Microsoft delivers OneNote MX, first Metro style Office 2013 app

Microsoft's preview of Office 2013 offers hints of the Metro design style, but its apps are still firmly rooted in the desktop. Today's release of OneNote MX is the first true Metro app for Windows 8.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

One day after delivering the preview edition of Office 2013, Microsoft has released its first Metro style Office app designed specifically for use with Windows 8. OneNote MX shares the same files as the desktop version of OneNote, but uses the native Metro interface and features.

See also:

OneNote MX appeared on the Windows Store this morning. After a typically quick installation on my test PC, the app found all the notebooks available in my connected SkyDrive account. Here's what a typical notebook looks like:


OneNote MX includes a user interface innovation that hasn’t appeared in other Metro style apps yet: a radial menu that appears when tapped and allows you to paste content into a notebook, change bullet and table formatting, add tags, or insert a picture from the built in camera on a mobile device.


Although this release isn’t labeled as a preview [*], it’s clearly lacking some important features, and there are broad hints in the interface that those features will be added in later revisions. For example, there’s no easy way to connect to notebooks stored on a SharePoint account. The OneNote Options pane includes an Accounts setting with text suggesting that you can use it to “add or remove the accounts where you want OneNote to sync and store notebooks.” Alas, there’s no obvious way to actually add or remove items from that list.

[Update: Although it's hard to find, this edition is indeed labeled as a preview. The word appears on the OneNote MX splash screen (which goes by pretty quickly) and in the detailed description of the app in the Windows Store.]

More crucially, OneNote MX doesn’t allow sharing of notebooks via the Share charm, nor does it accept shared content from other Metro style apps. So if you’re browsing a page in Internet Explorer and you want to send a snippet of text, a photo, or the entire page to a OneNote notebook, you have to copy the item, switch to OneNote, and then paste it using the radial menu. In the Metro vision, that sort of sharing between apps should be easy and automatic.

Despite those limitations, OneNote MX is a big step forward for Office. Presumably it’s just the first desktop app to be ported to the Metro style environment, with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint logical contenders to appear on the list next.

Update: Some readers have written to tell me they can't find the OneNote app in the Windows 8 Store. It should be visible with a search (from the store, use the Search charm to look for OneNote). If that fails, try this direct link: http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/en-US/app/onenote-mx/f022389f-f3a6-417e-ad23-704fbdf57117.

Editorial standards