A BIG OneNote update for Windows note-taking devices

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Today, we released an update to the OneNote Windows Store app that significantly improves how you capture, find and view the notes you care about most. We were inspired by Windows 8.1 and the new devices that are perfect for note-taking: tablets with pens, such as Surface Pro 2, and smaller tablets, such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro.  This update makes it easier to capture notes using the Windows 8.1 Share Charm, enables you to scan things with your camera and search them, and shows your recent notes with page previews.

Capture everything you care about

Capture your screen with the Share Charm. With Windows 8.1, anytime you see something on your screen, you can capture it and send it to OneNote by using the Windows Share Charm.

Let’s say you’re using the Bing Food & Drink app and you want to capture that yummy beef short rib recipe in OneNote so you can have it with you always. Use the Share Charm (swipe from the right or mouse to the top right corner, then select Share), select OneNote, and then select Send. Now that recipe will be in your notes, on all your devices, forever!

Or if you want to capture exactly what you see on the screen–whether that’s from the browser, an app, or your desktop–you can send a screenshot to OneNote. In a Windows Store app, use the Share Charm and choose Screenshot from the dropdown menu. When you’re using the desktop, it will always create a screenshot for you. OneNote will show you a preview of the screenshot before you send it to OneNote.

Capture documents, magazines and whiteboards with Camera Scan. Camera Scan helps you get pictures of documents and whiteboards into OneNote. It will automatically crop, rotate, straighten, remove shadows and sharpen the image so it looks like a scanned document. This makes it easy to capture, read, and re-use that great recipe you recently saw in a magazine. To use Camera Scan, select the camera in the radial menu. Watch the magic happen in the video below.

Browse and find your notes more easily

Search for text in scanned documents using OCR. So you’ve used Camera Scan to scan that great recipe into OneNote, but how can you find it again later? OneNote can search the text in the image. The technical name for this is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and it’s great for searching scanned or photographed images of recipes, documents, receipts and so much more. You can even copy the text out of the image. A picture doesn’t do this justice, so check out video below.

Find notes faster with Recent Notes and Page Previews. When you open OneNote, you’ll see all the recent notes you’ve taken across all your devices, whether it was a quick reminder to yourself on your Android phone, a poem you wrote on your iPad, or the recipe you captured on your Surface Pro 2.  The Recent Notes view shows all your notes in order of when you last edited them, no matter which notebook they’re in.

Instead of only the page title, you’ll see a preview of your notes. Page previews show you text, images and even ink content, so you can see your notes without having to open the entire page. Now it’s easy to quickly spot that great apple pie recipe. For short notes and simple reminders like “do math homework,” the preview will often contain all the information you need. If not, just tap or click the preview to see the full page of notes.

Annotate and take your own notes on the things you’ve captured

Write better notes with Ink. When we first released the OneNote Windows Store app just over a year ago, you could take ink notes with a stylus in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. Since then, we’ve added the ability to take notes in the color and thickness of your choice, plus the ability to draw with your finger. In this release, we’ve improved Ink so it feels more natural when you are writing. Try writing on your favorite recipe that you’ve captured in OneNote!

See more of your notes in Full Screen. To make it easy to view the things you’ve captured and take your own notes on them, try out Full Screen view. On smaller devices, OneNote will enter Full Screen mode automatically for you. On larger devices, swipe up from the bottom or right-click the page and then select Full Screen.

And more…of course

We’ve fixed bugs to provide an improved experience overall, but please let us know if something still bugs you.

We’d love to hear what you think of this update. Let us know in the comments or through a review in the Windows App Store.


*UPDATE* Check out Doug Thomas’s 15-minute Office webinar demonstrating some of these new features.


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  1. CAdams1984

    Looks great. Will there be an update to OneNote on Windows Phone 8 in the near future?

    • OneNote Team User">

      Thanks for your interest in Windows Phone but unfortunately we can’t talk about our future plans.

  2. Nice additions? Hopefully you are planning to add search of ink-written text as in the desktop version of OneNote? I always thought this was the most innovative feature of OneNote from years ago in the Tablet PC era. Don’t forget to add it in here.

    • OneNote Team User">

      Totally agree it’s a great feature:) We can’t talk about future plans but are listening to your feedback.

  3. ChrisWarwick

    Still no access to password protected pages. Can you explain why not – is it just a low priority? Or is there a technical reason why you haven’t added this?

    **Very frustrating**

    • OneNote Team User">

      Thanks for your feedback. Right now we can’t talk about future plans but hear your concerns.

  4. mjsolomon

    Can I take a photo of a document I’ve just been handed at a meeting, and insert it and then take pen written notes on it? Or can I do the same with a pdf I’ve received digitally?

    • OneNote Team User">

      Yes, you can take a photo of a document using the camera scan tool shown above, and ink on this image.

      You can do the same thing for a pdf if it has already been inserted into your notes from OneNote 2013 desktop. You can use the Share charm on Windows 8.1 to insert a screenshot of your PDF into the OneNote app, and ink on this.

  5. 3steveco33

    Interesting and informative….I look forward to experimenting more with this.

    • OneNote Team User">

      Thank you!

  6. DarrellCWebster

    Is this new OneNote app available in the store now? I don’t get the option to update. I uninstalled and reinstalled from the store. I still get the previous version without all the goodies mentioned above.

    • OneNote Team User">

      We’ve heard other reports of this and are looking into this. Is it working now for you?

  7. orlando2bjr


    4 Stars.

    For 5:
    * Voice Recording
    * Password Protected access
    * Inking extended to mobile apps


    • OneNote Team User">

      Thanks for the feedback:)

  8. GarethDavies

    I’m not sure how you managed to take such a clear photo of a receipt in the video. On a Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 both cameras are fixed focus, making all close range photos way too blurry for OCR. I’ve tried extensively with my Surface 2 and can’t take a photo where the text is anywhere near clear enough. Is there some type of macro mode that I’m unaware of?

    • OneNote Team User">

      Thanks for the feedback. There is no macro mode, and this is an issue we will look into.

  9. When will the update be abailable in the Netherlands?

    • OneNote Team User">

      The OneNote update is currently available in all our supported locales.

  10. OneNote Team User">

    No, you cannot use the app without a Microsoft account.

  11. How is it possible you have awesome whiteboard scanning, but you don’t have a real Find & Replace function? I had to download a third-party macro platform to get that.

    • OneNote Team User">

      Yes, unfortunately we don’t offer this feature in the Windows Store app at this time. We’ve heard feedback around this though and will look into it.

  12. Though I’m an ardent OneNote fan, there is still one glaring omission that continues to drive me away to competitors like Pocket – the inability to share a whole web page to Onenote using the modern interface.

    Despite your latest enhancements and assertion I can "capture anything I care about", using the share charm from IE still truncates any web page to the first few lines, which is useless.

    So I have to revert to using IE on the desktop and sending a whole page to OneNote from there (but only if I immobilise the default security setting in IE11 of course).

    Am I doing something wrong or is this crippled functionality by design?

    While I can share a page

  13. Tom Decaluwe

    Hi, i’m still not seeing the new one note app show in the app store. Is there any indication on when it will be available for download in Europe? Will the app also be available on windows 8.0 systems?

  14. NerdyWoman

    I’ve been a OneNote desktop app for a long, long time (my college notebook is epic), but these features could get me to switch. The Reading List app in Windows 8.1 makes the Share Charm invaluable. Adding OneNote to the ShareCharm? G-E-N-I-U-S.

  15. smerrett79

    I’m using Surface Pro 2. Can’t get share with Mail app to work. Only page name survives – no images, inking, body text. Am I doing something wrong (follow MS videos online) or is this an app interoperability issue?

    +1 about the Surface camera quality for OCR – just not good enough but thanks for trying to make the app work with this feature – MS haven’t kept up with you in the hardware dept!

    I would love to see, as my app store review says, OCR for inking handwriting and a way to select the inking without resorting to the lasso I accidentally found with my stylus (must advertise the stylus functions better – they’re good).

    Thanks for all your work on this – OneNote has great potential.

  16. KarineSouza

    Hi! How can I use Heading style (like ctrl alt 1 or 2 or 3) in one note app?

  17. OneNote Team User">

    The update is currently available in all supported locales. Make sure you are running Windows 8.1, as you need to be on this version to get the update.

  18. windows8migration

    This app is really awesome.I loved it.

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