How OneNote Solved My Issue Of Getting Snapshots of Webpages and E-mail’s Quickly Into Zotero

Title image-5

Note: Most images can be clicked on to enlarge them. They will open in a new tab.

I posted my blog post “Organizing Genealogy Documents With The Help of Zotero” in “The Organized Genealogist” private Facebook Group. One of the group’s members Carolyn commented on the post. She was intrigued by Zotero but was hesitant to learn another piece of software. She like many genealogists uses Evernote for organizing her research. Many other genealogists use OneNote.

I had never tried Evernote but had used OneNote on a four-month research trip to Europe in 2007. It worked fairly well but I remembered that it felt clucky. After the trip, I never incorporated it into my workflow. I still have those old OneNote notebooks and was looking at ways to extract the information that was still relevant and find a convenient way to store them.

This past weekend I decided to take another look at Evernote and OneNote. Afterall a lot can change in 12 years.

While Zotero is free there is a limit to how much online storage you can use before you need to purchase more. The free online storage is 300 MB. Once you use up the free storage you can still add items to Zotero. But if you want access to anything after that in a remote location or you want those excess items in the library synced to a second device you will need to purchase more storage. The unlimited plan is currently priced at $120 per year. With 1000 items in my library I have used 19.5 MB or 6.5%. I do have less than 5 snapshots of webpages included in my library. Prior to adding those snapshots, my usage was only 4.2%. If I start adding a lot of snapshots my free storage will be used up quickly.

One hundred and twenty dollars a year for unlimited storage is not a lot of money but when you have subscriptions to all the major genealogy sites, a couple of newspaper sites, DNAGedcom, and Office 365 it starts to add up.

The Solution:

Both Evernote and OneNote, allow you to create a link to a page/or paragraph. Would this work?

I did play around with Evernote but eventually settled on using OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016. They are all free but there are some limitations for the free accounts. Evernote’s free account allows you to use 60 MB per month with no total limit. If you don’t have a subscription to Office 365 the free version of OneNote is a total limit of 5 GB.

I have a personal subscription to Office 365 that includes 1 TB of online storage. That’s a lot of storage that I wasn’t using for anything. OneNote for Windows 10 is entirely cloud-based. OneNote 2016 is cloud-based and you can store notebooks locally on your hard drive. One caveat. OneNote 2016 will stop receiving standard support, (no updates or new features) from Microsoft in October 2020. It will receive extended support (security patches) until 2025.

Web Clipping instead of Snapshots

Both Evernote and OneNote have web clipping capabilities. Evernote’s web clipping seems to be a bit better than OneNotes. But for me, there wasn’t enough of a difference to choose Evernote over OneNote. Especially because OneNote is integrated into Office.

There is no doubt that saving snapshots in Zotero eats up storage space.  Even if you subscribed to unlimited storage when you save a snapshot and you click on the link it takes you to a browser page that is an exact duplicate of the original page. While this may be useful sometimes most of the time I just want the article or part of the webpage content.

I could use Snagit or the windows snipping tool to capture what I wanted but they create images that need to be named and stored in a folder on the computer. The web clipping tools work differently inside of Evernote and OneNote. In OneNote, a web clip contains the text. That text can be copied into a note in Zotero for searching inside of Zotero. If I am using the web clipping tool in OneNote and clip a newspaper article OneNote applies OCR to the clip to turn the article into text. This saves me time from having to transcribe that newspaper article to paste into my genealogy software or Zotero.

I wanted to enter my blog posts into Zotero. Especially the ones that contain case studies and proof arguments. I didn’t want to use a snapshot. But I wanted to have a copy of what the post looked like on the web.

The first thing I did was to create a Notebook in OneNote “Genealogy Virtual Clippings” I added several sections. Virtual Obituaries, My Blog Posts, Virtual Articles, and Blog Posts.

My Blog posts

I Opened up Zotero and OneNote at the same time. Zotero was opened up to the collection  I wanted the blog posts to be saved in. OneNote was opened to the section I wanted the clip to appear in.

First I used the Zotero connector to add my blog post to Zotero using Save to Zotero > Save to Zotero (webpage without snapshot). Filled in any blanks in the form that I would need for a citation.

Zotero Blog entry 1
Then I used the OneNote web clipper add on for Google chrome.  Selected Article and then Clip.

Webclip blog 2-4

Here is what my blog posts look like in OneNote.

Webclip blog 2-5

Once the web clip is in OneNote right-click on the page and select Copy link to Paragraph

Webclip blog 2-6

Head back over to Zotero. Right-click on the entry and select Add Attachment > Attach Link to ULI.

Webclip blog 2-7

Paste link in the link box and add a title if desired.

Internet Archive 2a

When you click on this link it will open in a browser window and not in the software on your computer.

Webclip blog 2-8

I really like how this looks both in OneNote on my computer and in the browser and I am using storage in the cloud I am already paying for and was not using.

Getting E-Mail into Zotero My Solution

There is not an easy way to add the content of an e-mail into Zotero. There is an item type for e-mail but there is not a way to link the email to the entry without creating some kind of document (word or a PDF) or to copy and paste the email into a note in Zotero.

I do use Outlook for my e-mail. I store genealogy e-mails in personal folders in Outlook. One feature in Outlook is that you can send an email and/or a conversation to OneNote.

Outlook Ribben

First I created a Notebook in OneNote for Genealogy Correspondence. When you click on the OneNote icon in Outlook a pop-up window opens. In this window, you can choose where you want the e-mail to go.

Outlook PopUp

Make your selections and the email is sent to OneNote. Below is the email in OneNote for Windows 10.


A side note. The icon for OneNote in Outlook is the icon for OneNote 2016. I don’t know if this is because I have both versions on my computer or not. I needed to install OneNote 2016 to open my old notebooks from 2008 and to convert them for use in OneNote for Windows 10. Plus I like the idea of having all my Notebooks on a local drive which is not yet possible in OneNote for Windows 10. You can have both versions open at the same time.

If I want this email in Zotero all I need to do is add the item type E-mail.

Email 1

Once the e-mail is in OneNote all I need to do is right-click on the page and select Copy Link to Paragraph

Link to OneNote

Once I have the link I can link it in Zotero by right-clicking on the entry and selecting Add Attachment > Attach to URI

Email Attach in Zotero

When you click Attach to URI you will get the following popup.

Internet Archive 2a

Paste the link into the Link box and add a title if you choose to.

Email Attach in Zotero 2

When you click on your link in Zotero, the link will open in a browser and not in the software on your computer. Both Evernote and OneNote function the same when you add a link in Zotero.

Email website


I hadn’t used OneNote in 12 years and a lot has changed. For one it doesn’t seem to be as clucky as I remembered. It certainly appears to be a solution to the online storage issue and it does provide solutions to a couple of other items I had not figured out how to handle. There is probably a lot more OneNote can do and I may discover some of them along the way. For now, whenever I am researching on the web both Zotero and OneNote will be open on my computer.

Additional Information

Legacy Family Tree Webinars has several webinars on using both Evernote and OneNote for the genealogist.  There are also Youtube videos. I did watch the webinars at Legacy but did not view the Youtube videos.


8 thoughts on “How OneNote Solved My Issue Of Getting Snapshots of Webpages and E-mail’s Quickly Into Zotero

  1. Hi Ann. I know you’ve already compared the apps and decided not to use Evernote. But I wanted to point out something you mentioned in your blog about e-mails. With EN you can set up an e-mail address and forward any messages directly to EN. It’s a great way to save them. I do that with my genealogy notes. I have a lot of notebooks set up in EN to match ones on my computer. Once forwarded, I can sort the e-mails into those notebooks according to surnames, locations, etc. There’s a wonderful resource book called “How To Use Evernote for Genealogy” by Kerry Scott. I find that EN provides all the functions I need, including web-clipping, which I use several times a day. I do have the premium membership, but now I couldn’t do without it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. agilchrest

      Thank you for the information! I don’t know a lot about Evernote as I only played with it a little bit. I certainly am not recommending to anyone to switch the note-taking program they are using. For me, it came down to the storage I already have that I wasn’t using and all the notebooks I had from 12 years ago.

      I did read that Evernote has a way to transfer OneNote notebooks into their app but the OneNote notebooks I had were too old. I still would have had to get them into a newer version on OneNote and then hope they would transfer correctly.

      I also read that a number of people use both Evernote and OneNote. I am not sure I want to go that route but I do occasionally use two different relationship-based genealogy programs because one is better than the other for a particular feature.


  2. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to quite OneNote! Lots of work to make the transfer. But maybe you could start from NOW with it. Can you save your OneNote entries as text as I can with my Mac TextEdit? If so, it would be easy to just save them then to Evernote. Don’t go through all the hassle of putting them into a newer version of OneNote and then transferring. To be honest, I use my TextEdit app for most writing, then save it into another app (Evernote, Photoshop Elements, etc.). Like today—I’m doing our DAR chapter newsletter. Wrote the text in TE and then copied it into my newsletter template in PSE

    Another thing I like about EN is that you can save articles you’ve saved into “Notes” as a PDF, including text and images.

    I do use a relationship app also—Reunion for Mac. It has far more functions than I’ve used & I confess to not keeping it up-to-date. You can publish from it, make webpages, transfer data directly to, etc. etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. agilchrest

      I will probably play around with Evernote some more using the free version. The biggest factor is the cost for the premium package which I know I would need. Currently, the cost is $7.99 a month which comes to $95.88 per year. My subscription to Office365 with 1 TB of storage is less than $70.00 a year and can be found for as little as $50.00 on sale. I am having a hard time justifying the cost for Evernote. If I was still in the workforce and not a fulltime caregiver for my mom things might be a little different.


    2. agilchrest

      I don’t know if I can save directly from OneNote to PDF. Will have to take a look. I did purchase Kerry Scott’s book How to Use Evernote for Genealogy. I wonder if she plans to update the book? I am sure a lot has changed since she wrote it in 2015.


  3. Well, I don’t have any cloud subscriptions. I do understand about having to juggle pennies—thus Photoshop Elements instead of the full-blown version, which I used to have when I worked. I pay for EN by the year; I think you get a little break on the price that way. Not sure they offer it now or not because I’ve been doing it for so long. Truthfully, I don’t think there have been too many changes since the book was written—at least nothing much except things I don’t use, like social media, chat and sharing. The functions for genealogy use are about the same, I think.

    Since this discussion started on the subject of citations, I want to tell you one more thing I like about EN: When you are doing a web-clipping, it’s so easy to grab the URL also—there is a section at the bottom of your window for “notes.” I always copy the URL & any other pertinent data I might want to put into a citation in that spot.

    Speaking of your mom, I love the heritage pages you did of her letters. I haven’t been back on the aA Facebook page (don’t really use it) for a long time. Have you posted any more there? And I love your heading at the top of your blog. Where did you ever get that wonderful book graphic?

    I can’t believe I’ve actually posted this many times here! That’s about my quote for 6 months!


    1. agilchrest

      I use Photoshop CS6 because I can’t afford the subscription and I don’t want to shell out the money for the current version of Elements. CS6 works on Windows 10 so I am good for now. The cloud subscription I have is what you get with Office365. I struggled with justifying that until they came out with the personal version. I use so many of the Office products and had to upgrade my computer to Windows 10. I was using Windows 7.

      As I have been playing around with OneNote’s clipper I noticed that every time I copy part of a page it automatically adds a line at the end “From [] I do like that aspect.

      I have been trying to put mom’s letters on the blog. I haven’t worked on them in a while. I am trying to decide how many more pages I want to do for the first book.

      I created the book image at the top of the blog. The photograph of the castle is one I took while in Scotland in 2007. This is the tutorial I used to learn the technique.

      If you Google photoshop, book manipulation you will find all kinds of variations. I think there are also some youtube videos.


  4. Pingback: Organizing Genealogy Documents With The Help Of Zotero – Renaissance Ann

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