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Microsoft OneNote for iPad Disappoints



I just downloaded Microsoft OneNote for iPad after learning about it on the Microsoft OneNote blog.

I haven’t been a OneNote user for quite some time, but I was excited to see that OneNote was available for the iPad. I was hoping to get that great OneNote experience I had when I used it on my Tablet PC back in the day, but sadly, it’s just another syncing text-based notebook app.

You can add images, but there is no inking. OneNote might be exciting if you use OneNote on your computer to type notes and snip web pages, but I wanted a great inking notebook like OneNote was for me a few years ago on my HP TX2000.

The OneNote iPhone app has been around for quite some time. The new Version 1.3 makes it a universal app that runs natively on the iPad and in a smaller format on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Microsoft OneNote Landscape

The app will be beneficial to those who use the desktop version and sync it through Windows Live or if you just use the online version. However, if you want to ink with a stylus, then you’re out of luck. As I said, it syncs with the online or desktop versions of OneNote through SkyDrive. Below you can see a note I created on my computer through and synced it to my iPad via the app.

OneNote Synced with Desktop

The app looks nice but it crashed on me once right after downloading it. You can use it in landscape mode (see above) or in portrait (see below).

IMG 0133

The basic free version can sync up to 500 notes. After that you must upgrade to a paid version for $14.95. Without inking, I’m inclined to stick with Evernote. It has more capability through third party apps and gives me just as much usefulness as OneNote.

OneNote In App Purchase

Other new features include the following:

  • Support for more languages
  • Tabbed user interface
  • Quick note creation in the unfilled notes section
  • Tables rendered – but you can’t edit them
  • Better Windows Live sign-in
  • Option for Wi-Fi only sync
  • The upgrade option for $14.95 through in-app purchase

Get Microsoft OneNote free in the App Store.

Source: OneNote Blog



  1. Anonymous

    12/13/2011 at 9:58 am

    I completely agree with your assessment.  I have “way” more than 500 pages, so I upgraded, assuming that would allow some additional features.  The lack of inking, or even being able to view notes created in ink, is a huge detriment.  I gave it 1 star on the iTunes rating for this reason.

  2. Leolit

    12/13/2011 at 11:45 am

    wait, what??? OneNote without inking??? Is it really OneNote then? 0_0

  3. Anonymous

    12/13/2011 at 7:38 pm

    Agree that this app should not be named “OneNote”. What they released is a simple shopping list app for iPad that can import _some_ of OneNote data. 
    Its interesting that 3rd parties did their job much better than MS, there are apps that support OneNote file format on iPad and do the rendering job very well too.

  4. Marcelor

    12/14/2011 at 4:03 am

      Can anyone tell us how well it can render ink produced  on a TabletPC for viewing purpose?

    • Anonymous

      12/15/2011 at 8:18 am

      [ink] [ink]

      this is how your ink will look like. I’m currently using Outline app, it renders ink ok. There are some problems but they are very responsive and promise to fix these problems in the next update.

  5. Cuhulin

    12/14/2011 at 10:47 am

    OneNote for IPad is essentially the same subset of OneNote that is found inWindows Phone 7.

    Not having ink is understandable on a phone. Hopefully, the next versions of Office, which will be designed to run on tablets, most likely, will restore the inking.

  6. Akotzambasis

    12/16/2011 at 9:41 am

    Im dissapointed some of the notes like a timesheet one does not edit in ipad. everytime i touch it it opens like a picture.  i set a template in the pc and in ipad it doesnt know anything about it. waste of 15.00 for me anyways.

  7. Anonymous

    01/03/2012 at 5:35 am

    In reality I am not so disappointed by the lack of “inking” but by the lack of basic functions such as multiline marking, highlighting and creating/reorganizing notebooks. Luckily for me, I am not used to inking, so I can become used to these limitations… it is however a pity.

  8. Jim Eldridge

    03/23/2013 at 4:28 pm

    I use one note on my PCM .nothing complicated.tags and tables. Can I do that on iPad.?

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