If you’re a OneNote aficionado, and using Windows 8, you need to know this

By Ron Grattopp ronaldg-001_thumb2_thumb_thumb1_thum….OK, so I’m a die-hard OneNote user – it’s probably more important to my daily productivity than any other app – and from way back I’ve used the Win+S shortcut to get screen clips from web pages and other screen shots that I use in documents (including this blog).  In fact, the Win+S screen clip into OneNote integration was always the show stopper Office demo that I could count on to get an audience reaction and folks always wanted to know “how’d you do that?”; plus I’d say it’s the productivity tip I use the most on a daily basis.  Hopefully it’s a pretty well-known productivity tip now.  So, a few weeks back I got a new Surface Pro and have just updated it with the Windows 8.1 Preview bits in preparation for my next round of LAR partner training.  And that’s where the subject of this post comes in.

I’m doing a new blog series on Windows 8.1 features and as I was getting that ready, I wanted to get a screenshot of the new Search UI.  No problem, I thought, just Win-Q to bring up the Search charm and then do the obligatory Win+S to grab the screenshot.  So I do Win+S and nothing happens.  Well, it turns out one of the changes in Windows 8.1 that I had not heard about is that it’s taken over the Win+S key combo to launch search –- sure Win+Q or just typing on the Start screen still brings it up as well, but now Win+S adds another option, but at the expense of OneNote screen clipping.  Well, I then leveraged Lync (with SharePoint integration) to search for OneNote expertise and lo and behold found a couple of internal aliases that looked promising.  I found out that indeed, Win+S had been taken over by Windows 8.1 search but they also pointed me to their blog which reveals a handy workaround, check it out at: Windows 8.1 Preview and a workaround for your favorite Win+S shortcut keyAs they point out in the blog, the new OneNote shortcut key will be Windows+Shift+S, but this won't be available until later in the year as an update.  Also, as you will find out in their blog post the workaround, no surprise here, is a registry hack that essentially adds a ScreenClippingShortcutKey value (which their example sets for Win+A, but you could research and use a different value if you’d like).  I already like the new Win+A since it’s the very next key to S, simple (2-key combo), and same distance or less from the Windows key, and otherwise normally unused, and of course, I can keep this combo even after the update to Windows 8.1 officially changes the OneNote clipping shortcut to the 3-key version.   If you’re a OneNote aficionado like me, and already on Win8.1, then you’ve probably already ran across this change, but like me perhaps you didn’t think to check out the OneNote team blog and avail yourself of this great workaround.

So now you know, and cheers, as always,

btw, if the title confused you, since the Win-S shortcut still works fine for OneNote in Windows 8, I was anticipating that everyone using Windows 8 will be  updating to Windows 8.1 (and sooner vs later), so this is intended as a heads-up. As I mentioned in the article, for those already on Win8.1 and using OneNote, I’m sure they’ve already run across it but hopefully it might help some of them as well.

Comments (17)
  1. Siegfried Jagott says:

    Hi Ron,

    You seem to feel like me! I don't care for the Windows + S key being search, as you can reach this with a right-screen swipe with your finger. I want my old Windows + S key back for OneNote!!!

    Well, the only current Workaround I found is to use Windows + N, and then press S key. That does the Job…



  2. Elohim says:

    Win+S is useless for Search. You can do this by simply hitting the Win key and then begin typing your search term.

  3. Frostbitten says:

    You can also exactly disable search charm from being shown on Win+S and continue with your old reflexes with Win+S taking screen clips in OneNote.

    Use redistry:


    create there a new String value named "DisabledHotkeys". And set it to the 'Win+characters' you don't need/like. For example to make Win+S to be handled by OneNote and not somewhat useless charm set this value to "S", if you also don't like for some reason Run and Minimize windows commands, set it to "SMR", etc. Then log-off/log-on or restart the PC to apply changes.

    And yes, even updated OneNote handles both Win+S and Win+Shift+S, so above trick still valid.

    1. Mey says:

      Thank you!!!! That’s the only thing that worked!! I’ve tried all the other suggestions, and nothing worked’ just yours! amazing! I’m so happy. Thanks again.

  4. James Manning says:

    If you want to set that registry value, here's a command-line you can use if you don't want to dig through regedit – this sets it to "S" to just disable that one key

    reg.exe add HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v DisabledHotkeys /t REG_SZ /d S /f

  5. Kraken says:

    James Manning, Your solution is clean and works immediately (I was running into issues trying to remap it to Win+A). I never want windows + s to be yet another way to bring up search. Thanks.

    Though, I did toss your post into an HTML translator to make it readable for my run console.

  6. Kraken says:

    reg.exe add HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v DisabledHotkeys /t REG_SZ /d S /f

  7. Bob Hyatt says:

    reg didn’t correct on 8.1 Update. same old Search function on win+s

  8. t0mmyr says:

    reg.exe add HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v DisabledHotkeys /t REG_SZ /d S /f

    worked fine for me on 8.1 latest update. just had to log out and log in for the changes to take effect, thank goodness for my old win+s onenote snipping tool

  9. Bmac says:

    Can somebody explain why Microsoft has eliminated the ability of Windows Search to search through OneNote files. A major disappointment.

  10. Tim says:

    I echo t0mmyr’s comment: "…thank goodness for my old win+s onenote snipping tool"

    reg.exe add HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v DisabledHotkeys /t REG_SZ /d S /f

    Note: If you have already tried the regedit that changes to Win+a, be sure to delete that entry, or Win+s won’t work correctly, with the RUN entry above. LOVE community support for each other, and how we can make these things work. Thank you, James Manning!

  11. Entropy says:

    The solution of Frostbitten worked for me. You need to manually edit the registry.
    1. go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced
    2. right click in an empty space at the right panel and select new –> String Value
    3. give the name DisabledHotkeys
    4. right click on the new key and modify
    5. under value data S
    6. Sign out
    7. Done –> Win+S is disabled for search and works with OneNote

  12. Handstjg says:

    Thank you James Manning works like a charm…

  13. Oren says:

    Thank you! you just saved me a ton of time at work, and indeed win+shift+s works at last. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  14. Elliott1 says:

    Because I think it’s ridiculous that Windows 8 broke the Win+S shortcut for OneNote here’s a registry hack to make Win+S work again with OneNote in Windows 8

    Create a new text file, rename it to something like FixOneNoteShortcut.reg, edit it and copy/paste this:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



  15. Cleveland says:

    Win+Shift+S works for me!!

  16. Glad this posts exists! :) says:

    Very, very glad.

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