OneNote, our favorite note-taking and management application is growing, and it’s growing fast. According to Microsoft, OneNote has doubled its active user base 2014, and projections estimate that number to double once more in 2015. The numbers don’t come as that big of a surprise really considering all the change that happened in regards to OneNote in 2014, such as the app becoming available for free to Mac users, followed by the release of a freemium Windows version that later became completely free just recently. Then there was the mobile version of the app reaching feature parity on competing platforms thanks to Microsoft change in strategy, in addition to the apps receiving a consistent and regular number of feature updates on all platforms.
The latest update came earlier today when OneNote gained handwriting support on the iPad and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) across all versions of the app.
There’s even more planned for 2015. Microsoft says that it is focusing on four aspects when it comes to improving OneNote; capture, enrich, organize, and recall. These are the four areas that make OneNote the dominant note organization that it is. OneNote will also continue to offer features that are unique to the platform it runs on to create even better user experiences. For example, the app recently started taking advantage of the Touch ID sensor on certain iOS devices to quickly secure private notes, or the newly added support for Android Wear devices, or even the way the app can be launched with a press of button on the stylus of the Surface Pro 3.
Microsoft says that simply making the app available on multiple platforms isn’t enough. The company knows that what it has is a great productivity tool that has made lives a lot easier in the past, and wants the software to come pre-installed on all sorts of devices, which may happen first on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6.
The company is also adamant about getting user feedback to improve OneNote on all platforms. Frankly, Microsoft wants to “push whatever is driving usage” and takes most of that information from its OneNote UserVoice site. Both the iPad handwriting and OCR support were a result of user requests on UserVoice.
For Microsoft, it all boils down to one thing as the ultimate goal for OneNote is to “compete with paper… and still be able to differentiate”. A bold objective, but if there is a company that can achieve it, it will be Microsoft.