How to back up OneNote to another place on your computer

Although OneNote automatically saves your progress in the notebook, a crashed drive can still result in lost data. Fortunately, OneNote 2016 comes with the option to automatically backup your notebooks. So, we’ll look at how to back up your files and restore your notes from a backup.

How to create a backup of your notebook:

  • Go to ‘File’ > ‘Options.
  • Click on ‘Save & Backup’ on the left menu.
  • Select ‘Backup Folder’ in the ‘Save’ section.
  • Then click the ‘Modify’ button.

Please keep reading our visual, step-by-step guide on how to backup your notebooks in OneNote.

How to get OneNote 2016 for free

You will need a Microsoft account to use OneNote. Signup for a free account here and click on Create account. Then you can download OneNote 2016. Click the Download button and install the application.


How to create a backup of your notebook

To create a backup of your files, first, identify a space in which to save your backups. A secondary drive or a USB stick can be effective solutions, although you must always have a USB stick connected for frequently backed-up notebooks.

  • First, go to File and click on Options on the left menu.
  • Go to the left menu in the options window and click on Save & Backup.
Save & Backup.
  • Click the on Backup Folder in the Save section at the top.
  • Then click the Modify button.
Backup Folder > Modify
  • Navigate to where you want to back up your files and click the Select button.
Select a folder for backup.

In the Backup section, you can choose to automatically backup your files. You can also set a specific duration between backups. By default, OneNote will back up your files once every week. But for essential and regularly updated notebooks, you can back them up every few minutes. You can also choose how many backup copies you want to keep.

Automatically back up my notebook.
  • Click the OK button at the bottom of the Options window to save your settings.
  • Then restart OneNote for the settings to take effect.
  • Return to File > Options and then Save & Backup.
  • And click the Back Up All Notebooks Now button to check if the new location is working.

How to restore notes from a backup

If you delete your version history by mistake, you can still access and restore old notes and whole sections from the backups folder.

  • First, go to File at the top.
  • Then go to Info and click on Open Backups.
Info > Open Backups.
  • Locate and select the backup you wish to open.
  • Then click the Open button.
Select backup > Open.

Restore a section

  • Now you can right-click on a section and select Move or Copy from the popup menu.
Right-click the section tab > Move or Copy.
  • Select a notebook to copy the section to and click the Copy button.
Select a notebook > Copy.
  • If you see the sync error below, you can try to export the section instead.
Error message.
  • Right-click the section tab and select Export from the popup menu.
Right-click the section tab > Export.
  • Open the folder that you want to export to.
  • Enter a name for the file.
  • Select Current Section next to Page Range.
  • Then click the Save button.
Open a folder to copy your backup to > Name the file > Current Section > Save.
  • OneNote will now append the backed-up section to your new notebook.

Restore a page

  • Right-click on a page and select Move or Copy from the popup menu.
Right-click the page > Move or Copy.
  • Click the plus icon next to a notebook to reveal the sections.
  • Click on the section where you want to add the page.
  • Then click the Copy button.
Choose a section > Copy.
  • Open or reopen the notebook to which you copied the page.
  • You will find that OneNote has appended the page to your chosen section.

How to restore notes in your current notebook

Every notebook has a version history, which records the edits of pages and sections over time. If you delete the version history, you can use backups to recover lost notes. However, if the version history still exists, you can restore your notebook without a backup.

  • First, click on History in the top menu.
  • Click on Page Versions and select Page Versions from the dropdown menu.
Page Versions > Page Versions.
  • You will find page versions dated in the pages column.
  • Click on a page version to view it.
  • Right-click a page version and select Restore Version to restore it.
Right-click page version > Restore Version.

View recent edits

  • Click on Recent Edits in the History tab and select a time frame.
Recent Edits > Select a time frame.
  • OneNote will highlight all the edits within your chosen time frame in yellow.
  • You can then arrange edited pages by the modified date.
Edits are highlighted in yellow.


Finding when an editor changed the page can be vital if you’re trying to restore notes from a backup. Backup files will also contain a version history that you can view and restore. However, the ‘Restore Version’ option will not be available.

  • To restore a version from a backed-up file, right-click the version and select Copy Page To.
Right-click a page version > Copy Page To.
  • Click the plus icon next to a notebook to reveal the sections.
  • Click on the section into which you’d like to copy the page.
  • Then click the Copy button.
Select a section > Copy.
  • Now reopen the notebook you copied to and click on the section you chose.
  • You will find the restored page at the bottom of the pages column.

Thanks for reading.

John Gleave

John Gleave has been a researcher, content writer, and senior editor at Business Tech Planet since 2022. John was formerly a data analyst and web designer with expertise in several programming languages, such as JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, CSS, SQL, and more! With a passion for writing and technology, he has now focused his skills on crafting tech guides for BTP. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.

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