OneNote Goes Free on the Windows Desktop

18 Mar

The jewel of the Microsoft Office suite in my opinion is OneNote. Microsoft have just released their first version of OneNote for the Macintosh as a free download. I wonder why this version took so long considering that OneNote has been available on Android, iOS, Windows RT and of course Windows Phone and Windows desktop versions for quite a while now. I guess devices with a sub 10% market share are not worth developing for as a priority…

The one thing all versions aside from the Windows Desktop SKU have in common is that they are all free. To rectify this Microsoft has now also released a free version of OneNote for the Windows desktop, but it’s not all good news.

My recent ramblings around Office 365 all really hinge on the fact that OneNote 2013 is better under touch than earlier desktop versions.

Not only is OneNote by far the application I use most often in the office suite, but it’s also the application I use most with touch, preferring traditional input methods (i.e. mouse and keyboard) most of the time for everything else. Essentially the thing pushing me towards Office 365 was the new version of OneNote, but now that’s free I’ll be backing away from the upgrade even more… right?

Well, yes and no.

The problem is the free version of OneNote has a few missing “premium” features. I’ve not been able to find a list of what these are, but have encountered one through my usage – audio note taking. Unfortunately I use this extensively in meetings, so not having this is a huge problem for me and I have found myself reverting back to the Office 2010 version I already own for meetings.

Otherwise, so far, the free version seems to do everything I need, so for non-meeting notes I’ve been using this. But it’s not a very elegant solution (running two versions) so I’m not sure how long this setup will last.

At the end of the day I think I may end up transferring everything back to OneNote 2010 and sticking with that for the near future, but I fully understand what Microsoft has done here, OneNote is a tremendous piece of software and it’s understandable they want to be paid for it.

But for most people I’d be surprised if the free version doesn’t more than meet their requirements.

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