Technology and the occasional justified rant

Updated OneNote app for Windows 8.1

OneNote app for Windows 8.1I mentioned in a previous post that OneNote is the unsung hero of Microsoft Office. That post showed two renditions of OneNote – the ‘traditional’ Windows desktop application and the Windows 8 app for the modern UI formerly known as Metro. I didn’t cover off the web app, but let’s move on. This week saw an update to the OneNote app, boasting some note-worthy new features. Most visible are some updates to the user interface – click on the small image here to see the larger version, and you’ll see that the index of the notebook pages shows a snippet of text and (if one is present) a thumbnail of the first image. Nice.

But there’s more:

  • Recent notes – a list of the most recently-updated note pages, regardless of which notebooks they sit in
  • Sharing to OneNoteSharing from other Windows 8 apps (e.g. News, Travel, Internet Explorer) into the OneNote app, which pushes the app page content into the OneNote page
  • A full screen option
  • Improved ‘ink’ capabilities, including different colours and thicknesses

And finally, ‘Camera Scan’. Ever since I’ve been standing on my hind legs showing Office on a tablet to customers, one of my favourite demos has been capturing the scrawlings on a whiteboard into OneNote – marrying the notes that you took and the notes that someone else captured by inserting a photo into the page. One good reason for a tablet or a phone having a rear-facing camera.

Searching for text in an imageThis new version provides an improved facility, allowing you to choose a capture which is optimised for a photo, document or whiteboard. You can then crop the photo so that it just includes the content you want. There’s also improvements to the optical character recognition – if OneNote recognises text in the inserted photo you can then search on it. Click on the small image.

…works for Microsoft as a Global Account Technology Strategist. In a former life he worked for the Lotus brand within IBM for many years. Married with one daughter and two dogs, lives in Camberley (Surrey, England), plays the guitar to a mediocre standard, and runs 10 kms and half marathons at an average speed. That’s it really.


Darren Adams • 28 November 2013

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