A OneNote Notebook is a bit like a whole website in a notebook. That’s great. It means it’s packed with a variety of content like text, photos and video but when one syncs a notebook it checking every page on a website for changes and downloading all the pages at once. That can take a while. Here are some tips to make it less painful.
If a notebook is slow to sync or appears to not be syncing at all there are three systems that could be causing the problem:
- Microsoft’s servers
- Your internet connection
- Your device–your iPad or laptop.
Occasionally Microsoft does have problems with their servers and systems but it’s not common and there’s nothing you can do about it so we’re going to focus on to the other systems that might be causing your syncing problems.
Your Internet Connection
- Do you have an internet connection? Open a web browser and see if you can connect to other websites. If you can connect, how fast are they?
- If you’re at home, is someone else in the house playing online games, streaming movies or music? In other words, are they hogging all the bandwidth? If so, ask them to pause what they’re doing and see if it helps.
- Quit unnecessary programs and close unnecessary apps. If you have a bunch of tabs open they are probably using your bandwidth even when you aren’t using them. If you’re in the habit of keeping a bunch of tabs open you might consider using a browser add-in like OneTab. (This tip is for laptop users running Chrome or Firefox.)
- Restart your device. As we move around from school, to home or to restaurants our devices get “clogged up” with all the network settings. Restarting your device can help. It gives your iPad/laptop a fresh start.
- “Close” old notebooks you’re not currently using. “Closing” notebooks doesn’t delete them. They stay in your OneDrive or your teacher’s OneDrive if it’s a class notebook. “Closing” a notebook means OneNote won’t try to sync notebooks it doesn’t need to.
One More Thing
If you’re adding content to a OneNote notebook, think about the size of what you’re adding. Text is fine but think about the size of the photos and other files you’re adding.
- Re-size photos in apps like Preview or Photos before you add them. It will speed up syncing and the images will still look good on screens.
- Rather than putting pdf’s or other docs in the notebook, put them in OneDrive and add a link to the notebook. That way people only have to download the file when they need it.
- If you’re in a class trying to sync your notebook with 20+ other people, it’s going to be slow. Move somewhere so you’re using a different wireless access point. As a student you might sync your notebooks when you first get to school. That way they’ll be up to date and ready to go when you get to class.