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Security Features in Microsoft OneNote 2010 : Keeping Private Notes Private (part 1) - Locking a Notebook Section with a Password

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3/4/2015 8:55:18 PM
What encourages people to regard as being their personal or private notes? Only you can answer that for yourself. The different people have various comfort levels when it is a question of sharing information. It is true even in the social age of setting in network, when we have the division apparently accustomed just about all about ourselves with others.

No matter how you use OneNote, it’s likely that some of your notes will, at some point, contain personal or private information that you don’t want others to see or know about. For example, you could create a notebook section dedicated entirely to keeping track of personal security information—such as account numbers, passwords, street addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, website credentials, and so on. By protecting such information with a single password in OneNote, you’re better protected from forgetting something important.

There are many other reasons to protect some notes and not others. For example, while you probably wouldn’t care if someone were to stumble upon your to-do list or your vast recipe collection, you’d probably be concerned quite a bit more about others seeing a confidential business plan or the details of a project that’s under a nondisclosure agreement. No matter what’s behind your own, personal want or need for privacy, having a place where you can keep all of your information together and protecting that place can be very important.

The following procedures illustrate how easy it is to work with password protection in OneNote 2010.

Locking a Notebook Section with a Password

If you are not already somewhat familiarized with the way in which protection by password works on computers, that is to say sure to practice the following procedures with a factitious section about which you really do not worry. If it is necessary, create a new section in your notebook and then type-with a certain text on of only one page contains it. You can employ this section for the practice and, if you make an error all while getting information about protection by password, you will not lose any important information.

To assign a password to any section in a notebook, do the following:

1.
Navigate to the notebook containing the section that you want to protect with a password.

2.
Right-click its section tab and then click Password Protect This Section on the shortcut menu.

Figure 1. The Password Protection task pane in OneNote 2010 lets you manage the optional security for the current notebook section.


3.
Near the right side of the OneNote program window, the Password Protection task pane appears (see Figure 1). Under the Current Section heading near the top of the task pane, click Set Password.

4.
In the Password Protection dialog box that opens, type the password you want into the Enter Password box (see Figure 2). As you type the password, its characters are shown as bullets to prevent anyone from seeing your password. It’s important to note here that passwords in OneNote are case sensitive, which means that when you type any letters of the alphabet in either upper- or lowercase, you must type them again exactly as they were entered to unlock that section again. Take care, therefore, that the Caps Lock key is not pressed and that you always enter passwords very carefully.

Figure 2. Whenever you type a password, its characters will appear as bullet symbols to prevent others from observing the password you’re typing.


5.
In the Confirm Password box, type the same password again that you typed into the Enter Password box in step 4. Here, too, your password confirmation will appear on your screen as bullets. The passwords you typed into both fields must match each other exactly before OneNote applies the password to the section.

6.
Click OK to save your password and to protect the current section.

The effectiveness and reliability of password-based security in computer programs offered in today’s software marketplace can dramatically vary. Unlike some programs, which lock only the “front door” to a collection of sensitive data, OneNote actually securely encrypts all of the information in your notebook sections that you choose to protect with a password. For this reason, it is imperative that you take great care when thinking up and entering new passwords that will lock notebook sections containing important or critical information. No one at Microsoft will be able to help you unlock OneNote sections whose passwords you’ve forgotten. (For that matter, neither can the author nor the publishers of this book.)

Although it’s generally a good idea to use strong and unique computer passwords that your family members, schoolmates, or work colleagues can’t guess, make sure that you don’t use overly long and complicated passwords that you yourself won’t be able to remember. If you need to, write down the passwords you use and keep them in a safe and secret location.


Although it is not possible to password protect entire notebooks in OneNote 2010, you can protect all of the contents in a notebook by assigning the same password to each section. 

As soon as OneNote has successfully protected the current section with a password, it will explicitly confirm this in the text shown under the Current Section heading in the Password Protection task pane (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. The protection status of the section you’re currently viewing is displayed just under the Current Section heading in the Password Protection task pane.


When a section is password protected, you can continue to view it for a while. After a certain amount of time, or if you navigate away from the current section, you will need to enter the section password to return to it.

 
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