Microsoft frees up paid features for all OneNote users


After having released a free version of OneNote 2013 last year for personal use last year, Microsoft is now adding more features at no charge. With the change, five features previously reserved for the paid version are now available to users of the free edition of OneNote. These features make your digital notes richer with added content options and more secure.

For added security, users can now password protect select sections of their notebooks. Password protection allows users to protect private or sensitive information in their notebooks.

The page history feature allows you track changes and go back to prior versions of a page.

Those who want to add more depth to their notes can now embed files directly into the notebook. If you're referencing a specific Word document or Excel spreadsheet, you can insert Office files into OneNote.

Additionally, the free version now allows you to take audio and video clips while you're inking or typing in OneNote.

To better manage your files, OneNote allows you to search for words in video or audio recording. If you're recording an hour-long board meeting or class lecture and want to jump to keywords, this feature could be a welcome time saver.

Digital inking

As digital pens are gaining momentum in the tablet space, OneNote's expanding free feature set could make it a more attractive option when compared to competing note-taking services like Evernote and Samsung's S Note application on the Galaxy Note series. While Evernote's strength rests in its simple UI and its focus on saving web clippings, OneNote feels like a more organized notebook.

Although OneNote is available on a number of different platforms, including Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS, the experience is most complete on Windows with access to more features. Making these features free could help Microsoft drive up enterprise demand for Windows tablets against competition from Apple's iPad and the Android-powered Galaxy Note.

Microsoft may also be making a bigger bet on the pen. Most recently, the company is rumored to be in talks to acquire N-Trig, the company that makes the technology behind the Surface Pen for Microsoft's $799 (£519 or AU$1029) Surface Pro 3 tablet. The Surface Pen's deep integration with OneNote allows users to launch the note-taking app instantly with just a press of the button.

Check out the top tablets for note-taking.