How to use OneNote as a Task Manager for the iPhone

Written by Amit Agarwal on Jan 20, 2011

onenote iconMicrosoft Office OneNote, the best note taking program for Windows, is now available for your iPhone as well. Like most other iPhone-only apps, this new OneNote app can also be installed on your iPad and the interface looks decent even after the 2x zoom.

OneNote is now cloud aware. You can take notes on your desktop computer and they get synched with your laptop or you may access them from the browser using OneNote’s web app.

[*] The OneNote app is available as a free download on but is currently limited to US users only. If you are outside the US, please read this workaround on how to install US-specific iPhone apps from  international locations.

Maintain To-Do Lists on the iPhone with OneNote

If you are a OneNote user and have been looking for a simple task manager /to-do list app that can sync tasks between your desktop and your mobile phone, look no further.

Here’s how you can setup OneNote notebooks and to-do lists to sync-up with your phone:

Step 1. Go to and sign-up for Office web apps with your Windows Live ID. If you already have an Office Live account, simply sign-in.

Step 2. Open OneNote on your desktop and either create a new notebook for keeping your To-Do lists or simply use an existing notebook. Choose File – > Share – > Web so that you can access that notebook from anywhere on the web.

onenote tasks list

Step 3. Now that our environment is set-up, let’s create a task-list in OneNote. You can go this in two ways.

  • Click that little drop-down near New Page and choose Page Templates – > Planners – > Simple To Do List.
  • Alternatively, just start writing anywhere on the current page and press “Ctrl + 1” to convert it into a task or a to-do item.

Step 4. Next launch the OneNote app on your iPhone /iPad, sign-in with your Windows Live ID and it will download your pending tasks list that you created on the desktop. Here you can add new tasks, edit existing one or mark them as complete.

Once you have made the changes, tap the Settings icon and choose Sync. Within minutes, these changes should be reflected in the OneNote notebook that’s on your desktop.

The first version of OneNote app offers basic features and doesn’t support rich formatting. You may have obviously come across much better task managers for the iPhone but the one big advantage with OneNote is that you don’t need to run any another app on your desktop to sync your tasks with the cloud.

iphone tasks

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