Protect notes with a password in Microsoft OneNote

You can help keep private notes and information safe from prying eyes by protecting any of the sections in your OneNote notebooks with a password. When a section is password-protected, all of its pages are locked until you enter the correct password.

Password-protect a section in your notebook

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, bring the section list into view. To do this, tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button in the upper left once or twice until you see the column that has a + Section command at the bottom.

  2. In the section list, tap and hold the name of the section that you want to protect with a password. Sections are marked with color tabs to the left of their names.

  3. At the bottom of the section list, four icons will appear. Tap the padlock icon on the right, and then tap Protect this Section.

  4. In the Password box, type the password you want to apply.

  5. Confirm the password by typing it into the Verify box, and then tap Done.

    Warning: Choose and type your passwords carefully. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support. Write down your passwords and keep them in a safe place if you think you may not be able to remember them.

Unlock a protected section in your notebook

Before you can view the pages in a protected notebook section, you need to unlock it with the correct password.

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, bring the section list into view. To do this, tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button in the upper left once or twice until you see the column that has a + Section command at the bottom.

  2. Tap the name of the protected section that you want to unlock. Protected sections have a padlock icon next to their name.

  3. In the Password box, enter the correct password for the section, and then tap Unlock.

    Note: If your iPad or iPhone supports Touch ID and you’ve scanned at least one fingerprint, you can turn on the Unlock with Fingerprint option. This lets you unlock this section with Touch ID in the future. Touch ID cannot be used to change or remove an existing password for any protected sections.

Change the password for a protected section

If the password for a protected section in your notebook is no longer secure (for example, you realize that someone has watched you type the password), you can easily change it to something else and keep the notes in that section protected.

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, bring the section list into view. To do this, tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button in the upper left once or twice until you see the column that has a + Section command at the bottom.

  2. If the protected section whose password you want to change is currently locked, first unlock it, and then return to the section list to tap and hold the protected section’s name.

  3. At the bottom of the section list, four icons will appear. Tap the padlock icon on the right, and then tap Change Password.

  4. Type the current password into the Old password box.

  5. Type the new password that you want to use from now on into the New password box.

  6. Confirm the new password by typing it into the Verify box, and then tap Change.

    Warning: Choose and type your passwords carefully. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support. Write down your passwords and keep them in a safe place if you think you may not be able to remember them.

Remove the password from a protected section

If you no longer need to keep a particular notebook section protected, you can remove its password.

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, bring the section list into view. To do this, tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button in the upper left once or twice until you see the column that has a + Section command at the bottom.

  2. If the protected section whose password you want to remove is currently locked, first unlock it, and then return to the section list to tap and hold the protected section’s name.

  3. At the bottom of the section list, four icons will appear. Tap the padlock icon on the right, and then tap Remove Password.

  4. Type the current password into the Password box, and then click Remove.

Some important notes about passwords

  • Passwords can be applied to any number of individual notebook sections, but not to entire notebooks at once.

  • Passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the Caps Lock key is off before you enter a password.

  • OneNote uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure password-protected notebook sections. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support. Take care when applying or changing passwords. Write down your passwords and keep them in a safe place if you think you may not be able to remember them.

  • Notes on pages in password-protected sections are not included in notebook searches. To include notes within any protected section in a search, first unlock that section.

  • To keep your notes secure, OneNote automatically locks password-protected sections after a few minutes of inactivity.

  • Although password protection improves the security of your personal information by making it harder for other people to read your notes without your permission, it is not a foolproof safeguard. Someone with physical access to your iPad or iPhone might still be able to figure out how to access your information. For this reason, we recommend that you avoid keeping extremely sensitive personal information in OneNote (for example, Social Security numbers or access codes to financial accounts).

  • If you’re using OneNote on a compatible iPad or iPhone, you can use Apple’s Touch ID security to unlock password-protected notebook sections with your fingerprint. However, before enabling Touch ID for password-protected sections in OneNote, be aware that anyone who has been granted Touch ID access to your iPad or iPhone will be able to unlock your notes without a separate password. To delete any section passwords saved by Touch ID, tap Settings on your iPad or iPhone, scroll down and tap OneNote in the list of apps, tap Reset OneNote, and then tap Delete Login Credentials. Quit and restart OneNote for the changes to take effect.

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