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. Our product updates are free to download and use. Before you try the troubleshooting suggestions in this article, we recommend following the steps in Install Office updates to install the latest OneNote updates on your PC. If you’re on a Mac, follow the steps in Check for Office for Mac updates automatically.

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

Before you try the troubleshooting suggestions below, we recommend following the steps in Install Office updates to install the latest OneNote update.

If the notebook that won’t sync is stored on OneDrive or on newer versions of SharePoint, try opening the notebook in OneNote Online (at www.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 then 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 there usually clears and successfully resets the connection. Follow these steps:

  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 our Service Status page for any known interruptions or outages. If your notebook is stored on SharePoint, you’ll need to contact your administrator to report and troubleshoot the problem.

Warning: Signing in or out of OneNote (or removing and reinstalling the app) is not recommended for troubleshooting, as this could result in data loss.

If you’re able to open and view the notebook in OneNote Online, but can’t see the changes, the information hasn’t yet synced. You can check the sync status for any specific errors by doing the following:

  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 (at www.onenote.com), SharePoint, or SharePoint 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.

OneNote Diagnostics Tool

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.

Before you try the troubleshooting suggestions below, we recommend following the steps in Check for Office for Mac updates automatically.

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

  1. On the toolbar in OneNote for Mac, click Notebooks > Notebooks > Copy Link to Notebook.

  2. In your Web browser, click inside the Address box, and press Command + V to paste the copied URL.

  3. 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 OneNote for Mac. Closing and re-opening the notebook there usually clears and successfully resets the connection. Follow these steps:

  1. On the menu bar in OneNote for Mac, click Notebooks > Notebooks > Close This Notebook.

  2. Switch back to the notebook in OneNote Online in your Web 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 OneNote for Mac.

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 our Service Status page for any known interruptions or outages. If your notebook is stored on SharePoint, 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 yet synced. You can check the sync status for any specific errors by doing the following:

  1. Click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button to see a list of your notebooks.

  2. Move the mouse pointer over the warning triangle icon that appears next to the name of any notebook in the list, and then note any error code that may be displayed in the tooltip that appears. You can look for additional documentation about known errors elsewhere in this article, or scroll to the end of this page for details about how to contact the OneNote product team for help with undocumented issues.

If you receive an error when OneNote is trying to sync, such as “Can’t sync <section name> or <notebook name>” or if there is an error icon next to your notebook name, try the following steps to resolve the issue:

  1. Click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button to see a list of your notebooks.

  2. Click the name of the notebook with sync issues to open it.

  3. Create a new section in the same notebook.

  4. Copy (but don’t move) all of the pages from the old section into the new one you just created.

  5. When all the pages have been copied to the new section, click File > Sync All Notebooks.

Next, check to see if the notes you copied also have trouble syncing or if it’s only the original section that’s still affected.

If these steps don’t work, sync errors in can also be caused by any corrupted notes located in Deleted Notes. If you’re sure you no longer need such notes, you can delete them from the Recycle Bin to stop the errors:

  1. In the OneNote notebook that has sync issues, click the View tab, and then click Deleted Notes.

  2. For each item in this view, Control-click the name of the note, and then click Restore to.

  3. Choose the notebook to which you want to restore the deleted notes to, and then click Restore.

  4. Once a note has been copied to another notebook, you can delete the original note in the Deleted Notes view by Control-clicking the name of the note and clicking Delete Permanently.

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 a warning icon on any page that has a conflict.

To fix merge conflicts, do the following:

  1. Go to the page with the merge conflicts error, click anywhere on the page, and then click Edit > Select All on the menu bar.

  2. On your keyboard, press Command+C to copy the selection.

  3. Go to the main version of the page, click where you want to append the information, and then press Command+V to paste the copied content.

  4. When you have finished reviewing sync conflicts and have made any necessary changes, you can delete the page with the errors by clicking the Delete Version button on the yellow Information bar.

“Server is busy” errors are typically seen when notebooks are stored on 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 of OneNote and then sign back in. On the menu bar, click OneNote >Sign Out. When you have successfully signed out, click OneNote > Sign In.

  • Close and then re-open the notebook. On the menu bar, click File > Close This Notebook. To reopen the notebook, click File > Open Recent, and then click the notebook you want to re-open.

Alternately, you can check to make sure you have access to the notebook via OneNote Online. Do the following:

  1. On the menu bar, click Notebooks > Notebooks > Copy Link to Notebook.

  2. In your Web browser, click the Address box, and then press Command+V to paste the copied URL.

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

If you’re able to successfully open the notebook in OneNote Online and the latest changes appear, then the problem may be caused by the Mac version of OneNote. Closing and re-opening affected notebooks usually clears and successfully resets the connection.

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 move the section to another notebook or delete the section from the current notebook.

To move a misplaced section to another notebook, do the following:

  1. Control-click the name of the misplaced section, and then click Move Section To.

  2. Select the notebook to which you want to move the section, and then click Move.

To delete a misplaced section from your notebook, do the following:

  • Control-click the name of the section you want to delete, and then click Delete Section.

Caution: Deleting sections cannot be undone. When you delete a section, you also permanently delete all of the pages that are contained within it. If you aren’t sure that this is what you want to do, try moving the misplaced section to another part of your notebook instead.

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, see 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.

Here are some best practices you can follow to avoid these types of sync issues:

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

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

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

  • Avoid adding big file attachments.

Here are some of the other sync errors you may experience:


0xE0000021: Need password to sync OneNote

First, make sure you have the latest version of OneNote installed from the Mac App Store.

  1. Choose Apple menu > Software Update.

  2. The App Store opens and will display any updates for your installed macOS apps.

  3. Look for OneNote for Mac in the list of updates, and then click Update.

Next, try resetting your iCloud keychains in macOS

  1. In a Finder window, click Go > Utilities, and then click Keychain Access.

  2. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Preferences.

  3. Click General > Reset My Default Keychains.

  4. Sign in to your macOS account.

  5. Quit Keychain Access and restart your Mac.

  6. Open OneNote and try syncing your notebook. If prompted, enter your Microsoft account name and password.


0xE000002E: Resolve the 0xE000002E (Out of Sync with Store) error in OneNote

OneNote needs to refresh but can’t do so automatically. This is typically a temporary issue and should resolve itself the next time a full sync occurs. If you don’t want to wait for the next automatic sync, you can force a full sync of all open notebooks by pressing Shift+Command+S while OneNote for Mac is running.


0xE40105F9: Resolve the 0xE40105F9 (Unsupported Client Build) error in OneNote

This error can be resolved by updating OneNote for Mac to the latest update. For more information, see Check for Office for Mac updates automatically.


0xE40105F9: Resolve the 0xE4020045 (Unsupported Client) error in OneNote

This error can be resolved by properly moving a local notebook from your hard drive to OneDrive. For more information, see Resolve the 0xE4020045 (Unsupported Client) error in OneNote.


0xE000005E: Resolve the 0xE000005E (ReferencedRevisionNotFound) error in OneNote

This error is typically caused by a temporary issue and should resolve itself the next time a full sync occurs. If you don’t want to wait for the next automatic sync, you can force a full sync of all open notebooks by pressing Shift+Command+S while OneNote for Mac is running.


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.

Thank you!

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