Save web pages to OneNote by printing to OneNote printer

There are several ways to add web pages to Microsoft OneNote To save them to read later or to store them for reference. One method you may not have thought of is to print to OneNote.

Print to OneNote? Yes, when you install the OneNote app from the Microsoft Store in Windows 10, it adds itself as a sort of virtual printer and when printing web pages it can be selected for the output. Instead of pages being sent to a physical printer connected to the PC or on a network, they are saved as a note in a OneNote notebook.

You can, in fact, print anything to a OneNote note, but here I will look at saving web pages.

It might seem a strange thing to do, printing to OneNote, but it is sometimes actually very useful to have complete web pages stored as notes. They can be accessed on the PC at a later date and because OneNote syncs across computers and devices, saved pages can be accessed on the iPhone or Android phone in the OneNote app.

Storing web pages in OneNote means you can store a snapshot of a web page at a particular point in time, which could be useful for a page that might change in the future.

Before starting, make sure you have the OneNote app from the Microsoft Store. I will be using Chrome browser, but the new Edge browser works just the same. The print panels have a different layout, but the same features are present.

1 Print a web page

Printing a web page in Chrome browser

Whether you are using Chrome or Edge, click the three dots in the top right corner of the browser to open the menu and then select Print. A quick way to print is to press Ctrl+P when viewing a web page. The print panel opens so you can select the printer and other output settings.

2 Change the printer

Select a printer when printing a web page Chrome

Click the Destination at the top and a list of printers and other options appears. You could print the web page as a PDF file using the Microsoft Print to PDF or Save as PDF menu options and then add the PDF to a OneNote note. However, we will print to OneNote instead. If it is not on the menu, click See more…

3 Choose OneNote printer

Select a printer when printing a web page Chrome

It might seem a bit odd, but OneNote is listed as a printer and it even has a printer icon. It is a sort of virtual printer, a bit like the print to PDF functions. Select it as the printer.

4 Set the print options

Print dialog when printing from Chrome

Returning to the Print pane, OneNote is now selected as the destination and you can configure the other print options. For example, Portrait produces a narrow note and landscape produces a wider one. Click the Print button at the bottom when you are happy with the settings.

5 Where to save web pages in OneNote

Print to OneNote from Chrome browser

The Windows 10 OneNote app automatically opens and asks you where to save the printout. The last note you looked at and the last section you looked at are listed. I am going to save to QuickNotes, but you could create a separate section in OneNote for notes created from web pages. Clicking the notebook at the bottom enables you to browse the sections and choose where to save.

6 Web pages in OneNote

A web page printed to OneNote from Chrome browser

Here is the web page stored in a OneNote note. It is as it appears on the web and it includes text, images, even adverts. It is an exact copy as you would expect a printout to be. Any number of web pages can be stored in this way.

7 Web pages are images

Right click menu options on a web page printed to OneNote

How are these web pages stored? It seems like each sheet of paper as it would appear from the printer is saved as an image in OneNote. Right click a saved web page page and there are image functions like rotate, cut, copy, paste, save as to save the image to disk and so on.

Click a page and handles (little boxes) appear at the corners and on the sides. Click and drag them to resize the page, just as you would an image.

8 Save editable text from web pages

We have seen how to save a complete web page exactly as it appears in a browser. It looks great, but what if you want to copy or edit the text? A different technique is used for this.

Microsoft OneNote copy and paste settings

Click the three dots in the top right corner of the OneNote app and select Settings on the menu. In the settings panel that opens on the right, scroll all the way down to the bottom and under Paste Options, select Keep Text Only. This means that plain text is pasted into OneNote, which is usually best, but there is an option to Keep Source Formatting if you want the fonts and styles used in the text on the web page.

Open a web page in any browser and press Ctrl+A to select everything on the page, or click and drag over just the text you want to copy. Then press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard.

Microsoft OneNote showing text pasted from a web page

Switch to the OneNote app and create a new note. Click in it and press Ctrl+V to paste the text. Sometimes it copies a bit too much, like text from adverts, but it is easily selected and deleted. You now have the text from the web page and can edit it, save it, or copy it elsewhere.