Tracking Activity in Shared Notebooks

OneNote is a great place to take your notes, gather research ideas, or just keep track of personal items. Whatever the case may be, let OneNote be your repository. Another thing that OneNote is great for is shared note taking. What? You mean other people can share my notes? Well...only if you want them to.

You see, some people take notes as a team. For example, maybe you're on a sales team of 6 individuals, spread across the globe. While your team is fragmented, you all have the same common goal. 'Let's sell our product to this customer'.

Perhaps you just met with the manager of a warehouse in Los Angeles, for example, while your colleague, in London, is negotiating with the president of the company. Wouldn't it be nice to have a place where you and your other team members can enter notes and everything merges together seamlessly, without having to think about it? That way you can all be on the same page, in a manner of speaking.

While this is incredibly useful, it presents some new problems. For example, how can you determine if someone made some changes to a particular note recently? How can you find out who made that change? What if someone happens to add his notes on the same page and in the same exact place that you added yours? Which one wins?

Here are a few tips on how you can control these things:


  • Right-click a note to see who made the most-recent change to it and when it was made.
    • You'll see a menu appear. Just look at the last 2 items at the bottom of the menu. It contains the date and time the note was last modified and the name of the individual who made that change.
    • Context Menu
  • If 2 people have made a change in the same location and at the same time, a conflict occurs. OneNote does not preserve one users notes, while deleting another's. But rather, a hidden page, affectionately deemed a conflict page, will be created containing all unmerged changes. When this happens, a notification will appear at the top of the page. Simply click on it to reveal the page containing the unmerged changes.

Merge notification

Or alternatively, you can click the icon that appears on the page tab itself.

Page tab with icon

When you click the notification or the icon, the page expands to reveal the hidden page.

Conflict page revealed

On your page you'll see the final note that made it onto the actual page of notes, like this:


When you click on the conflict page, you'll see the note that didn't make it onto the page highlighted in red, like this:


What happens from here is completely up to you.

  • If you determine that none of the unmerged changes are necessary, you can delete the conflict page and move on. Just select the page and press the <Delete> key, or right-click the page and select Delete from the menu.
    • Once this happens, the conflict notification icons are removed from the top of the page and from the page tab.
  • If you decide that you want to salvage the conflicting note, just copy the contents from the conflict page to the actual page of notes.
  • Or, if you're not sure, just leave it. You can click the icon again to collapse the conflict page so it stays out of site. All conflicting changes will remain intact until you decide to take action.
Skip to main content