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This article offers suggestions for reducing the amount of space that OneNote and your notebooks take up on your Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device.

Before you try the steps outlined below, be aware of the following:

  • If your notebooks are cloud-based (saved to OneDrive or to SharePoint Online), you can reclaim storage space on your computer or device without permanently deleting any of your notebook content.

  • If you have run out of space on OneDrive or SharePoint, you’ll see an error about “Quota Exceeded.” To fix this, see Resolve the 0xE0000796 (Quota Exceeded) error in OneNote.

  • If your notebooks are only saved locally on your computer’s hard drive, you’ll need to permanently delete unneeded notebooks to reclaim storage space. For information about how to do this in OneNote 2016, see Delete a notebook in OneNote for Windows.

Close unused notebooks and restart OneNote

Note:  The steps in this section work with OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote 2016, OneNote for Mac, OneNote for iOS, and OneNote for Android.

If you need to free up local storage space immediately, closing any cloud-based notebook and then restarting the app will remove the locally cached version of that notebook content. However, make sure that you first fully sync such notebooks with your OneDrive or SharePoint account before attempting to close them.

Next, check to make sure your most recent changes have saved to OneDrive or SharePoint Online by viewing the notebook in your Web browser. To do this, select Share while viewing the notebook you’d like to verify. This lets you create a link that you can paste into your browser’s Address box to open the notebook in OneNote for the web. If you see your most recent changes there, then you know your notes are saved to OneDrive or SharePoint and the notebook is safe to close.

If your latest notes don’t seem to appear yet, you can manually force a sync by right-clicking the notebook name in the Notebooks list and then selecting Sync This Notebook. To force sync on Android, see Fix sync issues in OneNote for iOS or Android.

  1. Depending on your version of OneNote, do one of the following:

    • If you’re using OneNote for Windows 10, click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button, right-click the name of the notebook you want to close, and then click Close This Notebook.

    • If you’re using OneNote 2016, click the name of the notebook you’re currently working in. In the Notebooks list, right-click the name of the notebook you want to close, and then click Close This Notebook.

    • If you’re using OneNote for Mac, click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button, Control-click the name of the notebook you want to close, and then click Close This Notebook.

    • If you’re using OneNote for iOS, tap the Show Notebooks button Notebook back button for iOS until you see the Notebooks list. Tap and hold the name of the notebook you want to close, and then tap the Close Notebook icon that appears near the left corner at the bottom of the screen.

    • If you’re using OneNote for Android, go to your Notebooks list, tap and hold the name of the notebook you want to close, and then tap Close This Notebook.

  2. Exit and then restart OneNote for the changes to take effect.

Tip: If you see a notification for Misplaced Sections, this means that some of your content hasn’t synced with OneDrive or SharePoint. Misplaced Sections will keep your content cached locally until you reopen the notebook and it is synced again or you move it to another location. In OneNote for Windows 10, you can also manually sync your notebook before trying to close it.

Sync files and images only when you access them

Note:  The steps in this section work with OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote 2016, and OneNote for iOS.

Closing cloud-based notebooks helps to free up space when you need it, but you can also tell OneNote to not automatically sync files, images, and other large content by default, so that opening new cloud-based notebooks takes up less space on your device. As soon as you open any page, its contents will be automatically downloaded if you have an Internet connection.

To control whether OneNote automatically syncs files and images, do the following:

  • In OneNote for Windows 10, click the Settings and More button Settings And More Button, click Settings, click Options, and then turn off the Sync down all files and images option.

  • In OneNote on iPhone or iPad, follow the instructions in Sync large notebooks more quickly in Microsoft OneNote.

  • In OneNote 2016, click File > Options > Sync and then deselect the Download all files and images option.

As soon as you have set these preferences, OneNote will no longer automatically download all files and images for every page in a notebook. Navigating to a particular page will tell OneNote to download its content, so you are still able to access your notes as long as you have an Internet connection.

Note: Turning off automatic downloading of files and images will not remove content from already opened and downloaded notebooks. In addition, this setting only applies to cloud-based notebooks stored either on OneDrive or on SharePoint Online.

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