Show HN: OneWayOut – OneNote Export to Emacs Org Mode, Markdown, and More

Show HN: OneWayOut – OneNote Export to Emacs Org Mode, Markdown, and More

Transform all your OneNote notes into Emacs Org Mode, or any other Pandoc-supported Markdown, using the OneNote Object Model and Pandoc. Say farewell to OneNote or back up your notes, in plain text tailored to you.

OneWayOut is built on the foundation of ConvertOneNote2Markdown, by

Table of Contents






Known Issues


OneWayOut exports OneNote pages to Word using the OneNote Object Model, and uses Pandoc to convert them to your markup format of choice. Markup Packs are then used to customize the result. Markup Packs are markup-format-specific functions containing search and replace queries executed at runtime against the text output by Pandoc to tailor it to our desires. If search and replace doesn’t cut it, you can add a postprocessing scriptblock to increase your freedom. Markup Packs give you fine-grained control over of all elements of your notes, including

  • Headers
  • Metadata (eg: note creation date)
  • Other markup elements such as horizontal lines, custom indentations and formatting, and whatever else you might be able to conjure up with the text in your notes

OneWayOut currently ships Markup Packs for Emacs Org Mode (OrgPack1) and Markdown (MarkDownPack1).

What is being exported?

OneWayOut will export all your local OneNote notebooks, meaning that to export a notebook of yours, you will need to download it to OneNote >= 2016* with the “Add Notebook” option.

Customizing output and adding support for further export formats

As long as Pandoc supports your desired output format, all OneWayOut needs to shine is a Markup Pack to tailor the output to your tastes. has the pointers you need to write your own Markup Packs, add support for other Markup formats, and more.


OneNote test note along Org Mode and Markdown exports

As you can see above, the Markup Packs shipping for Org Mode and Markdown will provide you with

  • Note creation metadata (in the case of Org Mode, in its standard date format)
  • Correctly rendered lists and nested lists, numbered and unnumbered
  • Correctly rendered indented paragraphs
  • All while cleaning the output of artifacts, excess newlines, etc

Some notes:

  • As expected, elaborate formatting doesn’t survive export
  • Underscored text is annotated as such in Markdown, but does not render correctly (at least in VSCode)
  • Images resized within OneNote are rendered with an annotation to that effect. This may cause them not to render correctly (tested on VSCode)



  1. Clone this repository
  2. Start the OneNote desktop application
  3. Rename config.example.ps1 to config.ps1 and configure options in config.ps1 to your liking.
  4. Open a PowerShell terminal at the directory containing the script and run it.
    • .owo.ps1
  5. Sit back and wait until the process completes. To stop the process at any time, press Ctrl+C.
  6. While running the conversion OneNote will be unusable, as the Object Model might be interrupted if OneNote is used through the conversion process.


All of the following are configured from config.ps1 (assuming you have renamed config example.ps1 to that).

  • Choose to do a dry run or run the actual conversion.
  • Create a folder structure for your Notebooks and Sections
    • Process pages that are in sections at the Notebook, Section Group and all Nested Section Group levels
  • Choose between converting a specific notebook or all notebooks
  • Choose between creating subfolders for subpages (e.g. or appending prefixes (e.g.
  • Specify a value between 32 and 255 as the maximum length of markdown file names, and their folder names (only when using subfolders for subpages (e.g. A lower value can help avoid hitting file and folder name limits of 255 bytes on file systems. A higher value preserves a longer page title. If using page prefixes (e.g., it is recommended to use a value of 100 or greater.
  • Choose between putting all media (images, attachments) in a central /media folder for each notebook, or in a separate /media folder in each folder of the hierarchy
    • Symbols in media file names removed for link compatibility
    • Updates media references in the resulting .md files, generating relative references to the media files within the markdown document
  • Choose between discarding or keeping intermediate Word files. Intermediate Word files are stored in a central notebook folder.
  • Choose between converting from existing .docx (90% faster) and creating new ones – useful if just want to test differences in the various processing options without generating new .docx each time
  • Choose between naming .docx files using page ID and last modified epoch date e.g. {somelongid}-1234567890.docx or hierarchy e.g. -
  • Input the Pandoc call, including conversion format and any extensions, defaulting to Pandoc Markdown format which strips most HTML from tables and using pipe tables. See more details on these options here. Default configurations are provided in config example.ps1. The following formats are accepted, among others:
    • org (Emacs Org Mode)
    • markdown (Pandoc’s Markdown)
    • commonmark (CommonMark Markdown)
    • gfm (GitHub-Flavored Markdown), or the deprecated and less accurate markdown_github; use markdown_github only if you need extensions not supported in gfm.
    • markdown_mmd (MultiMarkdown)
    • markdown_phpextra (PHP Markdown Extra)
    • markdown_strict (original unextended Markdown)
  • Choose whether to use a default Markup Pack, a specific one, or none if you want to remove all post-processing (useful for debugging purposes).
  • Choose whether to include a page timestamp and separator at top of the page.
  • Choose whether to remove double spaces between numbered and unnumbered lists, excess whitespace after list markers, non-breaking spaces from blank lines, and > after bullet lists, created by Pandoc
  • Choose whether to remove escape symbol that are created when converting with Pandoc
  • Choose whether to use Line Feed (LF) or Carriage Return + Line Feed (CRLF) for new lines
  • Choose whether to include a .pdf export alongside the .md file. .md does not preserve InkDrawing (i.e. overlayed drawings, highlights, pen marks) absolute positions within a page, but a .pdf export is a complete page snapshot that preserves InkDrawing absolute positions within a page.


  1. You may want to consider using VS Code and its embedded Powershell terminal, as this allows you to edit and run your configuration and check conversion results. To make things easier, consider setting $notesdestpath in config.ps1 to a notes directory in the project while adjusting the settings to your preference.
  2. If you aren’t actively editing your pages in OneNote, it is highly recommended that you don’t delete the intermediate Word docs, as their generation takes a large part of runtime. They are stored in their own folder, out of the way. You can then quickly re-run the script with different parameters until you find what you like.
  3. If you happen to collapse paragraphs in OneNote, consider installing Onetastic and the attached macro, which will automatically expand any collapsed paragraphs in the notebook. They won’t be exported otherwise.
    • To install the macro, click the New Macro Button within the Onetastic Toolbar and then select File -> Import and select the .xml macro included in the release.
    • Run the macro for each Notebook that is open
  4. Unlock all password-protected sections before continuing, the Object Model will not have access to them otherwise

Known Issues

  1. Inline image paths are relative. In some editors, this can cause the images to not render, even if the links are clickable (tested on VSCode).
  2. If you collection is rather large, your computer may run out of memory before finishing the process. It is very highly recommended that you save the Word files produced so you can start back up with minimal loss of time. In case this becomes a serious problem and you cannot easily continue, consider exporting your collection notebook by notebook (check your config.ps1).

Furthermore, as reported in ConvertOneNote2Markdown:

  1. You should start by ‘flattening’ all InkDrawing (i.e. pen/hand written elements) in your onennote pages. Because OneNote does not have this function you will have to take screenshots of your pages with pen/hand written notes and paste the resulting image and then remove the scriblings. If you are a heavy ‘pen’ user this is a very cumbersome.
    • Alternatively, if you are converting a notebook only for reading sake, and want to preserve all of your notes’ layout, instead of flattening all InkDrawing manually you may prefer to export a .pdf which preserves the full apperance and layout of the original note (including InkDrawing). Simply use the config option $exportPdf = 2 to export a .pdf alongisde the markup file.

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