Microsoft adds digital ink and search in OneNote for iPad

Did someone declare this to be “let’s all make the iPad better with stylus support” week and not tell me? First we had Astropad, a $50 app that turns Apple’s slate into a graphics tablet, and now Microsoft is bringing of digital handwriting support to the iPad.


[company]Microsoft[/company] announced the software update to its OneNote application that adds the new feature on Thursday, pointing out that OneNote has actually supported digital ink since 2003. I actually didn’t need the reminder: I remember using the first iterations of OneNote way back then on a convertible Windows Tablet PC with digital stylus. I said back then — and I still believe it’s true — that OneNote is one of the best pieces of software ever to come from Microsoft.


If you’re not familiar with the app, it works similarly to Evernote, helping you capture and categorize snippets of text, screenshots, photos and other data, including audio recordings. The secret sauce of OneNote, however, has long been its excellent digital ink support, completely with OCR, or optical character recognition.

This lets the app index all information to make it fully searchable, either in the app or in OneNote Online. The latest version of OneNote for iPad doesn’t yet do that for handwritten notes but does for images. This example shows a search for “strawberries” on a receipt photo, for example.


With the latest software update to OneNote, [company]Apple[/company] iPad owners will see a Draw option in the app. Tap it and you can draw or write with your finger or a stylus; the latter is clearly recommended. You can digitally annotate any captured content in OneNote with this feature. Microsoft even added a palm rejection feature so your hand doesn’t accidentally “write” something when using a stylus.

Again, OneNote has been around for more than a decade, so it’s not new. It is, however, possibly one of the most underrated software products Microsoft has ever developed while also being one of the most useful. It’s well worth a preview from the iTunes App Store, particularly since it’s free for your iPad.

Microsoft OneNote on Android: nice but late to the party

Microsoft added Android support for OneNote, enabling Android users to take notes from their device and sync them in the cloud. But a few key features are missing that appear in competing apps. Is this space owned by Evernote or can OneNote succeed on Android?

Trails, a Firefox Add-On to Help With Research

As part of my efforts to improve my productivity, I’ve been looking for tools that can help me during research. One such tool is Trails, a Firefox add-on that can collect text snippets and images from the web, and structure them into a clean booklet layout

OneNote for iPhone Review: Overly Simple Note Taking

Yesterday, Microsoft launched its first Office app for iOS, a mobile version of the digital notebook application OneNote. If you’ve never heard of it, it may be because you’re using the Mac version of Office, which lacks OneNote, greatly reducing the usability of the iOS app.

Best Little-known Technology of the Decade

An unexpected phone call this morning caused me to use some technology I have taken for granted for years. This technology may be the best technology of the decade, and it’s unfortunate that not that many know it exists. Read on to see what I mean.

Collaborative Note Taking 101

Notes themselves are often quite personal. For example, when I go into a client meeting, I am there from a technical documentation standpoint, and my notes reflect that. The result is that “knowledge islands” can form as everyone hoards their own notes.

OneNote 2010 Technical Preview: Hands-on Review

After installing the Office2010logoMicrosoft Office 2010 Technical Preview (msft), OneNote 2010 was the first application I fired up. While OneNote grew in popularity from Office 2003 to Office 2007, the impending release of OneNote 2010 is going to offer longtime users even more to like and, quite possibly, create some new fans.
This post is going to deep dive into some of the new enhancements you will enjoy when OneNote 2010 is publicly available.
Read More about OneNote 2010 Technical Preview: Hands-on Review

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Clearing The Cache – OneNote

Like many of us, I spend quite a lot of time on the web and come across a staggering number of interesting things. In Clearing The Cache I pull out some of my favorites and share them with you here.

Here are some of my favorite OneNote resources that I’ve flagged recently:

Microsoft Office Online tips us to a great demo of how to Take OneNote to class.

jkOnTheRun shares a great user contributed OneNote 2009 Day Planner. I’ve downloaded it and it’s very well done – Nice work David

7Breaths with a phenomenal GTD OneNote implementation (via Lifehacker)

OneNote Tips & Tricks on Outlining in OneNote

Don’t have OneNote but want to give it a try? Microsoft offers a free trial

And finally, I love our WWD readers.  One discovered DropBox through our review and then goes on to use it for great things, like to share his OneNote notebooks on multiple machines. I’m now doing this as well and it works brilliantly.