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Drawing in OneNote

When you draw on a page, OneNote creates a drawing canvas to hold your drawing. A drawing canvas is very similar to a note container, which OneNote creates to hold typed text you enter on a page.

A drawing canvas expands to hold additional drawings you may add to that canvas. However, if you add a new drawing that is an inch or more from another drawing, OneNote creates a new drawing canvas.

In most cases, this is what you probably want so you can organize your drawings into separate notes. But there are times when OneNote may create a new drawing canvas when you simply want to add to an existing drawing. In these cases, you can merge the drawing canvases.

Just as with handwriting, you can select from among various pen styles for your drawings. If you are drawing on a Tablet PC, you can also choose to have your pen strokes appear lighter or darker depending on how much pressure you apply to the screen with the stylus. For more information on these options, see "Formatting Your Handwriting" earlier in this chapter.

To add drawings to notes:

  1. From the Pens toolbar, select a pen.

  2. Move the pen cursor to the location where you want to draw.

  3. Hold down the mouse button and move the pen cursor.

  4. When you release the mouse button, the pen stops drawing.

    If you move the pen to a new location more than an inch away, OneNote will create a new drawing canvas to hold the new drawing (Figure 5.38).

    Figure 5.2Figure 5.38 Separate drawings are given their own drawing canvases.


Use the resize handles to adjust the size of your drawings.

You can use drawings to highlight your typewritten notes (Figure 5.39). Using only a mouse, it's difficult to draw more than simple lines and circles.

Figure 5.39Figure 5.39 You can easily add drawings to your text notes.

To merge drawing canvases:

  1. Select the drawing canvases you want to merge by clicking the square handle that appears when your cursor is near a drawing.

  2. You can select multiple drawing canvases by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking each drawing canvas with your mouse (Figure 5.40).

    Figure 5.40Figure 5.40 You also can select multiple drawing canvases by selecting each one while holding down the Ctrl key.

  3. Choose Edit > Merge Drawing Canvases (Figure 5.41).

The selected drawing canvases are merged into a single drawing canvas (Figure 5.42).

Figure 5.41Figure 5.41 Choose Edit > Merge Drawing Canvases.

Figure 5.42Figure 5.42 After you merge two drawing canvases, the drawings are combined into one drawing canvas.


When you merge multiple drawing canvases, you can more easily move your drawings around the page and to other OneNote sections. However, if your drawings are unrelated, you may want to leave them as separate drawing canvases.

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