ZERO backup methods that work for Mac OneNote?! I'm at wit's end.

Copper Contributor

I have one rule: If I can't be sure my data's backed up, I don't use the platform that denies me that certainty.

Hope I'm wrong, but an exhaustive search & many experiments suggest that this is the case with OneNote for Mac. Unless you also have a PC (actual or virtual), there is apparently NO WAY AT ALL to create backups of OneNote notebooks that you can actually use.

If you're a Mac user and have found a method, please please tell me what it is!

Yes, you can save & download .one files via OneNote Online--but neither the Mac OneNote App nor OneNote online can open & read those .one files (stupidest thing in the history of stupid, but true). Nor can any other app I've found--you get ASCII salad at best. Such files are 100% useless without a Windows machine.

Yes, the Mac version lets you export ONE PAGE AT A TIME as a PDF--losing all filing hierarchies in the process--but that's the ONLY export option in the Mac version. And that's useless, for reasons I trust I don't need to explain. Also, Mac versions of other note platforms (like Evernote) have no "Import from OneNote" options. Even making backup copies to another part of Microsoft OneDrive is a fail--the copies get created, but will not open with either OneNote online or the Mac app.

The upshot: if anything ever corrupts my OneDrive-stored OneNote notebooks, they're gone and I'm screwed. No true way to save a recovery copy anywhere, unless I buy a PC. Somebody tell me what I'm missing, please. I absolutely love using OneNote, but I'm this close > < to dumping it over this issue.

Again, hope I've missed something obvious. But if not, I'd advise any & all Mac users to steer clear of OneNote.

What kind of a Mickey Mouse notes app provides no way whatsoever to backup your notes?

2 Replies
I was afraid of this. No other Mac users have found a backup method either, right?



Finally found ONE CRAZY WAY - but it requires having access to both a mac and a Windows machine with OneNote 2016 for Windows.


  1. sync everything
  2. open MS Onedrive and log in
  3. open documents folder on onedrive. Don’t select any files inside it. Just open it.
  4. Click “Download” tab that appears at top of browser screen
  5. Choose to open the zip file with the Unarchiver or whatever else opens it.
  6. This will create a folder called "Documents". Inside it are .one files that OneNote 2016 for windows can read and restore! I did this today with a friend's windows machine and it works.
    Save it on your mac, an external drive, or wherever you keep secure backups.
  7. Repeat 1-6 frequently.