Microsoft to make OneNote available for free for Macs

Microsoft to make OneNote available for free for Macs

Summary: Microsoft is looking to head off note-taking rival Evernote by introducing a free, full-fledged version of OneNote for Mac users.


Microsoft is continuing to bang the OneNote note-taking drum.


The company is preparing to release a free, full-fledged OneNote for Mac application "soon," according to my sources. The Verge's Tom Warren is hearing the same.

I'm hearing OneNote also will be released as a free app for desktop Windows, as well. Right now, it's part of the paid suite of Office applications (though the OneNote Web App and the Metro-Style Windows 8 versions are free.)

Microsoft already offers versions of its OneNote app for the iPad and iPhone, as well as for Android phones, but not yet for Mac.

Microsoft will make available a new OneNote Clipper service and Office Lens as part of the updated free releases of OneNote, my sources are saying. The Clipper service will sync links between PC/device browsers and phones. Office Lens is an app that uses optical character recognition (OCR) and a smartphone camera to allow users to sync snapshots to the cloud.

I'm betting the new OneNote for Mac will be part of the updated Office for Mac suite which is expected to arrive later this year. Microsoft may roll out the OneNote version for Mac separately and earlier, however, as it has done with its Metro-Style/Windows Store version of OneNote.

Microsoft is battling other note-taking applications, especially Evernote, in the quest to be users' cross-platform note-taking app of choice. As part of its campaign, Microsoft is also planning to open up more of the OneNote programming interfaces to encourage third-party developers to write applications that build on OneNote, my sources say.

I've asked Microsoft officials for comment on these OneNote futures. No word back so far.

Update: "We have nothing to share," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Topics: Collaboration, Apple, Cloud, Microsoft, Windows Phone


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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  • Microsoft is saved!

    Thank goodness they have that OneNote warez!
    • OneNote is amazing, actually.

      It's probably Office's 2nd best program, right before Excel.
      • I agree - OneNote is great, particularly with a stylus

        OneNote on a stylus-equipped PC/Tablet is wonderful thing. I've never figured out why Microsoft never highlighted it as the killer app for college/university students each fall.
        • Uh ?

          Use post-its stuck on the bottom of your monitor, they have the added bonus of being readable in the event of a power cut or flat battery.
          Alan Smithie
        • I suspect that Evernote now provides competition to OneNote

          Evernote is easy to use and has browser integration.

          I am not knocking OneNote, but Evernote is also very good and certainly a worthy competitor.
    • Too late for you, though

      I think you're stuck in your current form, forever.

      So sad.....
    • I Pity you

      Maybe one day you'll grow up mentally!!
  • I thought

    OneNote is highly integrated with OneDrive and a Microsoft account? The existing 2011 Mac Office suite does not require a Microsoft account, will the new Office suite require one?
    Sean Foley
    • office doesnt, but one note does.

      Ram U
    • The onenote desktop app

      Allows for personal offline notebooks, but the OCR part with your smartphone and the OneNote online app would require a Microsoft account.
      Sam Wagner
  • Five years later ...

    Too little, too late. As a Mac + Windows user, I'm way too invested in Evernote, Dropbox, etc. at this point to change. However I suspect I'm not the target audience for this move.
    Bob Tabor
    • *Dream world*

      You are in living world...keep living there!
    • be happy

      a mac app was made.
      • Which is more....

        Than can be said for a windows phone app.
        Alan Smithie
        • over 250,000 apps and counting...

          welcome to 2014.
    • You are correct

      You are not the target audience.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • That's okay

      Keep your head in the sand and miss the world passing you by.
  • Great news

    Have been using one note since the 2003 beta and have really been desperate for an OSX version. I pad is ok but limited. Currently prefer ON 2013 desktop on my ATIV5.
    Stanley Kramer
  • Finally

    After switching to Mac 2 years ago, the one program I missed was OneNote. I currently use Evernote, but I just like the way OneNote works better.
    • Outline

      try Outline. it is on sale today in MAS