Modifying the Action Center: Note button

The NOTE icon in Action Center opens the Universal OneNote app.

Full disclosure - I love OneNote. I love to organize things - created a recipe book over Thanksgiving, save websites (shopping!), use send to OneNote on emails, use Office Lens to send documents and receipts, Chores lists, Shopping lists, and I save screenshots of that embarrassing photo that my friends never should have posted online etc etc etc. Its pinned to my taskbar and my Start menu on my phone. I prefer the full version but I've been giving the App a test drive.  When I need to pull up a quick shopping list or take notes on the fly - it works great! I love it so much I demo it to strangers. For that, dear strangers, I'm sorry!

So, when I was asked how to change the Note button to open the full version of OneNote, I understood, but hesitated to dis the App version. Its intention was to be quick access to write and access notes. Its does that and syncs with ease to the Quick Notes section in the desktop version.

But I was curious and did some digging.

Can you customize the button?  Yes!* and Yes!**

*This is intended as a fun user customization. Not an enterprise wide admin option. 

**If you get the Windows flights and get updated to the latest beta builds often - Note will reset to default settings every flight.

If you're not getting the flights and decide want to customize Note - here ya go! (disclaimer for regedit: export original keys before changing so you can go back to defaults)

  1. Open regedit, navigate to  HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ActionCenter\Quick Actions\All\SystemSettings_Launcher_Quicknote
  2. Copy the exiting entry (onenote-cmd://quicknote?onOpen=typing) and save that for later if needed
  3. Edit the URI entry
  4. Paste the new entry you want
    1. If you want to open OneNote Web enter: HTTP:// <entry for the notebook you want>  To find that, open OneNote and select File to see the full path or  right click on the section and select "Copy link to Section" and paste it into notepad to see the text of the path - First line

b. If you want to open OneNote 201x Desktop enter: onenote: and the path to the section you want to default to. To get that path right click on the section and select "Copy link to Section" and paste it into notepad to see the text of the path- Second line.


Copy to Path results:

c. If you want to point it to another Universal App you can use the protocol name for the App. 

  • First, let's find the Protocol name. From Start type Default Programs and open the Control Panel option. 
  • Select Associate a file or protocol with a Program. 
  • Scroll to the bottom to see the protocols:

Before entering anything into the URI entry in the registry, test out any of the protocols from Start-> Run.






If you find an option you like, add it to the URI and test. This last option is very much a try and test. Some programs will have commands after the protocol statement that improve how that app opens. This is all custom and not necessarily documented, but if it works with Start->Run is should work for the Note button. One option to dig further may be to use Procmon and see if you can capture the entire command line. 

Again, Can you customize Note? Yes, but this information is "as is" (ie not supported).  If you want the app you cant live without to open via Note button in Action Center - play around with Protocol commands and Procmon.  If you flight often to new builds, save the *.reg key of your custom setting so you can re-enable it after a flight. If you want to go back to defaults use onenote-cmd://quicknote?onOpen=typing in the URI.

Have Fun!


Comments (8)
  1. Michel says:

    Thank you very much, this is useful. So for those like me who prefer to use the desktop OneNote and find it a pity that W10 Action Center can’t easily point to the Quick Notes, there is at least one turnaround:
    – Create a “Quick note” note, typically the first tab in the Quick Notes section
    – Change the Action Center / Note registry key to point to this note.
    This works and refers to a single note (vs the usual behavior, create a new note), but this is not bad after all.

    Is there a way to have the Action center launch either:
    – OneNote /sidenote (this would be the solution for the initial question)
    – Sticky Notes (W10 anniversary update)

    I haven’t found a way to pass a command switch in your solution above, nor found the protocol for the “modern” Sticky Notes.

    Thank you for your attention,

    1. Sticky Notes would be great idea – I have not found the URL command to open that up, nor the side note for OneNote but I will dig into that and see if I can find them!

      1. Deeco says:

        Any luck? Sticky notes or Notepad is much more useful for me, thanks!

        1. We’re looking into more options in future builds!

      2. BryanTan98 says:

        I recently stumbled across your guide while looking for a method to launch Sticky Notes instead of OneNote from the “Note” tile in the Action Center, and I believe I have found a way to do that based on your guide.

        First, we would have to create two new strings, “AppId” and Args”, under the same “SystemSettings_Launcher_QuickNote” key. The “AppId” string would be the UWP App ID, plus an exclamation mark followed by the Application Id under the app’s AppxManifest.xml. For Sticky Notes, “AppId” would look like “Microsoft.MicrosoftStickyNotes_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App”.

        Next, leave the “Args” string empty, and change the “Type” value from “2” to “1”.

        Finally, restart Windows Explorer for the registry changes to apply.

        To summarize, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ActionCenter\Quick Actions\All\SystemSettings_Launcher_QuickNote: First add a new string named “AppId” with the value “Microsoft.MicrosoftStickyNotes_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App”. Then add an empty string named “Args”. Finally, modify the “Type” value to “1”. Restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager to apply the changes.

        Hope someone finds this useful and that Microsoft would consider more customization in Action Center!

        1. I cant speak to the Quick Action team’s plans but I know they have seen the feedback in this area! One area of caution on this article – the changes are ‘as is’ – it is quite possible that the registry keys are updated or changed on each release. Its always good to keep the original registry settings as backup and also a copy of the changes prior to upgrade, just in case. I Wrote this early on in Win10 when there weren’t any option to hide/show Quick actions. Since we can customize that in Settings Apps now, I think its become less of a need.

  2. Lachlan Mc says:

    I was trying this concept for a enterprise wide Win10 2015 LTSB rollout, where the Note tile does not work due to there being no default OneNote modern app. The option #2 (copy link location) is fine for an individual user, but links to a particular notebook (like your * as noted). Instead, I got it to work using OneNote 2010 and the “Side Note” feature.

    I used this thread:
    to create a new “protocol” (as per method #3 above) for a OneNote “sidenote” and I could then associate the “note” tile with this new protocol.

    The sidenote is then saved by default to the users “unsaved notes” section. Works perfectly.

    1. LTSB doesn’t use Modern/UWP apps so I can see it not working by default – I have not tested LTSB myself yet.  

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