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Researching with OneNote

One purpose of OneNote is to help you organize notes while doing research. To make research easier, OneNote includes the Research pane found in all Office 2003 programs.

You need to be connected to the Internet to use the Research pane.

To open the Research pane:

  • Choose View > Task Pane, click the Research toolbar button (Figure 9.25), or press Ctrl+F1.

  • If the Research pane is not visible when the task pane opens, select it from the title bar menu.

    Figure 9.25Figure 9.25 Use the Research toolbar button to open the Research pane.


You can move the Research task pane to any edge of OneNote or undock it from the OneNote window. Grab the dots on the left edge of the title bar and drag the pane to a new position.

You can adjust the width of the Research task pane—just drag the inside edge in or out.

To begin research from your note:

  1. Select the text in your note that you want to look up. If the text is the only text on the line, click anywhere in the text.

  2. Right-click and choose Look Up from the context menu (Figure 9.26).

  3. The Research pane opens, and the search begins automatically, using all enabled reference sources.

    Figure 9.26Figure 9.26 Look up words in your notes using the Look Up menu.

  4. If you want to restrict the number of sources searched, open the drop-down list and select the reference book you want to search (Figure 9.27).

  5. Your search should begin as soon as you select a reference book. If it doesn't, press Enter or the green arrow to begin searching.

    Figure 9.27Figure 9.27 Use the Research pane to search the Internet and copy notes to OneNote.

  6. When the search is complete, use the minus (–) and plus (+) buttons to collapse and expand the search results. Select and copy text from the search pane and paste it in your note (Figure 9.28).

  7. Figure 9.28Figure 9.28 After the search has finished, copy the results to your note or click the link to read more in Internet Explorer.


In many cases, you'll need to click the hyperlink to access the complete article in Internet Explorer. When Internet Explorer opens, the Research pane opens in IE containing your search results, so you can continue to work in IE.

When you copy information from IE and paste it into OneNote, the URL is added to the content, so you can easily return to the site later.

Choosing reference resources

OneNote includes a number of reference sources for you to choose from. Along with the default sources shown in the drop-down list, you can add resources by clicking Research Options at the bottom of the Research task pane.

Although the list of resources is limited at this time, you should periodically check Office Marketplace for additional resources.

To change the list of resources:

  1. Click the Resource Options link at the bottom of the Research pane to open the Research Options dialog box (Figure 9.29).

  2. Figure 9.29Figure 9.29 Use the Research Options dialog box to choose the resources you want to use.

  3. Select or deselect check boxes to change the resources available for use in your searches.

  4. To add resources, click Add Services. Then either select any additional Web services listed in the dialog box or type the URL for the resource (Figure 9.30).

  5. You can't use just any URL; it has to be to a Web service that supports the research pane.

    Figure 9.30Figure 9.30 Add new Web services as they become available.

  6. To update existing services or remove unused services, do the following:

    • Click Update/Remove.

    • Select the service you want to update or remove (Figure 9.31).

    Translation, Thesauri, and Can't Find It services can be updated but not removed; any other service can be removed.

    • Updating services may bring up a setup dialog box with information about the service you are adding. Read the information and click Continue to complete the installation or Cancel to stop.

    Figure 9.31Figure 9.31 Select a resource on the list and add or update it.

  7. If you have children, you may want to add parental controls to the Research pane. Enter a password so that the kids can't disable the parental controls. Choose a password they won't know and one you won't forget, since it's not recoverable if you forget (Figure 9.32).

  8. Figure 9.32Figure 9.32 Enabling parental controls restricts the resources you can use.


While parental controls are nice in that they prevent children from finding potentially offensive information, they also severely restrict the sites that are available and the results that are returned.

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