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.

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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.

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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.

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