Microsoft OneNote is one of the oldest note-taking applications and a key component of Microsoft’s Office suite. There are many ways to take notes like text, camera, draw, and even record. But it’s the text that gives some users the nightmare. Several users have complained that they cannot type OneNote on Windows 10.
There can be a number of reasons why OneNote won’t let you write anything in Notes. Corrupted files, wrong version of the app (there are two of them after all), etc. Let’s take a look at these problems one by one and see how we can solve them.
1. Keyboard problem
Maybe your keyboard is not working or not working? Can you grab other apps or the browser? You can easily troubleshoot the keyboard and mouse in no time, by following our guide on the subject. Another way to check is to use a spare keyboard or to borrow from a friend.
2. OneNote versions
There are two versions of OneNote. Microsoft is known to maintain multiple versions of the same application like Skype, Office, and OneNote. OneNote 2016 is now called OneNote, which you must install separately. The one that came preinstalled is called OneNote for Windows 10. I’m not sure why they’re adding to the confusion by changing the name now, but there is.
You can set one of the app version as default and remove / uninstall the other for convenience. It’s also possible that multiple versions of OneNote apps might conflict or corrupt notes resulting in typos.
3. Synchronize again
Synchronization can solve several common problems.
OneNote for Windows users will see the sync button appear just before the light bulb icon at the top. A OneDrive cloud icon will replace it after syncing is complete.
You can also sync manually by right-clicking the name of the notebook you’re having trouble with.
OneNote users will find the Sync button buried in File> Info> View Sync Status.
Click on the Sync button next to the notebook or you can also sync everything at the same time if that’s what you want.
4. Log out and log back in
The steps vary slightly depending on the version of OneNote you’re using. Let’s take OneNote for Windows first. This is pre-installed and uses your Microsoft account to work.
Step 1: Open OneNote and select Settings from the three-dot menu.
Step 3: Click Disconnect, then repeat the same steps to reconnect.
If you’re using OneNote (OneNote 2016), the steps are slightly different.
Step 1: Click on the File menu button.
2nd step: Click on Account.
Step 3: Click on Logout.
You will find an option to reconnect here.
4. Close the notebook
This will work for both versions of OneNote. Right click on the name of the notebook and select the Close this notebook option.
See if you can type in other notebooks and sections. If so, then there is something wrong with this particular notebook.
5. Open in OneNote
You can also access OneNote notebooks online at OneNote.com. Visit the site and log in. Open notepad where you can’t type or write and click Open in desktop app.
6. Application repair
Step 1: Find Control Panel in the Start menu and open it.
2nd step: Go to Programs> Uninstall a program. OneNote is part of the Office suite of apps, so find the one you’re currently using. Select it, then click the Edit button at the bottom. You can also select Edit from the context menu.
A pop-up will reveal the repair options. There are two ways to fix OneNote and both are self-explanatory. Choose Quick Repair first, then if you still can’t write to OneNote, come back and select Online Repair.
7. Scan for malware
Run a full scan using your favorite antivirus app, but don’t stop there. It can also be malware. Download and install the free if not paid version of Malwarebytes and run another scan. A virus could prevent you from editing your notes.
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OneNote was one of the first note-taking apps that came with the Microsoft Office suite. At least, since Microsoft moved the Office suite to an online subscription model. While there are plenty of alternatives, some much better than what OneNote can do, I love its simplicity and ease of use. If you’re thinking of switching gears, I recommend checking out Evernote and Notion. Two of the best note-taking apps currently available on the market.
Hope you have found a solution that works for you. If you found one that we haven’t shared, please share it with us in the comments section below. It may help some of our other readers.
Notion poses a threat to Evernote as the king of note-taking apps. Well that’s what most people say. Read the comparison below to find the truth.
Last updated Jan 6, 2021
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