If you’re part of the OneNote Android Beta testing you know that the latest version added ink/handwriting to the app. Although handwriting is new to OneNote mobile, it’s been a part of OneNote and Windows for a loooong time, tho we’ll save that topic for a different post. Better late than never for OneNote, but here’s why this late-coming feature is worth using, and is better than the other options you might have for handwritten notes.
- Disclaimer #1: “…better than the rest…” – okay, I’m really only talking about 2 other options because they’re what I’ve been previously using – EverNote (via Skitch) and Samsung Galaxy stylus applications (specifically Action Memos). Tho, I’m pretty confident my 3 reasons will probably apply to other options as well.
- Disclaimer #2: This post really isn’t for anyone drawing their notes with their fingers. Although I suppose my three reasons could still have value for you, I’m thinking primarily about people using a stylus or capacitive pen or some kind of instrument for precise handwritting on their device.
- Disclaimer #3: This is important to me primarily because I’m addicted to OneNote, and because I’m a Surface Pro 1 & 3 owner. This feature brings another cross-platform integration point into my Surface Pro life, but my 3 reasons certainly apply to all, whether you own a Pro or not.
What’s Good About the Rest?
- EverNote has been working hard on integrating handwriting, including annotations to images and PDFs. Their implementation took a leap forward with their acquisition of Skitch. And to be honest, it’s not bad. Before OneNote handwriting in Android, I was using it for about 35% of my phone handwriting on my Galaxy Note 3, and 100% on my phone before I had a stylus.
- The Samsung Galaxy phones have the S-Pen and related handwriting note apps. Now that I have a Note 3, I’ve been using them for about 70% of my hand-notes, and then exporting them to OneNote or EverNote as images. It’s decent, but Sharing and integration with other apps is so-so or non-existent.
So out with it – What Three Things make OneNote Handwriting on Mobile so great?
- The Never-ending Page
- EverNote makes you hit a button to add a new page to your hand notes, and when you do the page is disjoined from the previous, and only goes downward.
- I’m not aware of any feature in the Samsung Galaxy apps for increasing your page size in any kind of significant way.
- OneNote has always been an never-ending page application. I can keep writing as far to the right, or as far down, as I want. I can even magically add space to the left later on, pushing my hand notes or any other items across the page. I would not have blamed OneNote for not adding this feature to a mobile phone app, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it works there just like it does on the desktop app! See a future post on why an infinite page size is such a big deal, tho you mind-mappers can probably guess.
- Search in OneNote – Did you know that OneNote can search your HANDWRITING to find words? And has been doing so for YEARS? Uh, yeah, the future is now. : ) So I can write my quick notes on my phone, knowing that they’re synced to my cloud-based notebooks, and I can later do a search to find what I’m looking for, instead of looking through pages of handwriting the way I do with [uuggghhh] real-world paper notebooks. Is there anyone else out there doing this?
- Annotating Images & Screenshots – This third reason is powerful because of the first 2 reasons – I can swipe my hand across my phone to grab a screenshot (thanx Galaxy Note 3), then Share it to OneNote. From there I can start annotating with an infinite page and knowing my annotations are searchable!
What else am I missing – are there even more reasons why I should be giddy about this new Beta feature?