OneNote/Class Notebook File Storage - Desktop, Web, Teams versions

Brass Contributor


Does anyone have a clear resource to share that would explain where files are stored if you use the OneNote desktop version, the Office 365 web version and the Team Class Notebook?


This seems to be a source of confusion for faculty and staff because you can access notebooks in various locations OneDrive, SharePoint, Class Notebook app, OneNote app, etc. but I want to clearly understand where the files are stored, not shortcuts to the files. 


Simply stated, is this accurate?

  • If you use the desktop OneNote, files are stored in: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\OneNote Notebooks. And if you sync, they will be backed up in the cloud.
  • If you use Teams, the class notebook files are in the related SharePoint Site.
  • If you use the O365 web app, the files are stored in your OneDrive notebooks folder.

Thank you for your helping in clarifying this for me!


9 Replies
Those 3 locations seem about right to me. With the desktop version you can have multiple backups and define where on your C: they are stored. Its possible the path may be slightly different depending on the PC.

The O365 web app uses OneDrive (for O365 or personal accounts) as you suggest & Teams saves most stuff to SharePoint.
Hi Allan,
I have a follow-up question if you have time. I want to advise this faculty member to do a *.one search to locate their notebooks. After reading the issue, is that the best advice? Thanks in advance!
I can’t seem to find where my OneNote notebooks are stored on OneDrive. Is there a hidden folder or something that contains the actual notebook files? I’m trying to do some digital housekeeping. I changed the storage location of some old notebooks from within OneNote to a particular folder, but when I go to that folder in OneDrive it’s just links, not the actual notebooks themselves. I looked at notebooks I haven’t moved and it is the same situation. I’d like to know where they actually are to potentially do a backup, close the notebook within OneNote to reduce clutter, and potentially delete old clutter, but I can find the actual files.

The OneNote for Windows 10 app, by default, saves to OneDrive and does not work in the same way as OneNote 2016. The files are not visible in OneDrive and don't need to be backed up as they're already backed up in the cloud (i.e. OneDrive). If you delete a page or a section using OneNote for Windows 10 it will remove it from OneDrive so housekeeping in the app will replicated in the storage on OneDrive.

If you also have OneNote 2016 then you can create multiple backups to wherever you want. Sadly Microsoft started with OneNote (now OneNote 2016) as an installable program, stored on and backed up to your PC. Then the cloud came along and they came up with OneNote for Windows to confuse things. The former is much richer in functionality but isn't quite as modern as the Windows10 version.

However, whichever OneNote you're using you shouldn't think of it as a tool like Word or Excel. You've probably noticed there's no "save" button in OneNote. That's because it just saves whatever you're doing constantly and you don't need to name files etc. for the same reason. The concept for Word therefore isn't relevant to OneNote. Its simply a notebook. You keep adding notes, there's no need to manage files as such, its a digital canvas and therefore there's no clutter!

Some useful resources:

You're welcome. Feel free to reach out if you hit any more OneNote issues :)

@Allan Clarke 


Hi, I am actually wanting to relocate my one note to a different storage area as my one drive is nearly full. Do you know how I might do this?