Microsoft releases free OneNote note-taking software for Macs

Enterprise IT vendor Microsoft has released free OneNote note-taking software for Macs. It is trying to take on productivity software rival Evernote.

The new development – announced in an official blog post – will enable more consumers to benefit from Microsoft Office 365 suite of software, which normally costs $99 a year. The free version of OneNote keeps some functions that give it an edge over the free tier of Evernote, including offline access to notes and the ability for multiple people to work on the same note simultaneously, AP reported.

New Microsoft users also get 7GB of free online storage through its OneDrive cloud storage service. Free Evernote users are limited to uploading 60MB of data per month. Evernote’s premium users, who pay $45 a year, can upload 1 GB of data per month, AP reported.

Microsoft releases free OneNote note-taking software for Macs

Microsoft in a blog post said: “When we started OneNote we set out to revolutionize the way people capture, annotate, and recall all the ideas, thoughts, snippets and plans in their life. As many of you have attested, OneNote is the ultimate extension for your brain, but it’s not complete if it’s not instantly available everywhere. We’ve already made a lot of progress in that direction with our mobile, tablet and online web experiences. But there was still a gap. People frequently asked us for OneNote on Mac, and for more ways to capture content.”

The company said in its official blog said that OneNote for Mac is available for the first time and for free. 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.

OneNote is now free everywhere including the Windows PC desktop and Mac version because we want everyone to be able to use it. Premium features are available to paid customers.

The OneNote service now provides a cloud API enabling any application to connect to it. This makes it easier than ever to capture ideas, information and inspirations from more applications and more places straight into OneNote

AP reported that some new features play catch-up to what Evernote offered already, including a OneNote Clipper button for web browsers that saves web pages as notes, and a universal email address [email protected] that gives users a single destination to email documents to themselves for saving as notes. Evernote has its own clipper and an individualized email address for sending notes to oneself.

People who purchase a full Office 365 Home Premium subscription – which includes the Outlook email program, Excel spreadsheet software and PowerPoint presentation tool – will be able to use OneNote functions that are better integrated with other Office programs and get 20GB of cloud storage. Business users who pay to subscribe will have access to change history and tools that protect sensitive information.

The moves are part of a push by Microsoft to open up the company to working with other software platforms beyond Windows and to emphasize its cloud offerings. While the changes were in place before new CEO Satya Nadella took over in February, he fully supported the moves, said David Rasmussen, group program manager for OneNote.

Microsoft didn’t completely open up its latest software developments to other platforms, however.

One new function, which it calls Office Lens, allows users to take pictures of documents or whiteboards. The program squares up and cleans up the image before saving it as a note, making words recognizable and searchable through character recognition software. The feature comes as a free app only available for Windows Phone.

The premium tier of Evernote has a similar feature that allows users to take photos of business cards. The app automatically saves the information as a contact entry.

Microsoft said OneNote is more than just syncing your content across all your devices. It’s now a hub for the applications and experiences you care about. By making it easy to send anything from any application to OneNote, it’s one more step towards becoming your digital memory. We’ve built some new experiences for this and we’ve worked with a bunch of partners to integrate it with their applications as well.

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