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Note-taking apps are a dime a dozen. Some are too simple for anything but the simplest of tasks. Others are abundant in features that are locked behind premium accounts. Can’t we have the best of both worlds?
For a while, the cross-platform note-taking app Evernote was the de facto standard. That’s not true anymore. While Evernote is still a remarkable app, Microsoft recently upped their game when they announced that OneNote would be more free than ever before.
Sounds like a funny statement, doesn’t it? But it’s true. OneNote has never been more free. Does that make it the ideal note-taking app for you? It might!
The Appeal of OneNote
The primary selling point for OneNote is its sense of organization. Take one look at its interface design and you’ll notice that it’s incredibly sleek, clean, and minimal. There are no distracting elements at all. You have your notes, your hierarchy of notebooks, and that’s it.
That kind of compliment isn’t typical for Microsoft, who is often known for clunky designs and unwieldy layouts. OneNote is their biggest exception and I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s truly one of the best apps on the market.
And I’m not the only one who has praise for OneNote.
We’ve looked at OneNote for Windows 8 and seen that it’s perfect for tablets, laptops, and desktops. We’ve remarked about OneNote on Windows Phone and how easy it is to use. We’ve even compared OneNote for Android against other note-taking apps and concluded that it’s a worthy contender.
Which brings us to another huge point: OneNote is cross-platform. Windows and Windows Phone are obviously supported, but it can also be used through Android, iOS, Mac, and the web with OneNote Online.
Thanks to built-in synchronization with OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), you can access the same notes on all of these devices.
Is It Really Free?
When OneNote first went free in 2014, it was only cause for semi-celebration. Sure, it meant that anyone could download it and start taking notes right away, plus it was also made available for Mac at that same time.
But there were still a few killer features that were held behind a premium version only available to Office 365 and Office 2013 customers. With their most recent announcement, Microsoft has removed all restrictions from the free version of OneNote.
So which restrictions were lifted?
Sections can be password protected. What’s great about OneNote is that each notebook is split into sections and each section contains multiple pages. Rather than locking notebooks, OneNote lets you lock sections for more control.
Revision history for pages. Version control for writers is incredibly important. Not only can it double as a system for data backups, it can help you retrieve past drafts that no longer exist on file. OneNote now has built-in version histories for all notes.
Audio and video notes. Audio and video notes are nothing new, but OneNote lets you take notes that are linked to specific timestamps in the recordings. That way, you can quickly jump to certain sections on demand (e.g. lecture notes).
Audio and video search. OneNote can even find certain sections of audio or video based on a text search. If your corporate manager mentioned “renovations” in the last meeting, but you don’t remember when she said it, you can literally search for it.
Embedded files. Feel free to embed files directly into notebooks. OneNote can handle them without a problem.
Become a OneNote Master
As you can probably tell, OneNote is simple but powerful. There are plenty of other features worth learning about in order to maximize your note-taking productivity. Done properly, OneNote can make your life so much easier.
Do you use Microsoft OneNote? If so, how does it compare to other note-taking apps you’ve used? If not, will these new free features be enough to pull you in? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!