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When you have a OneNote notebook shared with an entire group or site in SharePoint (or with few people in OneDrive for Business) you might want to be able to set permissions on a section or section-group level. While this functionality isn’t for some reason available directly from the UI, it is definitely possible. Read on to learn how! Basically, when you create a OneNote notebook in a document library, what really happens is that a folder is created there with the notebook’s name and then the sections (.one) files are placed into it. Section groups are represented as folders as well with .one files as sections inside (you can learn more details here).

Now to the permission part. OneNote API gives us the ability to modify the permissions through RESTful calls. This functionality is what OneNote Class Notebooks seem to use on the background. This is great, but we would like to use the user interface right? So the easiest way is to navigate to the specific document library, where the file is stored, for example:


Next, you need to navigate into its respective folder (if the notebook is in a folder itself). Then you simply modify the URL to contain the notebook’s name, since it is a folder anyways:


Notice the bold parts of the address which represent the path to the library, the %2F is just URL escaped / (slash).


From there, you can easily stop inherting the permissions and assigning your own. This works both in regular SharePoint sites and Office 365 Groups as well.


Jonathan Bowers

Hello - thanks so much for this. I got it to work perfectly, but then something odd happened - after the weekend, the permissions reverted and I lost my changes. Any idea why? The notebook in question is associated with a Microsoft Team and it’s a Class Notebook, not that it should make any difference…

Jan Hajek

Hi, I think that it actually makes difference because Class Notebook is using these permissions to secure the sections for students. So there might be some sync mechanism or something. I would suggest looking into the audit log on that specific folder (or enabling it first in Office 365) to gain some more insight into what happened.

Jonathan Bowers

I have done so, and I will update henceforth should I discover anything useful (in case someone else has the same question)

Tausif Jamkhandi

Hey Jan,

Awesome article, thank you for sharing this information with us.

Following your step it worked perfect worked.

Later I did some test and found out that without encoded URL too this can work, we can simply use decoded URL e.g below worked for me https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx?id=/sites/sitename/Shared%20Documents/notebookname

I have tested this in SharePoint Online so far and also noticed this works with Modern List experience only

Thank you


Thank you for sharing! Do you know if Microsoft is going to “officially implement it via OneNote UI? Is there an ideas to vote?

Thank you again!!

Jan Hajek

I never tried it on a file share. Is the OneNote structured in folders and files? I suggest that if you remove the permission from the section file it should work the same.

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