OneNote is the first note-taking app for Windows users. With new updates, it's now feature-rich and has an improved user interface. However, it is not error-free. Often times, incorrect syncs will appear in the app, files won't open at all, or files will open as read-only.
You might see read-only status due to limited file permissions, but the problem could also be with your system. Here are nine fixes you can implement if you first encounter this problem.
1. Deactivate write protection in the notebook properties
OneNote notebooks are usually editable by default. However, these files are often saved as read-only files so that they cannot be edited.
To make sure the read-only status isn't causing the problem, go to the location of the OneNote notebook. It's usually the OneDrive folder on your computer unless you've changed the default location.
Right click on the notebook and go to its properties. Navigate to the Generally Tab and disable that Read only Box in the Attributes Section. If this check box is already cleared, it is not the property settings that are causing the problems; there is still something that needs to be investigated.
2. Ask the sender to share an editable link
Chances are the sender didn't share the editable link with you if you're having trouble with just one notebook. You can ask the sender to share the editable link with you again to avoid this issue.
To learn how to share a document with an editable link, do the following:
Open the notebook that you want to share.
Navigate to the file Menu and select share in the left sidebar.
Navigate to Get a share link now.
click on the Create an edit link.
If previously the link could only be viewed, accessing a document with an editable link may resolve the issue. If it doesn't, follow the rest of the fixes.
3. Check your OneNote subscription
If you're using a Microsoft 365 subscription, make sure it hasn't expired. If you don't renew the subscription after it has expired, you will see restrictions. Accessing documents in read-only mode is one of them.
For more information on what happens after your Microsoft 365 Business subscription expires, see this Microsoft document.
You don't have to worry about this step if you choose the free Microsoft OneNote app and have your data properly synced. Don't go through the hassle with this fix if it doesn't apply to you.
4. Do not use the same OneNote account in multiple locations at the same time
In addition, using OneNote in multiple locations at the same time poses a variety of problems. For example, if you switch from the OneNote web to the OneNote app while the page stays open, OneNote might display the read-only view of that page.
In addition, the synchronization of the app can be affected. To avoid such problems, always use OneNote in a single place and close it properly while switching to another.
5. Repair and update OneNote
The problem may still persist even after applying the above fixes. In this case, updating and repairing OneNote can help. To update OneNote, click yours symbol right next to your logged in E-mail in OneNote and tap Office user information.
Go to product information Settings in the right sidebar and tap Update options to the drop-down menu of. to open Office updates. Click on Update now, and your OneNote will be updated immediately.
If updating OneNote doesn't fix the problem, you can also try repairing the program. To do this, go to the Windows Settings app and go to Apps Section. Then navigate to the Apps and functions in the left sidebar and type OneNote in the search box. Tap on Expanded options and scroll down to repair at the end of the page.
6. Clear OneNote's cache
OneNote stores information in its cache to optimize processing. There are rare instances when clearing the cache from your system over time can cause file readability issues. In this case, you may not be able to open or edit a file.
To clear the OneNote cache, go to the OneNote cache folder on your system. Unless you have changed the OneNote installation path, it can be found under Users> (your username)> App Data> Local> Microsoft> OneNote.
To check the location of the changed cache file, go to file Menu in OneNote and go to Options, is located at the bottom left. Navigate to Save and secure and copy the full path to the Location of the cache file.
Paste the path into File Explorer and you'll see a folder named 16.0 (or something else, depending on the version of OneNote you're using). Delete all data from the Cache Folder.
7. Change your user account
App updates and repairs fix your app's processing problems, but the problem could also be related to your OneNote account. If you're not sure, try opening the same notebook with a different account. If it works ideally then change your user account.
8. Delete the storage space from OneDrive
For OneNote power users, 5GB of storage isn't enough to handle the amount of work they're doing. Make sure that the OneDrive account your OneNote data is stored in has enough space to process new data.
With full OneDrive storage, OneNote can experience the same weird issues that you see on your low storage phone. If you want to get more out of OneDrive, get a premium subscription.
9. Upgrade or downgrade Windows
If your Windows is out of date, you can update it to see if that fixes the problem. Likewise, you can revert to a previous version if the problems occurred after an update.
You can update Windows by going to Windows Settings and selecting Update and security in the left sidebar. Click on Check for updates, and Windows will update your operating system.
On the other hand, you can roll back the update, but you should only do so if you are sure that it will not affect your computer's performance. In addition, using an outdated version puts your security at risk, so be aware of the risks.
Open OneNote and get back to work
If OneNote is preventing you from working on your files, it could be for one of many different reasons. Hopefully by now you've found one that works for you.
Did you know there are ways to speed up your OneNote? You can turn off graphics acceleration, reduce background activity, and avoid embedding large files so OneNote can keep up with the pace.
6 ways to speed up Microsoft OneNote
Does OneNote take its sweet time getting things done? Here are some tweaks you can make to make Microsoft OneNote faster.
About the author
(67 articles published)
Shan Abdul is a mechanical engineering graduate. After completing his training, he started his career as a freelance writer. He writes about using various tools and software to help people be more productive as a student or a professional. In his spare time, he likes to watch YouTube videos on the subject of productivity.
From Shan Abdul
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