OneNote: History Tab and Restoring Page Versions

In OneDrive Essentials training, we learn all about restoring old versions of documents stored in the cloud. Did you know you have the same ability with your OneNote Notebooks? And the good news is, it is remarkably simple. For that matter, you also have a variety of additional features available to you that involve the history features in your notebooks. Let’s take a look.

A Note on OneNote Applications

There are many types of OneNote Applications in the mix: phone applications, tablet applications, Windows Store applications, Mac applications, and so on… The application I am referring to for this Byte is the OneNote Desktop Application for PC.

This does not mean these history features are not available in other apps, but the Desktop Application is by far the most versatile way to access OneNote notebooks, and is still the way I would recommend accessing your notebooks primarily.

History Tab

Just a heads up that we will be hanging out in the History tab in the desktop PC application of OneNote for all of the features described below.History Tab

Restoring Page Versions

One of the most exciting abilities in the History tab is the Page Versions feature. Just like your OneDrive documents, by default OneNote is keeping track of different versions of each page in your notebook.

  1.  Go to the History tab, History group and select the dropdown for Page Versions.History Tab, Page Versions
  2. Select Page VersionsPage Versions Dropdown Menu
  3. Notice on the right side, old page versions will appear shaded in grey. Select one to take a closer look.Page Versions Side Menu
  4. To restore a page version, or see more options, click on the gold bar that appears at the top of the scren.

Restore bar

There are a couple more options worth mentioning in the dropdown for Page Versions, including the ability to:

  • Delete all versions in a section, group or notebook
  • Disable history for this notebook (not recommended).

Page Versions Dropdown Menu

Recent Edits

Relatedly, you can search by recent edits made to a notebook. This can be especially helpful with notebooks you are sharing with others.

  1.  In the History tab, Authors group, select the Recent Edits dropdown.

Recent Edits Dropdown menu

2. Select a time range to view.

3. Search results will appear on the right side of the screen, with edited pages highlighted in yellow.

History Search

Find by Author

Here is another great tool to keep you organized if you are sharing your notebook: the ability to search by author.

1. Go to the History tab, Authors group and select Find by Author.

Find by Author button2. On the right, you can refine your search by a specific author.

Search results by author


I hope you find these History tricks useful for your OneNote notebooks! If you find a handy use for these features, or have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit:

  • Courtney Lockhart

Courntey Lockhart

  • Susan McCoy

Susan McCoy

  • Kristen Powell
  • John Hammer
  • Trisha Wenrich