So, let's go over some of the basic storage details. Let's start with notebooks. They appear along the left edge of your page, in what's called the 'Navigation Bar' (or NavBar for short), as pictured below.

The NavBar can be expanded to see the sections contained within the notebooks. Some people like to keep the NavBar open all the time, however that reduces the amount of real estate you have available to you on your page, so it's really up to you to decide how you like to work with the NavBar.


        Note that in Windows Explorer:

        • Notebooks are regular folders
        • Sections are regular files


A notebook can be local, (meaning it's stored on your own personal computer and available only to you), or it can be shared, (meaning that other people can open the same notebook and add/contribute content at the same time that you are). One of the most compelling uses of notebooks is the ability to share them with others. Here on the OneNote team, for example, we use a shared notebook to discuss our priorities in our weekly team meeting. We all sit around a table in a conference room and, during our meeting, go over items that need to be discussed. At any time any member of the team can add some notes to the notebook and within a few seconds we all see those notes appear on our own screens.

I use this same feature to sync my notes on my laptop to my notes on my home computer. I can add notes to my notebook on my laptop and when I get home they automatically sync up with my notebook at home. I don’t have to do anything special, it just works. Likewise, if I add notes on my notebook at home, boom, it syncs with my laptop so I always have my latest notes with me, wherever I go.

In the picture above, you'll notice the little green synchronize icon next to the notebook. This indicates that the notebook is being shared. The checkmark in the icon indicates that the notebook is up to date with the latest changes. The synchronization takes place automatically, so you don't need to do anything special, other than open/create a notebook outside your default notebook location. If you wish to see the details of the synchronization, you can do so by opening the Shared Notebook Synchronization window. To do this click File -> Sync -> Notebook Sync Status. This allows you to change the online status of a notebook, see the synchronization progress, or check for sync errors.

Sharing a notebook is easy. You can do it one of 2 ways:

    1. If you know beforehand that you want to share the notebook, you can use the Notebook Wizard, (File -> New -> Notebook -> then just follow the prompts), to create your notebook.
    2. If you have already created a local notebook and want to begin sharing it, you can simply change the location of the notebook to a more suitable location, (right-click the notebook -> select Properties -> then choose Change Location -> select the location, and you're done). Now just point the other people to the new location of the notebook.
      • You can also do this via Windows Explorer if you're adventurous enough.


  • The Notebook Wizard will guide you through creating any kind of notebook you desire. When you get to the 'Who will use this notebook?' step you'll be asked where the notebook will reside.
    1. You can select 'I will use it on this computer' to specify a local notebook.
    2. Select 'I will use it on multiple computers' to specify that the notebook will live in a central location that you specify, but will be accessed on 2 or more computers.
    3. Or select 'Multiple people will share the notebook' to specify that the notebook will reside in a shared location, such as a server or a shared folder on your computer.
  • You can specify the location of the default notebook location in OneNote. Generally this is located at C:\Documents and Settings\[your name]\My Documents\OneNote Notebooks. However, to change to a different location, click Tools -> Options -> Save -> select Default Notebook Location -> select the desired folder -> click OK.
  • To close a notebook, right-click the notebook -> Close. While this closes the notebook, it does not delete it. You can always reopen it later by clicking File -> Open -> Notebook.