Microsoft rolls out free OneNote app for Android tablets

Microsoft rolls out free OneNote app for Android tablets

Summary: Microsoft's newest version of OneNote for Android is optimized to work on tablets and adds support for digital inking. The 'modern' version of OneNote for Windows 8.x also is getting an update.


Microsoft has introduced a version of its OneNote note-taking application optimized to work on Android tablets, with support for digital inking.

The new application is available for download for free from the Google Play store today, August 19. It requires Android 4.1 or higher. Microsoft has been beta testing the Android tablet version of OneNote for the past several months.

The new OneNote for Android release includes handwriting support and "touch-friendly navigation," according to Microsoft officials.

Microsoft execs had told testers to expect the Android tablet version of OneNote to support digital inking, allowing users to take handwritten notes or draw with a stylus or finger; to add formatting options, including font types, font sizes, alignments and tags; and to allow users to move between notebooks, sections and pages with a swipe. 

Microsoft also is rolling out a couple of other OneNote updates today.

Its "OneNote for Windows Store" (aka, Metro-Style OneNote for Windows 8.x) is being updated with ink-highlighter functionality, support for printing and the ability to insert files and PDFs.

There's also an update for Livescribe+ which adds auto-sending so users can set up any Livescribe notebook using their Livescribe 3 smartpens to automatically send handwritten notes to a specific notebook in OneNote.

Microsoft is continuing work on other touch-optimized Office apps for Android tablets. The Office on Android tablet suite, expected to include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, is on track for release before the end of calendar 2014, sources have said. The touch-optimized Metro-Style/modern Office suite for Windows 8.x is not expected to arrive until the first half of 2015, my sources also have said.

There are now nine different OneNote clients: OneNote for Windows, Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, Mac OS X, Android phone, Android tablets, Amazon Fire Phone/Kindle Fire tablets and OneNote Online (for use with a variety of browsers). 

Topics: Mobility, Android, Collaboration, Microsoft, Tablets, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • 5 years too late Microsoft

    Microsoft is at least 5 years too late. All notes are in Evernote. While OneNote is descent, they would have to do something spectacular to get existing Evernote users to switch.
    Jason Rasmussen
    • I have 5 in my office that switched back...

      so I think there will be quite a few. I"m one of them of course. Loved OneNote great tool. But I bought a Mac and have Win7 and Linux on it so I switched to Evernote. Never liked it as much as OneNote. But when they came out this this version. I switched everything back, and have never looked back. The UI/UX is so much better than EverNote. It's a great tool. My daughter will be using it again now that they have the Android version. She missed it, hated EverNote. So yeah there will be people that will not switch, but there are quite a few that will as well.
      • They put the 1 in OneNote

        Not really to late. The put the 1 in OneNote. Kind of like the 1 ring to rule them all. One business app the that runs on all operating systems. It is more about marketing than who got there first. 1 ring, 1 app, rules them all. Now all they need to do is license a hobbit or Gandalf for advertisement.
    • Libre Office and Linux

      Are 20 years too late then.
    • More like Evernote was 5 years too late

      OneNote was released in 2003, and the first beta for Evernote was released in 2008. So, it seems to me that Evernote was 5 years too late. Further, Evernote didn't even support inking for the longest time, and even now, it's Tablet PC support is nowhere near as good as OneNote.
  • WinRT version is still pretty terrible though

    The WinRT app version of OneNote STILL doesn’t do any handwriting recognition / indexing for searching. Seriously, that’s one of the most useful and basic features of desktop OneNote, and it’s not a feature of the version they’re pushing people to use on the Surface Pro 3. If you want someone to have a reason to use your platform, you have to give them a reason to. Right now, there’s no reason to use (WinRT) OneNote over Evernote, or any of the other generic notetaking apps.

    (Desktop) OneNote is an amazing program, but ripping out all of the unique functionality leaves you with something bland and nearly useless. And of course, that basic functionality missing is on top of the more advanced stuff that is missing like video or audio recording (also tied to your notes). I really hope Gemini/Office Touch brings an actual useful version of WinRT OneNote (and even more so that the other programs aren’t just as bland and generic compared to their desktop counterparts).
  • Still requires log in to an MS, even to use local features

    FL Guy
  • OneNote Fan is Pleased

    I'm not sure how you could NOT like OneNote. Add in just about any server platform and you have an amazing collaborative (or personal) tool. I organize everything I do in OneNote.

    My biggest disappointment since the Android version became available was that I could not use my stylus. Now my biggest disappointment is not being able to create new notebooks, but I understand why - it is a free app.
    Schoolboy Bob
    • Can Now Create Notebooks on Android

      I was wrong - they fixed that too, so now you can create Notebooks.

      Great stuff. Thanks, Microsoft.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • Microsoft rolls out free OneNote app for Android tablets

    Here we have Microsoft playing nice with other platforms again. They won't return the favor though. But it is a good way for users of other platforms to get into the Microsoft ecosystem. Start with Microsoft OneNote, then Microsoft Office 365, and the next thing you know they will be all Microsoft.
  • Once Again Windows Hardware takes a back seat

    Mary Jo - can you set up a meeting with Nadella? You have to ask - understanding that services are the new vision/priority of MS - why focus on putting better features on services that are on non-MS platforms? Its like they are caniballizing their own brand. It says to all of us, look they can write better apps on iOS and Android, but cant provide similar features in their own o/s! They just keep hurting themselves - pushing people AWAY from MS, and onto the other platforms they say they want to compete with. This is nuts. Yes, services are important, and a smart way to drive people to your echosystem - but the bottom line is STOP MAKING IT SO ATTRACTIVE TO DRIVE PEOPLE TO OTHER PLATFORMS!!! The services - in this case OneNote - should at least provide similar features across the board BEFORE they release it on other platforms. I want to be a MS Fan, but they just keep coming up with stupid reasons to push their fans away. There is only so much stupidity fans can try to digest, but the "agida" keeps coming...CMON MS, YOUR SMARTER THAN THIS - AT LEAST ACT LIKE YOUR SMARTER THAN THIS!!
    • Once again?

      How is it once again when OneNote has been on Windows tablets since Windows 8/RT came out? It isn't even like the Android version has more features or anything.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • More accurately, OneNote has been on tablets since around 2002

        OneNote has actually been on Windows tablets since around 2002 or 2003. One of the first popular Windows tablets, the HP TC1100 (which still has a cult following to this day) was a great OneNote device back in the day.
  • OneNote finally has its day

    I first used OneNote in 2004 on a Toshiba convertible notebook/tablet. It was always a mystery why MS kept OneNote under the radar when it was a great app. Maybe because MS did not see much of a future in tablets.

    That neglect was Evernote's gain, I bet many EV users did not even know about OneNote.

    Tiring of the iPad and the Apple business model, I have been using the Galaxy Note 2, 8, and 10.1, especially the first two. The pen reminds me of how good the Galaxy active digitiser pen is.

    I downloaded the Android OneNote a couple of weeks ago, but realised that I would have to continue with the S pen and S Note.

    This latest update now means I can use OneNote on all my devices with handwritten notes etc.
    AN O'Nymous
    • How is OneNote on the Note?

      How is the finger and pen recognition on the Galaxy Note? Does it work the same way as OneNote 2010/2013 on tablet PCs?