5 New OneNote Features That’ll Make Your Creative Life Easier

OneNoteIconAwhile back, I did a post at Writers in the Storm called 10 OneNote Features That Will Rock Your Writing World. I love this program so much, particularly for writers, I’ll be teaching a whole class on it next week. (More on that at the end of the post.)

I honestly didn’t think OneNote could get much better but…this week, it did.

Microsoft just unveiled several new changes to OneNote, but here are the FIVE that will make writers dance with joy.

1. It’s now free.

Yep, a cool new app…available across all platforms and tablets…gratis. (Let the squeeing begin!) Writers are poor, so this is exceptional news.

You might also remember that I got my Hubby to take over the grocery shopping with OneNote. Now that’s power!!

2. OneNote for the Mac.

All I hear from my Mac pals is “Evernote, Evernote, Evernote” and I’ve looked at it to see what the fuss is about. Evernote is good. OneNote is even better. However, it wasn’t available for the Mac until yesterday. (Download from iTunes)

As Microsoft says:
With this, OneNote is now available on all the platforms you care about: PC, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android and the Web. And they’re always in sync.

That’s pretty studly. More details on the Mac version here.

Also a quick video clip:

3. OneNote Clipper

It’s very similar to Evernote’s own clipper, with support for all the web browsers (including Safari and Firefox). You can even email web links or just notes to me@onenote.com.

To get started, visit www.onenote.com/clipper and follow the instructions to add the purple “Clip to OneNote” button to your Favorites bar. To clip, just browse to any webpage and click the Clip to OneNote button.

More details on the easiest way to save anything on the Web into OneNote.

4. Integration with printers and apps like Feedly and Office Lens.

It’s exceptional to be able to print right to OneNote, but I was already set up with that on the Windows side. What I’m most excited about is the integration with so many new apps.

Here’s two that might interest y’all:

When Google Reader went away last year, many of my fellow bloggers freaked because that’s how they kept track of the blogs they followed. Most of them went over to Feedly, which now integrates with OneNote.

Microsoft also launched Office Lens for Windows Phone yesterday, an app that will take a picture of a whiteboard, document, or business card and enhance it for viewing, while automatically recognizing the text for OneNote entries.

Why am I excited about Office Lens?

I hate paper. I lose paper. A program like this, available on my phone, is practically orgasmic for me because: “YES! No more paper.” I can’t wait until they spread the Office Lens opportunity out to other platforms.

Livescribe35. One word: Livescribe

Some writers simply MUST write longhand. It’s part of their creative process and that’s what they do. The End.

Your time has arrived, Longhand Writers.

Currently, I write with my stylus on my Surface, then use the “Ink to Text” feature to convert my writing to searchable text, which is pretty cool. There is also a “Math to Text” feature in the new version that rocks. But the tablet is small, and it stops my flow to scroll down.

What if I could just use special notebooks and a Livescribe 3 pen to write and make diagrams, then send all that straight to OneNote on ANY device? Oooooooh!

Here’s detailed instruction about how to use OneNote with Livescribe.

A great visual of the new OneNote:


Okay a few more things…

There’s a Twitter chat today for those of you who have more questions, or who just want to get the info straight from Microsoft. Use the #OneNote hashtag to follow along at 9:30 am Pacific/12:30 pm Eastern. The discussion will be moderated by @joe_block.

If you’d like to have a class on OneNote, led by yours truly, a two-week online course begins next Monday. The materials are geared toward creatives but it’s open to anyone.

The deets of this OneNote class:

      • Course title: OneNote: The Simple (Kinda Sexy) Organization Tool for Writers
      • Course time: webinar next Monday March 24th at 7 pm EST – it’s available OnDemand afterwards, so don’t worry if you can’t make it.
      • The initial webinar is followed by two weeks of online time where we cover the  material and create notebooks. We finish with another quick webinar recap.
      • There are various levels for the class, depending on if you just want the knowledge or if you need active one-on-one help setting up your notebooks. Be sure to click the course title link above to see what’s included for the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels.
      • Use the discount code MORECOWBELL for $10 off!

Lastly, we’re going to have THREE special things for this kickoff class:

      1. A member of the Microsoft OneNote team will audit the class to answer any questions on the technologies and features that are still new.
      2. A drawing will held to give away a subscription of Office 365 to one lucky attendee.
      3. Any interested authors will be entered into a drawing to be a guest author for the Office blog – in return for the description of how OneNote helped you “get it done,” Microsoft will promote the winner’s novel at the bottom of the post.

Really, y’all…how can you beat that? (You can’t! This inaugural class is the only one that will have all this, since it comes so quickly on the heels of Microsoft’s rollout.) Click here to sign up!

Did you know Microsoft was doing all these cool upgrades? Are you an Evernote user? (If so, tell me your fave feature down in the comments so I can let you know how OneNote for the Mac stacks up!) What are your questions? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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33 Responses to 5 New OneNote Features That’ll Make Your Creative Life Easier

  1. I am excited to see One Note for Mac! I read your post back when and couldn’t use it, so have downloaded the freebie and signed up for the class. Thanks for the discount! Looking forward to the class. I sort of use Evernote, but forget when it counts. (wry grin)


  2. Sharla Rae says:

    I want to attend that class Jen. I think my new phone this spring will be a iPhone to integrate with my MacAir. Currently I text into notes on my droid phone stuff I know I’ll refer to many times. I’m hoping I can find an easier way.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sharla, I’ve seen your book binders and you would salivate over OneNote. All your research, in one spot, and searchable from all devices. This program has your name written in the margins. 🙂


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    This is faboo, Jenny! I’ve been using OneNote for a while, but I feel as if there are still aspects of it that I’m shaky on. One of my big issues is that my notebooks are all saved on the computer only, and the one time I tried to save it on SkyDrive, it disappeared, so I’ve been scared to save it any other way except on my computer ever since. Also, I have no clue how to do things like move a page from one notebook to another. Stupid, I know. There’s a bunch of things like that that I struggle with. 😦

    Definitely signing up for your class!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Awww, thanks Kathy! The first thing we’ll do with you is activate your SkyDrive (now called OneDrive). That takes about two minutes. Then I’ll show you how to upload files from your computer over there. It will really be much easier on you to have them centrally. You can add to them with your phone at that point.


      • K.B. Owen says:

        Actually, I recently opened an outlook email account, and that seems to have given me a OneDrive account. I used to have SkyDrive, but I don’t know what happened to it. I just checked, and it’s a clean slate.

        I can’t afford anything but the “freight car” level of your course, Jenny (a college freshman coming down the pike this summer!), but I hope you’ll still wave to me from the front every once in a while! 😉 And thanks for the discount for your Cowbell peeps!


  4. Diana Beebe says:

    This is so exciting! I’ve been using EverNote on my Mac and Android phone (yeah, I’m not a huge iThingy user), but I love, love, love OneNote from using it at the day job. Thanks so much for spreading the news!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Diana, I’ve had OneNote on my Android for a while, but it’s ragingly hot now that you can use Office Online OR the actual OneNote Mac app PLUS your phone. The writers of the world have no idea what loveliness is in store for them.

      But we do, fellow OneNote user, we do. *cheering*


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  6. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    I hadn’t heard of Evernote or OneNote. Wow! Very interesting. Thanks, Jenny!


  7. Thanks for providing all of this great info in one place! Now to find the time to absorb it all … sigh …


  8. Hi Jenny! This sounds terrific. Wish I could take the class, but I’m so over scheduled. I’ve been using Evernote, would my notes transfer easily into OneNote? And one of my frustrations with Evernote is that when my ipad is away from the internet, I can’t even write a note. I get that I can’t access my notes, but I would love to be able to use the program to take notes, say at RWA, where there is no web access in the conf. rooms. If I could do that, boy would I switch!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Fascinating question – I’ll find out. I’m sure others will ask. The way OneNote works this, is you can update your device, and the next time it syncs with OneDrive, it will add that info into the main notebook that shares across devices. I really like that part.

      (Looks like you’re switching!)


  9. Jenny, my eyes just rolled into the back of my head. lol. This is too techie for me. And here I was just happy being able to load up a post for crying out loud. I am in awe! 🙂


  10. My fingers are tingling to start taking notes!!!!!


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  13. Kelly Byrne says:

    I’m kind of with Karen on this one – sooooooooo much information. So many words. Most of them exceeding my limited technical comprehension. LOL

    I’m doing my best to breeeeeeeathe and understand I don’t need to know everything about everything in this moment. I downloaded it to both laptop and iphone and will slowly get my feet wet.

    Thanks for this, Jenny. Just started using Scrivener for blog and novel. I think OneNote will complement that well. I think. 😉

    Say hi to the whales tomorrow!


  14. Whoa on the integration with feedly! I like that…in fact so much so that I stopped reading your article to scroll on down and say…WHOA! Thanks for sharing this. Back to reading!


  15. jbiggar2013 says:

    Reblogged this on jbiggarblog and commented:
    I love OneNote, here are some great ways to use it, AND IT’S FREE!!


  16. Hi Jenny,

    as far as I know, Livescribe is only compatible with Apple devices. other devices are going to be compatible some day in 2014…
    Do you have some other Information?

    Kind regards


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m 99% sure that the Livescribe pen works with the PC and with Smartphones, especially the Livescribe 3, but now you’ve got me questioning it, so I’ll look it up and respond tomorrow. Thanks for your comment!


  17. Christian says:


    Me and many other from my school have a question and we can’t find the answer anywhere.

    I have a OneNote file on my Windows computer with a lot of notes and I want to open this file on a macbook. I have downloaded the OneNote app but it cannot open the OneOne file from my windows.
    Is it possible to share the file with all the notes to mac users who have the OneNote app? And how?

    Thank you!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You need to open the file on your Windows machine, go to the Share tab and Share it to OneDrive. When you go to the Mac, you open it from OneDrive and all the features will be intact. 🙂

      It’s happy times, being able to work cross-platform AT LAST.


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