is a computer program
A computer program is a sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer. A computer requires programs to function, typically executing the program's instructions in a central processor. The program has an executable form that the computer can use directly to execute...
for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries and share them with other users of Microsoft OneNote over the Internet. The desktop version of OneNote is available for the Microsoft Windows platform.
In Microsoft OneNote, users can enter typed text via keyboard, create tables, and insert pictures. However, unlike a word processor, users can simply write anywhere on a virtually unbounded document window by just clicking there. Also, users do not need to explicitly issue a save order; OneNote saves data automatically as it is entered.
Information in Microsoft OneNote is saved in Pages
, which are organized into Sections
. OneNote's interface is an electronic version of the familiar tabbed ring binder
Ring binders are folders in which punched pieces of paper may be held by means of clamps running through the holes in the paper...
which can be used directly for making notes, but also to gather material obtained from other application
Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with...
s. OneNote notebooks are designed for collecting, organizing, and sharing possibly unpolished materials, while word processor
A word processor is a computer application used for the production of any sort of printable material....
s and wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...
s are usually targeted at publishing in some way. The difference shows in certain features and characteristics: Pages can be arbitrarily large; bitmap images can be pasted in without quality loss; there is no support for enforcing a uniform page layout or structure. Pages can be moved inside the binder and annotated with a stylus
A stylus is a writing utensil, or a small tool for some other form of marking or shaping, for example in pottery. The word is also used for a computer accessory . It usually refers to a narrow elongated staff, similar to a modern ballpoint pen. Many styli are heavily curved to be held more easily...
or word processing or drawing tools. Users may add embedded multimedia recordings and web links
In computing, a hyperlink is a reference to data that the reader can directly follow, or that is followed automatically. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks...
. OneNote's file format (.one
) is proprietary.
While OneNote is most commonly used on laptop
A laptop, also called a notebook, is a personal computer for mobile use. A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device and speakers into a single unit...
s or desktop PC
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...
s, it has additional features for use on pen-enabled Tablet PC
A tablet computer, or simply tablet, is a complete mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant, integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily operated by touching the screen...
s, in environments where pen, audio
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...
, or video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...
notes are more appropriate than an intensive use of keyboard
In computing, a keyboard is a typewriter-style keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches...
OneNote provides integration of search features and indexing into a free-form graphics and audio repository. Images (e.g., screen captures, embedded document scans, or photographs) can be searched for embedded text content. Electronic ink annotations can also be searched as text. Audio recordings can also be searched phonetically by giving a text key, and can be replayed concurrently with the notes taken during the recording.
Its multi-user capability allows offline editing and later synchronization
Synchronization is timekeeping which requires the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The familiar conductor of an orchestra serves to keep the orchestra in time....
and merging at the paragraph level. This makes it a tool for workgroup
A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new research activities that would be difficult to develop under traditional funding mechanisms . The lifespan of the WG can last anywhere between a few months and several years...
s that collaborate on research whose members are not always online. OneNote is designed as a collaborative tool and allows more than one person to work on the same page at the same time, making it a shared whiteboard
A whiteboard is a name for any glossy, usually white surface for nonpermanent markings. Whiteboards are analogous to chalkboards, allowing rapid marking and erasing of markings on their surface...
tool as well.
Microsoft OneNote files bear the file name extension of .one
. However, the file format was upgraded twice after its introduction in Microsoft OneNote 2003: Once in Microsoft OneNote 2007 and another time in Microsoft OneNote 2010. OneNote 2003 files can be opened by both OneNote 2007 and OneNote 2010 in read-only mode, and subsequently upgraded to the later versions of the file format. OneNote 2010 can read and write OneNote 2007 file formats. It can also convert back and forth between the 2010 and the 2007 formats.
Microsoft OneNote 2010 uses an open
An open file format is a published specification for storing digital data, usually maintained by a standards organization, which can therefore be used and implemented by anyone. For example, an open format can be implementable by both proprietary and free and open source software, using the typical...
XML-based file format similar to Office Open XML file formats
The Office Open XML file formats are a set of file formats that can be used to represent electronic office documents. There are formats for word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations as well as specific formats for material such as mathematical formulae, graphics, bibliographies...
that is stored along the attachments (such as pictures, video, etc.) inside a single binary format.
Microsoft OneNote 2003 runs on Windows 2000
Windows 2000 is a line of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, business desktops, laptops, and servers. Windows 2000 was released to manufacturing on 15 December 1999 and launched to retail on 17 February 2000. It is the successor to Windows NT 4.0, and is the...
, Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...
, Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...
and Windows 7. OneNote 2007 dropped support for Windows 2000.
Microsoft OneNote supports Windows Live Mesh
Windows Live Mesh is a free-to-use Internet-based file synchronization application by Microsoft that is designed to allow files and folders between two or more computers be in sync with each other on Windows and Mac OS X Windows Live Mesh (formerly known as Live Mesh, Windows Live Sync and...
, which allows cloud-based storage and synchronization of OneNote files that permit their editing and viewing by any OneNote client, including Office Online. OneNote 2007 also supports simultaneous editing without any locking of shared OneNote documents by multiple users when the document is stored in a shared folder, Windows Live Mesh, Windows Live Skydrive
Windows Live SkyDrive, initially called Windows Live Folders, is a free-of-charge file hosting service that allows users to upload files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser...
Microsoft OneNote is also available for mobile phones. A mobile version of OneNote is included in the Office Hub on Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft, and is the successor to its Windows Mobile platform, although incompatible with it. Unlike its predecessor, it is primarily aimed at the consumer market rather than the enterprise market...
. This version supports notebooks which are stored locally on the phone, or synchronized with a remote copy on Windows Live SkyDrive or Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001, SharePoint is typically associated with web content management and document management systems, but it is actually a much broader platform of web technologies, capable of being configured into a wide...
. Microsoft OneNote Mobile
is also built into Windows Mobile Professional 6.1. Microsoft OneNote Mobile for older Windows Mobile smartphones and pocket PCs is included with Microsoft OneNote 2007. Microsoft has released a stand-alone OneNote app for Apple iOS. It is available from Apple App Store.
There is a free third-party OneNote reader app for iPad from Aqrate Software company. The product is called Outline
. BusinessWare Technologies Inc. has also produced a third-party OneNote client for iOS and Android, called MobileNoter
Christopher Dawson reviewed the 2010 version of OneNote, titling his favorable review "OneNote is Office 2010's killer app in education". He speculated that the app would be particularly useful as a tool for student notetaking.
| Product release or event|| Release date
|First public announcement
|OneNote 2003 SP1
|OneNote 2003 SP2
|OneNote 2003 SP3
|OneNote 2007 SP1
|OneNote 2007 SP2
|OneNote 2010 SP1
All release dates pertain to general availability. Release to manufacturing is usually two or three months in advance.