OneNote Notebooks: Creating private spaces

Shared OneNote notebooks are an excellent collaboration tool for your team and your classroom. You can keep all your meeting notes, lessons, ideas, research and processes together. Each person can connect and sync the notebook any device that runs OneNote.

Sometimes there is a need to work privately within a team or class, then share your work later on. One option for privacy and controlled collaboration is to create a new notebook for each working group in your team. If you have 2 or 3 people in your team or class who need to work together on a project, you could create another notebook and they can share it privately between themselves.

But that’s another notebook to connect to, contribute to and manage.

You can work privately within a shared notebook. This means your team or class only needs one notebook to connect and contribute to.

OneNote Class Notebooks achieve this on a 1 to 1 basis between student and teacher. Each student has a private area in the class notebook that is only shared the teacher (or teachers). The new OneNote Staff Notebook app follows the same pattern, creating 1 to 1 sharing between a team leader and team member, within the team’s notebook.

But what if you want to create your own pockets of privacy?

  • An area for small groups to work privately together – Sometimes there is a need for private group work within a shared notebook. A private space for a group can be made to be visible and read-only to the team, or invisible and completely private.
  • An area for a team leader or teacher to create content privately – Pages and sections can be created in an area that is only visible to the team leader or teacher. Once the page or section is ready to be shared, it is moved to a shared content or collaboration space, where the class or team can either view or contribute to it.

A private space in a OneNote notebook has all sorts of uses. The main point is you can create them and share them with whoever you want to.

Preparation

  • Create the OneNote notebook management link in your team site or class site (the site where your team notebook or class notebook is stored)
  • You must be logged in with an account that has been assigned Full Control permissions to the shared notebook. For Class Notebooks, this is usually the teacher who created the notebook.

 

 

Step 1: Creating a private space folder

In this step, we’ll create a folder inside the OneNote notebook. We will not invite or share the folder yet. Sharing will be performed in the next step on a page where we have more control of the process.

 

  1. Open the notebook’s management link from the Quick Launch menu.
    OneNote-Private-Sections-01
  2. From the Ribbon menu, open the Files tab and click New Folder.
    The Create a folder window will be displayed.
  3. Give the folder a name to reflect the purpose of the private space.
    1. Group A
    2. Project Phoenix
    3. Teachers Only
      Do not click the Invite people button at this stage. We will invite and adjust permissions in the next step.
      OneNote-Private-Sections-02
  4.  Click Create.
    The folder will be created.

 

The next time the OneNote notebook syncs, a section group will be added to the notebook, with the same name as the new private space folder. Now we will make some changes to who can access the folder.

OneNote-Private-Sections-03

Step 2: Sharing the private space folder

In this step, we share the private space folder with the people we want to access the private space.

New folders inherit the permissions of the document library where the folder is located. Everyone who has access to the library, also has access to the folder.

We will create unique permissions for the folder and then remove access for the people we don’t want share the private space with.

 

Note: If you want to create a private space for yourself within the notebook, you will remove everyone’s access to the folder except your own.

 

  1. Open the notebook’s management link from the Quick Launch menu.
  2. Beside the new private space folder, click the Ellipses menu and choose Share.
    The Share window will be displayed.
    OneNote-Private-Sections-04
  3. Click Shared with and then Advanced.
    The Advanced Permissions page will be displayed.
    OneNote-Private-Sections-05
  4. From the Ribbon menu, open the Permissions tab and click Stop Inheriting Permissions.
  5. Click OK to confirm creating unique permissions.
    The page will refresh and display the accounts with a checkbox beside each account.

Removing User Permissions

You will remove permissions for those people who wont have access to the private space.

  1. Select all the people that you want to remove access to the private space folder.
    If you want to create a private space that only you can access, you will remove everyone’s access to the folder except your own.
    OneNote-Private-Sections-06
    Tip: Tick the checkbox at the top of the checkbox column to select all people. Then deselect the people that you want to have access to the folder.
  2. From the Ribbon menu, open the Permissions tab and click Remove User Permissions.
  3. A window appears asking to confirm removal of permissions. Click OK.
    The Advanced Permissions page will be displayed and the selected people are removed from accessing the folder.

Editing User Permissions

You will edit the permissions for those people who will have access to the private space.
In my example, I am changing the Group A students / members to have Contribute permissions.

  1. Select all the people who will have Contribute permissions to the private space.
  2. From the Ribbon menu, open the Permissions tab and click Edit User Permissions.
    OneNote-Private-Sections-08
    The Edit Permissions page will be displayed.
  3. In the Choose Permissions section, select the Contribute permission and click OK.
    The Permissions page will be displayed and the selected members will now have Contribute permissions.

Result

The new private space folder will be only be shared with the people who have been assigned access. When their connection to the notebook syncs, they will see a section group with the same name as the private space folder. Depending on the access you have assigned in the previous steps, they will be able to either Edit (Contribute) or View (Read) the sections and pages in that section group.

 

You’re now ready to run private group collaboration inside your shared team or class notebook.

OneNote-Private-Sections-09

  • http://www.kurtsoeser.at Kurt Söser

    Thanks again for that great post! I really love that, cause with this method I can easily set up a section in every students “folder” where I can “hand them back” assignments, so they can read it but can not edit it!

    • http://webster.net.nz/ Darrell Webster

      You’re welcome Mr Söser. It will be great if and when the OneNote Class app or OneNote itself can manage permissions on sections / section groups.

      • http://www.kurtsoeser.at Kurt Söser

        Maybe I get some information tomorrow. There will be a OneNote info track on the MS education advisory board monthly meeting. I am hoping for some improvements for the OneNote Class Notebook and also for OneNote itself, cause I am waiting for some real integration of interactive apps and materials like in Office Mix

  • Nathan Walsh

    Hi Darrell, Can these same private spaces be set up in a OneNote Class Notebook created in Onedrive? Thanks Nathan