5 reasons to start using OneNote

People take notes for different reasons - some do it for studying, some for work, and others simply to stay organized. A good note-taking app can make life exponentially simpler and can help keep things out of your mind, if you use it as a diary, a journal, or as your class notebook, the possibilities are endless. Here are 5 reasons why OneNote would be a good choice:

1. OneNote is free (almost)

OneNote is basically free to use. You can pay for additional features, such as storing files locally, record audio and video along with your notes, and save version history, but basically, everything you’ll use 90% of the time is available for free. And if you use OneDrive as your main cloud-storage medium, it becomes much more tied to your files and usage becomes easier.

2. Infinite Canvas

This is something a lot of OneNote users swear by, to be able to immediately put down everything from your head onto the page. Adding text boxes is super easy and these boxes can be added practically anywhere. While yes, it might become a bit messy if you go wild, for taking a “brain dump”, this feature is incredibly useful. I use this before writing blogs, YouTube scripts, and sometimes for leisure as well, with no reasons for formatting or correcting spellings, and then if I feel what I have written is worth putting effort into, I clean the page up.

Example Brain Dump

And after cleaning up the pages, if you want to turn them into a PDF, the pages are not weirdly spaced out as they used to be, and the PDF becomes manageable and readable.

3. Multi-device functionality

Unlike other popular note-taking apps like Notability or Goodnotes, OneNote is not restricted to Mac or Windows only. It syncs from Android to Windows to MacOS to iPadOS without effort. Moreover, the features are not drastically filtered out from OS to OS, except for maybe Android, which sadly has very stripped-down versions of most features, but these only matter if you use an Android tablet or Chromebook, for mobile use, the app is as good as you’d want it to be. Overall, pretty much every “main” feature is present in most versions of OneNote.

Credits: Microsoft

4. Speed

TL;DR OneNote is fast, both during inputting your notes or syncing them. Most of the time, I’ll be handwriting notes from my lectures on my iPad, saving screenshots from my laptop, and from time to time, turning physical notes into scanned documents directly into the notebook, and never have I been frustrated by how slow it is. Even images sync in under 3 seconds, and that is no easy feat.

5. Sprinkled Features

Other noteworthy features include extracting text from an image, adding or removing spaces from lines, having the ability to import and edit PDFs fast and efficiently. For students, features like the Researcher, which helps import data from online sources for reports, the Math-Solver, which is surprisingly fast, accurate and helpful as it displays the steps as well and the Replay features, which playback notes along with the audio recorded, so you can see your notes written in real-time, as you wrote/typed them out, are incredibly useful for and while studying and help save a lot of time.

You can also add tags to specific lines or phrases, and make a custom pages out them too, for definitions, for example.

Personally speaking, the Math Solver happens to be my favorite feature, as I can simply select what I have handwritten, and click on the math solver for finding “x”, for example. Even more, it helps me quickly turn equations into graphs.

Math Solver for finding “x”
Math Solver for converting an equation into a graph

OneNote also integrates extremely well with other Office apps such as Microsoft Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, etc, and for teachers, the Class Notebook makes it immensely simple to track student work and assignments, and if you use Microsoft Teams as the primary video-conferencing app, OneNote is a no-brainer. Also keeping in mind is Microsoft’s Fluid, which integrates Office apps, into other Office apps, so that you don’t have to load up individual programs.

While OneNote isn’t perfect, nothing really is. And in the plethora of note-taking apps out there, for these reasons, OneNote stands out for me as the best package, and now, maybe it will for you too!

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A Student, Tech Enthusiast, Graphic Designer, Marvel Fanatic