OneNote does not sync: That helps, however,

OneNote does not sync: That helps, however,

OneNote no longer syncs with you? There can be different reasons for this. We'll tell you how you can fix synchronization problems in Microsoft's note-taking app.

Microsoft OneNote is one of the best apps for taking notes, organizing information and keeping all kinds of data in one place. And the best thing is that OneNote synchronizes itself between all your devices and you always stay up to date – provided that the synchronization works correctly.

Different errors can mean that your notes no longer sync between different devices. You can find out which measures you can take to resolve this problem in the following guide.

Check the internet connection

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OneNote cannot sync without internet. Image: © Google / Screenshot 2021

Before looking for possible sources of error in the app, you should first make sure that your device can also connect to the Internet. You can test this, for example, by visiting a website or opening another app that also requires an internet connection.

If it turns out that there is no active internet connection, log into the WLAN with your device again, check the network cable if necessary or restart the router. As soon as an internet connection is available again, OneNote should synchronize again.

If there are problems with synchronization even with Internet access, you should rule out the next source of error.

Check the status of Microsoft OneDrive

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If OneDrive is running properly, the OneNote synchronization problem is probably with you. Image: © Microsoft 2021

The reason why OneNote doesn't sync on your iPhone, Android smartphone or PC doesn't necessarily have to be yours. Since OneNote uses OneDrive for synchronization, a problem with Microsoft's cloud service can also be the cause. Immediately after checking your Internet access, you should therefore check whether there are any problems with OneDrive.

To do this, simply go to the website for the status of all Microsoft services . If the page shows a problem with OneDrive, you just have to wait for Microsoft to fix the error and OneNote should sync correctly again afterwards. If, on the other hand, you see a green tick next to OneDrive, then there are no problems at Microsoft and the error is probably elsewhere.

Activate automatic synchronization in OneNote

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Here you can find the automatic synchronization in OneNote from Office 2019 or Microsoft 365 … Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

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… and here for the preinstalled OneNote app. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

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onenote-automatic-synchronization-2

If your internet connection is OK and OneDrive is working correctly, you should look in OneNote for the cause of the synchronization problem. First of all, check whether the automatic synchronization is activated in the app. You will find the function at the following point on the respective devices.

Windows (App from Office 2019 / Microsoft 365)

  • Enable File> Options> Sync> Automatically Sync Notebooks

Windows (pre-installed app / download from Microsoft Store)

  • Three-point symbol> Settings> Options> Activate the switch for "Automatically synchronize notebooks"

In the OneNote app for iOS / iPadOS, Android and the web version, automatic synchronization is activated by default and cannot be switched off at all.

Manually sync OneNote notebooks

If the automatic synchronization in OneNote does not work, you still have the option to manually synchronize your notes between the devices. You can see here how this works for the different app versions.

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In the Office version of OneNote you first have to click through a menu to get to manual synchronization. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

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In the preinstalled version and the web version, all you need to do is click on the cloud symbol. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

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Notebooks can also be easily synchronized in Android. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

Windows (App from Office 2019 / Microsoft 365)

  • File> Show synchronization status> Press "Synchronize now" on the respective notebook

Windows (pre-installed app / download from Microsoft Store) & web version

  • Press the small cloud symbol in the menu bar

Android

  • Open OneNote> Notebooks> three-dot icon> Sync all

No manual synchronization for iOS / iPadOS

Unfortunately, OneNote does not offer manual synchronization on iOS / iPadOS. It can help here to force an update by logging in again.

To do this, go to Settings in OneNote and tap the account name under Account. Then tap the account name again and select "Remove Account". Then close and restart the app to log back in.

Update the OneNote app

If the previous suggestions have not brought any improvement and OneNote still does not sync, you should look for an update on your device in the respective app store. It could be that the synchronization problems are due to a bug that has already been fixed in a more recent version. You can update OneNote for the different operating systems as follows:

Windows (pre-installed app / download from Microsoft Store)

  • Open the Microsoft Store via the start bar and, if necessary, log in with your Microsoft account.
  • Click on "Library" in the left menu bar and then on "Get updates".
  • If an update for OneNote is available, it will be shown in the list of all installed apps. Now run the update.

Windows (App from Office 2019 / Microsoft 365)

  • Open OneNote and click on "File> Account".
  • On the right side you can now see product information about your Office installation or your Microsoft 365 subscription. Click on the "Office Updates" button and then on "Update Now".
  • If there is an update available for OneNote, it will be downloaded automatically.

Android, iOS / iPadOS

  • Open the Play Store or App Store, search for OneNote and tap "Update" if an update is available.

You cannot manually download updates for the web version of OneNote.

Reload the notebook

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Syncing problems with a particular notebook? Try closing and reopening the notebook. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

If a particular notebook doesn't want to sync in OneNote, you can try closing it and then reopening it. Synchronization can also be forced in this way. However, this method only works for OneNote's Windows apps. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • In OneNote, hover over the not-syncing notebook and right-click on it. In the menu you now select "Close notebook".
  • Then click on "Notebooks> More Notebooks …". Now select the previously closed notebook and open it again.

Resolve synchronization conflicts in notebooks with multiple authors

OneNote often has sync conflicts when two or more people are working on the same section of a notebook at the same time. So that no information is lost when editing at the same time, OneNote creates a copy of the relevant section and indicates the problem with a yellow warning message.

To transfer changes in a section from the copy to the original, proceed as follows:

  • Copy the contents from the temporary section with the yellow warning notice. To do this, mark it and then press the key combination "Ctrl + C" or right-click on it and select "Copy".
  • Now open the original section and paste the content from the temporary page with the key combination "Ctrl + V" or "Right click> Paste".
  • Then go back to the temporary page and delete it by right-clicking the tab and selecting "Delete Section".

tip

To avoid future synchronization conflicts, coordinate work in OneNote so that only one user can make changes to a section of a notebook.

This feature does not exist in the web version of the web version or the variants for Android and iOS / iPadOS.

Fix synchronization errors when there is not enough storage space

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If there is not enough storage space, it is worth optimizing files in OneNote and deleting old backups. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot 2021

In the Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 versions of the app on the PC, too little storage space or a notebook that is too large can mean that OneNote no longer syncs. This can happen, for example, if you save too much content (especially pictures) in a notebook. Most of the time, however, backups that are too large are the culprit in a failed synchronization.

To get the synchronization working again, you have the following options:

Optimize files

OneNote has a feature that allows you to optimize the size of the notebooks you have saved. To use the feature, do the following:

  • In OneNote click on "File> Options" and select "Save and Back Up" in the new window.
  • In the menu item "Optimize files" press the button "Optimize all files now". You can leave the preset values as they are.

Reduce the number of automatic backups

Under the point "Save and backup" you also have the option to reduce the number of backups. If the number of backups exceeds the specified number, the latest backup will overwrite the oldest backup.

We recommend that you choose two or three for the "Number of backup copies to keep" menu item. In this way you save storage space and still have at least one backup backup in case one does not work.

Delete old backups

If you have already accumulated several old backups in your memory, it can help to delete them manually in order to fix the synchronization problems of OneNote. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Use the key combination "Windows key + R" to open the "Run" window.
  • Copy the file path " % localappdata% MicrosoftOneNote" (without quotation marks) into the text field and confirm with "OK".
  • You are now in the OneNote folder. Open the folder with the version number of your OneNote installation, for example "16.0" and open the folder "Backup" there.
  • Here you can now delete as many older backups as you want, thereby freeing up storage space.

After you've created space, even larger notebooks should sync again without any problems.

summary

  • If OneNote does not sync, first check whether the device on which you are using the program is connected to the Internet.
  • Then check whether there are any problems on the part of Microsoft with OneDrive, the service required for synchronization. You can see the status of the service on this website.
  • It is also possible that automatic synchronization is not activated in OneNote. Check this in the settings.
  • If OneNote does not synchronize automatically, you can also initiate the synchronization manually.
  • If OneNote doesn't sync, it could also be caused by a bug. Therefore update the app in the respective store of your device or via Microsoft Office / Microsoft 365.
  • If there is a synchronization problem with a specific notebook in OneNote, you can try to close the notebook and open it again.
  • If there is a synchronization conflict because several authors are working in the same section of a notebook, OneNote automatically creates a backup copy in which you can continue working. To transfer changes from the copy to the original, you simply copy them over.
  • If you use the app on a Windows device, insufficient memory can also be the reason why OneNote does not sync. To free up memory, optimize the files in OneNote, reduce the number of automatic backups and delete older backups.

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