I'm looking for a notetaking app that is similar to Microsoft's OneNote. The main feature that I'm looking for is being able to tap/click anywhere on the document to add a text block, unlike most text editors. I'd like it to be more like handwritten notes, where you can write anywhere onscreen, rather than being forced to used tabs/spaces.
I am also looking for a Mac/iOS syncing experience, but I'm open to almost any suggestions.

5 Answers 5


Microsoft has released a version of OneNote for Mac. It is available in the App Store for users with OS X 10.9 or later.

  • 1
    It's extremely limited in features however and restricts your files to only SkyDrive. In my opinion it's a complete failure Apr 6, 2014 at 4:51
  • @SteppingHat the 2019 versions are seriously upgraded since you evaluated them. Have you had the chance to re-evaluate the app?
    – bmike
    May 20, 2019 at 0:11
  • @bmike Alright so I may have been a bit harsh. While at the time it was very limited, the app has come a long way and is now my daily note taking software. There are still quite a few features that the Windows version of OneNote has that the Mac version doesn't but I don't find myself getting stuck trying to do simple tasks anymore. May 20, 2019 at 1:55
  • Wonderful @SteppingHat - thanks for the update. Office 2011 clearly was bad for tons of reasons and I still find I need a modern Firefox and web apps to get some features on the Mac, but at least the v16 and 2019 native apps are in the same ballpark of parity now instead of (very) distant cousins.
    – bmike
    May 20, 2019 at 2:30

Outline 2.0, released on the Mac App Store ($40) in December 2013, seeks to mimic OneNote and even sync with OneNote notebooks hosted on SkyDrive. It has a companion iPad app too, sold separately on the App Store. Polarized set of reviews though.

Also, Microsoft Office 2014 for Mac may include OneNote.

Outline (MAS) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/outline/id604802021?mt=12

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    Thanks! Kinda pricey but I'll check it out!
    – daviesgeek
    Jan 13, 2014 at 0:16

The OneNote app (version 16.x) can be downloaded for O365 subscribers

If for some reason, you need a really old version, you can try installing the unsupported Office 2011 Mac, which has One Note inbuilt. While installing you can choose to install only one note, excluding the rest.


You can try:
- Curio 8 or
- Growly notes or <- This is closest to Microsoft one note
- Circus Ponies Notebook


Growly Notes is the closest program I have seen compared to OneNote.

But if you're like me and want the real thing, I've setup a very lightweight virtual machine dedicated just for one note. VMWare Fusion has a feature called unity mode which integrates the Windows application windows into OSX's native window managing functions such as Mission Control just like it's a Mac app in itself.

The only downside is that VMWare uses quite some power even when idling and drops a 13" Late 2012 MBP's advertised 7 hour battery life down to 5 hours and starting up VMWare takes up to 30-60 seconds for me on average so it's kinda annoying to start up all the time.

But as mentioned before Growly Notes is the next best thing to the real deal. It's up to you as to what you really prefer.

  • Very good. I'm looking for freeform…but it's missing the syncing…I'll wait a little, then accept this. Thanks so much!!
    – daviesgeek
    Oct 24, 2013 at 17:13

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