Microsoft OneNote is one of the best note-taking apps, and for all the right reasons. Although packed with useful features, it lacks one important feature – the ability to annotate images. Wait, you can annotate images in OneNote. Yes, but as soon as you move the image the annotations stay as they are and don’t move with the image as they should.
There is a glaring issue in OneNote where annotations are added as an overlay. They are not part of the image file itself. Therefore, when you move the image, the annotations do not move, which leads to a few tweaks and a tedious note-taking experience.
Here are some solutions to fix this chuckle until Microsoft releases an appropriate update.
1. Use an Extension: Great Screenshot
Why not annotate the image before saving it to OneNote? Awesome Screenshot is a free screenshot extension for all Chromium-based browsers. This means it will work in Chrome, Edge and Brave. You can crop an entire web page, just the visible area of the page, take scrolling screenshots or save images with just a few clicks.
After taking a screenshot, you will see many annotation options in a handy toolbar.
You can crop the image, add arrows and text, blur sensitive parts, highlight important areas, add emojis and a few other shapes, add numbers to represent steps, and much more. There’s also the option to create a video of what’s going on on your screen.
There is support for a few select cloud storage services, but OneDrive is not one of them. For now, you can save the image or web page as a PDF file or image to your desktop or print it. You can easily save it to OneNote later. Would you like to make changes? Awesome Screenshot also works with local images and you can also take a screenshot of the desktop.
Awesome Screenshot is free to use, but a subscription is required to connect to cloud apps like Slack and Dropbox.
2. Save Image In A New Note and Annotate
Why do you need to move the image after annotating it in OneNote? Probably because you want to rearrange other text or elements inside a container. You can avoid this entirely by saving the image in a separate note and linking to it from the original.
Right-click the note with the caption image and select Copy Link To Page. Select the text you want to link and press Ctrl+K (Command+K on Mac) to paste the link.
You no longer have to move the picture and mess up the descriptions. While this isn’t an ideal solution and other note-taking apps like Evernote handle it much better, it can still work. Especially if you have a dual monitor setup.
3. Save Image In Same Note and Annotate
It only takes a second to click the link for this new note with the caption image in OneNote. But visual and creative people will not appreciate it. They want to view the image and the rest of the research material on the same screen, preferably at the same time.
You can add the picture to the same note but to a location or location where you don’t have to move it later; preferably in a corner or above or below the note. This will take some planning. You can then link to the container with the image. That’s one of the many things I love about OneNote. You can type or add anything anywhere you want, instantly creating a container, which you can then navigate or link to on the same or different note.
I have attached the image on the left with the relevant text on the right. Now I can annotate the image and link to it. Right-click the container with the caption image and select Copy Link To Paragraph.
4. Move Annotated Image Later in OneNote
Let’s say you annotate an image and it’s securely stored inside a note in OneNote. For some reason, you need to move that image, but you can’t unless annotations are added before adding the image to the note. As we showed you in point 1 above. If annotations were added using OneNote tools, they would not move with the image.
One way to solve this problem is to take a screenshot of the annotated image and save it to the desktop. You can do this with the Awesome Screenshot extension or any other app. Delete the old image and re-add the new one wherever you want after making the changes.
One Problem, OneNote
Disclosure is the only issue I have with OneNote. Everything else works fine. I recommend using Awesome Screenshot or another annotation tool for images. After adding the original image to OneNote, do not delete it. Save it to a folder named OneNote Annotations. That way, when you need to make further changes to the image, you can do it in the original image and replace it in OneNote instead of using the OneNote annotation tool.
Microsoft Edge used to offer an annotation tool built into their browser, but not anymore. Hopefully Microsoft adds it to the new Edge Chromium browser. OneNote also offers its own Web Clipper browser extension, but you can only highlight text with it. There is no way to highlight or annotate images.
For now, you have the above options for annotating images in OneNote.
Next: If you’re not happy with OneNote or if you tend to work with images and descriptions, try Evernote. Here is an in-depth comparison between OneNote and Evernote.