Developer: Microsoft Corporation
Price: free Download on the App Store
Microsoft OneNote, which is a note taking and sharing program available in Microsoft Office 2010 and as a web app, is now available as a mobile app for iPhone and iPad. OneNote has some pros and is a good snag for heavy Office users with PCs, but it is far from a perfected note sharing application and may cause cross-platform users to wonder (again) if Microsoft and Apple will ever play nice.
To employ OneNote, users will need to have a Windows Live ID. Notes can be taken on the mobile app and they are automatically synced with OneNote or the OneNote web app on Sky Drive. You can choose to share the notes with others or make them available only to yourself. Notes can viewed and edited on the Sky Drive version or within OneNote in Microsoft Office 2010 for PCs. One thing to take note of though, is that OneNote functions slightly differently depending on whether you’re using the mobile version, the Office version or the web application.
As a mobile note-taking app, OneNote has all of the good features, except voice recording – which is odd since iPhone is the perfect platform to incorporate that ability. Users can easily create text notes, notes with bullet points, task checkboxes, and insert pictures, but there’s no option for recording a voice memo. Once a note is created, it can be emailed to someone (or yourself) and it automatically syncs to the web application, accessible anywhere there’s a computer, web browser and internet connection. You can then edit notes, as in make yourself a to-do list on your mobile device and then check items off one by one while on your computer at work. But this option is nothing new - other note-taking apps already offer syncing.
OneNote’s default notebook is Personal (Web). Apparently new notebooks can only be created using the Office version. A total of 500 notes can be created in OneNote, but they can be deleted as needed or users can upgrade for unlimited note-taking. There is a search function available across all versions, including the mobile app for locating specific notes and each note shows up on your mobile device under Unfiled Notes displayed by whatever title you assign it. You can also sort by most recent. While the interface isn’t perfectly intuitive, a note is fairly easy to make and find again. Even though OneNote is a proficient note maker, it does present a few bugs and quirks depending on text typing preferences.
Unless you are a frequent Microsoft Office and OneNote user, there is really nothing groundbreaking about Microsoft OneNote and its accessibility. If you are a Mac user, you might find it has further limitations since you’ll only be able to access notes through Sky Drive and the web application. OneNote does provide a mobile note-taking option that is quick and efficient, especially with the easy insertion of photos and checkboxes and because it’s free (for now), it will suffice for anyone looking for a basic file-sharing note app. However, if you’re looking for a seamless application across many different platforms, you might want to merely grab OneNote while it’s free and then wait and see if a future update rolls out any improvements for more controlled organization and access.