Best Practice for archiving OneNote notebooks in SharePoint Online


How are you archiving ON notebooks? Currently we have 750+ notebooks dating back to 2012 in a single SP online library. We would like a quick and efficient method to move individual notebooks or batches to an archive site. Has anyone else tackled this issue?

11 Replies

First of all the important question is: Why do you want to archive these onenote books?


Are they making your libraries to large, is it difficult to oversee the high volume of files? Or are you thinking 'on-premises reducing disk space'. Or backups are taking too long?


Should these onenotes still be accessible? If the answer is yes, why not just leave them where they are?


Potentially you could of course move the older onenotes into a separate library so that it is easier to find the active ones back. But a view sorted by modification date might be just as easy.

@Pieter Veenstra these are excellent questions. Yes, the volume is to large and we are way over the limit of 5,000 viewable items (because of the way each notebook creates mutliple file folders). Part of the reason is we must keep our records for 10 years and need them moved from a visible library to a restricted space. There is no plan to back up to "on-premises" as we are 100% cloud and they would need to be available to those that need access.


So, my real dilemma is it has been labor intensive to manually move one notebook at a time to another library or in our case an "archive" subsite. I am hoping there is a better solution as we have lost content in most moves attempted.

What about exporting notebooks as packages and archiving those packages?

You could use PowerShell to move files. Have a look at the PnP PowerShell commands.


Get-SPOFile and Add-SPOFile and Remove-SPOFile should give you the solution.

Thanks, @Salvatore Marco Biscari, but that is exactly what we were hoping to avoid. It is time and labor intensive to export each notebook to a OneNote package on a good day with excellent bandwith. Plus, tests have shown that some content is lost (sections that had a large amount of inking, large printouts, embedded documents). So we are hoping that a better tool comes along.


@Pieter Veenstra we hadn't explored PowerShell. Have you tested it on large OneNote notebooks? Often times I cannot see the "file structure" of all the folders and content because of the way OneNote is handled in SharePoint online libraries.

best response confirmed by Scott Fouts (Contributor)

Missed this announcement last week: Take your OneNote Class Notebooks wherever you go with the new “Save a copy” feature. Guess I'll need to be patient until it goes through testing in Education and then wide release for all O365. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and insight.

The other way could be by using OneNote API...but not sure if it supports this scenario. Maybe someone from the OneNote team could comment on this

I've not tried it on large OneNote Files but I have tried it on large other files. At least it is worth a try.

Hi Scott - I recently responded to a legal request to export a users OD4B site that contained a OneNote Notebook.  I used Sharegate to export to the filesystem and the OneNote sections were copied to the file system, the result was a folder with a bunch of .one files. I was able to click the .one files and open them in OneNote.  Because the content was readable this as satisfactory for the request we were fulfilling. This may also be satisfactory for your records retention requirements.  -  Greg

Hi Scott - I just read your comments about the loss of inking and embedded files and this is something I did not check in the sections I exported via Sharegate. Greg