It’s easy to scatter thoughts and ideas about the place – a scrap of paper here, an obscurely named text file there. Before you know it, your computer and desk are littered with disjointed ramblings, leaving you wondering how you can pull it all together into the gem of an idea you had before.
Microsoft OneNote – a relatively recent addition to the Office family – is its answer to the question of where you keep everything you jot down. And the good news is that – from the 2013 version – the app is now free available on the Mac for the first time too.
Creating notes is mercifully simple, as is organising them into notebooks and sections. Type anywhere within a canvas to enter text, attach images, create lists and more. Everything you create is a container, and you can drag and drop these around the screen until they’re laid out as you wish.
You can also organise your notes using tags – over 20 styles are provided, and it means you can quickly and easily filter data.
OneNote is cloud-based, which means you’ll need to sign into (or set up) your Microsoft account to use it. Once done, however, all notes are stored online, and synced automatically to your other devices. You’ll find mobile apps available for iPhone, iPad and Android among other platforms.
OneNote is one of those programs you need to train yourself to use – but once you start getting to grips with it, you’ll never rely on a post-it note or random text file again. Perhaps the big disappointment is that the Mac version is quite cut-down compared to the Windows build, but we suspect its feature set will quickly evolve to better match the PC version.
Version 15.21 adds the following new features:
- Quick Embed: Pasting the URL of a video from YouTube, Vimeo, Office Mix, and many other video services will add a playable preview to the page.
- More embedded content support for Sway: We've added support for embedding Sway content in your notes.
A superb note-taking tool with excellent navigation and collaboration features that's sadly marred by a limited feature-set on the Mac.