How to export OneNote to PDF while preserving clickable hyperlinks

It’s not often I need to “print” OneNote. However, today I had a section I wanted to convert to a PDF document and printing is the way to go in OneNote for Windows 10 (the version that comes pre-installed on Windows 10 machines). I found, however, that the file created through this method didn’t maintain its links (links weren’t clickable in PDF).

After trying Adobe, SnagIt, and Microsoft PDF print abilities to no avail (using both OneNote versions – Windows 10 and desktop/2016), I found success using OneNote (desktop) > File > Export > PDF. Detailed instructions are at the bottom of this post.

Learn more about the difference between the two OneNote versions here.

Thankfully, OneNote (desktop aka 2016) allows us to “Export” notebooks, sections, or pages to PDF. We can print to PDF as well, but using “Export” specifically is the key here to maintain the clickable links. OneNote for Windows 10 doesn’t currently have a similar export ability.

If you don’t have OneNote (aka 2016) already installed, you can still download it here. Once you have it, proceed with the following steps to export your OneNote notebook, section, or page to PDF with clickable hyperlinks:

1. To open a new notebook, select File > Open. You may need to switch account if not seeing your cloud notebooks right away.

Click to enlarge

2. Once your notebook is opened and you’ve opened the specific content you wish to print, click File (upper left).

3. Choose Export > Content Scope (page/section/notebook) > PDF > Export as shown in the following screenshot.

Click to enlarge

4. Choose a location and filename, then click Save.

Click to enlarge

Now check the resulting PDF and you’ll find your OneNote notebook content with clickable hyperlinks in tact.

Bonus tip: One small thing to note is that OneNote for Windows 10 has a nice feature where you can print a section group. OneNote (desktop) does not – it’s only exportable by page, section, or the entire Notebook. So if you don’t need clickable links in the resulting PDF, you may wish to choose OneNote for Windows 10 for your “Print to PDF” needs to simplify printing several sections at once from the same section group.

4 Replies to “How to export OneNote to PDF while preserving clickable hyperlinks”

  1. In One Note for Windows 10, PDF created by export, not print, generates the links sufficiently. However, the image quality goes horribly bad.

  2. I have found a solution (using ON Office 16) to get my hyperlinks to work. When creating the link in OneNote I add the link as normal to an existing page within the Notebook, then I Edit the link and change the path at the end of the address property to exclude the full desktop path after the =. This ensures the pdf is only looking for a local page within the document, not on a desktop or external server somewhere.

  3. I’m working with OneNote (Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016), yet the above procedure doesn’t work. The hyperlinks stop working in the exported .pdf file. This is unfortunate, as I’d like to share my OneNote pages with people who don’t have OneNote.

    1. Hi Josef – I’ve just tested it successfully using OneNote (Microsoft 365 desktop edition, not Win10) and I wrote this post earlier this year using 2016 so I’m unsure without more information why it’s not working for you.

      You could try this, however. Instead of Export, try File > Send and choose PDF as type and see if the resulting page’s hyperlinks are clickable.

      I’m also curious if the links are working for you prior to export (still in OneNote), and if you’ve tried different PDF viewers to see if that’s the issue.

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