Any way to create OneNote "templates"? Or, open a .onepkg file in OneNote for Mac?

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A few of our academic departments are looking to replace an eportfolio application that's reaching end-of-life in July and it seems like OneNote does a LOT of what they want. The only issue is that for most programs, the students need to structure them in a very specific way. We can create a "master" notebook and export it to a .onepkg file, which can then be "opened" in OneNote 2016 (on Windows) to create a new notebook with the exact structure of that master. However, about 60-70% of their students are Mac users, and the Mac version of OneNote doesn't recognize that file type. 


For the time being, we suggested creating the master and generating a view-only share link to it so the students could open it up (in the Mac or Windows 10 app) and copy the sections to a notebook they created themselves. The faculty are not thrilled with this approach. 


It seems like MS provides the ability to export/import OneNote notebooks or sections, but only when they're stored in a "personal" OneDrive account (not in OneDrive for Business). I've been looking around for alternate solutions that would be practical (ie: don't involve custom code or Powershell), but found nothing. Since MS uses templates in some types of team notebooks (Staff, PLC and Class Teams), I'm sure it's possible, but maybe Microsoft hasn't made public the tool they used to do that.

5 Replies
Yes, sure it's possible using Onenote classroom, where you can distribute sections and pages
I wrote a little report about my experience
Un portafolio en Onenote classroom –
(if you don't read Spanish, try or
Kind regards
Thanks. I was kind of hoping to do it without creating a Class Notebook. The idea is for each student to have and manage their own, independent notebook/portfolio (these are doctoral or masters-level students). I've worked with Class Notebooks enough to know that they can be a pain. However, maybe things have changed. For example, is it possible for students to export just their section to PDF (or some other format)? Also, I know it's possible to create sections when setting up a Class Notebook, but I've not found a way to populate those sections with pages (in other words, it just creates the sections as blank "placeholders").

Hi@Chad Kealey ,

You can sure distribute pages to sections in Class notebooks.

And yes, students can create PDFs. But the can also copy pages / sections into private notebooks they own.

Kind regards


Hi@Chad Kealey 

Two more things:

- You might want to have a look at

Distribute pages and sections to Class Notebooks

- No Mac here, but on my Win machine I can export pages and sections as .one files. If you do so and double-clik on them, what happens on a Mac?

Kind regards


Thanks. This is useful information, and it seems like what our faculty are looking for can be done piecemeal, but I'm not sure they're going to like that approach. If every student had a Windows PC (or the .onepkg file created when exporting from OneNote 2016 could be opened/used in the web and/or Mac versions), then this wouldn't be an issue. It's just frustrating because every other Office app allows you to create templates that are at least somewhat functional/usable across platforms.