Frequently Asked Questions about OneNote 2016 for Windows

My version of OneNote doesn't match the help topics I'm reading. What's going on?

You probably have two versions of OneNote on your computer: OneNote for Windows 10 and the OneNote 2016 desktop version. The Windows 10 version is simply called OneNote. It's great for working on the go, and is closely integrated with Windows. Learn more about basic tasks in OneNote for Windows 10 and learn about the difference between OneNote and OneNote 2016?

To check and see if you have both versions of OneNote, click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen and click All apps. Scroll to OneNote. If you have both versions, you'll see both OneNote and OneNote 2016 in the search results.

I’m using both OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016 on the same computer. How do I get my OneNote files to open in the version I want?

There are a few steps to setting or changing the default app, but you'll have to do this only once—unless you decide to change it again later.

  • Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen and choose Settings.

  • On the Settings window that appears, choose System.

  • On the System window that appears, choose Default apps.

  • Choose Set defaults by app, and on the window that appears, scroll to OneNote.

  • Click OneNote or OneNote (desktop), choose Set this program as default, and click OK.

Note: To make it easy to open your preferred version of OneNote, click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen and choose All apps. Scroll to OneNote and OneNote 2016. Right-click or tap and hold the version you plan to use most often, and choose Pin to taskbar or Pin to Start. You can pin the app to both places if you'd like. Now you open OneNote without searching for it.

For more details about changing the default version, including screenshots and steps to change which version of OneNote opens from the web, see Change the default version of OneNote on your computer.

How do I get started using OneNote?

For all the introductory procedures, and to learn more about how OneNote works, have a look at Basic tasks in OneNote 2016.

Can I open notebooks from multiple OneDrive accounts?

Although you can sign up for multiple OneDrive accounts, only one can be associated with OneNote. To open a notebook from another account (whether it’s another one of your own or someone else’s account), make sure it’s shared with your primary OneDrive account. As soon as it’s been shared, you should see the notebook listed under Files shared with you in your primary OneDrive account. Right-click or tap and hold on the notebook and select Open in OneNote from the context menu to open the notebook in OneNote.

How do I give OneNote permission to use my camera?

When you try to insert a picture from your camera for the first time, OneNote will ask for your permission to use it. If you decline and try inserting a picture again later, you may see the error message, “This app needs permissions to use your camera. You can change this in the app’s settings.”

  1. Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen and choose Settings.

  2. On the Settings window that appears, choose Privacy.

  3. On the Privacy screen that appears, choose Camera.

  4. Make sure camera permissions are set to On and then turn the OneNote permissions to On.

Who can see my notebooks?

Although your OneNote files are stored online, they’re private unless you choose otherwise. When you open notebooks shared on OneDrive or SharePoint, OneNote will automatically honor the permissions that you’ve already set for the folders containing your notebook files.

What kind of notebooks can I open in OneNote, and where can I store them?

With OneNote, you can store and sync notebooks either on a OneDrive account or on a SharePoint server. OneDrive is a free cloud-based storage option that’s best for personal use; SharePoint is typically used in larger organizations. New notebooks that you create in OneNote are automatically stored on OneDrive. If you want to create new notebooks on SharePoint or Microsoft 365, you must first create them with the desktop version of OneNote. For more info, see how to create a notebook and how to open a notebook.

OneNote supports notebooks that are in the OneNote 2010-2016 format. You'll need to convert older notebooks to the 2010-2016 file format before OneNote can open and read them. You can convert notebooks in the desktop version of OneNote.

The content I shared to OneNote using the Share option isn't showing up on my other devices.

It’s likely that OneNote hasn’t had a chance yet to sync your notes. Try re-launching OneNote and then manually sync the notebook.

How do I open my notebook, section, or page in OneNote for the web?

  1. Right-click the notebook, section or page (If you're using a touch screen, press and hold.).

  2. Choose Copy Link to.

  3. Paste the URL into the Address box in Internet Explorer.

How do I insert a scanned image?

Previous versions of OneNote had an option to insert a scanned image from a scanner. This feature wasn’t as reliable as it needed to be, especially on 64-bit machines, so we made the decision to remove it from OneNote. There are a few other ways to get images into OneNote:

  • Use Windows Fax and Scan to scan the file to your computer and then insert it into OneNote. To use this feature, search Windows for "Windows Fax and Scan."

  • Download Windows Scan from the Windows 10 Store, scan the file to your computer, and then insert it into OneNote.

  • Get the free Office Lens app for Windows phone, iPhone, or Android to use your smart phone as a scanner and send the images to OneNote.

Where is the OneNote system tray icon?

If you're used to clicking the OneNote icon in the Windows system tray, you might notice that it's not visible in Windows 10. Here's how to get it to appear.

  1. In the lower-left corner of the screen, click the Windows icon, and then click Settings.

  2. In the Settings windows that appears, click System.

  3. In the System Window, click Notifications & actions.

  4. In the main pane, click Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

  5. Under Send to OneNote Tool, change the toggle to On.

Note: Keyboard shortcuts are a quick way to work in OneNote. To create a screen clipping, press Windows+Shift+S. To create a new quick note, press Windows+N.

OneNote shows black boxes and other visual defects on certain graphics hardware.

You can fix these rendering problems by disabling hardware rendering in OneNote. Hardware rendering improves the overall performance of OneNote, but on certain graphics hardware, hardware rendering can cause rendering problems.

Some sections aren’t showing up in my notebook.

OneNote only supports opening sections that were created in OneNote 2010 or later. If you’re missing some sections in your notebook, it’s possible that some sections were created in an older version of OneNote. Try using the desktop version of OneNote to open such notebooks and then convert them to the 2010-2016 format.

My question isn’t answered here. What can I do?

Visit the OneNote forums on Microsoft Answers.

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