I’ve been in two minds about writing a blog about Microsoft’s recent release of OneNote for Mac. On the one hand, this has been the biggest request on our “wish list” for a long time, yet on the other it falls short of being comparable in functionality to the Windows equivalent.
I’ve blogged in the past about how teachers are doing great things with OneNote at St Andrew’s College and consequently my ICT support team and teachers alike were excited with the announcement that OneNote had arrived for Mac at long last.
Students can download a version from the Mac App Store here and the price is great too: free.
The issue from our standpoint is synchronisation. As a College we have made a big push to have all students and staff using the OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) feature of Office365 – this allows sharing of documents easily (through real time searching of the College Active Directory) and allows stronger management from an ICT perspective.
The new Microsoft OneNote for Mac only allows synchronisation of notebooks with the OneDrive Consumer service – a great thing, but unfortunately lacks the tight integration into the rest of the Office365 suite on offer at St Andrew’s College.
We hold out hope that this synchronisation with OneDrive for Business will come in a future release and, in doing so, give our students (approximately 50% of them use a Mac) equal access to the fantastic product that is OneNote.
In the meantime, there is a great comparison of OneNote with another popular notebook app, Evernote courtesy of the LifeHacker website. Some of the strong features of OneNote include:
More OneNote Advantages:
- OneNote is integrated into Windows. Hit Win+N and you can create a sticky note-like note instantly in OneNote. If you have a touchscreen Windows PC, OneNote lets you change the UI to make it more touch-friendly.
- OneNote works betters with the Microsoft Office ecosystem, of course. You can add reminders to text in your note via Outlook, share OneNote notes or notebooks on SharePoint with your company (paid version only), or embed Word, Excel, or Visio documents (and edit them in OneNote). In two clicks, you can add meeting details from Outlook to OneNote, which is probably why Lifehacker readers voted it the best meetings minutes service.
- OneNote lets you tag parts of the page individually. If this were a OneNote note, for example, I could have tagged this bullet point “remember for later” while the bullet before I could have tagged “question.”
- OneNote has rich collaboration features not available in Evernote, such as seeing revision authors and finding comments by author. Paid OneNote users (e.g., in the corporate environment) have many more note-sharing tools and notes revision histories features.
- You can drag-and-drop files as embedded objects in OneNote. For example, if you drag a document to OneNote as you (even a Google Docs shortcut!), you can insert it as an attachment or embed it in full as a printout. In Evernote, a similar document can only be added as an attachment.
- If you want to export your OneNote notes, you can do so in more formats: In addition to the proprietary OneNote format, you can export entire sections or pages at once into PDF, Word, or HTML. Evernote only lets you select notes to format into its own format or XML or HTML.
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