Changing Your Default Unfiled Notes Location in OneNote 2010 //

Changing Your Default Unfiled Notes Location in OneNote 2010 //

I’ve been a OneNote user for quite some time now (since Office 2003) and I’ve always loved it but OneNote 2010 has a pretty interesting feature: tight integration with Office Live: Microsoft’s web-based competitor to Google Docs. (If you haven’t played around with, you must. It’s quite something and, frankly, I’m surprised it came from Microsoft. You know what I’m talkin’ about. Yeah, it’s that good. Much, much better than Google Docs for online document creation.)

At any rate, OneNote 2010’s integration with Office Live now has me storing all of my notes in an online notebook that can then be synchronized to my work desktop, work laptop and home desktop. Fancy stuff.

If you have worked with OneNote before, you might be aware of one of its’ primary keyboard shortcuts (Windows + N) that enables you to create a quick note – from whichever application in which you might be working – without ever opening OneNote. Unfortunately, if you’ve created, configured and synchronized your web-based notebook after* you’ve configured your OneNote application, OneNote will store the notes (called “Unfiled Notes”) created by this shortcut in a local notebook… a notebook that most likely is not synchronized anywhere.

Changing the default location for Unfiled Notes is a little involved but it can be done. Seven steps, that’s all.

(Before we begin, I’d do a system restore before attempting this. Worked for me on the first try but you can never be too careful.)

  • First, open your web-based notebook in OneNote and find its’ Unfiled Notes section. Once you find that, right-click on the Unfiled Notes tab and select “Copy Link to Section.” 
  • Next, paste what’s been copied to your clipboard in a text editor like Notepad. 
  • From that selection, you’ll find a URL containing “” within. It should look something like the following and be preceded by “onenote:” and be followed by “#section.”

  • Strip out all of the other information and copy that URL.
  • Next, let’s head over to the registry editor. To open that, just open up the command prompt (Start + R or Start > Programs Accessories) and type in regedit and then enter. At this point, you may want to backup/export your registry in case something goes awry.
  • Once we’re in the registry editor, navigate here: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\OneNote\Options\Paths.
  • Make sure OneNote is closed (also, right-click on the OneNote icon in your system tray and exit) and then change the value of the “UnfiledNotesSection” key to the URL you copied to the clipboard and hit OK. 

Now, if you open up the OneNote 2010 Screen Clipper and Launcher from the Start Menu and then hit Start + N, a new unfiled note should pop up and it should be saved to your new Unfiled Notes location.

So, that’s that.

Post a comment if this did or didn’t work for you.

*If the first notebook you configure in OneNote is the web-based one, you most likely won’t have to worry about anything as OneNote will probably make your web notebook the default location for Unfiled Notes.

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