How to Sync Notes in OneNote 2013

By James H. Russell

OneNote 2013 distances itself from the whole concept of manually saving files in favor of syncing them. You can sync files automatically or manually. This gives you some freedom when managing your files.

How to sync automatically in OneNote

OneNote auto-saves your notes every time you make any change at all to a notebook, section, or page; it also syncs when you close a file or the OneNote app.

OneNote can sync data to notes saved to SkyDrive, other networks, or other cloud services while you have an active connection to the Internet or the network the note is stored on. If the proper connection isn’t present, OneNote keeps track of the changes internally and syncs when the connection is reestablished.

How to sync manually in OneNote

Although by default OneNote syncs notebooks not stored on your local device automatically, you can sync them manually at any time or configure the app to not sync automatically at all so that you have no choice but to sync manually.

To sync manually once, you have one of three options:

  • Right-click or press and hold on the tab for the notebook and choose the Sync This Notebook Now option.

    While the notebook is syncing, if you decide to cancel the sync, click or tap the Cancel Sync button. You’ll have to be quick, though; as with a broadband Internet connection, the sync process is pretty fast.

  • Open the Shared Notebook Synchronization window as described in the next section and click or tap the Sync All button to sync all notebooks.

  • Open the Shared Notebook Synchronization window as described in the next section and click or tap the Sync Now button next to the notebook you want to sync.

How to configure manual sync in OneNote

You may have any number of reasons to not want OneNote to sync your notes manually — for example, if you’re collaborating on a project and don’t want your colleagues to see your changes until they’re 100 percent done.

Follow these steps to configure OneNote so that it will not sync automatically:

  1. Right-click or press and hold on the notebook name in the upper-left corner of the OneNote window and choose Notebook Sync Status.

    The Shared Notebook Synchronization window appears.

    Only notebooks saved to SkyDrive or another remote location are listed.


  2. Select the Sync Manually radio button at the top of the page.

  3. Click or tap the Close button.