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.


OneNote Sample Notebooks

While training in Office 365, Groups and Planner I have been encountering people new to OneNote. So here are a few resources to start you off, If you are new to OneNote!

Don’t forget you can OneNote for any platform, and there are handy apps (for example explore Office Lens – use it on your smartphone to take photos of receipts or business cards and send them back to OneNote)

These are sample OneNote Notebooks, they can be read online or downloaded.

Also an interesting example of OneNote being used as a distribution medium with the ubiquity of OneNote clients being mentioned as a factor in choosing this format.

More available at:

and don’t forget the old favourites:

That should get people started!!

IT Trainer




Fresh OneNote resources for Schools

Always looking for new uses of OneNote and found two that I’d like to share with you.

Free eBook for teachers: “Liberating Genius: The First 20 Days” by Angela Maiers – which is an e-book using OneNote as its “host”. This has got me thinking about going beyond my current use of OneNote as a scrapbook for course resources to using it for courseware.

College prep planning resources and virtual event for students use OneNote as a resource to support an online session. Its aimed at american students going to college, but its worth Australian and other schools getting a copy to explore the approach.

Office for Android Tablets – Preview

This is a key step by Microsoft, preview versions of the big three from the Office suite are available for Android Tablets. Not final versions, but worth exploring. So far I have installed them on my old Nexus 7 (with KitKat). I’ve done a few basic tasks in Word, but haven’t checked them out in full (report next week)

If you want to try them out use the links below to get to the Google Play Store

When you get to the Google play store search also for  OneDrive and OneNote (There is even OneNote for Android Wear!)

If you are on any other device you are already catered for MS Office for most devices

So why is this a big deal?

As Office 365 and SharePoint online start to get some traction, users will want to work with content in the field. Android tablets are a cost effective way for business to provide a handy, but functional tool. While there are third party apps for working with Office files, I found this a mixed success and the lack of these apps is what lead me to moving to a windows tablet (and the cost of basic windows tablets becoming competitive).

So when the final apps are released, companies can give staff a good android tablet and use Office 365 (and bank the money they saved vs buying i-Pads).


Where do I find Office 365 Resources?

Via Mary Jo Foley (of the Windows Weekly Podcast), this a page of free Office 365 Resources –  includes Office 2013 resources, quick reference guides and e-books. Well worth exploring: Office 365 Resources