Microsoft Releases Free Version Of OneNote


Microsoft has launched a free version of OneNote, the note-taking application that until now has been an optional paid-for component of MS Office.  There's also a free version for the Mac too, and versions for both Android and iPad/iOS are also said to be close to launch.

This is clearly the start of Microsoft's battle for the online synchronised electronic notebook market which is currently led by players such as Evernote.

Unlike the paid-for version of OneNote, which still exists, the free version insists that you sign in with your Microsoft account (you'll need to create one if you don't have one).  You can then sync your notes to your other computers that are also running OneNote, and also to the web-based interface known as OneNote Online.

Contrary to rumours, the free version of OneNote for Windows doesn't contain advertising, and is a perfectly usable application which lacks only a couple of the advanced features of the paid-for incarnation.

So if you've always wanted to try OneNote, now's your chance.  The installer can be downloaded from and requires Windows 7 or 8.  It's a traditional desktop application rather than a new-style Metro program, thankfully.





Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 3.8 (13 votes)


So I downloaded and installed, but can't get connected. "We are unable to connect right now, please check your network connection..." My network connection is great. Are others experiencing this? It's annoying.

I've been using OneNote for years and it has seen me through a doctorate. I love it. And I love how I can access all my notes on my iPhone as well as any computer in the world with Internet access. That last feature has saved me more than once.

My only beef with MS with OneNote is that they haven't marketed it as much as I think they should have. It is a winner. I think it is better than Evernote. More people should try it out.

As far as "giving MS your personal information," well, it's no different than using Google Docs. Or Yahoo! I haven't looked into the details since I already own OneNote, but I'm guessing you just sign up for an account.

I agree that more people should try it out. Like you, I've been using OneNote for ages. I use the paid-for standalone version that is part of Office. Microsoft has clearly noticed that the future of notes is online synced systems like Evernote, and is now competing heavily. Using a free version of OneNote as the Windows client for the service is definitely going to give them a good leg-up, as it's an excellent product. Personally, I don't want a cloud-based notes system. I store confidential data in OneNote and I don't want it on any cloud servers. At least, not until I've encrypted it myself with a program that's outside Microsoft's control. This way, I can still access my notes from anywhere, but anyone else would find it much harder to do so.

That's a good point you make about the confidential data in OneNote. One thing nice about that is that I can create a notebook for confidential info and set it to not sync. Thanks for the idea!

Phew, for note taking I need to have a Microsoft Account?
I need to give them the unique "advertising ID" that identifies me? Yes, advertising ID; I glanced that from a maybe intermediate version of 8.1 when I set up customer computer. The next 8.1 machine a few days later did not show that any more; I smell a rat.

NO WAY Microsoft.

Yes, I know, I need an account for Evernote as well. But they are not the all encircling monster octopus that MS has become.

I am fed up with Microsoft's desperate attempts to coax, cajole and trick us poor lambs out here into their net.