OneNote’s text recognition depends on the quality of the source formatting in the document or file you inserted. When pasting text that you copied from a picture or file printout, always look it over to make sure that your selection was recognized properly.

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