No matter what version of OneNote you use, your notebooks are designed to be saved and synced automatically by the OneNote apps themselves. This means you should never need to manually move files around, like you might be used to with traditional computer files in File Explorer on a Windows PC, or in a Finder window on a Mac.
However, even when OneNote handles all of the syncing of notes between your computer and your devices, there are a few best practices you can follow to make sure you have the best experience.
Know your storage limit
OneNote stores your notebook sections as individual files. Both OneDrive and SharePoint have file size limits that can impact the maximum size of your OneNote sections. For example, on a personal OneDrive account, the free storage limit is 5 GB. On SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, the storage limit is configurable by the administrator, but it will typically have a limit of 15 GB or less.
These limits determine how large your notebook sections can get, so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t reach or exceed this limit. Although it can be hard to tell exactly how much content has been added, especially if you've shared your notebook with other people, you and your collaborators can keep some obvious file sizes in mind — for example, by not inserting multiple video files that are several gigabytes in size into the same section, or generally not overloading sections with unnecessary media content. You can still reference such content by inserting a link to it instead of directly embedding the content in your notes.
If you do reach your file size limit, OneNote will notify you. You can then consider splitting up a large notebook section into multiple ones or purchasing more storage. If you're using OneNote at work, you can request more storage from your OneDrive for Business or SharePoint administrator.
Force a manual notebook sync
OneNote will automatically store pending changes to your notebooks whenever you are offline and then sync those changes as soon as a network is available again. Many unexpected sync problems can usually be resolved by forcing a sync as soon the network is available again.
Here’s how to manually force notebook synchronization in the different versions of OneNote:
OneNote for Windows 10/11
Right-click the notebook name in the Notebooks list, click Sync, and then click Sync This Notebook.
OneNote for Windows
Right-click the notebook name in the Notebooks list, and then click Sync This Notebook Now.
OneNote for Mac
Control-click the notebook name in the Notebooks list, and then click Sync This Notebook.
OneNote for iOS
Pull down the Notebooks list with your finger to initiate a sync. A progress marker will appear at the top of the list.
OneNote for Android
Tap and hold on the notebook name in the Notebooks list, and then tap Sync Notebook.
Resolve misplaced sections
If your notebook appears to be missing pages or an entire section, this can occur when such content was never fully synced before the notebook was closed where the changes were originally created. To resolve this, open OneNote on the original computer or device where the “missing” notes were first added or revised, and use the preceding steps to force a sync.
For example, if you created a new section on your laptop but can’t yet see the changes on your desktop computer, go back to your laptop, open OneNote, and then use the preceding steps to force sync the notebook.
Manage shared notebook use
When using a shared notebook at the same time as other authors, you can achieve a better collaboration experience by having users make notebook additions on separate pages or in their own sections. If too many people are editing the same part of the same page at any one time, this can sometimes create temporary page conflicts.
If you're using OneNote’s Class Notebook features in a large classroom, consider the following:
Separate students into small groups (no more than 6 students per group).
Create a separate section for each group of students. For example, if there are 4 groups of 6 students, create 4 sections.
Have each student create their own page or have each of them edit in different places on the page.
Avoid adding large file attachments (100 MB or more).
Keep your apps and operating systems up to date
We're continually rolling out improvements to the OneNote apps and their sync services on OneNote for Windows, OneNote for Mac, OneNote for iOS and iPadOS, and OneNote for Android. To enjoy all of the latest speed, reliability, and security improvements, be sure to always keep your preferred OneNote apps (as well as the operating systems for the computers and devices they run on) up to date.