Import from OneNote


If you use OneNote Online to gather material—for example, take notes, collect images or record interviews—you can bring your OneNote content into your NVivo project.

You need NVivo for Mac (Version 11.3 or later) and a work, school or personal Microsoft account to bring your OneNote data into NVivo.

What do you want to do?


Using OneNote to gather your research materials

There are many different ways you can use OneNote to gather your materials. For example:

  • If you are working in the office, you can use the desktop version of OneNote to make notes and keep lists.

  • If you are working in the field, you can use OneNote on your smartphone or tablet to record field observations, record interviews or take photos of research settings and participants.

For more information on the ways you can use OneNote for mobile data collection, refer to Bring in your sources and get organized (Collect data on mobile devices with OneNote).

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Understand how notes are imported into NVivo

You import your notes by connecting to your work, school or Microsoft account from within NVivo, and then selecting the pages that you want to import.

The pages are converted to document or PDF sources, depending on the choice you make during import.

If a page contains an attached file in a:

  • Supported format (document, PDF, picture, audio or video), the attached file is imported as a new source—for example, a picture source.

  • Unsupported format—for example Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint file, then the attachment is ignored.

For more information about supported files, refer to About sources (What kinds of files can I import?).


  • Some features that you can use in OneNote—for example, tags, drawings, ink and audio timestamps—are not imported when you bring your pages into NVivo.

  • Large video attachments (greater than 25 MB) may not import.

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Choosing to import from OneNote as document or PDF

When you import OneNote content into NVivo, you need to choose whether to import your pages as document or PDF sources. Think about how you intend to work with your material once it is imported into NVivo. Experiment with the two options to see which works best for you.

If you choose to import the pages as:

  • Documents  you will be able to continue editing your text in NVivo. The layout and formatting of the page might look different in NVivo. Choose this option if you know you will need to edit the text in NVivo.

  • PDFs  your original layout and formatting will be preserved. You will not be able to edit the content in NVivo. Choose this option if the layout of your content on the page is important. If you need to add notes later, you can create a linked memo.

You may want to import a small number of pages first and then review them in NVivo. You can always reimport some or all of the pages again and choose the other option—refer to Reimporting material from OneNote for more information.

NOTE  If your OneNote page contains a file printout or a digital image with text that cannot be edited in OneNote, you won't be able to edit (or code) it when you import it into NVivo for Mac—even if you choose to import the page as a document. You may want to use the features within OneNote to extract text from pictures and file printouts before you import the notes into NVivo.

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Import material from OneNote

To import from OneNote into NVivo:

  1. On the Data tab, in the Import group, click OneNote Data.

  1. Next to Current OneDrive Account, click Log in with personal account or Log in with work or school account. Enter your user name and password, then sign into OneNote and authorize NVivo for Mac to access your notes.

NOTE  If you have already logged into OneNote (via NVivo) you can choose to import from the current account or switch to another.

  1. Select the notebooks, sections or pages that you want to import. If you select a notebook or section, all the pages included in that notebook or section will be imported. You can also expand each notebook and section to select individual pages.

NOTE  If you want to import all of the pages that have not been previously imported, click Select all pages not imported.

  1. Click Import as Documents or Import as PDFs depending on how you want to import the pages. Refer to Choosing to import from OneNote as document or PDF for more information.


  • You may not be able to see (or import) notebooks that you are not the owner of--for example, if you are using a work or school account and a colleague has shared a notebook with you.

  • While the page names are loading, you may temporarily see ellipses (...) for each page.

  • It can take some time to import your content from OneNote. This depends on the number of pages you are importing and the type of content on the pages. For example, many pages or pages with many images and videos may take longer to import.

  • A folder structure is created based on the structure of the pages in OneNote—for example, folders are created for sections and section groups. If you are importing pages with file attachments, the folder structure keeps pages together with their attachments.

  • The order of pages is not retained when they are imported into NVivo.

Logging into or switching OneNote accounts

If you have more than one account that you use to access different OneNote notebooks, you can log into a different account. For example, if you are currently logged in with your personal account, then in the dialog, next to Current OneDrive Account, select Log in with different personal account or Log in with work or school account.

When you close your project, you are automatically logged out of the connection between NVivo for Mac and your work, school or personal Microsoft account. You can also log out manually while the dialog is displayed—next to Current OneDrive Account, click your account name and click Logout.

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Reimporting material from OneNote

If you have already imported pages from a OneNote notebook, you can import them again—for example if you have:

  • Added or changed the content of the page in OneNote

  • Imported as a document, but would prefer to import as a PDF (or vice versa).

In the dialog, any pages that have previously been imported are clearly marked. You may need to expand the notebooks and sections to view the status. Selecting Select all pages not imported will expand all notebooks and sections.

When you re-import a page that was previously imported, a new source is created. If a page with the same name already exists, the new page is renamed—for example, Field Notes would be named Field Notes (2).