View the synchronization status of shared notebooks

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About notebook synchronization

When you work in notebooks that are stored on your computer, Microsoft OneNote 2010 continually and automatically saves your changes as you work. However, if you set up a shared notebook on the Web or your organization's network in order to share the notebook on other computers or with other people, saving and managing changes occurs a bit differently.

OneNote keeps a local cached copy of a shared notebook on each computer that accesses it and then periodically synchronizes any changes with the notebook files that are stored in the shared location. You can adjust the settings that control this process. To ensure that the shared notebook accurately captures everyone's changes, you can also resolve certain conflicts that may arise.

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Check notebook sync status

Under normal conditions, OneNote automatically synchronizes shared notebooks at regular intervals. On the Navigation bar, OneNote displays a synchronization status icon over the icons of shared notebooks to indicate the current synchronization status:

OneNote is synchronizing changes    An icon with two green arrows in a circle is displayed whenever OneNote attempts to synchronize your changes with the notebook file in the shared location.

OneNote has finished synchronizing changes    An icon with two green arrows in a circle and a green check mark is displayed when your changes have been successfully synchronized with the notebook file in the shared location. When synchronization is successful, other users can see the latest version of your notes.

OneNote cannot synchronize changes    An icon with a yellow, triangular warning sign is displayed when sync errors occurred during the most recent synchronization attempt. To view the reason for a failure, right-click the shared notebook icon on the Navigation bar and then click Notebook Sync Status. See the "Troubleshoot sync errors" section in this article further for more details. OneNote will still continue synchronizing those sections of the notebook that did not encounter any errors. You can also keep making changes in any of the sections, and these changes will be synchronized when the error is resolved.

OneNote cannot synchronize changes    An icon with a red, slashed cirle is displayed when you are not connected to the location where the shared notebook is stored. You may not have a network connection or the server at the shared location may not be responding. If you are not connected to the shared location, you can still edit your local copy of the shared notebook on your computer. The changes that you make offline will be automatically synchronized the next time you connect to the shared location.

 Note   OneNote must be running in order to synchronize shared notebooks. If your computer is connected to the shared location on the network, but OneNote is closed, shared notebooks will not be synchronized on your computer until the next time you start OneNote.

Turn automatic notebook synchronization on or off

If a shared notebook location is temporarily unavailable or if you do not want to see other people's changes to the notebook you're currently working in, you can turn automatic notebook synchronization off by following these steps:

  1. On the File menu, click Info.
  2. On the right side, click View Sync Status.
  3. In the Shared Notebook Synchronization dialog box that appears, click the Work offline option button. OneNote will not synchronize your changes or display other people's changes to the notebook until you manually sync the notebook or turn automatic synchronization back on.

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Troubleshoot sync errors

If a particular section in a shared notebook fails to synchronize properly, OneNote will display an error message in the Shared Notebook Synchronization dialog box.

  1. On the Navigation bar, right-click the icon of the shared notebook you want to check and then click Notebook Sync Status.
  2. In the Shared Notebook Synchronization dialog box that appears, click the Errors tab.

 Note   If an error is encountered for any particular section, the other sections in the same notebook will still be synced properly.

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Move or delete misplaced sections

Misplaced sections may appear when OneNote 2010 attempts to synchronize changes that were made to a notebook section whose section file cannot be found. In such cases, a Misplaced Sections icon appears near the bottom of the Navigation bar:

Button image

Misplaced sections may also appear in the following situations:

  • You made changes to a section that was deleted in the shared location by another user.
  • You made changes to a section that was moved to a different location by another user. If the section was moved to another shared notebook that is open on your computer, OneNote can rediscover the section file and properly synchronize your changes to it at the new location. In this case, the Misplaced Sections icon disappears after the changes are synchronized.

Misplaced sections remain in the shared notebook until OneNote discovers the new location of the section, or until you or another user moves or deletes the misplaced section.

Move a misplaced section to another notebook

If a section in a shared notebook can no longer be synchronized but you want to keep the information that it contains, you can move the unsynchronized section to another notebook. This removes it from the shared notebook while preserving its contents.

  1. Right-click the tab of the misplaced section that you want to move, and then click Move on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Move Section To dialog box, do one of the following:
    • To move the current section in front of another section tab, click the target section tab in the list, and then click Move Before.
    • To move the current section behind another section tab, click the target section tab in the list, and then click Move After.
    • To move the current section into a section group or into a notebook without any existing sections, click the target section group or notebook in the list, and then click Move Into.

 Tip   To create a new section group, select a location in the list, and then click Create New Section Group before you move the current section.

Delete a misplaced section from your notebook

If a section in a shared notebook was intentionally deleted and you no longer need to synchronize or save your changes, do the following:

  1. At the bottom of the Navigation bar, click Misplaced Sections Button image.
  2. In the list of misplaced sections, right-click the name of the section that you want to delete, and then click Delete.

 Important   When you delete a misplaced section, the information it contains is permanently discarded. If you are not sure whether to permanently discard a misplaced section, you can move it to another part of your notebook instead of deleting it.

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Applies to:
OneNote 2010