Microsoft OneNote Now Unlimited Freeware


A year ago, Microsoft decided to take on the big players in the online notes business.  The likes of Evernote were now up against Microsoft OneNote in the battle for the best cloud-based notes app.  And with OneNote having been a well-loved component of Microsoft Office for a long time, users loved it.  No longer did you have to pay hundreds of dollars for OneNote - you could now download a free version.  However, it was only really capable of storing notes online in the cloud.  If you wanted to use it to its full potential, you still needed to buy a copy.

But not any more.

As of a few days ago, MS OneNote is now freeware.  The full version of OneNote 2013, which runs on Windows 7 and 8, is downloadable from right now.  The download file itself is tiny, but this is merely an installer which will grab many additional files from the internet.  

I've been a big fan of OneNote for a while, and much of my day job revolves around a huge OneNote file that contains all my relevant notes and documentation.  If you haven't tried out this excellent program yet, give it a go.





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Seemed like a useful thing to have, installed and seemed to work OK. get a 'fail to save' on my MS Excel files when converting from .xls to .xlsx

Uninstalled, and MS Excel works fine.


I'm not sure what many seem to be saying about OneNote being Cloud ONLY. I have used OneNote for a number of years, across a couple of versions (OneNote and Windows) - Never found it "mandatory" to have it on the cloud.

I occasionally even move it from device to device, mainly to my Windows 8.1 tablet for use when I'm off the Internet at a job site because no connection available or no access with personal devices. (probably about a third of the jobs I take have no internet access or no access with personal devices)

Yes, I use off-site and local backup, and also, have various vendors cloud account, and my own personal cloud hardware/software available in/from my office, and can run OneNote from any of them when I choose (locally or cloud - prefer personal cloud)... sometimes from a shared folder, sometimes not), in most any combination. I'd be lost if I could not move my files to a thumb drive and work off-internet when I need or choose.

I do not recall at the moment how I did this, and I do not recall thinking I could NOT have the flexibility to use OneNote as I see fit to use it. I just remember I was impressed I did not need the internet (like Ever_ _ _ _) to have the tools and information I needed, as needed, where needed, when needed.

Asus tablet, Win8.1 - installing win10 later this week, Office2007,(no 365 yet), IE11 only, and misc. portable apps (no MS-apps). Same basic setup on all desktops, except for the version of office on any individual workstation (MSOffice, 2007,2010,2013)

I don't know if this helps anyone, except the Cloud is not by any means mandatory.

Just to clarify...

It's the FREE version that's limited to Cloud only. If you have an Office licence then you can use the FULL version that includes local storage.
Indeed, after the most recent update to the FREE version that might be the only difference between the two. (Not sure.)

Thanks Bob. You are indeed correct. The free OneNote requires a Microsoft OneDrive account to store your files. However, your notes are available both offline and online. And if you don't want a Microsoft account for anything else, just create one purely for running OneNote (and give false details if you want). I use Microsoft's online services for various things, and I keep a different account for each of them.

A couple of years ago, I bought the Home-Student version of Office which came with OneNote. I was using a "Note taking" app, but was not satisfied. I tried to play with OneNote, but found it very "unuser friendly". I wasn't using it anymore.

Recently I bought a new computer (Win 8.1 Pro 64-bit) and had to reinstall my softwares. I pounder about OneNote and did a Google search to find out that it was now given freely. I reinstalled it, and by the same token learned about a tool that was really missing in the previous version. That tool is call "Onetastic" (

Since then, I'm quite a happy user of OneNote. Sure it lacks some other tools like a reminder, or similar ones. But as a good note taker app, it fits the bill for me. On top of that, I don't even have to backup my files, they are stored in a simple cloud account.

I'm retired and constantly surfin' the web. I need a solid Note taking app considering the hundreds of snippets I cut through the web pages I visit.

Let me know if there is something better for me to try!


M$ have released extra features in the free version but it's still limited. In particular, it will only store information online on OneDrive.

for the full announcement.

The relevant section says:

"Today we’re happy to share that we’re adding even more to the free edition ... including these features previously reserved for paid editions:

Password protected sections
Page history
Audio and video recording
Audio search
Embedded files

The free edition of OneNote stores your notes on OneDrive."

You shouldn't need an Office365 subscription but you will need a (free) Microsoft Live account in order to access OneDrive.

It's bait and switch when it's a freebie that depends on something else not free they want you to install - Microsoft 365, free for one month only.

Thank you, so it was a waste of time installing.

I run windows 7 and already had the earlier onenote 13, today I clicked on the link and downloaded the update. It supposedly installed, but has made no difference to OneNote's use, still only good when online.

Any help on what may have gone wrong? Thank you

It seems you must have a 365 subscription to activate it.
At least on my mac even with office 2011 installed.