For Schools: Using OneNote without OneDrive


If you have OneDrive for Business at your school you can easily share your OneNote note book with other Teachers, and Students. If your school has OneDrive for Business, you will see it as an option when opening or creating a Notebook as “OneDrive – My School Name”

Some schools don’t have OneDrive for Business available. So, let’s explore some typical scenarios where you want to share your notebook but you don’t have OneDrive.


How to create my OneNote Notebook so other teachers or staff can collaborate

You’ll need a shared drive that the colleagues who need to collaborate all have access to.

If you need to finely control the access to this content – e.g. some people can read, some can edit, then you’ll need to approach your IT security people with pizza and caffeinated beverages. If you can give them a list of who needs which level of access they can help you with that. (When you get OneDrive for Business you can specify who gets edit or read yourself)

Create the Notebook

  1. In OneNote, choose File, New
  2. Choose Browse
  3. Navigate to a location on your shared drive
  4. Enter a file name and click Create
  5. Add content to your notebook

How do my colleagues find the Workbook?

  1. Using File Explorer navigate to the location where you created the notebook
  2. Your colleagues will need to double click on the file Open Notebook to open the notebook.
  3. To easily get the path to the location, click in the address bar in file explorer and copy the path
  4. You can paste this path into the instructions you send your colleagues.

My OneNote Notebook is ready, How do I distribute this to students

There are two possible scenarios here:

  • One OneNote notebook in one location, all students will refer or contribute to the one notebook
  • Each Student can should have their own copy, e.g. for independent work

One OneNote notebook in one location that all students will use

  1. In OneNote, Choose File, Export
  2. In the Export panel, choose Notebook, OneNote Package
  3. Click Export
  4. Choose Current Notebook and click Save

Unpack the Notebook to its final location

  1. You will need a location on a shared drive that the students have access to.
  2. Double click on the package file
  3. Enter a name
  4. Choose a location
  5. Click Create
  6. Using File Explorer, Navigate to the location
  7. Double clicking on Open Notebook file will open the Notebook in OneNote
  8. To get the path “Z:\Grade 11 Physics Course Materials” for your instructions to students: Click on the location in File Explorer and copy the path

Each Student can have their own copy

  1. Export the whole Notebook as a package into a location where all students have access – see steps above
  2. Don’t unpack the package. The students will do this to make a copy in their own student files area.
  3. Each Student locates the package, and double clicks on it.
  4. Each student enters a Name and chooses the destination
  5. Click Create
  6. Note book unpacks to student location

Moving some sections from a note book in one location to a Notebook in another

  1. This process allows you to copy additional material between notebook, e.g. from your copy to the student notebook
  2. Open the notebook you want to copy into
  3. Open the notebook you want to copy from
  4. Right click on the Section Tab (or page) that you want to copy to another notebook
  5. Choose Move or Copy
  6. In the resulting dialog, expand the destination notebook,
  7. To copy a page, choose the destination section
  8. To copy a section, choose the destination notebook
  9. Click Copy

We do have OneDrive for Business at our School

The following articles will guide you through creating and sharing a notebook. If the article suggests choosing OneDrive – Personal, you should choose OneDrive – Your School Name instead.

More Resources for Everyone

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If you have questions, please feel free to contact me via

I am also available to run a half day OneNote course for you at your site or shorter 90 minute sessions online via Skype for Business. I can be booked via most leading Training Providers.