How-To Geek

Sync OneNote 2010 to Office Live for Editing Anywhere

Do you enjoy the rich feature set of OneNote but prefer Evernote’s online syncing?  Here’s how you can get the best of both worlds with OneNote 2010 and the free Office Web Apps.

If need to take notes, create outlines, or store random things from your work and life, OneNote is a great tool that’s been part of Office since 2003.  OneNote is one of the least-known applications in the Office suite today, but is now included in all editions of Office 2010 so it’s available to more users than before.  Additionally, anyone with internet access can use the free OneNote Web App in Office Online.  Let’s look at how you can combine these offerings together so you can access your important notes from anywhere and collaborate with colleagues as well.

Getting Started

Office 2010 is designed around integration with the Office Web Apps, and OneNote seems to be the most integrated part.  In fact, when you create a new notebook in OneNote 2010, the default option is to create a Web notebook.


Add a name to the new notebook, and then if you haven’t integrated Office with your Live ID yet, click Sign In.


Enter your Windows Live ID email address and password, and click Ok.


After a few moments, you’ll see the folders from your SkyDrive and Office online account.  Select the folder you want to save the notebook in, and then click Create Notebook.  Select a private folder if you only want to access it yourself, or select a shared folder to share it with your friends or colleagues.


OneNote will now create the new notebook and connect to it online.


After a few moments, the notebook will open in OneNote.  You’ll be prompted to email a link to the notebook to someone, but if you created the notebook just for yourself, click No, Thanks.


Now, everything you enter in this notebook will be automatically synced with your Office Online account so you can access the notes from anywhere.  You can save any information you want in OneNote, and know it’ll always be accessible.  Note that synced notebooks have a globe icon on the notebook, showing that they’re saved online.


Sync Existing Notebooks

You can save an exiting notebook to the web as well.  Open the file menu, click the Share on Web link under the notebook you want to sync.  This will let you save the notebook online as above.


If the notebook was created in an older version of OneNote, you may need to convert it to 2010 format first.  Click the Upgrade button to begin the process.


Click Convert to 2010 in the dialog box that appears, then repeat the steps above to save it online.


OneNote and the Cloud

Once your notebook is synced, you can access it from your Office Online account.  Here you can view or edit your notes directly in your browser, even if you’re on a computer that doesn’t have OneNote installed.  For more information about the OneNote Web App, check out our screenshot tour of the Office Web Apps.


If you’d like to open an online notebook in OneNote 2010, click the Open in OneNote button in the online editor.  Confirm that you want to open the document, and then after a few moments the notebook will download and open in OneNote.


The OneNote Web App allows you to simultaneously with other users, and this works with shared notebooks in OneNote 2010 on your desktop as well.  This is one area OneNote 2010 really shines.  Here we’re editing the same shared OneNote notebook in OneNote 2010 and in the OneNote Web App, each logged in with a different Live ID.  Whether you’re across the room or across the globe, this is a great way to collaborate with colleagues and friends.



OneNote 2010 is a great collaboration tool when combined with the Office Web Apps.  Whether you’re trying to keep up with the random things you find online or organize your notes for a research project, you can feel safe knowing that you’ll always be able to access your notes offline or online.


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Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 07/9/10

Comments (21)

  1. Martin

    This feature is really nice, however there seems to be a size limitation on how big the sections can become. Unfortunateley I cannot find any info about that or how to increase them.

    Do you have any idea about that?

    thanks Martin

  2. Matthew Guay

    @Martin – According to a post at, you can upload OneNote files that are up to 50Mb. That’s pretty big, so you’d have to have lots of notes to hit it. Try checking your file properties to see how large your OneNote files are now. Hope this helps!

  3. Mauricio


    I tried the new sync feature out OneNote. At first I was amazed …the only thing onenote was missing had been incorporated…however there is a thing that really bothers me. Whenever I rename a tab (locally), it gets labeled back to what it was before after syncing. Why is this happening? Almost all of my tabs are being labeled “New Section”. They get renamed back to default every time I personalize them! Please help!

    Best regards,


  4. Perry Smith


    Did you rename a shared notebook? I found that I cannot rename a shared notebook without having the problem you are having. So long as I keep the name of the notebook the same, I can change the sections without issue.


  5. Bernd Walther

    Hello Matthew,

    I’m working with the german version of MS OneNote 2010.

    I tried to upload/syc a preexisting notebook on my computer to OneNote Folder on SkyDrive according to your instructions. But the problem is, that there is no button “share on web or network”. At the described place there is “Personen zu diesem Notizbuch einladen”(invite person to this notbook).

    What can I do?
    Can you help?


  6. Matthew Guay

    @Bernd Walther – Sounds like that should be the same … give it a try, but just put the file in a private folder and it will be saved online just for your own use. Let us know how it goes!

  7. Jeremy


    I have the same problem. I tried all kinds of things and it seems the only thing that works is to create three new sections (leave them blank) and start labeling subsequent sections (4+). The sections after the first three are not overwritten. After that’s done, simply delete the first three sections.

    Great app, great service, annoying bugs.

  8. Ofsa

    I too have the same problem: When locally renaming sections in OneNote 2010 notebooks stored on SkyDrive – the name changes back to the old ones after syncing with the server. The same problem occurs if I rename the sections in the browser web app – as soon as I open the notebook locally the changes revert.

    I’m using Windows XP SP3, IE8.

    Is there a fix to this bug?

  9. gin

    is there a way to do this with onenote 2007? like syncing my computer files from onenote 2007 to my new iphone web app?
    thank you!

  10. Steve

    The only way I have been able to change a section name once the notebook is synced, is to open it in SkyDrive and change the name. Then my local copy will sync to the new name. I have found the whole sync process to be rather flaky at times. Sometimes it works great and other times it doesn’t work well at all. Like tonight for example. I made changes to the copy on my work PC which appeared to sync on the cloud. Tonight I opened the 3rd copy of the notebook on my home PC and it won’t complete the sync process. Not real dependable.

  11. J.M.

    Thanks for the post, much more helpful than Microsoft’s actual help documents!

  12. Dave

    Great app …. frustrating bug when trying to change a section name.

  13. JoAnn

    Recently created a shared workbook in OneNote2010 and synced it to my skydrive account, the problem is that the notebook is labeled with the title shared manual notebook but when it is synced to skydrive it comes up personal as the title. Can you please provide help with this situation? Thank You

  14. Sterling

    I keep getting a “OneNote cannot move the notebook to the specified location” error/dialog box.
    Could it be our proxy? would I be better off trying to sync at home and not work?
    suggestions please!!

  15. UnPlugMe

    Why do I only see my “Unfiled” notes from my existing one note entries. The “Section Group”s show up on my Skydrive but not when I access by WP7 I only see the “Unfiled” folder. Is there a way to correct this? Thank You

  16. roysubs

    if someone could help me, I would appreciate, as this is driving me mad.
    on a new Office 2010 install, OneNote offers to connect to your web notebook on first run (and only on first run!), I selected not to this time and opened my local onenote files.
    but now I want to connect to my online onenote notebook, and I can’t ! I have been trying variations on Open and New, but there is seemingly no way to connect to my online OneNote that I was using for months (and am still connected to on another PC). It seems the only time that I can do this is at first use, and never again (classic Microsoft or what !). if anyone can tell me what I need to do to get access to my online OneNote that would be greatly appreciated. Thank in advance

  17. Mic

    RoySubs – go to SkyDrive, find your OneNote and then Open in OneNote from the web will open it in your local onenote.

  18. Christopher

    I have a problem, my hotmail e-mail got banned because someone used it for spamming and I don’t have sufficiently prove that I am the owner of the account, so they will not reactivate it for me. So I’ve been trying to find a way to change the SkyDrive account linked to my OneNote but I can’t seem to change it to my new e-mail.
    Is there someway to change the old e-mail out with a new e-mail?

  19. Babji Telapadi

    Is it possible for any new notebooks created on skydrive to be automatically imported into OneNote.

  20. Ally Rafter

    I have been using OneNote over a year and no big problem on its syc on SkyDrive. However, this while, I created a new section under the first level, then problem comes.
    1. Every time I syc, it comes out feeback, new section can’t be syc as “network is disconnected or network location is not available”. This is weird, as other sections on first level is syc. What’s the problem exactly?!
    2. OneNote size on PC is 10+ MB; but after syc on SkyDrive, it becomes 30+ MB; Sometimes, the error said, not sufficient permission or hard disk space. Isn’t it the reason?!
    3. I tried to save same OneNote on my laptop, then upload to SkyDrive, then open on PC, all is okay. What’s the main reason of it?!
    4. If I change DropBox for syc, isn’t it okay?! If yes, what’s its network location?! How can I find it out?!
    Many thanks! Ally

  21. marcus

    I have a computer at home & a computer at work both with OneNote. When I create a new notebook on one computer & sync with the cloud it does not show up on the other computer. Should this be so? Do I have to download the notebook from the cloud to the other computer?

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