Category Archives: OneNote

What’s the difference between OneNote and OneNote 2016

I’m a huge fan of OneNote and I use both versions. I came across this article that should help if you use OneNote, or are considering it. If not… Why NOT?

What’s the difference between OneNote and OneNote 2016

OneNote 2016 (as well as OneNote 2010 and 2013) comes with the Office suite and is available as a free download from However, you might have noticed another version of OneNote on your Windows 10 device that’s simply called “OneNote.” This new app, built from the ground-up, works great with any PC, tablet, or smartphone running Windows 10.

Screenshot of the Windows Start menu with OneNote and OneNote 2016.

Read the full article

OneNote: A Few Thank You Notes

I’ve been using OneNote since it came out in 2003. It was one of the first applications that treated ink as a first consideration in design. It was unconstrained by the traditional concepts of horizontal lines and vertical borders. It could search your ink; Ink that you created using a pen and active digitizer. It was one of the best applications for what we used to call Tablet PCs.

OneNote was clearly different in terms of workflow. You didn’t have to save your work and you didn’t have to consciously synchronize  your notes across multiple devices.  It was a great tool for doing research. Copying anything from the web automatically created a link back to the source.  You could record audio and if you wrote notes during the recording, your notes were linked to point at in the recording when you took them.  Later, you could tap start the audio playback at the precise point in time when made the note.

I shared notebooks across all my devices it was easy to have access to my information everywhere, even on my phone.

Don’t get the wrong impression as I write in the past tense. OneNote is still around, still does all those things, and it’s better than ever, especially on Surface 3 and Surface Pro devices.  Surface 3 and all Surface Pro devices support ink. 

For me, there’s nothing more efficient than a pen for marking up a document as you edit it. If you’ve used Microsoft Word with track-changes and comments, you know that you can get distracted by the technology and the work-flow.  Do it with ink and it’s simple, direct, and the technology is transparent.

I still keep all the pen and paper type notes in OneNote. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I still have  old Tablet PCs scattered around my workspaces so that I can jot things down and have those notes everywhere including my phone.  I’m still amazed at how well OneNote can find a word or a phrase that I wrote in ink months or even years ago.

It turns out that OneNote is absolutely brilliant as a tool for collaborative writing. If you share your notebooks with others, then OneNote keeps track of each author’s changes, and everyone is always looking at the same version.

Yes, it’s a digital and somewhat binary world, but there are still plenty of times that the analog approach – writing in ink is just better.

If you have wanted an easy way to store lyrics and add guitar chords, it is just plain annoying to get things lined up with ordinary text based tools. It’s easy to do it with OneNote, and you can even draw chord diagrams if you need them.   Of course you can buy apps for this but it’s so much easier with the pen, especially if things are in the early stages of creation.

I think that’s why I really like OneNote. It allows me to capture thoughts and ideas relatively unfettered by constraints of planning, typing, and saving and syncing and notifying others of changes. It’s great at the early stages of things when there’s no time to be perfect, and no need for the distraction of trying to be. And yet as chaotic as that sounds it is brilliant at finding things, no matter how you created them.

If you don’t know OneNote, then check it out. If you haven’t looked at it lately, it’s worth a second look.

It’s not just for Windows anymore, and it’s free.

And here are some more things to explore

Surface Pro 3: Pen Can Be Paired With Other Devices

You can pair your Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3 pen to other devices.


This is more interesting than compellingly useful, but here’s what I found.

I picked up  an HP Stream 7 at the Microsoft Store last week.

I was trying to capture a screen shot with the thumb keyboard but trying to do that with the Windows-Volume_Down combination wouldn’t work because pressing the Windows button dismisses the keyboard. Then remembered that a double-click on the Surface Pen button opens OneNote Screen Clipping Tool.

I paired my Surface Pen via Bluetooth to the Stream-7. I was actually surprised that it worked. And after that I could click once to wake it up from sleep into OneNote, and double-click to open the OneNote Screen Clipping Tool  just like you can on the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface Pro 3 Pen doesn’t do anything else with the Stream-7, so I wouldn’t dedicate a Pen to it. But it was interesting to explore.

While I was digging around I found a few new tricks about OneNote. For example, once you register you can send an email to and it will deliver that email directly to your notebook.

Read more about that trick and more at

Check out these great opportunities.

What Can You Do With That Old Tablet PC?

I have a couple of old slate format Tablet PCs that have outlived their batteries. So they are no longer portable, but other than that just as functional as they ever were.

I have parked one on the corner of the desk where I most frequently jot down notes by hand. I have it running Windows 7 and OneNote (desktop version)  and I no longer have to pull the Surface Pro 2 out of my bag to make a quick note.  And because the OneNote file is on OneDrive, my notes are accessible everywhere.

This is great.

OneNote and Education Blog

Mike Tholfsen – Test Manager of the OneNote Team has kicked off his blog, OneNote and Education.

I am interested in how OneNote can help enhance the learning environment and I believe OneNote will be a primary tool for 21st century education.  We also plan to have other guest bloggers from the OneNote team and from other Microsoft teams post education-related entries here.  John Guin is still writing the OneNote Testing blog so even though I’m the test manager, this blog will be about OneNote and education.

Because there are so many things happening right now with OneNote and education, we wanted to start this blog to have a dialog with the education community, as well as share ideas, resources, and gather feedback from teachers, students and faculty.  We also hope to point to examples of great things that educators and students are doing today with OneNote and education.  In addition to K-12 and Higher Education, you can also expect to see topics on eLearning, training and on-boarding with OneNote.  Many companies, including Microsoft, are delivering eLearning solutions using OneNote

Mike’s blog entry continues

OneNote  strikes me as the main application in the Microsoft Office suite that seems to have been designed to really use ink, but I am sure that I have missed some great opportunities to better utilize it in my Education related activities.

I am looking forward to Mike’s ongoing thoughts.

Link: OneNote and Education.

OneNote Calendar from Josh Einstein

Josh Einstein has been busy and has just created his OneNote Calendar.

Josh describes it this way.

  • It’s an application that presents your OneNote pages in chronological order according to their last modified date on a calendar so that you can see your notes by when you wrote them, not where.
  • You can preview the note pages in the app or double click a calendar item to open it in OneNote.
  • Full screen mode will probably be pretty useful on origami devices.
  • If the resolution gets too constrained it turns off the preview pane by default.

    And when I asked about the price, it’s totally free.

I’ve installed this on the Asus R2H and the interface works really well for touch. The controls are intuitive.  Things are working just as you hope they will.

Nice work Josh!