I copied the title text from a pdf document in Preview on Mac OS X. Here is the clipboard content after the copy:

enter image description here

Paste into Microsoft OneNote using

  1. Regular paste (Ctrl-V)
  2. Menu: 'Paste -> Match formatting'
  3. Menu: 'Paste -> Keep Text Only' operations.

Screenshot of paste operation in OneNote:

enter image description here

The timing is the same for all three (9.5 seconds).

Pasting the same into a Microsoft Word document with the same content as the notebook page takes about 2 seconds with formatting but is almost instantaneous when you paste with 'Keep text only'.

I'm using OneNote for Mac version 16.32 on a Microsoft 365 account with my notebooks synced across multiple devices.

This inefficiency is really impacting my productivity and making OneNote unusable...


Even if I paste plain text ("Controlled diffusions" copied from a text editor) it still takes 9.5 seconds.

I also figured out that the size of the Notebook is what is causing the problem. If I paste into an empty notebook it is fast.

Here is the CPU level during the paste operation:

enter image description here

  • That does not seem unreasonable. You paste into a document keeping format and it must insert and re-write the page. I usually wait a bit when pasting large amounts into One Note (Windows not MAC) – John Jan 3 at 20:11
  • It doesn't seem unreasonable to wait 9.5 seconds pasting 2 words into a document?!! I think most casual users would beg to differ. – workless Jan 3 at 20:15
  • What do you mean with "large page" (much data - how much or large attachments or what)? Did you encounter heavy CPU or disk activity in the 9.5 sec. delay? – Robert Jan 3 at 20:16
  • Unfortunately OneNote does not seem to provide any means of quantifying that (size, pages, # of words etc) but I copy-pasted the entire page into Word and found that it is 52 pages, with 6450 words. Also includes images and lots of equations. So yes, it is long. – workless Jan 3 at 20:19

I had a chat with Microsoft support and they conceded that

The size of the notebook is most likely what is causing the slowdown... If you have a lot of stuff that isn't just plain text, like equations or pictures, that will increase the size dramatically, which could contribute.

So basically, I think OneNote is only designed to handle short pages of notes with minimal equations/formatting.

If anyone knows more powerful, professional note-taking applications out there, please let me know!

| improve this answer | |
  • I think your expectations may be a bit problematic. Many even professional apps may not perform well under very high data volumes. Imagine embedding 10 favorite movies as videos into 10 slides of PowerPoint presentation and then complaining it is slow... In case of OneNote, you may avoid embedding quantities of images or files into notes and instead, in your notes store file system locations to these files (as file links). If it is not easily possible, then keep such bulk-data agenda in several separate OneNote notebooks. And split them by project and/or year. – miroxlav Mar 2 at 13:50
  • Also see the following SuperUser Q/A where user did their own research. – miroxlav Mar 2 at 16:29

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