OneNote 2007 now available at retail

Yes, the final code of OneNote 2007 is now available for purchase in an actual box (with a curvy corner no less and fancy pull out center: here are some samples if you haven’t been down to a store yet). Of course OneNote is available along with Office 2007 and Windows Vista today. This is hardly news for most people in the tech world but it’s a big deal for all of us who worked on it so I wanted to mark the occasion.

As we near the expiry of beta 2 of office 2007 products (build 4017 in Help/About) on Feb 1, I expect to hear from several people who are still using that build for some reason (I am already hearing from them in fact).

Likewise there are people still running beta 2 tech refresh (build 4407 in Help/About) which expires Mar 31.

To everyone running a beta version: stop doing that. You will be much happier.

If you have decided you will keep using OneNote now that you’ve experienced the beta, and I am sure that is every single one of you :-), the simplest thing to do would be to go buy the full version (version 4518 in Help/About). You can uninstall the beta version and then install the final code of OneNote. All your notes will be there – no worries. I personally wouldn’t even bother with a backup, but that is me.

I realize that many people are in special circumstances though. If you are expecting your company or university to provide the new version for free or highly subsidized, but they are taking their sweet time doing so, you can maximize the amount of time you can use OneNote 2007 with full editing capabilities while avoiding spending any of your own stash. If you just need 60 days or less, I would uninstall the beta and install the trial version which gives you the final code and all the capabilities for 60 days. Well, you won’t get save as PDF with the trial until you convert it to the full version. (update: a change was made Feb 1 to allow trial to validate so you can get this now). If you think they won’t give you what you need within 60 days, and you are still running one of the beta versions, you could stay on beta 2 tech refresh until it expires on Mar 31, then switch to the trial for another 60 days after that. For those of you still running plain beta 2 (build 4017) you can patch to beta 2 tech refresh build 4407 here. There’s no need to wait to do this as the expiry date is fixed unlike with the trial.

Once you are running final code (either the trial version or the full version), you can’t go back to beta code (or 2003) – the betas and 2003 will not read files updated by the final 2007 version. That said, don’t stick around on the beta code longer than you have to – we fixed a lot of bugs between that version and the final release so it pains me to think people are using it even now.

If you have the trial right now, when you buy the full version just activate your trial installation in Help/Activate Product using the product key of the final version. Don’t bother to uninstall and reinstall because the code is the same. Activation of the trial over the internet is limited right now (in some cases because we’re limited to certain countries where laws make it easy to support credit card use over the net). For others, you can buy a product key from a retailer (or a box) just like you buy pre-paid phone minutes, or just buy from an on-line retailer (unless the credit card thing makes that hard where you are).

Of course a better option than buying standalone OneNote is to get the Home and Student edition of Office 2007. For just a few dollars more than OneNote standalone you get not only OneNote but also Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 – and they rock. If you do this, note that you need to unistall the standalone trial version before installing Home and Student as the licensing is not quite the same. If you had been trialing the Office Home and Student version then you don’t need to uninstall. Gosh – so complicated. Just make sure that the full version you are installing matches the trial version you purchased – if not you need to unstall the trial first.

I’m also hearing from people who recently got a computer that came with a trial version of OneNote 2003 installed (PC makers are still selling some machines with that installed). Obviously I suggest you not bother with that and recommend you go get the 2007 trial. Even if you have already started using the 2003 trial, just uninstall it and download the 2007 trial – it will pick up where you were, extend the expiry date, and no data will be lost.

Once again I feel like giving a little “boo-yeah’ to the OneNote team. Although for all of us here in product development the 2007 release is now “ancient history” we’re still dang proud of it. You guys rock!

I also want to mention some resources you really should use:

1. Dan Escapa, a program manager on the OneNote team has taken on the mantle of regular OneNote poster now that I am no longer an “insider”. Go bug him and ask him questions. He is really great at responding. In particular, go ask him to create 2007 and 2008 calendar templates for OneNote (he did the 2006 ones).

2. If you have a support question about OneNote (not working right as far as you can tell), please ask your question in the newsgroup. I am of course happy to help if I can but like any good designer I only know what the product is supposed to do. People in the newsgroups can respond quicker and also tell you what the product actually does. 🙂

For any MS-people reading this, check out my internal blog and discussion of my new team here: http://msblogs/chrispr. We’re hiring!

Till next time…

Comments (24)

  1. Patrick Schmid says:

    As one of the people who supposedly can tell people what the product actually does (see #2), you can actually get Save as PDF with the trial. The problem is that you can’t download it once the trial is installed, but you can download it if you have Office 2003 (and no trial) or the Office 2007 Beta still installed. See

    I tested this last when I wrote that post. If anyone tries this and fails, please leave a comment on my blog and I’ll look into it.

    Patrick Schmid

    OneNote MVP

  2. jf says:

    While I’ve seen much to like in Office 2007, the suite packaging decisions for OneNote 2007 are disappointing. I’ve ready the other discussions about it being what’s best for the OneNote product. It still seems to me the decision made is intended to generate as much marginal revenue as possible by making people either buy OneNote as an add-on in Standard, Small Business, and Pro, or Outlook as an add on in Home and Student or Office Ultimate. My work place won’t buy the enterprise or office ultimate version. It would be nice if it had been included in OfficePro, rather than Accounting Express or Publisher.

    So I’m stuck using the 2003 copy I shelled out for some months back for at least another year.  I’m just crossing my fingers that when the Office 2007 upgrade happens in a couple of months it doesn’t break the way I currently use OneNote with Outlook, and other aps.

  3. Patrick: thanks! I think you can also download it if you have Office2007 (any app) full version installed, and it will light up in the OneNote trial as well.

    jf: In past discussions I tried to make the point that the choice of what goes into each suite is fairly restricted. When we add a product to an existing suite, we either have to lower the price of all the components (this is commerce law limiting level of discounting in bundles) or raise the price of the suite.  The first is a huge cost for us just to get you the bundle you want – not really viable from a business perspective as it would significantly lower overall revenue. The second imposes a cost on everyone who used to get that bundle, whether they wanted OneNote or not (and anything in between has elements of both of these problems to some degree).

    So maybe we introduce just keep the bundles the same but a new bundle which is "Office Pro+OneNote" but then some people won’t want Access, and the reverse if we did Office Standard plus OneNote. And no, we can’t do a la carte bundles for complex reasons.

    So we are stuck either making a new suite (Enterprise, Ultimate) or replacing products in an existing offering (Home and Student) . You’re quite right that revenue plays a big part of the decision – that’s why we’re in business after all and what our shareholders expect. But it was not the only consideration. If all we wanted was to get the OneNote bits in front of more people the problem would be easy. If we screw up in getting people the product in the configuration they want then we lose sales so it is totally an incentive for us to get you what you want. We can’t force people to buy office after all – we have to make an offer people want to take.

    We could have replaced Publisher with OneNote but then we’d have Publisher users on our case. I can hear it now – it would be something like "you got us hooked on Publisher by including it in the suite and now you want us to buy it separately, while forcing this new thing I never heard of on us when we don’t want it". Or some such.

    Since all products are also available standalone you can approximate the bundle you want by buying the closest suite plus adding the standalone products you want. e.g. buy Office Home and Student and also Outlook (upgrade), or buy Office Pro and also OneNote. So really this is not about availability or flexibility, it is about people wanting to get the cheapest price.

    We did hear that feedback so even though OneNote is already at "upgrade price" of $99 compared to Word or Outlook, we decided to come out with an even lower price of $79 for an upgrade. This is available now on the trial conversion site and soon in stores I’m told. So now the combo of Office Pro + OneNote "upgrade" is closer to the price that a true suite of the same apps would have cost. And of course academic users have much lower prices ($49 or less).

    BTW you mention that Ultimate would need you to separately buy Outlook but of course Ultimate has everything in it including Outlook, hence the name)

    I’ll close by saying that we do miscalcuate sometimes and things do get changed (as the introduction of the OneNote upgrade shows, and the re-addition of PowerPoint to the Small Business Edition). Keep the feedback coming – it does make a difference!

  4. jf says:

    The suite comparison chart located at:

    does not show Office Ultimate including Outlook.  If Ultimate does include Outlook the chart needs to be corrected.

  5. jf says:

    Ah, I misread the suite comparison chart located at:

    I just read the line for Outlook, not Outlook with Business Contact Manager and missed that it was included in Ultimate.

    I understand the suite packaging reasoning noted in previous discussions, I just have a different conclusion as to what the conclusion of it should be:-)

  6. Jeff Bell says:

    PDF and XPS add-ins are now available to Office 2007 trial users, too.

    A change went live to Genuine Advantage validation this week to recognize the trial versions of Office 2007 as Genuine Office. So now this is one less reason not to upgrade your beta versions of OneNote (and the rest of Office 2007) to the final code (trial or otherwise.)

  7. Eva says:


    I know you mentioned that my notes will still be available once if I remove beta and download final version, but I’m one of those people with special circumstances, and I will need to wait until my company gets it.  Will my notes be available if I remove beta and download the 60 day trial?  Or if I go from beta 1 to beta 2?

  8. Christopher Coulter says:

    Heavens to Betsy, this thing is great…getting feet wet all over again.

    No Office 2007 new UI tho?

  9. Jeff: thanks for the update. I edited the post to reflect that.

    Eva: your notes are just files, and they are never removed when you uninstall. All you need to take care of is that you move forward in time from beta 2 to beta 2tr, from beta 2tr to trial or final (these are the same). Your notes will be fine.

    Christopher Coulter: glad to hear back from you! Yes, no ribbon for onneote (and Infopath, Publisher, Visio, etc.)Maybe next rel. Ribbon for now is focussed on the formatting-related apps so it will take some more research to get it right for other apps.

  10. Chris,

    I’m so happy the release has finally come!  I have upgraded about 15 users so far from 2003 in the last week.  It is truly a great product!

    My IT department at school asked me to make some screencasts about how to do basic stuff in OneNote, so, people can check them out by going to my website  Let me know if there is anything you think would be good to have recorded…


  11. Chris Z says:

    I have a question about syncing network files that is perplexing me. I thought I might not be the only one with this problem so this would be a good place to get an answer.

    At work, we store our My Documents folders on a network share. These folders are also stored locally in Offline Folders, of course, so you can still work when you’re not on the business network.

    I’ve read there is a problem with storing OneNote notebooks in offline folders (and I’ve experienced this myself, with notebooks not syncing even when you’re connected to the network). The problem is, I don’t want to move my OneNote notebooks to my local drive because then I won’t be able to VPN into the work network from home and access them on my home computer.

    I suppose a Sharepoint drive might be a possible solution for storing the OneNote notebooks at work, but we don’t use Sharepoint here. I can’t seem to unselect only the OneNote Notebooks folder from being available offline — that option is grayed out. Maybe this is a corporate setting.

    Any suggestions?

  12. J Fallows says:

    Chris, glad to see the final version of the product. You know that I like it, since I’ve said so many times in print.  Two interesting points:

    1) The online purchase system appears (on many attempts) NOT to work with Firefox. Have to use IE to get to the purchase screen. Shades of mid-1990s! And a silly kind of parochialism, in that it makes it harder for people to buy the product.

    2) The upgrade price is reasonable enough, considering the value of the program. But then there is $9.99 option to allow you to download the software again over the next three years "in case your computer crashes and you upgrade your PC."  Hey, should you really have to re=buy the software (in effect) if you upgrade the PC? Just curious. Again congrats on the program. Jim Fallows

  13. Erik: woohoo!

    Chris Z: offline Folders in Windows have several problems that unfortunately hit OneNote the hardest – but they are not limited to OneNote.  You just need to remember a couple of things. Basically when there is a problem, force a "sync" in Windows (which also tells offline files code that you are actually online – it doesn’t always clue in). The problem is usually that offline files has become confused and can’t quite tell if you are online or offline, or if it has synced or not.

    Now, an easier thing to do is if you have a network share that is NOT using offline files, put your notes there. OneNote will take care of taking them offline for you from each of your machines when you open those notebooks. That’s it.

    if you don’t want to VPN, follow my instructions here:

    Jim Fallows: nice to hear from you. Hope the trip to China was pleasant and worthwhile.

    The on-line purchase system is run by an outside vendor – you know how hard it is to get good help these days 🙂 I’ll pass that on. (and we’ll take the "hose Firefox" clause out of the contract :-))

    I didn’t know about the $9.99 recovery option. That’s better than no recovery option I guess. But you’re right you wish that once we know you own the thing you shouldn’t have to worry. I’m sure it’s coming. I have that problem now as I bought a new machine and can’t find my PhotoShop CD and product key from 3 yrs ago – now that’s an expensive repurchase 🙁

  14. Nathan says:

    I love OneNote, I have been using it since the beta stage of office 2003, and I cannot live without it.

    It is an amazing tool and I love what you have done with the new version.

    I really want to congratulate you all.

    But there is one things that is eating at me and not letting me work in peace.

    I use a lot of "to do" tags, and it bothers me so much when I put my mouse over the check box and I get the hint or the callout that that in fact is a "To Do" tag

    I want to disable that hint, it really gets on my nerves, can anyone please tell me how to?

    I want to continue loving the program, please help a guy out.

    Thank you


  15. Justin says:

    is there no way to get OneNote with Office Pro 2007? I got Office Pro just assuming it had OneNote (in fact ALL i wanted was OneNote!) and now it looks like it doesn’t have it! Can I somehow excahnge my Office Pro license for a OneNote license? All I wanted was OneNote and it’s practically the only thing not included in Pro it seems like 🙁 I’m in a position that I can’t return my license (it’s for the downloadable Office Pro only).

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! How long do I have before my copy of OneNote 2007 beta gets locked down?



  16. nathan: if you are referring to the tooltip, it is set to appear after a slight delay, but not before. You have about 0.5 sec to click the button and move on. In normal use you shouldn’t see the tool tip since you reach the button and click it before the tip appears. When we had it set to 0.7sec many people never saw the tooltip even when they paused so we set it to 0.5sec which seems to work for most people. What I suggest if 0.5sec is too short for your usage is that you use the key accelerators. If you are typing and want a todo flag set, just use Ctrl-1. Drop down the flag list in the toolbar (the down arrow next to the todo button) and you can see the other shortcuts. In 2007 you also have ctrl-shift-1 to set an Outlook task.

    Justin: you can get OneNote with Office Pro but it is called "Office Ultimate", and also includes InfoPath and Groove. You can see the details of which package has what here:

    Here’s some additional detail:

    Your beta will last until March 31 as I wrote in the post above.

    As for returning your download license I have no idea, sorry. OneNote standalone is only another $80 or so though (assuming you are not a student) so that won’t add much to the Pro purchase you thought included OneNote.

  17. A says:

    I was wondering if you might know how to recover a deleted page/section?

    I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere.

    Thank you so much!

  18. A: If you deleted the page just now, use undo quickly to get it back. If you have already moved on, use File/Open Backup. The default is to keep two backups, separated by at least a day. If you make further edits to the section after you deleted the page, open the older backup. Once you make edits to that section on two different days, your two backups will be updated with the newer versions that do not have the deleted page and you will be out of luck.

    For deleted sections, look in the recycle bin on your desktop.

  19. A says:

    Thank you! I thought there might be a folder where all deleted pages would be held.

    Thanks again. Gotta be careful I guess. =)

  20. Ian says:

    I recently discovered to my shock how high up the Office suite a small business needs to go to get OneNote.

    Neither "Office 2007 Small Business" nor "Office Professional Plus 2007" has OneNote!!  A stunning decision that should be revisited.

    Not every small business has a server, not everyone in a small business does desktop publishing, and not everyone needs or uses Access. But everyone could make good use of OneNote.

    I know you addressed this above, Chris, and buying OneNote alone seems like the next best option, but still this seems like a perfect incentive for small businesses to bend (well, break) the rules on the use of the Home and Student version.