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The future of OneNote

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Posted by WSP
Apr 20, 2018 at 01:45 AM


Here’s a link to yesterday’s official announcement from Microsoft, with a few more details:



Posted by Slartibartfarst
Apr 20, 2018 at 04:58 AM


Pierre Paul Landry wrote:
>... Must be me the problem, but I can not see OneNote, as
>anything more than a paper notebook on steroids…

No, no. You’re not the problem at all. As a longtime user of OneNote - my 8+ years long “experimental trial” - I would have to say that your description of OneNote is pretty much exactly right! It’s a very apt description.
It hasn’t entirely made my paper notebooks obsolete, but it has enabled me to go paper-less (reduced my use of and reliance on all kinds of paper-based information) and it has enabled indexing/search of two or three new data types - audio/audio-video and images/OCR. Couldn’t really do that with paper…
Coincidentally, I had recently commenced planning a strategic migration path from OneNote to (probably) IQ…


Posted by satis
Apr 20, 2018 at 02:49 PM


I tried using OneNote when I was furniture shopping - importing room/wall dimensions, pics, screenshots.

God, was it dog slow!

It synced to iOS and the mobile app was acceptable but nothing more.

I want to like it, but cannot imagine using it the way it’s intended.


Posted by satis
Apr 20, 2018 at 02:50 PM


(Oh, I was using the Mac app for input.)


Posted by Chris Thompson
Apr 20, 2018 at 02:59 PM


IMHO OneNote is an example of a program that got locked into a series of design decisions too early and just never was allowed to develop to its full potential. It works reasonably well as a kind of digital notepad if you have a pen-enabled device, but even then, I find the ability to scroll horizontally incredibly awkward for general notetaking.

Every other feature is just odd in some way or doesn’t quite work right. Why do you have to “print out” digital documents in order to embed them on a page if you want them to be searchable? Why don’t pen annotations “stick to” the printouts? If something gets moved, all your highlighting gets messed up. If you embed/attach documents on OneNote pages without printing them out, there’s literally no way to export those attachments other than laboriously going through every page of every notebook and saving every attachment individually. The Outlook task integration is so unreliable as to be useless. Why can you only search but not filter? The ability to search by tag and then copy all tagged items to a new page seems like a lazy way of kind-of-sort-of implementing something like filtering. Multiple-user editing on network shares works if you have less than a dozen people on your team, or more if you have Sharepoint, but using it with Sharepoint brings in a whole slew of other bugs (random page creation, tabs that get renamed and then revert to their old names, etc.).

The ability to record while notetaking and link recordings to portions of your notes was nice, but now that virtually every pen-enabled app supports that feature, it’s no longer particularly innovative.

The whole app just seems like a lost opportunity. I look at what teams like Notion.so have done in a short time to reinvent collaborative notetaking and just see so much missed potential with OneNote.


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