Microsoft introduces new OneNote APIs, free desktop apps for Mac and Windows

OneNote is one of the best note taking service out there right now. There’s competition from apps like Evernote and Wunderlist, but OneNote is still an exceptional product from Microsoft. It gets better and better as time goes on. Not only as an individual app, but as a service. Today Microsoft is announcing three big changes coming to OneNote.

OneNote is now out for Mac, is now free everywhere and there’s a new OneNote API for developers to tap into.

OneNote now available for Mac

Starting today we’re truly getting OneNote everywhere. We’ve had OneNote built into Windows Phone since the dawn of the OS. There’s also a killer desktop application for Windows users and a touch friendly one on Windows 8. You of course can get apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. And last but not least, your OneNote content is available anywhere online through your web browser.

Now OneNote is available for Mac and is free. Like all other OneNote experiences, the Mac version will stay in sync with your other devices.

Now free on the desktop for Windows users

It would be a little asinine for Microsoft to keep the desktop OneNote app for Windows as a paid offering now that OneNote is free on Mac. Which is why starting today, you can download OneNote for the desktop without needing to buy an Office product. It’s free and available to all.

Having free desktop apps for OneNote on Windows and Mac is big news, but it gets even better for fans.

OneNote cloud API

There’s a new OneNote cloud API that will allow Microsoft, partners, and developers to build and connect to OneNote. The new API will enable a completely new OneNote experience as it developers build new experiences and connect their apps.

Microsoft and select partners already have been working on new applications for the OneNote cloud API. Here’s what you can look forward to doing soon thanks to the new APIs. It’ll also give you an idea as a user what developers might be able to do with the new OneNote API. And if you’re a developer, you might want to start thinking of creating innovative and unique hooks for your apps with the new OneNote API.

  • A web clipper for saving web pages to your OneNote notebook
  • for emailing notes to your OneNote notebook
  • Office Lens for capturing documents and whiteboards with your phone
  • Send blog and news articles to OneNote from Feedly and News360
  • Easy document scanning to OneNote with Brother, Doxie Go, Epson, Neat
  • Write notes with pen and paper and send them OneNote with Livescribe
  • Mobile document scanning to OneNote with Genius Scan and JotNot
  • Connect your world to OneNote with IFTTT

OneNote API

Obviously there are some exciting new features that we’ll be tapping into thanks to the new OneNote API. For example, Microsoft is releasing a browser extension that will allow you to save web pages to OneNote. Or you can send blog and news articles to OneNote from services like Weave, IFTTT,  Feedly (check out Phonly on Windows Phone) and News360. Check out the full list of compatible apps on OneNote's website

Home office scanners from companies like Brother, Doxie Go, Epson and Neat will easily be able to send scanned documents to your OneDrive notebook. Or you can use Livescribe’s innovative note taking products to create notes with pen and paper that automatically go to your OneNote. 

And finally, we’re super excited to see Office Lens integrate with OneNote, which has just launched on the store. At the time it was undergoing an internal beta test at Microsoft. Office Lens will allow you to snap pictures of text and turn them into notes for OneNote. It’ll leverage the power of optical character recognition (OCR) software to turn those images into recognizable text. We’re very excited to see this come to Windows Phone and presumably other platforms. Sharing notes with classmates just got a whole lot easier. Go ahead and download Office Lens for Windows Phone

The possibilities are endless with the new APIs and we’re very optimistic about the future of OneNote. Head to the OneNote website to grab the web clipper, set up your sending an email to yourself and more! Or if you're a developer, just jump directly to the development portal on OneNote's website (opens in new tab)

What are you looking forward to? Sound off below and share some creative ideas that you’d like to see with OneNote integration.  

Source: Office Blog (opens in new tab), OneNote

Sam Sabri
  • Good if its for all except droid
  • ++925
  • Why? A service like OneNote should be available on every platform. Of course it should shine and innovate on Microsoft's platforms since the teams are on the same campus. But if I'm going to recommend OneNote over Evernote to friends and family then OneNote needs to be everywhere. 
  • Also, the fact that Microsoft seems to be making more money out of its services than its devices. I don't know how though as everything on Phone X and Android and iOS is free and no one has to pay for anything to get it on whatever phone OS it is.
  • Yeah Sam, Microsoft products should be everywhere. This isn't Google or Apple.
  • I agree, I understand you prefer Evernote though and that's your personal preference. It's worth giving OneNote a try as having my notes on every platform and in the cloud makes it worth it.
  • Evernote is also available on every platform syncs between them all.
  • True but it doesn't integrate seamlessly with Office ;-)
  • I hope there will be a OneNote Firefox extension. I only use Evernote since it has a Firefox extension.
  • Well the new cloud API should allow that to happen. The reason I prefer OneNote is because of its integration with Office, something I considered essential when I was at university.
  • Its even better then a extension. It is javascript button you pin to the bookmark toolbar. no messy extension that could crash your browser. It works for all 3 major browsers IE, Firefox, Chrome.
  • I'd be a lot more willing to agree with that if they lit a fire under developing for WP/W8.1. Like other people I've grown pretty tired of things working better, or being updated sooner on other platforms. Update your own first and you might be more likely to make the users on other OS's jump ship to Windows. Instead MS spoonfeeds them things, sometimes sooner.
  • While I agree that one note should be released on ios and and android, I really don't think that office should ever be released on other platforms and should be kept a WP exclusive, because its a huge selling point for WP. Another reason is that office 360 is already a run away success and does not need any promotion, unlike OneNote.
  • Well office on other platforms would require a office 365 subscription to work properly. It's free on Windows Phone.
  • My opinion on this matter has changed over the last few years.  Before, I would be mad to see MS put Office or other services on competing platforms because I wanted them to keep those exclusive to Windows devices in order to boost marketshare.  Well MS tried that and lets face it, it didn't work.  So now I agree with Sam that MS should get things like OneNote and OneDrive on every platform, but still innovate and introduce new features on Windows devices first.  And in order to promote Office 365, they should go ahead and release Office for iPad/Android.
  • Well you only had two choices apparently.
  • Well, it's for all except desktop Linux.
  • @Aashish13. I would personally love to see OneNote make it over to Android so that whatever notes I create on my Windows Phone I can then access them on my Android device, vice versa. Just like OneDrive.
  • What are you talking about it is on Google Play store?
  • Again, I don't get what your talking about? Droid is Andriod which means it is in the Google play store. Go get it.
  • I don't even have time to get excited for all this big changes, because of DirectX Conference in three days and Build in 16 days.  Damn Microsoft going absolutely crazy with their releases and news! <3
  • +920
  • +1520
  • Well now you have something to take notes with :P
  • The folks behind OneNote have been tops since the very first release. Great product...think I've been using it since 2004.
  • I disagree. Evernote, in my opinion has been a better product on both WP and PC.
    With these improvements and Office Lens integration, I'll reassess this.
  • He said they've bee great, not saying its better than any other service. But opinions are just opinions
  • The OneNote team has always seemed to be a step ahead and maybe not as constrained as the other Office app devs. Was really impressed with their storage techniques from day one and removing the concept of hitting a save button. And you could tell they were delivering pieces as they could (agile).
  • Well, no more reason to keep my Office 365 subscription...
  • You don't use Word, Powerpoint or Excel?
  • I actually prefer OpenOffice, only use Word and Excel now that I have it.
  • Isn't OpenOffice discontinued like 5 years ago?
  • Yeah, and horribly incompatible with Word
  • You pay $10 a month just for Onenote?
  • I paid 75 €/year, but yes I did. That's how much I love it.
  • Nice, maybe I'll replace Evernote with it... maybe.
  • Well, interesing. With this, I now hope that there will be a great developer (like Rudy) who can make OneNote app for WP that will allows you to draw with your fingers. It's important for me to make weird signs on my notes lol.
  • You can already do that with OneNote !!
  • My digital note taking life is now complete! Been waiting for this for the longest time!
  • Won't be complete until MS/Nokia or some other WP OEM creates a 5.5"+ device with support for an active digitizer and MS adds support for hand writing in OneNote.
  • This^^^
  • That would be great! but it works for me,  I dont need chicken scratch in my notes , just waiting for WP 8.1 to password protect notes and documents and all is well.
  • +1 I have a surface pro, but I'd love a larger phone with an active digitizer so that I could write quick notes instead of typing things. I don't always have my surface. And every surface, not just the pro, should have the active digitizer. They could really differentiate from apple/samsung by doing that. They'd lose a bit of margin but would probably make it up on pens. I've got 3 surface pens. I have one at work, one at home, on in my bag. It's annoying that they just don't have a place for it in the tablet but it is what it is and i'm relatively happy either way.
  • Great news! Now I can ditch evernote completely
  • This works great. I just tested with several docs in my desk - made it all searchable. This app just made my phone and OneNote 10 times more useful.
  • So you'll reduce my Office 365 subscription now?
  • Out of all the versions, still missing one major support ommission...the option to read and edit notes taken with a (wacom) stylus. Boy, they did it again.
  • The desktop, Windows Store versions support this don't they? WP8 also supports displaying inking notes as well?
  • Yes. I cant speak for windows phone 8. It doesnt support this for windows phone 7.x. That makes the expierience frustraing and being critical if microsoft has this figured out for OSX and android alike. Also would like to see incremental improvement in onenote, such as bigger tick boxes and stamps. The current ones are very tiny. Okay for mouse and keyboard, but dysfunctional for a tablet or smartphone.
  • On the website, on the banner with the text that says all your notes on all your devices, there's a windows phone with no OEM branding, no manufacture branding and the back arrow is on the right of the bottom and the search icon on the left. Also, there's no Windows flag
  • Good catch... for some reason they photoshopped the Windows icon out.  I'm guessing to not show favoritism to any particular device since it's a cross-platform product... but really they should have kept it.
  • Best notetaking app IMO. Stuck with it since first release in 04, primarily because of inking/handwriting support. It was one of the major reasons to have a TabletPC, still is because that's the only place you can find active digitizer support. Now Microsoft just needs to showoff productivity with OneNote for active digitizer devices, I've always thought this was the defining difference between consuming and creating. You can get away with creating content on most media tablet because of their abundance of apps and keyboard accessories, but an active digitizer with great software like OneNote, Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop has yet to be replicated on any other platform, and this is where Microsoft should focus; consumers would benefit from OneNote, Artists from Manga Studio/ClipStudioPaint, and Photographers from Photoshop, all with the power of pen, something that Bill Gates always seems to bring up, that mystical pen that Jobs doesn't like.
  • It appears as if they're promoting the mac. To much visuals
  • Come on, still no option to add password protection to wp, only thing keeping it from being a five star app
  • Don't put it in Kids Corner then :P
  • Slow and not better than CamScanner..
  • Works fast for me.
  • Thought this was included with win8 or was on my version.
  • The option to email to onenote looked great, until I tried it and it seems it will only work if you send the email from an account to So I still can't send emails to onenote from my work account. Really?!
  • You have to login to & add the other emails , so it can recognize it. Think of it as a middle ground between Pocket's method & EverNote.
  • Pins should truely be notes.
  • No camera! Should be able to take a live shot. Then pin that.
  • Nice ! I'll check it out, but I don't think I can leave Evernote for it. I'll continue to use em both .... Keep the status quo. Looks like they positioning it as a Pocket rival as well .... Throw in Bing Food access\support & you can take on Evernote as well.
  • Ah, I see. You have to set the other address up as an alias in, then will allow you to select it.
  • So what am I missing?  I can't get the OCR to work.  Every document I take a picture of with the Office Lens is just that, a picture.  I hope on OneNote and there is no "editable, searchable" text in the pictures I take.
  • I don't understand why this app and the recent Bing Weather update can't pull my MS account info from the phone's master "accounts" list... why do I have to relog into each MS app every time it installs? 
  • This is addressed in WP8.1. (Centralized user account access among apps)
  • Cool, thanks!
  • OneNote Clipper works with WP too.
    Just add this to your favorites in IE:
  • I really hope that there will be finally mind mapping addon for One Note... hopefully free or at least in resonable price. Or maybe MS will finally built such functionality into this tool...?
  • just bought office for home and student. i never knew about office lens
  • Oh great, i just bought Outline for Mac because it was on sale... now I know why it's on sale.
  • I use OneNote and note pro. OneNote for more important things I want backed up and note pro for quick post its on my start screen that I don't want on cloud.
  • So happy to see OneNote get some attention. I have used it since v1.0 a long time ago. I was disgusted seeing it lapped by Evernote. Finally some great functionality, more to come and now I can use IFTTT.
  • i dont understant this news at all. OneNote app for win 8 was always free. and the desktop app was part of Office 2013. is it that, OneNote 2013 is now independent and free without office 2013?
  • Well I am happy that onenote for mac has been released. I am a Lumia 920 owner and a mac user. But I use evernote for note taking jobs. I think evernote is much better for me in terms of note taking. I can esily create a note in evernote just by using the evernote button in menu bar of my mac. I can musch easily clip full screen, or clip a part of my screen, record audio note and create a note much faster without having to take screenshot in mac and later transferring it to the application. I downloaded onenote to see the features but could not find such handy options as evernote has for mac. For now I will stick to evernote. May be when onenote gets improvements, I will switch. Rightnow, evernote is my first choice.
  • Onenote is an excellent app and used with the Office Lens makes work and home life a lot easier when using my Mac, now if only we could get Microsoft to allow other programs on a Mac to access the Live calendar that would seal the deal, having to login all the time to add, check or change events is bothersome.
  • Hi All I found this article interesting and have a question for those of you experienced with one note and tablets. During the Christmas Hollday season I was lucky enough to buy one of those $99.00 Dell Venue tablets.  It has onenote installed and I have never used onenote.  After reading this article and watching the short vodeo demo of Onenote I would like to try it. My question is, could I use Onenote on my Dell Venue with a microphone set up instead of using the on screen keyboard, basically speech to text?  I am not sure if speech to text is even possible on the Dell Venue. So far I am using my Venue as a replacement for my hand me down first gen Kindle Fire to watch Netflix.
  • Excuse me but the OneNote you donwload by free now is not a complete copy. If you installed just try this: Go to a sheet and click on "Insert" and choose "Record Audio" or "Record Video". A message box will come up telling you to buy the full version. Another try. In a sheet click on "Insert" and try to attach a file. Again the same message box with the "Insert Coin" type message. This is in a Windows 8.1. The only advantage with the Metro version of OneNote is that the handwriting is recognized as handwriting and not drawing (like in Metro OneNote) so you can search for words in the handwriting. Microsoft (like many other companies) don't gift programs. So OneNote is just a demo with steroids, and OneNote for Metro is a piece of s.....
  • I just wish it could handle the amount of notes I have stored. syncs work..sometimes with struggle (having to find what sections didn't sync and fix them up etc), but the biggest thing is that they don't load onto all my devices. I guess cause its too much - it has my undergrad and start of grad school notes on it which include tons of slides, audio recordings, etc.   Also for the Mac version, they need to incorporate "Send To OneNote," cause that's a pretty simple task that is absolutely necessary for takin notes in school on top of slideshows and what not. I'd pay for a premium version that includes this and other features.   It is awesome that its cross-platform now and free tho! very cool