1 Week with OneNote for W10 : Day 5 – Collaborating


The first thing that confused me a few years ago when I started using simultaneously OneNote desktop and OneNote for W10, are the initials exhibited next to the changes.

Update 30/08/2018 : see note at the end of this article. Spoiler : the discrepancy described below has been solved !

Even with a “personal” notebook (not shared), a change made in one version would yield a notification in the other version, indicated with my initials.

Changes made in OneNote desktop are indicated in OneNote for W10 with my initials, unless I hide them (Menu View/Hide Authors).

Even more confusing, the initials are not the same in both versions :

  • OneNote for W10 uses the first letter of my first name (“A”), and it’s not customizable ;
  • OneNote desktop uses the Office settings : in my case : the first letter of my first name followed by the first letter of my last name (“AL”), and it’s customizable (this setting applies in all Office programs).

As a result, you end up with your notes full of indications in the right margin, showing different initials (“A” and “AL” in my case) depending on which OneNote version you edited your notes !

But not “A” AND “AL” in the same page, you got it ? See below :

A simple workaround consists in changing both the initials AND username in OneNote desktop (in File/Options/General), to match OneNote for W10 :

Don’t forget to change your username as well !

A word of caution : if you apply this workaround, all past notes will appear with your previous initials, as if they had been changed by somebody else ! Better doing it when you do the initial settings.

If you use only one version of OneNote (which I suggest), you may not care anyway.

But what happens if two persons collaborating on a notebook have their names starting with the same letter ?!

Limitation : Since it’s not customizable, you may end up disregarding changes made by a colleague whose name starts with the same letter, since only the colour of the vertical line in the right margin differs !

At least the different colors help !


On the other hand, OneNote for W10 offers a wider range of options than its elder brother : namely, to share individual pages. That’s really useful, although the page shared this way are not editable (you can’t co-author this way). But that comes in handy nevertheless, because the recipient always have access to the most updated version of your page.

Expectation : I wish I could share an editable single page ! Edit 28/3/2018 : see footnotes

One more expectation : Now that Sections (and Section Groups) are smartly handled in OneNote for W10, I am eager to get the ability to share individual sections as well. That would really be a game changer ! You may even vote for it here !

LIRE AUSSI  1 Week with OneNote for W10 : Day 2 - Navigating

In the meantime, OneNote for W10 has a nice feature showing prominently who else works on a shared notebook.

It shows that another person is working on a share notebook, and where.

This is great for real time co-authoring. But if you want to easily locate – afterwards – the changes made by your colleagues, on a large set of pages, OneNote for W10 lacks the “Search by author” feature available in OneNote desktop.

One last expectation : to get the search by author feature in OneNote for W10 !

Nevertheless, there is a welcome addition to the latest version : pages with changes are shown with bold title now.

That’s all for today. See you tomorrow !


Update June 3rd : The Page version command doesn’t highlight the changes made by a co-author. Hence, this isn’t a workaround to the missing “Search by author” feature : I removed this misleading suggestion from my article.

Note June 11th : A new feature allows to insert Meeting details. Since I am unable to use it (I don’t manage to go through the identification window…), I can’t talk too much about it. See this article if interested.

Note 30/08/2017 : Meeting details connect to Outlook (desktop), not the “Mail” W10 App. Hence, to login successfully, you need to use the appropriate login-password. What’s interesting (and counter-intuitive), is that an UWP App manages to interact with a W32 App ! This was not the case with “Print to PDF” (see this blog post) nor “Send to OneNote”.

Update 28/03/2018 : No more “single page” sharing. It seems that sharing a page this way made the page public and even indexed on Google search, which was a concern… I updated the above blog post accordingly.

Note 30/08/2018 : As for the author’ initials, OneNote UWP is now using the default Office setting (AL for Albin Labelle in my case). Provided you don’t change them, updates made in one version won’t show the author’s initials in the other versions anymore.

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