OneNote 2016 data files location

Copper Contributor

I have OneNote 2016 for Desktop Win10 set to save data files in 

c:\Users\joe\Documents\Onenote Notebooks

but when I look there with file explorer I do not see any files.


Where are the data files?


(I do know they are also in AppData Folder, but I want then in my Documents Folder)

24 Replies

Look in the Information pane in the backstage (File menu): there you will see where your notebooks are stored.

Probably they are saved in the cloud (OneDrive or OneDrive for Business)...

I do not understand what the "backstage (File Menu)" means.

I am not sure how to do that.


thank you - I appreciate your time

Click on the first menu to the left (File): what you see now is the "backstage".

The first choice at the top of the left bar is Information: there you will see the notebooks and their location. :)

It shows that the data files are on oneDrive.


How do I get them on my own hard drive and to sync with the cloud-based files like I configured in the options of OneDrive?





OneNote sync mechanism is different from usual OneDrive sync mechanism, so you should not save directly notebooks to the local sinc folder.

You can find the correct procedure here:

And this blog article explains some of the details:

Hope it helps...

I do not want  my onenote files on OneDrive or any other drive that is not on my Surface Pro 4. How do I get my files only on the surface?

You need to move back your onenote file to local drive. you could do it whith move options (by selecting your notebook/settings and "share or move) or you could create a local notebook and coyy all your contents in the new one

AFAIK, you cannot move as a whole a notebook that is already in OneDrive to a local drive with a single operation. The only possibility is to create a local notebook first, and then move the content section by section.


This nice and useful info for me. Thanks a lot

Unable to open notebooks on OneNote. Notebooks are saved on documents and not OneDrive, therefore I am unable to sync them. I have tried to read solutions in Microsoft Community but cannot open replies when they are in the answer box. Please help.

As already said, if you want to sync a notebook on different devices, then you should create it in OneDrive, not in a local folder.


I have just started using OneNote.


I too am confused as to file location.  I want to store the Notepads that I am creating now in the cloud.  BUT I also want to see them in my local one drive folders.  RIght now I just see a shortcut.


If I can't use these Notepads offline, when not connected to the net, then they are of little use.  I opted for local replication of OneDrive so that I could work offline, which is a very common situation for me.


It sounds as though I need to do everything locally and avoid the cloud altogether, except for possibly pushing a backup of my Notepads from time to time. 


I do hope that I have this all wrong!  Can someone advise please?


I appreciate whatever you can tell me.  


thx!  MF

If you create the notebook in the cloud, using the procedure in the article, it will be automatically synced locally and you will be able to use it offline.

Hope it helps...

Hi Salvatore.


I'm sorry for not getting this!  I did create my Notebooks in the cloud, by specifying a folder within my OneDrive local store.  Was that the problem?  i.e. that I specified the local store?


When I create NoteBooks it asks if I want to share with others so I do seem to be in the cloud.


But I cannot find a OneNote file anywhere on my PC (looking for extension ".one")  All I have are shortcuts to the cloud.


Ireally need to have this data locally and it sounds as though that is do-able ... I just don't understand how to do it!  I *am* willing to do whatever it takes if you can point me or otherwise advise.


I really appreciateyour help.


Many thanks,


Hi Mike.

The sync mechanism of OneNote is independent of the sync mechanism of OneDrive and is somehow "hidden".

So, you will not see locally (nor online) the single files that constitute a notebook, but only "stubs".

Nevertheless, the notebook will be actually stored in the cloud and will be actually synced locally in some hidden location. Please follow carefully the steps in the article I posted above.

If you want, you can also create a local backup of the notebook, and in such a case you will get in the backup folder the single files that constitute the notebook (at a point in time, of course - not live).

Hope it helps...

I know this old, but I couldn't believe the answer you got. You were in the right area, but you need to turn on show hidden files on file explore. Click on "View" on top, then "Option" to the right. Then pick "view," Under hidden files and folders, click "Show hidden files, folders, and driver." You should see your One Note files. For some reason, window hides them.  

If you don't see them, click on "My Notebook"

I'm confused by the reference to File menu. The only items on the menu line are Home-Insert-Draw-View. Must be missing something? Thanks!

I also only have Home-Insert-Draw & View menus in the top toolbar?


I have been using OneNote for many years but now when I open OneNote 2016 I am forced to login with a MS account. Why? I can store my Excel and Word files wherever I want and has always been the same with OneNote.  On our large network external accounts are not permitted so in its current state I will have to tell the entire organization that the OneNote files they have been building for years are now unusable?????

Well, I found an answer; sort of.

You have to look in your app list for OneNote 2016, DO NOT just select OneNote from the menu because this is the totally cloud based version. Now I have the ability to select my notebook(s) from the local computer or network share.