Fix issues when you can't sync OneNote

Sorry you’re having trouble syncing OneNote.

We're continuously releasing product updates that fix issues and improve your syncing experience in OneNote, so it's a good idea to keep your copy of OneNote up-to-date. Product updates are free to download and use. Before you try the troubleshooting suggestions in this article, follow the steps in Install Office updates to install the latest OneNote update.

If you're still experiencing sync problems after updating OneNote, click on the sync issue that best describes your problem, or scroll to the end of this page to report your sync issue to the OneNote product team.

If the notebook that won’t sync is stored on OneDrive or on newer versions of SharePoint, try opening the notebook in OneNote Online (OneNote.com). This can help determine if the problem is caused by the server or by OneNote.

  1. In OneNote, click File > Info.

  2. Right-click the URL shown below the name of the affected notebook, and click Copy.

  3. In your web browser, click inside the address box, and press Ctrl+V to paste the copied URL.

  4. Press Enter to load the notebook in OneNote Online.

If you're able to successfully open the notebook in OneNote Online and the changes appear, the problem may be caused by the desktop version of OneNote. Closing and re-opening the notebook usually clears and successfully resets the connection.

  1. In OneNote, click File > Info.

  2. Next to the name of the affected notebook, click Settings, and then click Close.

  3. Switch back to the notebook in OneNote Online in your browser, and then click Open in OneNote on the ribbon.

Important: Depending on the notebook size and type of Internet connection you're using, it may take a while to sync all the notebook content over to the desktop version of OneNote.

If you're unable to open and view the notebook in OneNote Online, the source of the sync problem is likely with your server. If your notebook is stored on OneDrive, check the Microsoft Services status page for any known interruptions or outages. If your notebook is stored on SharePoint or Office 365, you’ll need to contact your administrator to report and troubleshoot the problem.

If you're able to open and view the notebook in OneNote Online but can't see the changes, the information hasn't synced back to OneNote Online. Check the sync status dialog for specific sync errors.

Warning: Don't sign in or sign out or remove and reinstall OneNote as this could result in data loss.

  1. In OneNote, click File > Info.

  2. Click the View Sync Status button.

  3. Check for errors in the dialog box, note the error code and message and check the list of error codes in this article.

    Note: You may see a Get Help button next to an error. If you do, click it as it should open a troubleshooting article specific to the error.

There may be times when your shared notebook is syncing normally except for one of its sections. You can verify this by doing the following:

  1. In OneNote, click File > Info > View Sync Status.

  2. In the Shared Notebook Synchronization dialog box, click any notebook icon with a yellow triangle warning over it to see the name of any section that’s causing sync problems.

  3. Click the Sync Now button next to the notebook containing the section.

Individual notebook sections can occasionally stop syncing properly. If you have a single section that isn’t syncing with the rest of an otherwise up-to-date notebook, you can try the following workaround:

  1. In the same notebook, create a new section.

  2. Copy (don’t move) all of the pages from the old section into the new one you just created. You can do this by right-clicking each page and then clicking Move or Copy.

  3. When all of the pages have been copied to the new section, press Shift+F9 to manually sync the notebook. If a progress bar appears, wait for it to finish.

If following these steps successfully syncs the pages in the new section that you created, you can safely delete the old section and then continue working in the new. After the old section is deleted, you can rename the new section to the same name as the deleted section.

If these steps don't work, section sync errors or problems can also be caused by a corrupted section located in the Notebook Recycle Bin. If you no longer want that section, you can delete it from the Recycle Bin to stop the error:

  1. In the OneNote notebook, click the History tab, and then click the Notebook Recycle Bin.

  2. Right-click the section (or page) and choose Move or copy.

  3. You can also Copy and Paste the pages or content in the section to another page or section. Once that's done, you can delete the original section or page.

Version conflict messages typically appear if you and another user attempt to edit the same part of a page, such as changing the same paragraph of notes, at the same time. When this happens, OneNote creates multiple copies of the page to avoid data loss and an error message appears on the yellow Information bar. You will see an icon on a page that has the conflict.

To fix merge conflicts, do the following:

  1. Click the yellow Information bar at the top of your page to view a page that lists the conflicting changes (highlighted in red).

  2. Copy information from the page with the merge conflicts error and paste the changes into the main page, if necessary.

  3. When you finish incorporating any changes, delete the conflicts page by right-clicking its page tab and then clicking Delete on the shortcut menu.

To avoid future synchronization conflicts, try and minimize the amount of work two or more users do on the same page.

Server is busy errors are typically seen when notebooks are stored in SharePoint, SharePoint Online, or OneDrive for Business. Even though they may seem to be sync errors, most are actually authentication errors that can be fixed by following one of these methods:

  • Sign out and sign in to OneNote.

  • Close and then re-open the notebook.

  • Check to make sure you have access to the notebook via OneNote Online (OneNote.com), SharePoint, or SharPoint Online.

Some errors, such as 0xE00015E0, indicate there's not enough space on the device or notebook to sync a section. This may be caused by large backup files. To solve these sync issues, you can optimize, or delete existing notebook backups.

Optimize OneNote notebook
  1. In OneNote, click File > Options.

  2. In the Options dialog, click Save & Backup.

  3. Click Optimize All Files Now. It may take a while to optimize the files.

You can also adjust the Number of backup copies to keep option in the same Save & Backup location to a lower number to save space.

Delete existing backups
  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. In the navigation bar near the top of the window, type %localappdata%, and press Enter.

  3. Open the Microsoft folder and then open the OneNote folder.

  4. Open the 16.0 folder if you have OneNote 2016 or the 15.0 folder if you have OneNote 2013, then open the Backup folder.

  5. Delete the files or folders you no longer wish to save in the Backup folder.

If you get one of these errors, you should follow the steps in the related article:

Here are some of the more common "service not available" errors you may experience, along with links to troubleshooting articles for those errors:

Misplaced sections appear in a notebook when OneNote tries to sync changes to a notebook section, but can't find the section file. To resolve the issue, you can delete the section from your notebook or move it to another notebook. For more information, go to this article:

Resolve misplaced sections in OneNote

If you have OneNote notebooks on SharePoint, you'll notice that they're typically stored in Document Libraries. If the SharePoint Library you're using has certain properties enabled, it could cause sync errors. For more information, read the following articles:

Sync problems in the collaboration space may occur if a number of students try to edit the same page location at the same time or if a large file attachment is added on the edited page. There are some best practices you can follow to avoid these sync issues:

  • Separate students into small groups of up to 6 students.

  • Create a separate "section tab" for each group of students. For example, if there are 4 groups of 6 students, create 4 tabs.

  • Have each student create their own page or have each of them edit in different places on the page.

  • Avoid adding big file attachments.

Best practices to sync OneNote notebooks

Our Support team maintains a list of tips that may help you to avoid sync errors in the future.

See OneNote syncing best practices for more information.

Report your OneNote sync issue to the OneNote team

If you’re still unable to resolve your sync issues, we apologize.

We’re constantly working to improve syncing functionality in OneNote. To help us identify and resolve new issues more quickly, please consider reporting your sync issue on the OneNote forums on Microsoft Answers.

You can also use the OneNote Diagnostics Tool to collect diagnostic information for your installed version of OneNote 2016 for Windows and then send the information securely to Microsoft for troubleshooting.

Note: The OneNote Diagnostics Tool is currently only available in English. We’ll update this page when additional languages become available.

Thank you!

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