OneNote 2010 File Format Information

There have been a bunch of questions about the file format so I wanted to write a comprehensive blog post to cover all of your questions. Key points:

  • OneNote 2010 will fully read & write OneNote 2007 format notebooks, no need to convert a notebook
  • There is a new OneNote 2010 format to support new features (such as versions)
  • OneNote 2010 can convert notebooks from 2007<-->2010 formats and back


OneNote 2010 will fully read & write any OneNote 2007 notebook; you do not need to convert your notebooks to use OneNote 2010. When you are on a 2007 notebook you will see that the title bar of the application says "(Compatibility Mode)" like this:


When you see this you are in a 2007 format notebook, conversely if you do not see this then you are viewing a 2010 format notebook. Also certain features will be disabled and greyed out in the UI this is normal and to use the new features you should convert the notebook to the 2010 format

There is a new OneNote 2010 format to support new features such as:

  • OneNote Web App
  • Versions
  • Equations
  • Linked Note Taking
  • Recycle Bin
  • And more

By default when you create a new notebook in OneNote 2010 the format of the notebook will be in the 2010 format so you can use all of these new features.

If you are sharing with people who do not have OneNote you will be able to share your notes in the cloud (Windows Live) and they can view & edit those notes in the browser. If you need to work with others who have OneNote 2007 you will need to make sure the notebook is in the 2007 format.

You can convert any notebook between versions by:

  1. Right-click on the notebook on the navigation bar (on the left)
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Click to convert the notebook to whatever version you would like, see here:


If you have more questions please use the comments below.

Comments (15)

  1. Alexander says:

    What about custom tags? I dont know for sure, but they stored only on my computer, am i right?

    For example, if my harddrive crashes, i can restore my notebooks from backup, but tags will be lost?

    Or if i open my notebook on different computer, could i use my tags in this case?

  2. pinacle says:

    I can’t convert the Unfiled Notes to 2010 format since right click gives nothing. Do I have to delete it and recreat one?

  3. Joe says:

    I was also wondering about unfiled notes.  I tried creating a new file for it, and it doesn’t seem to allow the recycle bin feature like the other 2010 version notebooks.

  4. wbkang says:

    (OT) I participated in that survey for trying out Onenote 2010 but at Connect, my status is pending. Is there a second wave of CTP or something?

    Thank you,


  5. scoobie says:


    Same here, my Connect status is pending. Wondering if there is a second wave of testers too.

  6. scoobie says:

    This is very positive news , I just hope it works ok (it didn’t in the last beta..)

  7. Jack Niu says:

    Lots of people talk about the Office 2010, it is really close to us!

    Looking forward the new office version

  8. says:

    is there any application with

    I can use to convert or have to install onenote 2010?

  9. When pasting in onenote 2003 an e-mail it use only one line and you can read clearly the text of the subjet (and put various in the same line)

    In 2007 version it come as an envelop and only one in same line and without a clear vision on what is it.

    Can I maintain the stile-format as in version onenote 2003

    Really appreciated,


  10. Kristian says:

    Is there a possibility to set the onenote default format from 2010 to 2007?

    The aim: if you create a new onenote file, the file format is automatically set as 2007 format.

    Thanks, Kristian

  11. David Levin says:

    Thank you! I was curious as to why the top of my OneNote 2010 was showing Compatibility Mode and my Unfiled Notes had an information bar at the top.  The instructions provided in this post worked.

  12. <a href=>onenote review</a> says:

    Thanks for posting helpful information. I also started using onenote2010 and have fallen in love with it. It's a huge time saver when you are grabbing data from a number of sources.

  13. Paul Larkin says:

    Hi there from Dublin

    Ive set send to OneNote function to a particular page in ON 2010 but when I use this function it reverts to sending my page to the one that was set in ON 2007.

    Your advice would be appreciated



  14. Justin says:

    I am trying to convert  my One Note 2010 Beta notes back to One Note 2007.

    The Beta is =now blocked out . How van I convert my On Note 2010 back?

    I have been ill and I missed the Beta deadline.

    When I go to the One Note properties there is no Default Format Dialog box.

    i have spoken to my technical guys and they have said there is nothing that can be done !

    Any ideas?

  15. Francine says:

    I need to get my Onenote 2007 notebook converted to 2010 so I can upload it to the web. The problem is every time I try to convert it stops saying it can't complete because another notebook is open. There is no other notebook. Help!

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