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Should you use Microsoft OneNote in your workplace?

Below Learn iT! Anytime answers the following:

• what is Microsoft OneNote?
• what are the Microsoft OneNote advantages?
• what are the Microsoft OneNote disadvantages?
• where to download Microsoft OneNote?

  • OneNote (formerly called “OneNote 2016”), the free desktop app which runs on all supported versions of Microsoft Windows and which is part of Office 2019 and Microsoft 365. OneNote for Windows 10, the OneNote app which is pre-installed on all editions of Windows 10, and which can also be downloaded for free in the Microsoft Store.
  • When you turn on OneNote integration, you have the benefits of using OneNote to take or review customer notes from within your records. You can configure OneNote integration when you're also using SharePoint Online. You must have a subscription to Microsoft 365 to use OneNote in model-driven and customer engagement apps.
  • Collaborate for free with online versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. Save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, in OneDrive. Share them with others and work together at the same time.
  • Notebooks for OneNote for the web are stored on OneDrive. If you no longer need a particular notebook, you can delete it. If there’s a chance that you’ll want to use it again later, you can keep the notebook and use the OneNote desktop app to change who can view or edit it.

Support for OneNote 2010 has ended. Learn what end of support means and how to upgrade to Microsoft 365. Get the details. Trending topics in OneNote for Windows 10. What's new in OneNote.

What is Microsoft OneNote?

Microsoft OneNote is an easy-to-use note taking and information management program created in 2003. Its main purpose is to help users capture ideas and information in different digital formats.

OneNote has been reviewed for being “one killer app for education” in 2010, praised for its digital note taking features. These same features have helped stakeholders and employees easily access information from various departments; including, handwritten or typed notes, screen clips, images, audio and video recordings.

What are the Microsoft OneNote advantages?

Improves Workflow and Daily Organization

Think of Microsoft OneNote as a notebook composed of different sections, and with each section you can create an unlimited amount of pages.
You can also drag and drop files from your computer or mobile device into OneNote and save articles and photos directly from the Internet—organizing them into your notebook as you see fit.

OneNote offers search functionality, allowing users to pinpoint files across different notebooks quickly and easily.
Also embedded within the search is the “optical character recognition” feature which allows you to search text on pictures themselves and not just file names. A much welcomed perk for image driven professionals and web and graphic designers.

Easy Access

If you like having the option to work on any document on any whim, OneNote improves document accessibility. You can add notes or even use OneNote’s voice recording feature and save ideas. As long has you have the application installed, you will have access to all features 24/7.

Improves Transparency

Sharing information efficiently is important for any organization. In OneNote, you can share OneNote notebooks and its contents with anyone, even if they don’t have the program installed — they can still view it.

It comes handy in meetings, especially when you need to share notes with a colleague. When sharing files, you can select ‘View Only’ or ‘Can Edit’ options, where any edit made will appear instantly for quality control.

Automatic Save, Never Lose Information

In OneNote you never have to save your content. Similar to Microsoft Access, OneNote automatically saves all content users input into the program; operating like a functional database. For those who often find their devices running low in battery, don’t sweat, OneNote has your stuff backed up 100 per cent!

Free! Free! Free!

Yes, Microsoft OneNote is free.

This was a strategic move by Microsoft, enabling the tech giant to bite off a larger piece of the note-taking pie. Windows, MAC, Android and iPhone users are welcome to download the application as well. A huge plus for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small to mid-sized businesses.

Microsoft also offers a paid premium version, which integrates other online software programs like SharePoint, Outlook and other advanced features.

What are the Microsoft OneNote disadvantages?

Newbies Find It Complex

OneNote could take a bit of time to get used to, but rest assured it’s worth every minute of it. The interface and design has improved over the years drastically reducing the learning curve.
Once you get used to the interface it is pretty easy to navigate. The best way to learn is to start using it–over time you’ll be able to maximize OneNote’s efficiency.

MAC Users Find OneNote Limitations

Functionalities differ between MAC and Windows users.

A popular example found on online forums is OneNote’s inability to add documents made by other applications; including other Microsoft applications. Also, MAC users do not have the option to use the optical character recognition feature.

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Where To Download Microsoft OneNote?

You can download Microsoft OneNote’s free version at the official Microsoft OneNote website.

Where To Find Microsoft OneNote Courses?

There are plenty of online software tutorials out there. Learn It! Anytime has helped over 450,000 students since 1996, offering self-paced courses for newbies. Try our Microsoft OneNote tutorials here RISK FREE for three days! Until next post, keep training!

You May Also Like To Read:
Must-know Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Office
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Self-Paced Software Video Tutorials You May Be Interested In:
Microsoft Access Training
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Office 365 ProPlus is being renamed to Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. For more information about this change, read this blog post.


When Microsoft OneNote 2013 detects a notebook that is in an offline location (for example, an offline folder that is created by IntelliMirror), you receive the following message in the information bar:

When you click this message, you receive the following message:


Windows Offline Files provides cached access to network file shares when you're offline. Also, OneNote has its own cache that enables it to work offline and to do things like multi-user edit, sync, and merge automatically. We do not recommend that you use these caching methods together. This has been true since OneNote 2007. However, the message in the information bar is new in OneNote 2013. It warns users that doing this may cause problems with syncing.

When OneNote 2013 detects that the notebook is in an offline folder location, you see the information bar message that is mentioned in the 'Symptoms' section. You can disable the information bar message by using a registry key. (See the 'More Information' section.) However, we do not recommend that you do this, because you can encounter problems when you use both an offline folder and OneNote's own cache (such as Windows Offline Files). For example, doing this can cause the following issues:

  • Duplicate copies of sections may be created if those sections are edited from more than one computer.
  • Edits that are performed on one computer do not appear or are lost.

For more information, see item 4 of the 'Troubleshooting steps' section of the following blog post:


To resolve this issue, move the notebook from the current file location to a location that does not have offline folders enabled.

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Note We recommend that you first sync the notebook. To do this, press Shift+F9.

To move the notebook, take one of the following actions:

  • From On the File menu, click Share, and then click Copy this notebook to OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • Right-click the notebook, click Properties, and then click Change Location.

More Information

Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To disable the information bar warning message, set the following registry key:

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HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0OneNoteOptionsDWord: DisableCSCInfobar = 1