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OneNote MX update makes app more business-friendly

Microsoft pushed out an update for OneNote MX--the OneNote app for Windows 8--which makes the app more useful for business users. The new OneNote MX can connect to OneNote notebooks on Office 365.

OneNote MX is a great tool, but it has had limited functionality for business users. The issue is that OneNote MX connects by default to the SkyDrive associated with the Microsoft account used to log in to Windows 8. That's fine for personal use, but businesses prefer that data be created and stored where it can be centrally managed and shared, rather than being spread across multiple personal SkyDrive accounts.

The update for OneNote MX enables users to connect to OneNote notebooks stored in an Office 365 SkyDrive account.

OneNote has become a crown jewel of the Microsoft Office suite, and it has led the way in blazing cross-platform trails for Office. Long before Microsoft finally made Office Mobile for iPhone, OneNote was available as a standalone app for both iOS and Android.

When Microsoft launched Windows 8, with its split-personality interface, OneNote was the first of the Microsoft Office tools developed by Microsoft as a Windows 8 app. Microsoft Office, and the traditional OneNote application run in the desktop mode in Windows 8 Pro, and Microsoft created Office RT apps that run in desktop mode on Windows RT devices. OneNote MX, however, runs natively in the Windows 8 Metro interface.

OneNote MX is uniquely suited for touchscreen interaction. The radial menu developed by Microsoft makes it simple to navigate options, work with information, and change formatting for OneNote notebook entries. Microsoft has made all of the Microsoft Office tools more "touch-friendly" than previous versions, but they pale in comparison to OneNote MX.

Aside from enabling OneNote MX to connect with Office 365 accounts, the update also makes it easier to get the virtual keyboard out of the way. When you're not actually using the virtual keyboard, you don't want it taking up half of the display. You can simply tap any empty space to make the virtual keyboard disappear, and tap again to bring it back.

The radial menu still works just as smoothly with a mouse or touchpad, but the traditional OneNote is not as simple to navigate or use with a touchscreen display. As Microsoft continues down the Windows 8 path, I expect we'll see the rest of the Microsoft Office applications converted to Windows 8 Metro-esque versions like OneNote MX. It just makes sense.

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