OneNote Synchronisation Strategy

Setting up OneNote to send screenshots and print-outs to a local notebook

Setting up OneNote to send screenshots and print-outs to a local (non-cloud) notebook

OneNote does some clever things under the hood to provide you with pain-free multi-user synchronisation across your devices.

However, a common complaint is that it can be slow to update if the notebook has lots of large embedded PDFs or files.

This is pretty understandable if you take a minute to think about it. Adding a lot of new class notes or handouts and then syncing them over dodgy WiFi (along with the rest of your class) is going to be slow; there’s a lot to update.

That said, I concede that you just want your technology to work, right? So, a good workaround is to be a bit more careful with how you organise your information.

Keep a ‘Light’ Notebook For Your Day-to-day Information

Simply decide what you need to have with you at all times on all devices and reorganise.

I quickly realised that my archive and reference notebooks were only useful on my main computer(s) but I did need to be able to always access my month/week/day plans as well as headline project information on my phone too.

So, I split things out. I have what I call my top level notebook containing my most accessed information. I use this to see what I’m doing that day, to refer to projects and to capture information throughout my day. It might contain some embedded images, but not lots of them. This leaves OneNote to only have to synchronise text changes on my phone, making it orders of magnitude faster to update.

Tip: to further reduce mobile ‘weight’, create a local notebook on your main computer and then configure OneNote – File -> Options > Send to OneNote –  to send any screenshots or print-outs to this notebook. This means you won’t clog up synchronisation or waste any of your mobile data allowance on your phone or tablet.


More like this?

If you found this useful then check out my section dedicated to OneNote related topics.

Also, if you’re looking to super-charge your productivity then I have a book in the works that will help you Get Stuff Done with OneNote.