OneNote for Android Updates Gains Handwriting Support

Microsoft continues to narrow the functionality gap between the mobile versions of its note-taking app.

OneNote for Android gets handwriting

Android tablet users can now leverage many of the same inking capabilities that the OneNote app offers Surface Pro 3 owners. OneNote, once part of Microsoft's Office suite, is now the company's free, cloud-enabled note-taking app.

Microsoft has released a OneNote for Android update that added "the biggest feature request," namely handwriting, announced Microsoft program manager Ayush Rastogi in a back-to-school themed blog post. "With this update, you can take handwritten notes, draw with your stylus and even with your finger," he said

Making annotations and scribbling doodles are "even easier on Android devices, which come with an active digitizer," noted Rastogi. "Just bring your pen to the screen and start writing." And, in typical OneNote fashion, hand-drawn items sync across devices.

As with the included OneNote app for the Surface Pro 3, users can select from a multitude of ink colors and pen thicknesses. Tucked into the View tab are additional customization options that can change the overall look of notebooks.

"This update also gives you the ability to customize your pages," said Rastogi. "You can change the page color for visual appeal or add grid lines or ruled lines to your pages to assist in handwriting or drawing."

A new "tablet-optimized" user interface offers streamlined navigation and a version of the Microsoft Office-like "Ribbon" interface with expanded editing tools. "We have added many new formatting options: font type, font size, font color, highlight color, text alignment and heading styles. You can even organize your notes better by inserting tags to your notes." Stability improvements and support for LG G3 devices cap off this latest round of updates.

Coinciding with the refreshed Android app is the release of new updates for the Windows Store version of the software.

According to a separate blog post from the Office Team, Microsoft has fulfilled "the single biggest feature request" by implementing printing support. "With this update, it's a breeze to print your notes, and OneNote supports all of the features you'd expect including beautiful full color page previews, portrait and landscape orientations, multiple copies, duplex printing and more," they wrote.

Taking a cue from other recently updated versions of the software for Apple Mac and iOS, the Windows Store app now gains the ability to attach files and "print" as PDF into OneNote.

"Selecting Insert and then PDF Printout, from the radial menu, takes things a step further by printing the entire document to OneNote, allowing you to annotate the PDF. This makes editing an essay on your tablet even better than with hard copy and a red pen," explained the Microsoft staffers.

Finally, a customizable highlighter tool has been added to the app's radial menu. "This feature is especially useful when combined with PDF printouts," they asserted.

Third-party support is also improving with the arrival of a new feature for Livescribe smartpen users. "With the release of Livescribe+ v1.3, customers will be able to set up the Livescribe+ app to Auto-Send notes from any of their physical notebooks to OneNote," announced Livescribe spokesperson Brian Kemp in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...