With Kevin posting about video games, I figured I would post about computers, in a hilarious role reversal that may last as long as one post.

As many of you may know, I am working on my dissertation. I use Microsoft OneNote to organize my digital notes for a few reasons. First, it saves everything instantly. Second, it plays nicely with other Office applications. But thirdly, and most importantly, it has a powerful search feature that I have come to depend on. I can type a few words into my search box and it will bring up everything I’ve put into my dissertation notebook. It will also helpfully include partial words, as in this incredibly mature search:

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The section you’re looking at is called “Pin search results,” and it’s amazing. It shows me every appearance of a word (or part of a word), in context, which helps me find what I need quickly.

There is a downside to this beneficent program. Every so often, the search index gets corrupted. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, so I went to the internet. As this problem had occurred once before, I had some idea of what to look for, so first I decided to rebuild my search index. It’s somewhat time consuming, but it worked before, so I did it again. After another search, however, I found this website, which has an even better solution: to delete OneNote’s cache and force the program to rebuild it.

I am now happily searching again. If it doesn’t last, I will report back here.



4 thoughts on “OneNote search problems and how to fix them

  1. Thanks for this. In OneNote 2016, you rename (or delete) the cache folder here: C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\16.0\ after closing OneNote.

  2. I deleted the cache folder. It worked with current notes but not for the new ones that I added after I deleted the cache. Any idea how to fix this ?

  3. Thank you very much for sharing.
    The search capability is indispensable for me to use OneNote
    I was having thoughts of changing back to using Word, as I never had search issues in Word.
    This solved my OneNote search problem. At least for now.
    I am happy to continue working with OneNote

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