Loved OneNote 2003-2010. OneNote 2016 is breaking my heart.
June 30, 2016 3:30 AM   Subscribe

I’ve used OneNote happily for years—it’s the notebook program I would write if I could write programs. Unfortunately, my laptop died a few months ago and took OneNote 2010 with it. I have tried to make the switch to OneNote 2016/OneDrive and I am absolutely lost—actually shed tears of frustration over the damned program. If it were a person, I would DTMFA because, you know, there are plenty of fish out there. But, I’ve already checked out so many alternative note-taking/organizing programs and nothing comes close. OneNote is THE ONE.

I’ve set up my OneDrive account, installed the local OneNote version, and created "New" notebook. New includes a couple of section groups—group1, group2. In my OneDrive live account, OneNote files includes "New" folder. When I open the folder, there is one file, "New", i.e., the section groups aren't listed in the directory, but they're in the notebook and all is well.

I uploaded a 2010 notebook to my OneDrive account and it appears under OneNote files as "2010NB". When I open that folder, there are separate files for each section group. However, 2010NB is not listed among my notebooks in the online version of OneNote 2016 and attempting to open it in the local version of OneNote 2016 returns a message re needing an Office 365 subscription.

What am I doing wrong?

Bonus question: I find the online version of 2016 so inferior to the local version, which seems more like 2010 to me, that I don't understand why anyone would use it. So, I'm assuming I'm missing something here, too.

Note: I've googled this, read endless microsoft Q&As and assorted tutorials. Plus, I've had a pc since 1984, i.e., I've been around the block a time or two re software. I'm guessing that I am missing something fundamental about the way post-2010 versions of OneNote are organized. (However, I may be totally wrong about what I don't understand.)
posted by she's not there to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is a stupid question but are you using OneNote or OneNote 2016? The first is a simpler Windows app and the second is the full desktop software.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:58 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

It seems to me like you're confusing OneNote Web App, OneNote for Windows, and OneNote 2016. The first two are free and they're variously slimmed-down versions of OneNote that offer some notetaking functionality. OneNote 2016 comes with either an Office 365 subscription or a purchase of Office 2016. OneNote 2016 should be basically the same as OneNote 2010.
posted by retypepassword at 8:37 AM on June 30, 2016

Well, this is just getting more confusing. I'm attempting to use the free version. However, the free version that I download, which is working fine (opens New notebook) appears in the list of programs as "OneNote 2016". I am quite certain that I did not purchase OneNote 2016.

And here's something new: I just discovered that if I click on individual sections of my 2010 notebooks in the Windows file directory, I first get the message re needing an Office 365 subscription—when I close that message, the section open in local OneNote, with a tiny message at the top of the page "To get the most out of OneNote, move this to OneDrive".

At the moment, it appears that I could open of my OneNote 2010 sections, one at a time, and reconstruct all of my 2010 notebooks and use them in the app I downloaded. However, I have hundreds of sections, many organized into section groups, in 10 different notebooks—not impossible, but not practical.

Windows 7, btw.
posted by she's not there at 10:27 AM on June 30, 2016

If you want to buy a license for OneNote 2016, it should be $110 from Microsoft; a trial version is also available. That will get you out of the Office 365 subscription model and should address your issues.
posted by evoque at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2016

Don't mean to thread sit, but I really want to use the free version, which I'm assuming millions of people have been able to figure out. Don't know why it's such a mystery to me.

(If I can't make this work, I'll likely buy OneNote 2010 via ebay, which would be less than half the price of a license for OneNote 2016.)
posted by she's not there at 11:55 AM on June 30, 2016

It sounds like Microsoft might have changed the way they release OneNote and actually made OneNote 2016 free, separate from their Office suite. So you probably have the right version of OneNote. You've probably tried this already, but just in case you haven't, try this:

Open OneNote 2016 on your computer (not the Web version)
Go to File -> Open
Scroll down (or look down) to "Open from other locations"
Click "Browse"
Find your OneNote notebook file (should end with .toc or something).
Click "Open"

Does that work?
posted by retypepassword at 1:19 PM on June 30, 2016

Perhaps adding to the misunderstanding, the link to the trial version posted above is actually a link to the free version.
posted by she's not there at 1:19 PM on June 30, 2016

One thing to add: You'll have to open each of your notebooks (not sections) individually, because OneNote stores which notebooks are open in the Windows registry (which presumably you don't have backed up -- if you do, see here). If, for some reason, you don't have .onetoc2 files in your OneNote notebook folders, don't select any files in the folder and just click Open anyway. It'll ask you if you want to open the folder as a notebook.
posted by retypepassword at 2:04 PM on June 30, 2016

retype...: when I click any of the .onetoc2 files, quick notes opens—that's it. I'm going to play around with OneNote again tonight.

I'm about at the end of my rope on this, which is so upsetting. I really want this program to work.
posted by she's not there at 4:49 PM on July 3, 2016

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