OneNote Tip: How To Protect Section with A Password

If you are using OneNote and are using OneNote Desktop version instead of the Modern App version that comes with Windows, are you aware of this Pro feature that lets you password-protect any specific sections in your Notebook?

OneNote uses 3 different layers to save and organize your notes. From top down, there is Notebook, Sections, and Individual Pages. One Notebook has many Sections to cover different areas of topics. And each Section is consisted of many Pages of notes. While there is no way to lock down an entire Notebook or individual notes page, you do have open to password-protect the specific section for security reason.

How to password protect OneNote Sections

  1. Right-click the Section you want to protect, and choose Password Protect This Section…
  2. Click Set Password… button from the sidebar that slides out.
  3. Type in the password twice and hit OK. Make sure you remember the password as if you lose or forget it there is no way to recover your data.
  4. If there are any existing backup copies of the current section that are not password protected, a dialog box pops up asking whether you want to keep or delete these backups. Choose Delete if you want your data fully protected.
  5. Click Lock All button or press Ctrl+Alt+L to lock down the section.

How to unlock a protected section

Here is what you will see when you go into a protected section in OneNote,

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Click anywhere in the notes section or hit Enter, a box pops up asking for the password to unlock the section.

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Type in the password, hit OK, the section is unlocked. Assume you remember your password right.

How to change or remove password

Once the section unlocked, you can Change or Remove password right from the sidebar that slides out.

OneNote_ all your notes on all your devices - OneNote - 2015-09-28 23_30_50

Note #1: The locked section also remain locked on all other devices as well.

Note #2: To search password protected sections, you will need to unlock them first. Or the content will not show up in search result.

Note #3: Go to File → Options → Advanced, and check Password section to make sure they are set properly there.

OneNote Options - 2015-09-28 23_30_26

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 09/28/2015

Posted in: Tips & Tricks
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