OneNote and Office Lens April roundup

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Editor’s note 5/20/2016:
This post has been updated to reflect features that have now shipped.

Today, we are releasing several new capabilities for OneNote and Office Lens that enhance multimedia experiences, collaboration and canvas organization.

We’ve got a lot of great stuff to cover, so let’s dive in!


Insert and view content from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Sway and more, right alongside your notes. By simply pasting a video link into OneNote for Windows 10, Mac, iOS or web, a playable thumbnail version will appear next to it.

OneNote April roundup 1

OneNote for Windows

We updated the work and school sign-in process, so now you can sign in to OneNote for the first time using your Office 365 organization ID. We hope this eliminates potential confusion, saves time and gets people into their notes more quickly.

For OneNote for the Windows Phone, we added audio recording, giving you an additional and easier way to get your ideas down while on the go.

OneNote April roundup 2

OneNote for iOS

For OneNote on iOS, we’re introducing a few new things that make it easier to organize notes on the canvas your way.

  • First, we’ve brought the lasso tool to iPad for selecting and rearranging groups of audio recordings, images, text, shapes and any other item on the canvas.
  • Second, on iPad, you can rearrange audio recordings, images, text, shapes and (you guessed it) any other item on the canvas by just touching and dragging.

OneNote April roundup 3

  • Third, you can now rotate images in OneNote on both iPad and iPhone.
  • Fourth, if images are your thing, you can now insert multiple photos on a page at once on iPad and iPhone.

OneNote Online

Smart Lookup—The best viewing experience for reference material is now available for OneNote Online. Smart Lookup is powered by Bing and uses the selected text and surrounding content to give you contextually relevant results. Select a phrase, open the context menu, click and look smart. We can’t wait to see what you do with it.

OneNote April roundup 5

Library science—Getting lost navigating your digital bookshelf? We’ve re-shelved the notebook list and now you can distinguish between your personal notebooks, notebooks that others have shared with you and OneNote Class Notebooks you belong to. Now, when you open OneNote Online, you’ll be able to clearly see these categories listed out. Pro tip: head directly to to dive in with the new view. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out the new search bar to narrow your selection.

OneNote April roundup 4

Office Lens

We added some new features to Office Lens, our popular pocket scanner, which will help you go from paper to digital with ease. Now you can scan and insert multiple photos at a time on iOS. For iOS and Android, you can now rotate pictures in post-production instead of retaking the picture.

Download Office Lens for free.

Thanks for catching up on all we’ve been working on this month. Whether you’re new to OneNote or a veteran, we’ve handpicked some of our favorite tips from the team for OneNote 2016 in a new eBook, “OneNote 2016 Tips & Tricks,” to help you get started.

—Scott Shapiro, product marketing manager for the OneNote team

We always want to hear your feedback, so make comments below or follow these links.

  1. Some nice improvements to the more personal-use-oriented OneNote apps but it would be nice to see some new developments and additions of these features to the more intensive work-related OneNote Desktop 2013/2016.

    • All of the embedded feature are available on Desktop OneNote 2016 for monthly update folks. For IT Managed companies that only update every 4-8 months they will be delayed.

  2. “We updated the work and school sign-in process, so now you can sign in to OneNote for the first time using your Office 365 organization ID”

    Thanks, that was so annoying. I’m surprised it wasn’t done before but better late than never.

  3. Really good news for OneNote in personal use, but I’m wondering when the desktop version of OneNote 2016 will receive those improvements.
    Are there compatibility issues when embedding YouTube videos in OneNote and trying to play/modify them in the Office 2016 desktop version?

    • If you have OneNote Desktop 2016 Click To Run and are on the monthly updates you can also paste links in for embedding like you can on the platforms mentioned about.

      Videos embedded on any platform will playback on all platforms that support embedding.

      For older versions like 2016 perpetual license or click to run deferred channel, 2013, 2010 you will get an image preview and a link to the video.

  4. feedback: the recording feature in OneNote for Windows 10 Mobile isn’t much use because it’s limited to short snippets – not the unlimited audio recording we have in OneNote for Windows Phone 8.1. this a complete blocker for me on moving to Windows 10 Mobile ;(

    • Yea, that is a problem. Also the sound indicator of recording doesn’t feel real sound wave as Voice Recorder do the same for example.

  5. I appreciate the continued work developing new features, but it’s disappointing and confusing to see simple features like rotating images in Office Lens not announced for Windows Phone at the same time. The lack of feature parity across platforms does detract significantly from the concept of an experience that follows the user.

  6. Love the OneNote app and every other Office apps, they are my daily tools ! But it’s unbelievable that we can’t sign-in without adding our Microsoft account to Windows 10. Many Microsoft apps (Groove, Mail, Weather…) manage Microsoft accounts on a local Windows 10 account, why not Office apps ?

  7. Found something (new classes) in the Windows Preview SDK that point to a possible return of Radial Menu? Please tell me you’re bringing it to the full 2016 version. Dream feature. If not, allow Quick Access Toolbar in fullscreen at least.
    Yall are awesome. Keep up the good work!
    namespace Windows.UI.Input {
    public sealed class RadialController
    public sealed class RadialControllerConfiguration
    public sealed class RadialControllerMenu
    public sealed class RadialControllerMenuItem
    public enum RadialControllerMenuKnownIcon
    public sealed class RadialControllerRotationChangedEventArgs
    public sealed class RadialControllerScreenContact
    public sealed class RadialControllerScreenContactContinuedEventArgs
    public sealed class RadialControllerScreenContactStartedEventArgs
    public enum RadialControllerSystemMenuItemKind

  8. So i can embed video in one note for mac but still not powerpoint 2016 for mac? Epic fail microsoft.

  9. Using Office Lens on android is pretty straight-forward. On iOS, though, it seems to be half-baked. For one example, when I take a phone on my iPad, there is no checklist to choose which filetypes and locations to save it to before uploading. It seems like I have to choose them one at a time. I don’t understand the intended workflow. On android, I generally keep OneNote, OneDrive, and Gallery selected. I can’t figure out how to do this on iOS.

    Also, there is no iPad-compatible version in the Japan App Store. I’m having to use a giant iPhone version of the app.

  10. Please let me disable the video preview feature. Also, the preview generation shoudl be done locally.

    I’ve always trusted the OneNote application for my private contents. I don’t want my private video links to be sent to

  11. I am using the onenote app on my Surface Pro 4. I like the application, however, I would like to be able to have rule lines default to on when I load a new note. How do I do this?

  12. I don’t find an easy way to do Find & Replace, like Word or Notepad does. Would love to see this function is on. Thanks!

  13. Sad to see that One Lens for Android still doesn’t get the much needed updates thay will allow multiple pages and signin with work-Office365.

  14. +1 thumbnails in windows explorer for onenote extentions

  15. I use Office Lens daily but…
    Since some weeks each time I use Lens I need, for transferring my capture to OneNote, to login with my default account. This is really annoying.
    I work with a iPhone 6+. Can you tell me how I should not to be obliged to re login as some weeks ago?
    Many thanks in advance

  16. I’ll definitely use it in certain places, but it would be really nice to be able to disable the automatic video insert when pasting a link, as most of the time I only want the link and not the video there. I looked in the options menu but couldn’t find anything to disable it.

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