Add password protection to your notes

To prevent unauthorized access to your notes, you can protect specific sections of your notebook with a password (password: A sequence of characters needed to access computer systems, files, and Internet services. Strong passwords combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.).

 Note   The feature or functionality described in this topic is available only if you have installed Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1. To learn more about the service pack and how to download it, see Service pack features in OneNote 2003.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

  1. Click the tab of the section you want to protect.
  2. On the File menu, click Password Protection.
  3. In the Password Protection task pane, click Set Password.
  4. In the Password Protection dialog box, type the password you want in the Enter password box.
  5. Confirm the password by typing it in the Confirm password box.


  • Passwords are case-sensitive (case-sensitive: Capable of distinguishing between uppercase and lowercase letters. A case-sensitive search finds only text that is an exact match of uppercase and lowercase letters.). Make sure that the CAPS LOCK key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.
  • If you lose or forget a password, OneNote cannot recover your data.
  • Sections with applied passwords are protected after a period of inactivity that you can specify, or after you exit OneNote.
  • Password-protected sections are not included in notebook searches. To include protected sections when you search, you must first unlock the sections.
  • Password-protected sections cannot be accessed by others during a shared note-taking session. To include a protected section in a shared session, you must remove the section's password protection before you start or join the session.
  • Audio and video recordings are stored as separate files in your notebook, so they cannot be protected with a password.
Applies to:
OneNote 2003