Password-protect notes in OneNote 2010

Password protection in Microsoft OneNote 2010 is designed to help keep your notes safe from prying eyes. Whether you use OneNote for class notes at school, for meeting notes at work, or for storing personal information at home, passwords play a crucial part in controlling access to those notes.

In this article


Why use passwords in OneNote?

The most common scenarios for using passwords to help control access to the information in your notebooks include the following:

Personal privacy    Your notebook may include a dedicated section or folder that contains personal data, such as your home address, telephone numbers, Social Security number, bank and credit card account numbers, Web site login credentials, and similar information. In this age of rising identity theft, leaving this type of information unprotected is risky business. OneNote encrypts protected notebook sections to help keep your personal information secure.

Flexible security    If you use OneNote to document your life at school, at work, and at home, you're likely to set up separate sections for each. Depending on how you want to share such information with others, you can assign different passwords to different sections.

Secured mobility    Unlike a computer password, which controls access to your computer but doesn't protect the individual files stored on it, a OneNote section password remains with your notebook file. It helps secure sections of your notebook even if your notebook file is copied to another computer or a file server, or if your computer is lost or stolen.

Top of Page Top of Page

Apply or remove password protection

Apply a password to a section

To help prevent unauthorized access to your notes, you can apply a password to specific sections of your notebook.

  1. Right-click the tab of the section that you want to protect with a password, and then click Password Protect this Section on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Password Protection task pane, click Set Password.
  3. In the Password Protection dialog box, type the password you want in the Enter password box.
  4. Confirm the password by typing it in the Confirm password box, and then click OK.

When you work in a password-protected section in your notebook, it remains unlocked for a period of time that you can specify. To increase security, you can set the option to lock protected sections as soon as you navigate away from them or when you close OneNote. When a protected section is locked, the correct password is required to view and edit the section. You can easily change or remove the password for sections in your notebook.

 Important   Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Example of a strong password: Y6dh!et5. Example of a weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A password that uses 14 or more characters is better. It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it for you. If you must write down a password to remember it, store it in a secure place.

 Notes 

  • Passwords can be applied to individual sections only, not to entire notebooks.
  • Passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the CAPS LOCK key is turned off when you enter a password.
  • Access to sections with passwords is restricted after a period of inactivity or after you exit OneNote. You can modify these settings by clicking Password Options in the Password Protection task pane.
  • Password-protected sections are not included in notebook searches. To include a protected section in a notebook search, you must unlock the section before you begin to search your notes.
  • Note tags used on the pages within a protected section are not included in a note tag summary unless the sections are first unlocked.

Change the password for a section

If a password for any section in your notebook has been compromised, or if you want to modify all of your passwords periodically for extra security, you can easily change the existing password for any section in your notebook.

  1. Right-click the tab of the section whose password you want to change, and then click Password Protect this Section on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Password Protection task pane, click Change Password.

 Note   If this option is unavailable, no password is currently applied to the selected section.

  1. In the Change Password dialog box, type the current password in the Old Password box.
  2. Type the new password that you want in the Enter New Password box.
  3. Confirm the password by typing it in the Confirm Password box, and then click OK.

Remove the password from a section

  1. Right-click the tab of the section whose password you want to remove, and then click Password Protect this Section on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Password Protection task pane, click Remove Password.

 Note   If this option is unavailable, no password is currently applied to the selected section.

  1. In the Remove Password dialog box, type the current password, and then click OK.

Lock all password-protected sections at once

You can simultaneously lock all password-protected sections in your current notebook.

  1. Right-click the tab of any section in the notebook whose password-protected sections you want to lock, and then click Password Protect this Section on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Password Protection task pane, click Lock All.

 Tip   To quickly lock all password-protected sections in the current notebook, press CTRL+ALT+L.

Top of Page Top of Page

Set password protection options

When you unlock password-protected sections in your notebook, OneNote keeps these sections available for a period of time before locking them again. You can specify that period of time, and you can set custom options for password protection.

  1. On the File menu, click Options.
  2. In the OneNote Options dialog box that appears, click Advanced.
  3. In the right column, scroll down to the Passwords heading, and then do any of the following:
    • To lock notebook sections after a specified amount of time, select the Lock password-protected sections after I have not worked in them for the following amount of time check box, and then select the amount of time that you want.
    • To lock notebook sections immediately after you're done working in them, select the Lock password-protected sections as soon as I navigate away from them check box.
    • To make notes in password-protected sections temporarily available to other programs, select the Enable add-on programs to access password-protected sections when they are unlocked check box.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
OneNote 2010