When you try to access notes in a section in OneNote for the web that has been protected with a password, you may get an error message telling you that the section cannot be opened. It means that whoever owns the shared notebook you’re working in (or another author) has locked the section.

If you need to view or work in the protected notes, you might have to check with that person to get the password for that section.

To open a password protected section, do the following:

  1. In OneNote for the web, click the name of the protected section that you’re trying to open.

  2. When OneNote tells you that the section is password-protected, press the Enter key on your keyboard (or click the message with your mouse).

  3. When prompted, enter the password to unlock the section.

    Tips: Check the following if you can't unlock a section with a password:

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

    • To keep your notes secure, OneNote automatically locks password-protected sections after a few minutes of inactivity.

    • OneNote uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure password-protected notebook sections. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you — not even Microsoft Technical Support. Take care when applying or changing passwords. Write down your passwords and keep them in a safe place if you think you may not be able to remember them.

    • Notes on pages in password-protected sections are not included in notebook searches. To include notes within any protected section in a search, first unlock that section.

If you want to change the current password for a protected section or if you want to protect a section that hasn’t been locked before, you’ll need to open the notebook in one of the OneNote desktop or mobile apps listed below:

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