Microsoft OneNote gives limited functionality in app format

Jan 26, 2011
Tech

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking app that dually syncs with the web-based version of OneNote using a Windows Live ID. If its iTunes reviews are any indication, the app had a rough beginning in the App Store. Plagued with errors that prevented users from logging in, the Apple competitor had to update OneNote, compatible with […]

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking app that dually syncs with the web-based version of OneNote using a Windows Live ID. If its iTunes reviews are any indication, the app had a rough beginning in the App Store. Plagued with errors that prevented users from logging in, the Apple competitor had to update OneNote, compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, as soon as it hit the store, leaving users with a fix that worked for some, and throttled others. In other words, this app might work for you. But even if you can sign in and access your notebooks, OneNote’s actual functionality probably will disappoint.

To start with OneNote, you’ll need to sign in with your Windows Live ID. I had an existing account from when Live Cashback was still around, but if you aren’t a current user, you can register for an account in app. Once logged in, OneNote will sync with your account, and pull in your existing notebooks. From here, you can view and edit pages in your notes, and the app gives minimal formatting options, including lists, checkboxes and photos. You can create new pages through the “Quick Note” function, or take a photo from the homescreen, using the camera icon. That’s really the app in its entirety.

If you’re looking to create new notebooks, rename sections, or organize your notes, look elsewhere. These functions have to be performed from the Windows Live Web app or through the OneNote 2010 program. Users can delete individual pages, but can’t remove full sections or books in app. There’s no search function, and I found navigating from a note page back to the homescreen involved a lot of unnecessary screens. You also cannot share notes from the app with anything other than your Windows Live account.

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OneNote is free for a limited time, so current users shouldn’t wait to download if seeking an app version of the service. However, the function of this app isn’t promising for non-Windows Live users, who can probably find what they need from other note-taking apps such as Evernote.

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