Sign up ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can you choose any color for a OneNote 2010 pen or highlighter?

The "More Color And Thickness Options.." dialog gives only a very limited selection of colors, but its the closest thing to what I want. I'm looking for a (16 million) color swatch to choose my color instead of the limited 10-20 options available by default in OneNote 2010.

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Simply No. Those color options are hardcoded into OneNote and cannot be modified or supplemented. This limitation has still been the same since OneNote 2007, and unfortunately it seems Microsoft has done nothing to improve it.

share|improve this answer

Yes, they can be changed. See my powertoy at - it can be changed to work with OneNote 2010.

share|improve this answer
Thanks but I meant the pen? – bobobobo Oct 25 '10 at 1:42
After reading that blog post, i wonder if the pen's color is defined in a similar xml document. – Ape-inago Mar 5 '11 at 21:30

Yes! Right click on any of the pens in the drawing tab that it automatically puts there, and select add gallery to quick access toolbar.

The pen gallery icon shows up in the quick access toolbar (top left). Click the new button, and there is a "more" option at the bottom. From there you can select any color and any of their preset sizes, and that pen will join the list in the regular drawing tab.

share|improve this answer

If you find yourself in situation you really need it at any cost, then there is a chance it might be possible, because e.g. OneNote colors seem to be always from space (red 0~255, green 0~255, blue 0~255) so not only those limited ones. I expect pens to be flexible in similar way, too.

Basic high-level steps for solution are simple (also see static void UpdatePageContent() sample at MSDN:

  1. Programmatically export XML for OneNote page you need to change.

  2. Modify colors directly in XML code of the page.

  3. Programmatically import your XML back to OneNote page definition.

For more details on programmatic access to OneNote, search for OneNote API. For instance, this is a valuable source.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.