Yesterday we looked at the two traditional ways of inserting a file into OneNote, including just adding a link to open the file in the original program (Insert File). The other method is Insert Printout. This also places a link to the original file. In addition, it adds a link to open the file as a PDF. As the name suggests, it also prints out a PDF copy of the entire file on the page in the OneNote Notebook. Today we will check out a new and entirely different option, the “first option” that we skipped over in yesterday’s article. Welcome to Day 106 of 365 Ideas for Microsoft 365- embed files in OneNote.
Embed files inside of OneNote
The first option, Upload to OneDrive and insert link, will cause that link to behave the same way that just inserting a link to that type of file will behave, which, in many cases, actually embeds the file. In this example, if you insert a link to a PowerPoint slideshow into OneNote, it embeds the PowerPoint and you can actually click through the entire slideshow right on this page.
Editing Original Files
All three options let you open the file in whatever program it was created in (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) for easy access to use as designed or to edit. This method also allows you to scroll through the entire PowerPoint without taking up more real estate than a single slide.
Updating Printouts in OneNote 2016
I do almost all of my work in the OneNote app, not OneNote 2016, but 2016 has had one significant feature in this topic that the app does not have. When you open the original file and make a change to it, OneNote 2016 allows you to right-click on the link and refresh your printout to reflect those edits. That’s true whether you originally used 2016 or the app to inset the printout. However, if you used 2016 to insert the printout, you have the added benefit that a message will actually pop up in OneNote 2016 telling you your printout is not up to date. Click here to update it. As you can imagine, this is especially useful if you are sharing that file with someone else.
Embed Files for Automatic Updates
However, this advantage is mitigated by choosing “option 1”, which actually embeds the file on the page. Since it is a live embed, (given some time to sync, and you can’t rush these things) it will automatically update the embedded file.
This makes this method the easiest for updating files, because it does so automatically. As an example, in my office I have a colleague that has used OneNote as a way to organize spreadsheets that staff at different schools each complete each pay period. By embedding those spreadsheets, he can use the newer OneNote app and no longer has to manually click to see updates to their spreadsheets. His Notebook pages can now automatically update.
Sharing a PowerPoint in OneDrive.live
I stumbled on one other interesting use when you embed a PowerPoint in OneNote. There’s probably an easier way to do this, but I don’t know what it is. Maybe an astute reader will leave a helpful comment if they know a way.
Once my PowerPoint is embedded in OneNote, if I click in the bottom right corner
I can launch it online on OneDrive.live. This is turn has a share icon with the option to share with a link. (Make sure to uncheck editing permission!) This creates a link where anyone can view your PowerPoint independently. This is handy if you want to share a slideshow with attendees after giving a live presentation.
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