Converting old OneNote notebooks to OneNote for Windows 10

Copper Contributor

I have OneNote for Windows 10 on my computer now, I was using 2016 before my computer had to be rebuilt. I can't open any of my old notebooks, the new OneNote doesn't think they are OneNote files. The Windows 10 version doesn't have a file tab, so the converter posts I've seen aren't helpful. I don't have an old OneNote program to try and convert them with. How can I open my old notebooks? I don't understand how OneNote can't open other OneNote files, that seems ridiculous.

2 Replies


I ran into what you are experiencing a long time ago when I first started using OneNote. There were so many iterations of OneNote, first saved the on the hard drive, then OneDrive Personal, then OneDrive for Business Groove.exe, then OneDrive for Business and finally SharePoint. I'm sorry to say that I couldn't find a way to move the notebook pages and I had to re-create my notebooks too after I found out they weren't syncing and then became corrupt. In my case I was lucky that I still had the old OneNote 2016 on my computer and with some of my notebooks, I could open them, copy the pages to a new notebook and then stopped using the old notebooks all together. I don't have a fix for you because I don't think there is one. When you create notebooks, if you are a corporate user, the best thing I can tell you is to create separate notebooks and then save them to OneDrive for Business and then you should be safe for awhile until Microsoft makes another change to OneNote.  I really like OneNote, but I hate these iterations with no way to move old notebook except by re-creating them.


I have called Microsoft Office support in the past for help with OneNote and they weren't able to give me any fix either except to keep recreating the notebooks over and over again.  Not great when you have lots of sections and even more pages.  Sorry I couldn't help you with a fix.

@straxler14 @ddornberg  Is it possible that the newly announced Microsoft Lists is going to replace OneNote? I've been a OneNote proponent/advocate since it first appeared and I used for lots of things, both personal and business. In addition to being an IT Manager, I'm also a fiction author and I used OneNote extensively for several novels. Sadly, the earlier ones went up in "flames" during the various iterations of OneNote. I no longer use or promote it.