Microsoft Improves the Free Version of OneNote

Posted on February 13, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365 with 0

As you may know, Microsoft made the desktop version of OneNote 2013 available for free for personal use to users on Windows 7 and newer. Today, Microsoft announced that it’s removing all of the functional limits of this free version, making it even better.

“We’ve heard from many of you that enjoy the ability to take and share notes, ink and highlight directly on the page and stay organized with instant search,” the OneNote team writes in a blog post announcing the change. “And we’ve also heard from many who want more from the OneNote 2013 free edition.”

To that end, Microsoft is removing all of the feature restrictions from OneNote 2013, the free version of OneNote for Windows 7 and 8.x. That means you’ll gain the following features:

Password protected sections. You can add a password to protect sensitive information.

Page history. Go back to prior versions of a page.

Audio and video recording. Take notes while recording, and easily jump to the relevant section later.

Audio search. You can search for a word in a voice or video recording.

Embedded files. Insert Office documents or other files directly in your notebook.

You may recall that I just discussed this kind of thing in Why Office 365 and it is a strange line that Microsoft needs to walk between giving it all away and trying to get people to pay for some functionality. That said, I didn’t think OneNote could become even more of a no-brainer. But it did.

You can download OneNote 2013 for free from the OneNote web site. And don’t forget that OneNote mobile apps are also available for Windows 8+, Windows Phone, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android and on the Web.

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