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Protect notes with a password in OneNote for Mac

You can help keep private notes and information safe from prying eyes by protecting any of the sections in your OneNote notebooks with a password. When a section is password-protected, all of its pages are locked until you enter the correct password.

Password-protect a section in your notebook

Protecting a section in a notebook is a two-step process. First, you set a password for the section. Second, you lock the section.

Note: To keep your notes secure, OneNote will automatically lock password-protected sections after a few minutes of inactivity. You cannot change the amount of time that passes before OneNote automatically password-protects a section.

  1. Control-click the tab of the section you want to protect, point to Password Protection, and then click Protect This Section.

  2. In the Password box, type the password you want to apply.

  3. Confirm the password by typing it into the Verify box, and then click Set Password.

    Warning: Choose and type your passwords carefully. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support.

  4. After setting the password for the section, Control-click the tab of the section again, point to Password Protection, and then click Lock Section.

Lock all protected sections in your notebook

To keep your notes secure, OneNote automatically locks each password-protected section after a few minutes of inactivity. If necessary, you can force OneNote to lock every protected section in your notebook all at once (for example, before stepping away from your Mac or handing it over to someone else).

Do the following:

  • Control-click the tab of any protected (but currently unlocked) section, point to Password Protection, and then click Lock All Protected Sections.

    Tip: To immediately lock all password-protected sections in your current notebook, press Option-Command-L.

Unlock a protected section in your notebook

Before you can view the pages in a protected notebook section, you need to unlock it with the correct password.

Do the following:

  1. Control-click the tab of the protected section you want to unlock, point to Password Protection, and then click Unlock Section.

  2. In the Password box, enter the correct password for the section, and then click Unlock.

    Keep in mind that passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the Caps Lock key is off before you add or enter a password.

    Tip: To quickly unlock any password-protected section, click its tab, and then press Option-Command-U.

Change the password for a protected notebook section

If the password for a protected section in your notebook is no longer secure (for example, you realize that someone has watched you type the password), you can easily change it to something else and keep the notes in that section protected.

Note: Changing a password only affects the section that you’re currently in. To change the passwords for other protected sections in your notebook, follow the preceding steps for each protected section.

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, first unlock the protected section whose password you want to change.

  2. Control-click the tab of the protected section, point to Password Protection, and then click Change Password.

  3. Type the current password into the Old password box.

  4. Type the new password you want to use into the New password box.

  5. Confirm the new password by typing it into the Verify box, and then click Change Password.

    Warning: Choose and type your passwords carefully. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support.

Remove the password from a protected notebook section

If you no longer need to keep a particular notebook section protected, you can remove its password.

Do the following:

  1. If necessary, first unlock the protected section whose password you want to remove.

  2. Control-click the tab of the protected section, point to Password Protection, and then click Remove Password.

  3. Type the current password into the Password box, and then click Remove Password.

Note: Choose and type your passwords carefully. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support.

Some important notes about passwords

  • Passwords can be applied to one or more notebook sections, one at a time, but you cannot protect individual pages within sections or protect an entire notebook at once.

  • Passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the Caps Lock key is off before you apply or enter a password.

  • OneNote uses encryption to secure password-protected sections. If you forget any of your section passwords, no one will be able to unlock those notes for you (not even Microsoft Technical Support). Take care when adding passwords to your notebook sections and when changing them.

  • Password-protected sections that are locked are not included in notebook searches. To include the notes within a protected section in a search, you’ll need to first unlock the section.

  • To keep your notes secure, OneNote will automatically lock password-protected sections after a few minutes of inactivity. You cannot change the amount of time that passes before OneNote automatically password-protects a section.

  • Although password protection improves the security of your personal information by making it harder for other people to read your notes without your permission, it is not a foolproof safeguard. Someone with physical access to your computer or device might still be able to figure out how to access your information. For this reason, we recommend that you avoid keeping extremely sensitive personal information in OneNote (for example, Social Security numbers or access codes to financial accounts).

  • You can password protect sections within section groups. But you cannot protect a section group itself.

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