Switching to Google Workspace from Microsoft OneNote

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Now that you have Google Workspace, here are a few tips. They'll help you begin replacing Microsoft OneNote for your note-taking needs.

Get Google Workspace apps on your mobile devices.

Note: Some Microsoft features do not directly correspond in Google Workspace and are not covered in this guide.

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Comparison at a glance

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Note: Comparisons are based on Microsoft Office versions 2010, 2013, and 2016.

In OneNote... In Google Workspace...*
Create a note or list
Create notes or lists in Keep or Docs

Create brief notes or lists in Keep

  1. Choose an option:
    • Click Take a note and enter a note.
    • Click New List New list and add items to your list.
  2. (Optional) To add a title, click Title and enter your title.
  3. Click Close.

You can access or create Keep notes from Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can also copy a Keep note into Docs

Create detailed notes or lists in Docs

Choose an option:

  • In Docs, click Create "".
  • In Drive, click New and then next to Google Docs, point to the Right arrow""and click Blank document or From a template.
Organize or group notes in a notebook
Organize or group notes in a shared drive

Step 1: Create a shared drive

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. On the left, click Shared drives.
  3. At the top, click New"".
  4. Enter a name and click Create.
For details, see Set up a shared drive.

Step 2: Add folders to a shared drive

  1. On the left, click a shared drive or existing folder.
  2. Click New""and thenFolder.
  3. Enter a folder name and click Create.

Step 3: Add notes to a folder in a shared drive

Requires at least Contributor access

Any files you add are owned by the team. If you leave the shared drive, your files remain.

  1. On the left, click a shared drive.
  2. Drag an existing file (that you own*) from your computer or from My Drive into a shared drive. Or, at the top of Drive, click New""and choose an option:
    • To create a file, select the file type you want to create, such as Google Docs.
    • To upload a file, click File upload. Navigate to the file and open it.
  3. Double-click a file to open and edit it.

*If you don't own the file but have Editor access in Drive, you can move it to a shared drive if your administrator has allowed this option.

Note: To store and access files on your desktop, use Google Drive for desktop. For details, see What can you do with Drive for desktop.

Share and collaborate on a notebook stored in OneDrive
Share and collaborate on notes in Keep or Docs

Share notes in Keep

  1. Hover over the note or list and click Collaborator Share.
  2. Enter a person's name or email address. As you enter text, you get suggestions you can select.
  3. Next to each name, click Add collaborator "" to add the person.
  4. (Optional) To add more people, repeat steps 2–3.
  5. Click Save.

Share notes in Docs

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share "".
  3. Under Share with people and groups, enter the email address you want to share with.

    Note: If visitor sharing is on for your organization, you can invite someone who doesn't have a Google Account to collaborate on your Google Drive files and folders. See Share documents with visitors.

  4. To change what people can do to your file, on the right, click the Down arrow ""and then Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
  5. Choose to notify people:
    • If you want to notify people that you shared a file with them, check the Notify people box. If you notify people, each email address you enter will be included in the email.
    • If you don't want to notify people, uncheck the Notify people box.
  6. Click Share or Send.

Add comments and assign action items in Docs

  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
  2. Click Add comment "".
  3. Enter your comment in the box.
  4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
  5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
  6. Click Comment or Assign.

Note: If a file reaches the maximum number of comments, you can make a copy of the file without copying over any comments.

Add drawings or images to a note
Add drawings or images to notes in Keep or Docs

Add a drawing to a note in Keep

  1. Click the note you want to add a drawing to.
  2. Click More""and thenAdd drawing.
  3. Drag in the drawing area to start drawing.

Add an image to a note in Keep

  1. Open Keep and choose an option:
    • To create a new image note, click New note with image " ".
    • To add an image to an existing note, click the note and then click Add image " ".
  2. Choose an image from your computer.
  3. (Optional) To add more images, a title, or text to your image:
    • Click Add image " ".
    • Click Title and enter your title.
    • Click Take a note and add your text.
  4. Click Close.

Add a drawing or image to a note in Docs

In Docs, from the Insert menu, select Image or Drawing.
Convert handwriting to text in OneNote
Convert handwriting to text in Jamboard
  1. In Jamboard, create or open a jam.
  2. On the toolbar, tap Draw "".
  3. Tap Assistive drawing toolsand thenHandwriting recognition.
Create an Outlook task from OneNote
Create a task from Docs
  1. In Docs, highlight the text that you want to make a task. Right-click and select Copy.
  2. In the sidebar at right, click Tasks Tasks.
  3. Click Add a task.
  4. Click Edit details Edit.
  5. Right-click Enter title and paste the text you copied.
  6. Do any of the following options:
    • Add details about your task.
    • Change the list this task belongs to.
    • Add a due date for your task, which also adds the task to Calendar.
    • Add subtasks.
  7. Click the Back arrow "".
You can access tasks from Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, or Slides.
Categorize notes with tags
Categorize notes with labels in Keep or folders in Drive

Categorize notes with labels in Keep

  1. In Keep, click Menu ""and thenEdit labels.
  2. In the Create new label field, enter a label name and click Done.
  3. On a note, click More ""and thenAdd label.
  4. Select a label.

You can also add color to notes or pin them to the top of Keep. See Get started with Keep.

Categorize notes with folders in Drive

  1. In Drive, navigate to where you want to add the folder.
  2. Click New""and thenFolder.
  3. Name the folder as a category.
  4. Click Create.
  5. In Docs, save notes to a category folder.
Search OneNote
Search Keep or Drive

Search for Keep notes

  1. At the top, click or tap Search.
  2. Enter search words or the label name that you’re looking for.

    Note: (English only) To search for text in photos, such as images of receipts, enter the words that appear in the photo.

  3. (Optional) To narrow your search, click or tap a filter.
  4. When results appear, click or tap a note to open it.

Search for Docs notes in Drive

  1. In the Drive search box, enter your search text.
  2. Choose from a suggestion or press Enter to see all results.
  3. (Optional) To narrow your search, click the Down arrow "" and choose an option. For example, you can narrow the type to documents.
*These instructions are primarily web only.


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.


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