Frequently Asked Questions about OneNote

My version of OneNote doesn't match the help topics I'm reading. Where's the File menu?

You probably have two versions of OneNote on your computer: the Windows 8 OneNote app and the OneNote 2013 desktop version. The Windows 8 app is simply called OneNote—as you'll see on the Windows start screen. It's great for working on the go, and is optimized for touch. It's a full-screen app and features a radial menu. Learn more about basic tasks in the Windows 8 OneNote app.

To check and see if you have both versions of OneNote, click or tap the Search icon in the upper-right corner of the Windows 8 Start screen and type OneNote. If you have both versions, you'll see OneNote and OneNote 2013 appear in the search results.

I’m using both Windows 8 OneNote app and the OneNote 2013 desktop version on my computer. How do I get my OneNote files to open in the version I want?

There are a few steps to setting or changing the default app, but you'll have to do this only once—unless you decide to change it again later.

  • Swipe in from the right side of the screen and on the bar that appears, choose Settings (if you're using a mouse, move it to the upper-right corner to reveal the bar).

  • At the bottom of the Settings pane that appears, choose PC Settings.

  • On the PC Settings screen, click or tap Search and apps.

  • On the Search and apps screen, click or tap Defaults.

  • Click or tap Choose default apps by protocol.

  • Click or tap the OneNote icon and in the menu that appears, choose OneNote or OneNote (desktop).

Can I open notebooks from multiple OneDrive accounts?

Although you can sign up for multiple OneDrive accounts, only one can be associated with OneNote. To open a notebook from another account (whether it’s another one of your own or someone else’s account), make sure it’s shared with your primary OneDrive account. As soon as it’s been shared, you should see the notebook listed under Files shared with you in your primary OneDrive account. Right-click or tap and hold on the notebook and select Open in OneNote from the context menu to open the notebook in OneNote.

How do I give OneNote permission to use my camera?

When you try to insert a picture from your camera for the first time, OneNote will ask for your permission to use it. If you decline and try inserting a picture again later, you may see the error message, “This app needs permissions to use your camera. You can change this in the app’s settings.”

  • Swipe in from the right side of the screen and on the bar that appears, choose Settings (if you're using a mouse, move it to the upper-right corner to reveal the bar).

  • At the bottom of the Settings pane that appears, choose PC Settings.

  • On the PC Settings screen, click or tap Privacy.

  • On the Privacy screen, click or tap Webcam.

  • Make sure webcam permissions are set to On and then turn the OneNote permissions to On.

Who can see my notebooks?

Although your OneNote files are stored online, they’re private unless you choose otherwise. When you open notebooks shared on OneDrive or SharePoint, OneNote will automatically honor the permissions that you’ve already set for the folders containing your notebook files.

What kind of notebooks can I open in OneNote, and where can I store them?

With OneNote, you can store and sync notebooks either on a OneDrive account or on a SharePoint server. OneDrive is a free cloud-based storage option that’s best for personal use; SharePoint is typically used in larger organizations. New notebooks that you create in OneNote are automatically stored on OneDrive. If you want to create new notebooks on SharePoint or Office 365, you must first create them with the desktop version of OneNote.

OneNote supports notebooks that are in the OneNote 2010-2013 format. Notebooks that were created with older desktop versions of OneNote, such as OneNote 2007 or OneNote 2003 must first be converted to the 2010-2013 file format before OneNote can open and read them. You can convert notebooks in the desktop version of OneNote. For more information, see Open or create notebooks in OneNote.

The content I shared to OneNote using the Share charm isn't showing up on my other devices.

It’s likely that OneNote hasn’t had a chance yet to sync your notes. Try re-launching OneNote and then manually sync the notebook.

How do I open my notebook, section, or page in OneNote Online?

Do the following:

  1. Double-tap your notebook, section, or page. (If you're using a mouse, right click your notebook, section or page.)

  2. Choose Copy Link to.

  3. Paste the URL into the Address box in Internet Explorer.

OneNote shows black boxes and other visual defects on certain graphics hardware.

You can fix these rendering problems by disabling hardware rendering in OneNote. Hardware rendering improves the overall performance of OneNote, but on certain graphics hardware, hardware rendering can cause rendering problems.

Some sections aren’t showing up in my notebook.

OneNote only supports opening sections that were created in OneNote 2010 or later. If you’re missing some sections in your notebook, it’s possible that some sections were created in an older version of OneNote. Try using the desktop version of OneNote to open such notebooks and then convert them to the 2010-2013 format.

My question isn’t answered here. What can I do?

Visit the OneNote forums on Microsoft Answers.

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