What is Microsoft OneNote?

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking and information management application that is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications. Users can store text and images in free-form documents that can be kept private or shared with others. Notes are organized into separate metaphorical notebooks, sections, and pages. Multiple notebooks can be created to represent different topics or projects, such as having two notebooks to separate work and personal notes.

Microsoft OneNote features

Users familiar with the Microsoft 365 suite will find OneNote’s interface similar and easy to navigate. Features include:

  • Real-time collaboration: OneNote is cloud-based, meaning notes can be shared with others for real-time viewing and editing. Notes are automatically saved, and the application keeps track of past revisions and file changes.

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): OneNote uses OCR technology to automatically import text from images or handwritten notes.

  • Secured information: Password protection can be enabled on note sections. 3DES encryption standard secures the information.

  • Multimedia: OneNote features the ability to add images, audio, and video to notes. In addition, the application recognizes spoken words, so users can easily search through recordings.

  • Integration: OneNote syncs with all other Microsoft applications such as Outlook. Plugins can be added to increase functionality such as Zapier, Salesforce, Trello, and Slack.

OneNote vs. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is also a part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications and is a word processor, meaning it’s a text-based document is processed (formatted, manipulated, saved, printed, shared).

While it seems like the two applications are similar and users should use one or the other, OneNote and Word were designed for different purposes. OneNote is used chiefly as an ongoing multimedia notebook and for collaborating on ideas while Word is useful for creating single documents such as letters, books, greeting cards, brochures, and posters. Both applications can be used in conjunction with each other.

Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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