Your world, Notebooks in Sync

So, you use OneNote on your PC and sync your notes through SkyDrive for ease of access and in-browser editing. Now, you got yourself a shiny new Windows Phone 7 .. oh, it has Office 2010 Mobile and all of life would be in sync between your PC and cloud. How enticing! Well, that was actually me back in November last year. Turns out, much of that is true; except that it needs a bit of tweaking. And Microsoft does not provide a lot of documentation around this hidden handiness.

So, here’s what you get out of the box. The Office Mobile app on a Windows Phone 7 has a default notebook that has a couple of pages built in about using OneNote. To sync with the cloud, one has to hit “all” to see all the pages in the default notebook and then try the “refresh” app icon. This creates a “Personal (Web)” folder in one’s SkyDrive My Documents section, which contains all the pages from your phone’s notebook. Voila, you think! And yes, you are right; from then on, you can edit the pages of the default notebook either from the phone or SkyDrive and it will be synced effortlessly.

But wait; what about the existing notebooks/pages you already have in the cloud or on your PC? Ah, glad you asked. As I was trying this for my notebooks, it took me a little trial & error to figure out how to work it. Here’s what makes syncing possible with existing notebooks on SkyDrive:

  • You may choose to keep the default “Personal (Web)” notebook on the phone and on SkyDrive or you may choose to delete & replace with your own existing notebook(s). However, you cannot delete the “Personal (Web)” notebook until you have another notebook which acts as the default placeholder for new pages. Tap & Hold notebooks on the phone to set one as default.
  • WP7 Office only allows you to create new pages within a notebook; not entire notebooks.
  • Existing notebooks in the cloud have to be opened through the Office Mobile client before they can be synced with the phone. Simply putting them in the “Personal (Web)” folder in SkyDrive will not do the trick.
  • Navigate to Internet Explorer settings on the phone and make sure “Website Preference” is set to “Mobile version”. This prevents any Office documents from opening up within the browser using the web-version of the Office suite.
  • Once you navigate to the notebooks you want to sync with the phone, simply tap on the notebook in IE; this opens it up in the Office Mobile client with the given IE settings. Repeat for each notebook you want to sync.
  • That’s it! Office Mobile now has knowledge of your notebook in the cloud and a simple “Refresh” pulls down all pages.
  • Edits made to the notebook/pages now remain in sync between PC, browser & phone. One happy world.

How about my Word, PowerPoint & Excel documents in SkyDrive? Can I keep them in sync on the phone as well? Unfortunately, you are asking for little too much for now. This is true for SharePoint document repositories; not for SkyDrive documents as of the first WP7 release. Microsoft has said that desired functionality is coming; some release later in 2011. We shall see ..

Hope this was helpful. Please comment if any you have devised better ways of keeping Notes in sync on Windows Phone 7s or just put down your thoughts.

Thanks & Adios!





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