Edge—the new browser in Windows 10—is in its infancy, and has some rough... er... edges. One of them is the "Share to OneNote" functionality, which leaves something to be desired.
When you click the Share charm... icon... button... link... what the heck are these called, now!?!... You are given the choice to save the page to a very limited set of locations. After saving, you may not even be able to find the pages. Very frustrating—both the limitations of the experience and the missing pages.
I know for sure that Microsoft will be improving Edge's integration with OneNote (and with everything else in the cloud), but until then, we've got to address these issues. Here's how you can make Edge work the way any OneNote power user would want it to work, today.
Where does Edge save pages shared to OneNote?
Let's start with the "end" of the story: Where do shared pages end up?
I had shared a lot of pages to OneNote during my early work with Windows 10 insider builds. But I'd never needed to refer to them. I just assumed they would be in OneNote when I needed them. I've had exceptionally good experiences with OneNote, so I just trusted that the pages would be there. Not a safe assumption.
I opened OneNote on my desktop. I'm using OneNote 2016, but the version doesn't matter. What does matter is it is the full-fledged OneNote application, not the browser-based OneNote Online or the metro... modern... universal... "Trusted Windows Store" OneNote app... What the heck do we call those now, anyway?
The pages were not there!
I panicked. I did all kinds of searching using the (normally awesome) OneNote search. No dice. I searched OneDrive in my browser. Nope. Nada. I started to get very worried.
Well it turns out that Edge is not sharing to OneNote the service [where is Jeremy Thake when you need him?], it's sharing somehow to OneNote the metro/modern/universal/Windows Store app. Now you'd think that, regardless, the app would be syncing the pages to the cloud (my notebook is in my OneDrive) so the pages would appear everywhere... but not so.
Whatever the Share charm is doing is INTERNAL ONLY, so pages were getting "stuck" in the universal app. As soon as I opened the universal app (which I never use because I prefer the desktop application), the pages were there. They immediately synced to OneDrive and then appeared everywhere, including in my desktop OneNote application.
That's just cheese ball. Stupid. The "Share"should be sending the page directly to the cloud service, but it's not. But take heart: I don't think this is even close to the final solution Microsoft will be giving us over the coming days and weeks... More details on that, later in this article.
A better OneNote clipping experience with Edge on Windows 10
In searching the 'net for the answer to my initial question, "Where the heck are my pages?", I came across a very interesting thread on Microsoft's forums.
Users were lamenting the fact that the Share charm in Edge doesn't give you a choice of locations, and saves the page as a very simple "link to the page" in OneNote, not as the full, editable page. It's nowhere near as rich as the "Send To OneNote" functionality in Internet Explorer that power users of OneNote adore.
And the OneNote Clipper, which was released/revised recently, only works in IE, not in Edge.
A clever user, big mg, came up with a great workaround to add the OneNote Clipper to Edge. This is not a supported solution but it seems to work and, when you look at what it's doing, it's hard to imagine it would cause any problems other than maybe not saving a page to OneNote. However, it's not supported.
Add the OneNote Clipper to Edge
Here's a summary of the solution that big mg proposed, with some enhancements and details:
- In desktop IE, install the OneNote Clipper from https://www.onenote.com/Clipper/OneNote.
- Be sure it is added to your "Favorites Bar" folder in your favorites.
- For what it's worth, the actual name of the folder if you look on your disk in your profile is "Links".
- Import favorites into Edge
- Click the "..." menu.
- Click Settings.
- Click Import favorites from another browser.
- Select Internet Explorer.
- Click Import.
- Finally, enable the Favorites bar in Edge.
- Click the "..." menu.
- Click Settings.
- Turn on the "Show the Favorites Bar" option.
TIP #1: Add only the OneNote Clipper to Edge without importing all favorites
I had already imported all my favorites and cleaned them up in Edge, and didn't want to re-introduce all my old favorites. So I "emptied out" my favorites folder before performing the procedure listed above.
- Create a temporary folder somewhere.
- Open C:\Users\ yourname \Favorites.
- Copy all items (CTRL+A to select all, CTRL+C to copy).
- Paste (CTRL+V) into your temporary folder.
- Go back to your Favorites folder, delete everything except your Favorites Bar folder.
- Delete the contents of the Favorites Bar folder.
- Perform the steps listed above, and only the new (Clipper) favorite will get added to your Favorites in Edge, because that's the only favorite in IE.
- If you are still using IE and want your favorites back, CUT them all from your temporary folder and PASTE them back into your real Favorites folder.
Voila! It works!
TIP #2 (ADVANCED) [IN PROGRESS]
You can create a favorite yourself. I'm working on the exact process and will document it later, but maybe one of you smart people have the time to polish this up. Basically you should be able to:
- Open your EDGE Favorites Bar folder:
- Create a 'temporary' shortcut.
- Right-click and choose "Create Shortcut".
- For the name, give a friendly name, e.g., "OneNote Clipper".
- Right-click your temporary shortcut and choose Properties.
- Paste in the correct code for the OneNote Clipper, below.
I was able to create this bookmark in IE's Favorite Bar (Links) folder and import it into Edge. If I try to create this in Edge, the new shortcut doesn't actually appear in Edge yet. I don't know if I will see it after a reboot, or whether Edge needs a specific step to "accept" a manually added shortcut. More on that soon—if you have any tips please add them below.
INSIGHT: Why OneNote and Edge integration is less than ideal, for now
What we're dealing with here is a brand new browser. It's simply not finished yet. Microsoft has publicly announced that it will be releasing extensions for Edge very soon here. I believe it's part of the October 6th hardware launch event. I might be wrong about that, but it's soon. At that point, Edge will finally be "open for business" with all the kinds of extensions we see in other browsers.
I'm CERTAIN the OneNote team will at the same time, or very soon thereafter, fully empower Edge-to-OneNote integration. It's clearly on their roadmap—they've telegraphed their intent loud and clear. Edge's collaboration and annotation features scream integration with OneNote, at least at the user experience level if not with the Microsoft engineering teams themselves.
When Edge and OneNote do fully integrate, my guess is it will be lovely . It's going to be a "hero experience" for Edge. You'll be able to pick the location to save pages, etc.
Until then, we have to wait patiently. Windows 10, and Edge, are only 1.5 months old, OneNote 2016 just launched, as did the Office Mobile apps, and OneDrive is getting a major overhaul in the coming days. There are still dots to be connected. It's an exciting time.
I hope this helps! If you have tips or comments on Edge and OneNote integration, please add them below!!