Batch Exporting MS OneNote 'Pages' (Documents)

MS OneNote is a great app for clipping information from the Web and for other things. However the App only allows export a ‘Page’ (MS term for article, clipping or document) to PDF, one page at a time. Until recently I have not discovered a way to batch export pages. I have even tried 3rd party fully functional trial Mac versions of commercial software that claimed to do this but failed. While solutions exist for Windows, so far none have existed - until now. Upon doing a recent search I found an article that briefly discussed copying and pasting a page into MS Word for Windows, so using this concept I discovered a way to do it on a Mac, for free, and it does not necessary owning a copy of Office or Word. While I suspect you can do this with Word (have not tried it since I abandoned Office years ago) I have been able to successfully do it with LibreOffice, the optionally donation supported Office equivalent. Once more, unlike the OneNote App export, it does proper pageination instead of cutting lines in half. Here is the technique:

  • Open OneNote and Shift-Click to select the ‘Pages’ you wish to export.
  • Either choose ‘Copy’ from the ‘Edit’ menu or use CMD-C to copy selecting to clipboard
  • Launch LibreOffice and open a blank ‘Writer’ document (Blank New Document)
  • Under the ‘Edit’ Menu choose ‘Paste Special’.
  • You will see a dialog box pop up. Make a selection. HTML will provide the most accurate rendition of the ‘Page’ but will be more difficult to edit and take longer to import. RTF works nicely but you will lose graphics. Unformatted will just provide the raw text as a single paragraph. Bitmapped Image is similar to RTF with no graphics. All these formats are editable.
  • After finishing any desired editing, simply Print to PDF each ‘Page’ using the print dialog to select the actual pages related to each article to save them as a PDF document as desired or you can select and copy/paste each article into another blank Writer document and save them in any of the listed desired formats, including Word. You can also select the desired pages and use the LibreOffice ‘Export As’ command under ‘File’ to export desired pages or selection as PDF. By doing this in Writer, proper pagenation will also occur and intermediate blank pages, often seen with OneNote will not occur.

Once you become familiar with LibreOffice you can display its ‘ToolBars’ and Tabs to improve efficiency rather than selecting items from the menus above.