Protect a notebook section with a password

To help prevent unauthorized access to your notes, you can apply a password to any section in your notebooks.

  1. Click the tab of the section you want the password to apply to.

  2. On the File menu, click Password Protect This Section.

  3. In the Password Protection task pane, click Set Password.

  4. In the Password Protection dialog box, type the password you want in the Enter password box.

  5. Confirm the password by typing it in the Confirm password box, and then click OK.

When you work in a password-protected section in your notebook, it remains unlocked for a period of time that you can specify. To increase security, you can set the option to lock protected sections as soon as you navigate away from them or when you close OneNote. When a protected section is locked, the correct password is required to view and edit the section. You can easily change or remove the password for sections in your notebook.

Important: Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.


  • Passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the CAPS LOCK key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.

  • Access to sections with passwords is restricted after a period of inactivity that you can specify, or after you exit OneNote.

  • Password-protected sections are not included in notebook searches. To include a protected section in a notebook search, you must unlock the section before you begin to search your notes.

  • Note flags used on the pages within a protected section are not included in the note flag summary unless the sections are first unlocked.

  • Password-protected sections cannot be accessed by others during a live sharing session, even if the section is unlocked during the session. To include a protected section in a live sharing session, you must first remove the section's password protection and then start or join the live sharing session.

  • Audio and video recordings are stored as separate files in your notebook and you cannot apply passwords to them.

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