Searching Struggles

I wrote yesterday about giving a try, uploading all of my OneNote files to their online storage system. The process of getting them uploaded was a breeze – simply drag and drop the folder, and within 20 minutes the files were uploaded and accessible from a multitude of devices.

Here’s the struggle I’m having with my OneNote files in, though. I can’t search them. Let me first explain how I work with OneNote so you can understand why this is a huge issue.


I’ve got 6 different notebooks containing hundreds of section groups, thousands of sections, and even more individual pages. When I want to look for something in OneNote, I don’t hunt and peck my way through the notebooks and sections, I just search for what I’m looking for. It’s fast, exhaustive, never wrong, and also searches my handwritten notes. Within seconds, I can quickly get to the note I need without thinking about where it is stored.

The process of finding my notes becomes a lot more difficult having my OneNote files stored in, though. First of all, only searches the text associated with the file name, not the data stored in the file. So, searching text in OneNote files using is out of the question. I also tried searching for some text located in a Word document, and I had the same struggle.

Here is’s Help information on searching:


The ‘Search’ option is located under the filepath. Click on it, and a search box will appear. Type all or part of a filename in the search box to display all files with that string of letters in their title. Once you type at least 3 characters, a list of all applicable files will appear instantly.


So, how do I find what I’m looking using First, I need to think about what notebook my notes might be in. Then, locate the file, and drag the OneNote file to my desktop from After that, I double click the file to open it in OneNote, then either do a text search or begin hunting / pecking for the page I’m looking for. Assuming I’ve found the note I’m looking for, then I make any necessary changes to the note, exit the program, and drag it back in to Now, if I couldn’t find it, I’d have to navigate to find the correct notebook, and repeat the above process. It is worth noting that searching the notebook I just dragged / dropped from might not work, either, because OneNote’s search index might not have finished indexing that notebook.

So, there you have it – the first challenge in moving files to  Is it a show-stopper? Well, I can’t work with my OneNote files like that, so I’d have to store them locally. Once I begin having a mix of files stored in the cloud and some stored on my computer, things begin to get messy. Doing exhaustive file searches is definitely an area should improve on. However, I’m not ready to call it quits, yet. Stay tuned for more as I begin diving in deeper.

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