OneNote is 10

OneNote is turning 10 this month. We started with "OneNote 2003" and have made many releases since then, growing in leaps and bounds, along with our user base. If 2003 was its birth, its conception was back in Nov 2000, when Steven Sinofsky and I exchanged some email about creating a new app, a topic I covered in my second-ever blog entry. We called it Scribbler, and working on that team was one of the best experiences of my career. It isn't often that you get to work with smart, dedicated people all pulling together and aligned as a team, passionate about making a great product. And now, 13 years later, that still describes the OneNote team - it remains one of the tightest knit, most loyal engineering teams around. While people do come and go from the team, it has very low turnover and everyone who has ever been a part of OneNote feels a connection with it.

In my current role I have been managing the OneNote program management team once again for the last year, after a hiatus of 6 years. (I also manage the teams for Word and several new "secret" things we're working on). I am pumped to be back involved day-to-day with OneNote.

It's a terribly exciting time for OneNote. The team has spent many years improving the Windows desktop version of the product, polishing its personal and team note taking, information management and collaboration features (hello! real-time multi-user sharing that works!). Just in the last year we've stepped up our game to include big new releases on Windows8, iPhone, iPad, and Android. We also have the web app (on Skydrive) and of course we are built-in to Windows Phone 8, and you'll see more from us shortly.

We made three videos recently to highlight real people using OneNote, for real things! We found out about them via the intertubes (and Twitter) and their stories were so interesting that we contacted them and they generously agreed to show us all how they use OneNote. Check these out at

If you are interested in being organized, especially with your spouse, or collaborating effectively with your team, you should check out OneNote. You probably already own it, and it is free on mobile/slates. And it is about to get way more awesome, but I can't tell you more just right now. (wink!)

Go OneNote! (and don't forget my favorite feature, screen clipping: Windows-S, or Win-Shift-S on Windows8.1)

Comments (11)

  1. Will says:

    I've been a OneNote user for many years and love its flexibility.  But lately my main computer has been a Mac.  And while the OneNote web app is ok and is great when I'm using a computer other than my own … it's still not the same as using a native client and can't be used on a laptop away from a good network connection.

    Is there any chance of getting a Mac version of OneNote?

  2. Hey Will. We sure get asked about that a lot. I can't really comment, but there is this interesting photo out there on the net:

  3. Goran Mitrovic says:

    Hey, can we get colours in pages vertical tabs? Bold/italics also would be nice…

  4. Mike says:

    Chris –

    Just wanted to second Will's comment (which he disguised as a question): please make OneNote for Mac. I don't even own a Mac (and have no plans to). But many people I know do; and they need OneNote. Desperately. It would make the world a better place.


    A OneNote fan.

  5. Goran Mitrovic says:

    One more feature request. I'm currently having an embedded Excel table in OneNote. It's very inconvenient that the only option to edit is to double click on the table, which launches Excel in separate window where editing is done.

    What is surprising is that Word had OLE embedding implemented nicely some 15-20 years ago. Why OneNote doesn't have a basic feature like that?

  6. David Bosman says:

    +1 for the Mac version. Though I don't mind using Windows just to get my hands on OneNote (& Word 2013) 😉

  7. Ken Osterkamp says:

    I am using OneNote to organize a large writing project. I do most of my research in the OneNote app on an iPad while traveling, and the actual writing in Word 2010 on a Windows 7 desktop or netbook.

    One feature would make OneNote immensely more useful to people like me and allow me to do all my writing (not just my research) in OneNote: an automatic table of contents generator that would function like the Navigation Pane in Word.

    Dragging and dropping entries in the TOC tab would reorganize the tabs and pages in the notebook (I hope I'm using the terminology correctly). Tapping on an entry would bring me to that place. This would give me the ability to navigate and organize large documents quickly, without having to go into Word.

    Any chance of that feature coming to the OneNote app?

  8. Rick Seibert says:

    I work in telecom for a nation wide company processing complex voice and data network orders. These orders have mountains of numbers, IP addresses, correspondence between customer vendors etc. Without OneNote, I would be so lost.  I live and breath through OneNote.

    I have a couple of what I think are simple suggestions for new version. In Outlook, at the top bar of a given day or week, you can right click and tell it to collapse or expand the group.  That would be nice in OneNote to expand or collapse the notebooks.  Mine are very long and I'm constantly opening and closing them to make more viewing room.

    Next, same type of suggestion: Photoshop Lightroom has a feature called "solo mode"  It's a selection the user makes so each time they open one module, the others close so only one is expanded at a time.  That would be really helpful in OneNote.

    Thanks to the OneNote team!! Great job.

  9. Mike Alan says:

    I really don't understand the aversion to making a mac version of Onenote.  It seems like it is a subject not even willing to be discussed.  I would like to at least hear from someone official on the onenote team to explain why all of the office suite is available on Macs except Onenote.  Frustrating…please don't just ignore us; give us a reasonable answer…better yet give us a mac version of Onenote!

  10. Stan Kramer says:

    Been a user and fan of OneNote since the very beginning, but have been WAITING for a Mac version. I'm 68 now and am still an avid fan and use ON on my iPad, my Note 10.1 AND my ATIV 5 running Win 8.1, but my workflow would really be helped with the OSX version for my MacBook Pro. In this lifetime.


  11. Thanks for the feature ideas folks. As for Mac flavor of OneNote, you have seen us deliver new or updated versions of OneNote across windows, windows phone, IOS, android and web over the last months. We have no aversion to the Mac, but we have "nothing to announce at this time"

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