The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Monday, March 17, 2014

Microsoft OneNote for Mac-you got what you paid for

Microsoft OneNote for  Windows has caused a lot of envy on the part of Mac owners. Many notebook & organizer applications for the Mac have been marketed as “we’re like OneNote for the Mac-only better!” 

Of course, these products never offered binary file compatibility with OneNote, which is what a lot of people wanted. So if you wanted OneNote on your Mac, you had to break down, set up a virtual Windows machine with a retail copy of  Windows, and install Microsoft Office. It cost a lot, but you achieved the goal of opening  and editing OneNote notebooks on your Mac.

That all changed this morning, 3/17/2014. Microsoft dropped OneNote for Mac into the Mac App Store. It’s free. So how good is it? Will it kick Evernote’s rear end? Will it bring despair to the developers of Mac-specific products like Circusponies Notebook?

After an hour’s testing, this is what I’ve found out.

First, it’s pretty good for a first version. The app never crashed on me, never gave me a funky Microsoft error message. Some of the documentation still refers to the Windows version 

Second, it’s not going to kick anyone’s rear end. Microsoft clearly designed to serve as the Mac client for a Windows server. By “server,” I mean the full-featured version of OneNote featured in Office 2010 and 2013. 

Third, you can exchange OneNote notebooks between the Windows and Mac versions. This screenshot shows OneNote 2010 open in a Windows 8 virtual machine on my Mac opening the OneNote for Mac notebook with no problems.


Parallels Picture


So what are the problems?

The problems with OneNote for Mac are:

1. No local file access. All files go through your Microsoft OneDrive account, which you either set up as a new user or sign into using your Microsoft account username and password. You can access your files through The file dialog box only provides access to your OneDrive account and not local hard drives. 

2. No printing. You can send a PDF of a page from the notebook to someone in an e-mail or share a link to the notebook on your OneDrive account. But no downloading to your local hard drive. You have to e-mail to yourself.

3. No drop and drag of files into OneNote from the Finder at least not at this stage. You can copy and paste using Command+C and Command+V. You can install a free Web clipper to your browser if you go to



At this point, Microsoft OneNote for Mac works best for people working with users of OneNote for Windows. You can exchange notebooks back and forth through accounts. 

Microsoft has promised a new version of Office for Mac this fall. Will it include a version of OneNote as full-featured as its Windows cousin? We’ll have to wait and see

I’m not tempted, at least at first look, to dump Circusponies Notebook or OmniOutliner Professional in favor of this newcomer. But it is free without ads, safe to download, and well-written so that it doesn’t crash. So download it from the App Store, play with it, and tell me what you think of it in the comments. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive