This post continues our series on Microsoft OneNote by looking at its use on the iPad. Part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, OneNote enables you to make flexible, multi-media notes for meetings, projects and study, for example. A version of the OneNote application is available free from the iPad App store. To use the iPad version you have to sign in with a Microsoft email address – this might be an Office 365 account you have from work, or a Microsoft Outlook.com account that you use at home.
When you open OneNote on the iPad for the first time it shows you a sample notebook with some information on the product’s capabilities. However, it is not obvious how to access notebooks you may have created on other devices and stored on your OneDrive. The trick is to click on the left-pointing arrow at the top left corner of the page. That will take you to a page where you can click “recent” or “open” on the left hand menu to access notebooks you have already created. These notebooks might be stored in several places, such as:
1. Office 365’s OneDrive for Business.
2. SharePoint websites.
3. On the “non-business” version of OneDrive, called simply “OneDrive”, for which you need a Microsoft account.
In testing, I found that the iPad OneNote app is capable of handling complex notebooks with dozens of sections and hundreds of pages containing both text and images, though there may be an initial delay while the notebook is first synchronized with your iPad. You can have more than one notebook open at a time and easily move between them.
OneNote on the iPad allows you to share your notebook with others, either by emailing them a static copy in PDF format, or by emailing them a link to the cloud storage location of the OneNote notebook. In my experience, emailing the PDF is the most reliable of the two methods. This is because the option to email them a link does just that, it emails a URL link, however it doesn’t actually alter the sharing permissions on the notebook itself. If you want to share a OneNote notebook that is, for example, stored in your Office 365 OneDrive then the best way to do this is to share it from your OneDrive as you would with any other document. When you share your notebook from OneDrive you have to provide the email address of the person you are sharing with and that address has to correspond to an Office 365 account, or a Microsoft account (e.g. from Outlook.com) in order for the sharing to work. As part of the sharing process you can send an email to the recipient to let them know that you have shared the notebook with them and that email will contain a link they can click on to access the notebook directly.
Some features of the full Windows version of Microsoft OneNote, such as audio recording of notes, are unfortunately not available on the iPad version. However, the free iPad version does give you the ability to access, edit, create and synchronize notes while on the move.