When you create a notebook in OneNote 2013 it’s automatically saved in the new 2010-2013 file format. You’ll need this format if you want all the features in OneNote 2013 to work properly.
The new file format is named “OneNote 2010-2013 notebook format” to let you know it’s compatible with the OneNote 2010 format. OneNote 2013 can read notebooks created with either OneNote 2010 or with OneNote 2013 and it can also open, view, and edit any notebook files saved in the older OneNote 2010 and 2007 file formats.
If you’re upgrading from OneNote 2007 to OneNote 2013, your existing notebooks in the 2007 format won’t be automatically converted. This is to make sure you can use OneNote 2013 for all the notes you may be working in, including collaborative projects with people whose shared notebooks are saved in the older format.
Tip: If sharing notes with people who use OneNote 2007 isn't important to you, it’s best to convert your existing notebooks to the new 2010-2013 format so you can enjoy all the features of OneNote 2013.
To check which file format a notebook is saved in:
In OneNote 2013, open a notebook, and look at the title bar of the OneNote window. If [Compatibility Mode] is shown next to the notebook name, the notebook is saved in the older 2007 format.
In OneNote 2010, click File > Info. Next to the name of the notebook you want to check, click the Settings button, and then click Properties. In the Notebook Properties dialog box, look at the Default Format to see what format the notebook is saved in.
Note: The 2010-2013 file format can’t be used by OneNote 2007. If you already upgraded a notebook to the 2010-2013 file format, you can use the OneNote conversion tool so you can change notebooks from one format to another.
Upgrading from OneNote 2003
OneNote 2003 was created nearly a decade ago and can’t read the file formats or understand the features in the three newer OneNote versions.
If you’re upgrading from OneNote 2003 to OneNote 2013 and you want to be able to edit your existing notes, you’ll need to upgrade your entire 2003 notebook to either the 2013 or 2007 format. To do this, open the 2003-formatted notebook in OneNote 2013 and then accept the prompts that tell you that you need to upgrade.
Note: If you upgrade your OneNote 2003 notebook to the 2007 format, several OneNote 2013 features will still be unavailable — including math equations, linked note-taking, and notebook versioning.
After your OneNote 2003 notebook is converted to a newer format, it can’t be changed back. If keeping your 2003 notebooks in the old format is important to you, consider making a backup copy before converting your working copy to the newest format.