The rumors are true: Microsoft confirmed today that it is making a version of OneNote available for free on every major desktop and mobile computing platform, including even the Mac. Additionally, the firm has announced some new OneNote tools, OneNote Clipper and Office Lens, as well as new partner services and a new extensibility model that will make it possible for any cloud service to integrate with this amazing note-taking and thought organization solution.
"Today is a huge step forward for OneNote," a Microsoft representative told me. "We've made it easier to use OneNote no matter what platform you're on, and easier than ever to send anything into OneNote. But we're not stopping here. We're continually improving OneNote across our applications and service, and working with partners so you can take note of anything and keep it in your digital memory."
There's a lot going on here, so here's a quick rundown.
OneNote 2013 for Windows is now available for free. While Microsoft will continue to offer a paid version of OneNote that supports business users and provides premium features like SharePoint support, version history, Outlook integration and the like, the firm is now making the product available for free for personal and school use. The free version is ad-free and is not a trial version; it's the real thing. You can download OneNote 2013 for Windows from OneNote.com.
OneNote for Mac. Mac users have apparently been asking for a native OneNote client, and now Microsoft is offering one: OneNote for Mac is available today, for free. I've not yet had time to try out this client, so I'll be checking it out today (I even fired up my Mac mini just for this event). But you can get OneNote for Mac from the Mac App Store, and you can learn more from Introducing OneNote for Mac.
OneNote Clipper. This browser add-in works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Mac Safari, letting you capture any web page in one click and add it to your OneNote Quick Notes. (It's one of those drag-to-toolbar dealies.)
Office Lens. This new Windows Phone app works like a scanner: Take a picture of a whiteboard, document, business card, or whatever, and Office Lens will enhance the image, put it into your OneNote Quick Notes, and automatically recognize any of the text it contains so you can search for your scans.
Send email to OneNote. Head over to OneNote.com and signup for OneNote email capabilities. Then, you can send an email to email@example.com and it will be saved in your OneNote Quick Notes.
OneNote apps. Microsoft is partnering with a number of third party apps and services to provide OneNote compatibility. This includes solutions from Brother, Doxie Go, Epson, Feedly, Genius Scan, IFTTT, JotNot, Livescribe, Mod Notebook, News360 and Weave. You can find them all at OneNote.com, and more partners, like Neat, are coming on board soon.
And don't forget that OneNote is already available on the web (Office.com, Office 365), on (included with the platform), on Windows 8/RT (a Modern mobile app), with Windows RT 8.1 (desktop application), on Android handsets and tablets, on iPhone and on iPad. Now it's everywhere you'd expect, and everywhere you'd need it. Even ... on the Mac.