When I first got my laptop, I used black text/ink color on the normal white OneNote background. I "personalized" Windows 7's Window Background to a dark grey color and now the one note inked items are displaying as black on dark grey (thought they print to black on a white background):


How can I either:

  1. Change all of the Ink from black to the "automatic" color (which is set as a light grey)? Either per page, or in the whole notebook.
  2. Select a pen that will be the "automatic" color? As far as I can tell, there are only hard-coded colors:


Note: By automatic color, I mean, the color that when I print, will display as black text on a white background:



Because your handwritten notes are "digital ink" they will stay the hard-coded color that you wrote them. "Marks on a page" (which is how M$ describes handwriting) is considered to be a kind of drawing, which has a fixed, hard-coded color, as it is NOT a font.

You can convert them using the built-in handwriting recognition to font(ed) text (see bottom of this post) in which case you can apply "automatic" coloring, but then your handwritten notes are stuck as font text. If you are sure that you want to keep your handwritten notes as handwriting, the best you can do is to change their color to another hard coded color.

(Prior to Onenote 2010, all ink was considered drawings unless you were using an actual "tablet" PC)

In regard to changing the color of your handwriting in Onenote 2010, this is not a terribly difficult thing to do, but must be done separately on each page. For your reference, Onenote treats "Digital Ink" differently depending on whether it is considered Handwriting or Drawings.

In Onenote, you CAN change the color of TEXT (fonts) and DRAWINGS, but you CANNOT change the color of "Handwriting" without converting it to TEXT or Drawing first. You can of course convert Drawings back to Handwriting after....

Please take a look at the example below: enter image description here

It looks like a hand written note, and it was done with the pen (With a quick color change), but due to the way that onenote recognizes text, anything that isn't immediately recognizable as Handwriting is treated as a Drawing:

enter image description here

As you can see above, click-drag selecting the area shows 2 different selection types; a dotted box with handles for the drawing, and a standard onenote text box for the "Handwriting" ink. Interestingly, Onenote thinks that the "S" is actually a drawing!

Onenote treats "Handwriting" ink as text, but unless you convert the "Handwriting" to text or a Drawing, you cannot change the color.

To keep your handwritten notes intact, select all of the ink on the page (CTRL+A) or click and drag to select some of the ink, and choose "Treat selected ink as --> Drawing"

enter image description here

Now you can see that the entier area is treated as a drawing:

enter image description here

And you are free to select individual strokes of the drawing, and change their color with the color and thickness tool on the Drawing toolbar: enter image description here

and then convert it back to Handwriting with a right-click: enter image description here

Voila! You handwritten text has changed color and it is once again recognizable and searchable as text in onenote: enter image description here

Please be aware that you can convert your Handwriting to Text (with a right-click), and then change the color with the font color tool on the Home tab, but you can never change it back to your original handwriting:

enter image description here

...as you can see the handwriting is now text and the font tool can change the color!

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Thanks for the thorough response! When I select all, though, the "Treat Selected Link As" option disappears. It only seems to work if I highlight the handwriting, not with Ctrl-A. I think it might be because of the non-linear way I take notes -- it creates a bunch of overlapping containers on the page... Any suggestions? – rishimaharaj Feb 21 '14 at 5:07
  • Yep, Draw a select box, and/or use CTRL+click to select and unselect multiple containers. I know that it sucks, but M$ believes that we should all be using white backgrounds and go blind young. Still, it is waaaay better than onenote 2003 or 2007. – G Koe Feb 21 '14 at 5:21

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