OneNote for Mac is for real and it is free

Microsoft not only released a version of OneNote for the Mac OS X, they made it free as well. It is free not only for the Mac, but for all platforms. There is still a business edition that is a paid for product, but all of the rest are completely free.Onenote

I have downloaded and installed the Mac version, but have not yet used it, so I cannot yet compare it, but from what I have seen, it looks and works just like its Windows counterpart.

Finally, our Apple friends can now use what is, perhaps, the greatest piece of productivity software ever to come out of Redmond’s software factory.

Not only did Microsoft make OneNote available for free, they have added features.  An improved API, LENS for Windows Phone (which turns the phone into a scanner), enhanced the OCR ability and released a library of plug ins.

Go here for a list of apps and services that work with OneNote.

With OneDrive, you can now keep all of your Notebooks in sync.  You can even protect your notebooks and all of the various versions (except for the Windows Store version) will be able to access the protected notebook.  Even the web version. Yes, you can even use the web version with YOUR notebooks.

If you are an EverNote user, you can easily migrate your data to OneNote. The easiest way is to save your notes out as HTML and then import them into OneNote. You can also PRINT TO ONENOTE each of your EverNotes, but that could be quite an involved process.  You can also email your notes to your OneNote mail address. (To set this up, goto the site, scroll down about midway and look for ‘Send Mail’. Click the Setup email link. It will show a list of email addresses that you have linked to your Live account. Select the one to use with this feature. From now one, you can send mail  from that account to ‘’ where ‘me’ really is the word ‘me’ and NOT your name. The email will then go into your default notebook and section.)

I am a huge fan of this software and have written several posts about it. Click here to check them out.

OneNote is available for Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and, now, Mac OS X. You can download the package for your device here.

OneNote like: ArcNotes

OneNote is, perhaps, one of the most useful applications EVER. I use it everyday on my Windows and iOS devices.  Even though I love the application, I still look for that ‘perfect’ note taking and data organizing application. So far, I’ve not found anything better than OneNote, but there are a few apps that are close. Here’s one that’s really close and it’s a Windows 8 style application too.

ArcNotes, from ArcSoft, is pretty darn close to OneNote in features and ease of use. Screenshot (24)Like OneNote, you can categorize your notes, create collections, tag your notes, include photos, drawings, video and audio files. For images, it has a nice feature that will correct distortions in the image. 

Screenshot (27)

Creating a note is simple, click or tap the new tile and a blank page pops up. Write or type your note, add whatever files you want and…that’s it. You can tap the information icon and up pops an info page where you can name your note, tag it and add a location.Screenshot (29)

Other features include PDF Preview and Share as PDF.  This is a really cool feature. It will let you share a set of notes with someone who does not have the application or just preserve your notes in a universal format.


Currently, the application is free and available in the Windows 8 store.

SkyDrive: sync your OneNote notebooks, access all your PC’s, and share your photos

skydrive1Years ago, Microsoft introduced it’s Windows Live brand and, with it, a set of applications, including the Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and something called Live Mesh. Mesh was a syncing tool that also had a really nice remote access feature. This was, perhaps, its best feature. You could remotely access and control any PC that had Mesh and was linked to your Live Account. I used it extensively. Mesh also allowed file syncing between all of the machines in your mesh.

Alas, Microsoft dinkyed around with Mesh over the years and have now killed the product. All is not lost, though.

Enter SkyDrive.

When I first heard that SkyDrive was replacing Mesh, I cringed. Having seen it, I was thoroughly unimpressed. But…

Things change, time passes and software gets better. And, so did SkyDrive.

Microsoft has SkyDrive client software available for Windows, Android, iOS and Windows Phone. There is also a browser based client. Of all the choices, the web based SkyDrive is the better choice.

I’m not going to go over the clients, they offer only basic options, like file sharing.  The web site, however, is more.

While it will not provide the remote access, Microsoft is leaving that up to its partners, it does allow access to the file systems of any machines that you’ve linked to your SkyDrive account.  And this feature alone makes SkyDrive-the web site-a must.

If you are using Windows 8, that machine is automagically linked. I found my three Windows 8 devices are all linked to my SkyDrive account and let me access the file systems on the other devices.

skydrive2Other features include photo sharing, online versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint and access to Outlook.  Microsoft keeps making SkyDrive more and more useful. It’s a shame they are not making the applications more useful, especially the rather lame XBox 360 version. I have yet to figure out why I would want that one.

For me, the ability to sync my OneNote notebooks is about as useful as the access to my devices, perhaps more so. I can now sync my notebooks between my PC’s, iPad, iPhone and my Asus tablet. Having access to that data has proven invaluable and, couple with the online Office apps, have eliminated my desire to put Office on my new machines. My Asus tablet does have Open Office, but mainly for use at work, where my access to SkyDrive is limited.

If you have not tried SkyDrive lately, give it a shot, you will be pleasantly surprised.

App mini review: Lucky Notes

OneNote is the one application from the Office suite that I find use for on a daily basis. More so than Word or Excel, while those are definitely useful, OneNote is that one thing I rely on in work and in my personal life. It is on my phone, my tablets and my computers. I can even get to my data on the web. So, are there any worthy applications that could come close? Well, yes. That would be Evernote. But, there are other note taking and info organizational applications that share commonalities or functionality that works better than OneNote.

Screenshot (2)Lucky Notes only does one thing: take notes. There’s no real organizational features, but it does have search capabilities. There is no text formatting either.

The use interface is rather simple: a yellow “legal” size notepad that takes 2/3 of the screen on the right and the list of notes on th left. It looks like it would be at home on an iPad. Apple fans would love it.

There are options to export the current note to SkyDrive, email, the local file system or to print it.

While not as useful as OneNote, the application is great for quick note taking and, maybe, for things like quick coding on the go.

The application is free and available in the Windows Store.

A Qool OneNote competitor or a Qool OneNote companion

qoolWhile I am a huge OneNote fan, I use it everyday, I am always on the lookout for a decent or even a superior competitor. Evernote comes close, even in its sub-par form today.  Windows 8 has ushered in a new set of applications, including a slate of OneNote like applications.

The latest I have seen is called Qool.  Qool is really more of an organizational tool than a note taker like OneNote-it does not have a complete set of editing tools like OneNote-but it has many basic features that make it more than usable AND…it qoolmainhas a tremendous sync tool.

When comparing features, it has most of the core set: embed audio, video and photos; note taking; embed other filetypes; organize your notes and present them in one of many ‘dashboards’. What’s lacking are all of the editing features. I’ve not found any way to bold text, change fonts, or any of the formatting features found in other similar applications.

qool5To create a note, simply double click or tap and a blank note appears. Type your text and then press ENTER.  Viola! Your note is saved.  Like OneNote, there is ‘SAVE’ button, changes are saved on the fly. Right click or swipe up and you reveal context sensitive menus.  The basic menu lets you qool4change the current notes backcolor; Pin to start; Organize; Remove; Clean; Upload a file; record audio or video or take a picture.

Organize gives you several preselected layouts for your notes and files. Clean removes selected items.  Remove removes the selected item. Pin to Start creates a tile on your Start Page that will take you directly to your note.

Other context menus allow you to select your Dashboard layout, change your note color and more.

qool7Dashboard is simply a nicer way to present your dataset. Whereas OneNote is more of a database with various notebooks, QOOL is more of a project management tool. When a note is no longer needed, you clean to remove it (or them, depending on how many you have.)  So, being ablqool8e to present your notes and items in an organized fashion is a huge plus. There are several pre-selected layouts, but you can create your own.

The big feature, though, is the sync. I have the trial version installed on three machines. I could make a change on one of them and the change would show up, almost instantly, on the others. Very nice, indeed.

While OneNote need not quiver in its boots, I see that QOOL not only has some use, but could be a great adjunct to OneNote or even Evernote. I will be using to product, which is currently free, and will be reporting back on how well it works, so stay tuned!

Qool is from 598 Studios and is available in the Windows App Store. Open the store, click the Search charm in the charms bar and search for Qool.


Another OneNote alternative: Work Notes Pro

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I am a big OneNote fan.  While I am a huge fan of the software, that has not kept me from looking for alternatives. Now that I am a Windows 8 user, I have been looking for RT style OneNote-like applications. Yes, there is a RT version of OneNote-and it’s really good-but I am looking for something that is a tad simpler as well.

There is such a thing and it is called Work Notes Pro.

WNP takes the idea of OneNote and removes some of the flexibility but maintains the ease of use and follows the RT style pretty good.

Instead of using the notebook metaphor that OneNote uses, WNP uses the notions of notes and tabs in a card-file like metaphor. Perhaps this works because the thumbnails are of the tile nature (which makes sense, given that this is Windows 8.)

WorkNotesProPage4When you open WNP, you see your card list.  From this screen, you can slice and dice your data. You can show it in groupings, like projects, to-do’s, keywords, etc. You can then further limit what shows via a filter.  This method of slicing your data is pretty cool and very easy to use. Though, when entering your notes, you must keep this in mind by properly filling out the tiles on the left side of the note card.


The tiles along the left side of your note card allow you to specify a project to associate the note with; set your keywords; mark it as a to-do and then set the status; add a reminder and others. You can insert media like an audio recording, photo or video to the note card. Of course, right clicking brings up the command bar which reveals editing features like change the font, justification, etc. Note editing is fairly robust, but some things are missing like bullets and the ability to insert a tab.  These are easy to overcome, but should have been included.

You can also export your notes to text files or media files.

There is also some integration with Microsoft SkyDrive for syncing your notes.  Once you allow the app to use your Live ID, you will be logged in automatically and your data will be synced to SkyDrive.  Since the app is currently Windows 8/RT only, I’m not sure what this gets you other than backing up your data.

Currently, the app is available in the Windows Store and is free.

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A OneNote look alike for the Mac

I’ve been a OneNote fan for many years now. I use it at home, on the go and at work. The problem with OneNote, however, is that Microsoft has to release it for Mac OSX.  That’s quite a shame, really, since OneNote is, simply, the best note taking and organizing piece of software yet released. It is versatile and really easy to use. It is, without a doubt, THE best part of Office and the best piece of software the Microsoft has ever released.

Until recently, I thought the only thing that could come close to OneNote on the Mac was EverNote. They, however, jumped the shark with the rewrite of the platform a few years back. It lacks the versatility that it once had . 

Well, I am happy to report that I found a worthy replacement: Growly Notes.

Growly1Growly Notes resembles OneNote in many ways, especially in the Note taking feature-the most important part of the software.  It uses the same tabbed metaphor as OneNote, though the tabs are along the side of the page instead of the top.

Just about everything is there, save for the diagramming and line graphics in OneNote. I don’t use them all that much, so I would not miss them here. You can embed objects, import images from a scanner or camera and perform screen clips, just like OneNote.

One major difference I have found, however, may prevent many from using Growly Notes: lack of a sync feature.  There is no cloud service and I have found no way to sync notebooks across devices. As the software is Mac only, there is no conduit to sync to anything on a non-Mac device.

I am still in the midst of testing the software and, aside from the data sync, it is looking really nice and a worthy replacement for OneNote.