Scanning into OneNote


Lide500fI oversee projects being conducted at various contractors and get a lot of one or two page handouts with maps or other information that I want to capture into my OneNote filing system.  Some people just don’t do digital files so I get stuck with paper copies of this information and I need to get it into OneNote where I can refer back to it occasionally and even write ink notes on it.  Yesterday I finally broke down and picked up a cheap scanner to let me do just that and so far my impression is very good.  The scanner is the Canon CanoScan LIDE500F and it is doing exactly what I need it to do and is very easy to use.  It is a USB 2.0 scanner that draws all its power from the USB port so there is no adapter to fool with.  The scanner is a flatbed scanner without an automatic document feeder (ADF), something I don’t need anyway.  The neat thing about the 500F is the ability to use it in the attached upright stand which reduces the desktop space requirement to very little.  It’s a great scanner that can scan to images, direct to the included ScanSoft OCR software or even direct to a multi-page PDF file.  The latter is my preferred method to capture information into OneNote.  It has a double hinged lid that allows copying from magazines or books which is really nice and something I am already finding very useful.  There is a Copy button on the scanner that copies a document directly to my printer turning it into a simple copier.

To capture a page I scan the document to a PDF file and store it in the project directory where I keep all related documents.  I open the PDF file in Adobe and print it to OneNote using the OneNote ImageWriter PowerToy which "prints" the image to a OneNote page.  I can then ink all over the document in OneNote and even forward to others if necessary.  If I have a document for which I don’t need a searchable PDF file then I scan the document in straight from OneNote using the INSERT | PICTURE menu item.  It scans the document in straight into the active cursor position in OneNote and is cool because it creates a thumbnail of the page which can be enlarged with the cursor at any time and is scaled resolutely.  My goal is to go completely paperless as much as possible and especially to have all project information with me on my Tablet PC at all times.  This is working well so far so we’ll see if I can refine the process with experience.  I am interested to hear from readers whatever methodology you use for capturing information via a scanner and using it on your PC so let me hear from you.


C Brown

Yours was the second hit that came up in Google – and was just what I wanted! I have ON 2007 – and when searching w/i ON and on the Microsoft site (which even sent me to a Facebook site calling ON “omnipotent”), came up with gobbledygook. You gave me what I needed. Thanks!!!!!


Frank, I couldn’t answer you before today’s release but the Send to OneNote 2003 utility bundled in the free Education Pack is what I have been using to print PDFs and it works flawlessly for me. All Tablet PC owners should download the Pack for this utility alone.


I don’t think it matters once it’s in OneNote. But, who knows for sure.


Scanning all paper into Onenote is a cool idea. What format should we use though to be safe Onenote will be able to read it? I thought Chris was a bit vague in the info posted on formats.

Frank McPherson

I’ve tried printing PDF files to OneNote, and every time the result has been horrible. The PDF file comes in totally illegible. Am I doing something wrong, or is that as good as it gets?


Perry, I added a couple of sentences to the post that I forgot to include. You can scan directly into OneNote by using the Insert/ Picture menu.

Perry Harris

I have an older version of the scanner, I think it is a CanoScan 80. It too has the scan to PDF. I’ve watched what it does, and basically it scans to a jpeg I believe and then converts that to a PDF. What would be cool would be the ability to skip the PDF step and go straight to OneNote.

I know you can link to different programs, I wonder if this can be done? (I can’t try it right now myself…my scanner is packed in a box as I’m mid move.)


Jon, as a teacher you’d be the perfect candidate. Don’t forget the recent admission by Chris Pratley of OneNote fame who stated that documents scanned in to OneNote now will be searchable in the next version of ON. Powerful, powerful stuff and I must admit a driving force to propel me to get the scanner.


Good idea James,

I’d be interested to hear how this works out for you. I have a Canon Scanner too that has been gathering dust under my desk (it sits ontop of my desktop tower). I have been using a Motion M1200 for about 2 years and was thinking of upgrading at some point but I want to make sure I get the maximum use out of it and try to achieve its full potential, otherwise its just an expensive second monitor. So far I’ve transferred my paper diary to Outlook and I’m looking for new ways to put the tablet to good use. Scanning into OneNote some of the resources and paperwork I use sounds like a good idea, it would certainly reduce the amount of paper I seem to carry around with me.

Perhaps I coudl start a blog – The Paperless Teacher :)

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