OneNote: History Tab and Restoring Page Versions

In OneDrive Essentials training, we learn all about restoring old versions of documents stored in the cloud. Did you know you have the same ability with your OneNote Notebooks? And the good news is, it is remarkably simple. For that matter, you also have a variety of additional features available to you that involve the history features in your notebooks. Let’s take a look.

A Note on OneNote Applications

There are many types of OneNote Applications in the mix: phone applications, tablet applications, Windows Store applications, Mac applications, and so on… The application I am referring to for this Byte is the OneNote Desktop Application for PC.

This does not mean these history features are not available in other apps, but the Desktop Application is by far the most versatile way to access OneNote notebooks, and is still the way I would recommend accessing your notebooks primarily.

History Tab

Just a heads up that we will be hanging out in the History tab in the desktop PC application of OneNote for all of the features described below.History Tab

Restoring Page Versions

One of the most exciting abilities in the History tab is the Page Versions feature. Just like your OneDrive documents, by default OneNote is keeping track of different versions of each page in your notebook.

  1.  Go to the History tab, History group and select the dropdown for Page Versions.History Tab, Page Versions
  2. Select Page VersionsPage Versions Dropdown Menu
  3. Notice on the right side, old page versions will appear shaded in grey. Select one to take a closer look.Page Versions Side Menu
  4. To restore a page version, or see more options, click on the gold bar that appears at the top of the scren.

Restore bar

There are a couple more options worth mentioning in the dropdown for Page Versions, including the ability to:

  • Delete all versions in a section, group or notebook
  • Disable history for this notebook (not recommended).

Page Versions Dropdown Menu

Recent Edits

Relatedly, you can search by recent edits made to a notebook. This can be especially helpful with notebooks you are sharing with others.

  1.  In the History tab, Authors group, select the Recent Edits dropdown.

Recent Edits Dropdown menu

2. Select a time range to view.

3. Search results will appear on the right side of the screen, with edited pages highlighted in yellow.

History Search

Find by Author

Here is another great tool to keep you organized if you are sharing your notebook: the ability to search by author.

1. Go to the History tab, Authors group and select Find by Author.

Find by Author button2. On the right, you can refine your search by a specific author.

Search results by author


I hope you find these History tricks useful for your OneNote notebooks! If you find a handy use for these features, or have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit:

  • Courtney Lockhart

Courntey Lockhart

  • Susan McCoy

Susan McCoy

  • Kristen Powell
  • John Hammer
  • Trisha Wenrich

Microsoft Office 365 PowerUp! Sessions

New Session for WSU Faculty and Staff

Microsoft Office 365 at WSU will feature biannual updates, so you will start seeing new buttons and features appear in your ribbon periodically (perhaps you have noticed a few already). So, we are testing out something new…

Microsoft PowerUp!

  • The sessions will be called Microsoft PowerUp!
  • PowerUp is intended to showcase new features in 365, and will contain new information not covered in previous Microsoft Office sessions.
  • The sessions will be quick. These are demos, not full training sessions, so you can plan for about an hour.
  • Two January sessions will be offered: January 8th and 15th.  
  • Sessions are listed in myTraining, so sign up now and we will save you a spot and a free guide!


Microsoft Office: Color Themes and Custom Color Palettes

Working with color themes in Microsoft Office can open up a whole world of possibilities for customizing your documents. Most people don’t realize how much they are already interacting with themes in Office, or how much control they can have with just a couple clicks. Let’s check it out. But first, a special thank you to Sheree for having some excellent color palette questions in an Excel Essentials session a couple weeks ago and inspiring this Byte.

Exercise File

You can follow along on one of your existing documents, or if you would like a starting place, here is a Word document you can start with:

Color Palette Exercise

This is a Word document with a few visual elements that incorporate theme colors. These are all things that will be affected by altering the color theme.

Themes and Color Palettes

What does it mean to apply a color theme? In most of your Office programs, you are already using a color theme, whether you realize it or not. The default is the Office color theme. You see your theme colors in everything from the color options for your fonts, to your default headers, to tables and charts… and more.

In the test file you downloaded, you are seeing it in the headers, the chart, the icons and the table…

One of the easiest ways to check your current palette is to visit the Home tab, Font group, and click on the dropdwon arrow next to the Font Color.

Notice how there are Theme colors, and Standard Colors. The Theme colors display your current color palette. There are gradations underneath each main theme color…. lighter and darker versions of each of the theme colors to create contrast.

Change the Color Theme

Changing your color theme is simple!

1. Go to the Design tab, Document Formatting group. (By the way, this is also where you can go to change your default font settings for the document).

2. Select the Colors dropdown to see a full list of themes. Hover your mouse over each color palette to see a preview.

3. Select a color theme by clicking on it.

Because theme colors are utilized in so many ways in this document, we really see a change in appearance!

Custom Color Palettes

If you are artistically inclined, you might be interested in creating your own custom color themes.

1. In the Design tab, Document Formatting group, click on the Colors dropdown again, but instead of selecting a predefined color set, select Customize Colors…

2. Click on the dropdown beside any of the accent colors to make an alteration. Typically Accent 1 is the color you will see the most in a document.

3. You have the ability to select colors from a color wheel, or select More Colors to enter an exact RGB color.

4. When you are finished, name the color palette and click Save.

5. The new color set will appear in a new section at the top of the Colors dropdown called Custom.

You will be able to access this color palette anytime you create a new document on this computer.

Accessing Custom Color Themes in other Microsoft Programs

Once you have created a color theme that you like, you may want to access it in other programs. Microsoft knows this, so has made them accessible to you in many of your Office programs. They are in slightly different locations though, so let’s take a look.


In PowerPoint, you often see color themes even more prominently than in Word. Here is one popular theme called Berlin, that features a red and yellow color set.

1. In PowerPoint, visit the Design tab, Variants group.

2. Select the dropdown arrow in the lower right:

3. Here is where you will see your color theme options, plus the new custom color you just created in Word. Neat!

This definitely changes the look of this document…


In Excel, Color themes affect features like tables, charts, shapes, and fonts. The default in Excel is the Office color set as well. These colors should look familiar:

1. In Excel, visit the Page Layout tab, Themes group.

2. Select the Colors dropdown.

3. Here is your custom color theme again… no need to reinvent the wheel.


Outlook? Did you read that right? Yep! Outlook also has the same themes and color sets you know and love from your other Office programs.

1. Open up a new email.

2. Visit the Options tab, Themes group.

3. Click on the Colors dropdown, and there you are…


What do you think? Do you think you will utilize custom color themes in your Office documents? By the way, if you create a cool WSU themed color theme, I would love it if you would share it with me!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit:

Madelyne Toney

Linda Claypool

Susan Johnson

Karen Wilson

Jaime Scherer

Jessica Casper

Cara Tucker

Linda Young (not pictured)