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Microsoft OneNote Add-On Makes Reading Easier for All Students

OneNote is far from my favorite note-taking app (it keeps telling me I have to log in, and it’s not a pencil on paper) but when the latest add-on was announced yesterday I had to take it for a spin.

Currently in beta, Learning Tools for OneNote is an optional add-on which adds a distraction-free reading mode, text-to-speech, and dictation to Microsoft’s note-taking app. It’s intended to be a broad solution to any number of problems we may have while reading.

According to Microsoft, they "designed reading and writing solutions that leverage what works for people with learning differences and for other users based upon research. We are delivering a mainstream tool that benefits all students; it is a great example of inclusive design because it builds on solutions for people with learning differences but it works for everyone and is non-stigmatizing."

This add-on can take any notebook in OneNote and show it like this:


You can adjust the the text size and spacing , reverse the font and background colors (but only with a black/white option), or have it read aloud.

Learning Tools is only available for Windows (and some features, like dictation, only work in Windows 10), and it is in beta (it crashed on me). But even with the current issues, it is potentially a useful tool for everyone. I got interested in it as a study tool and would probably use the immersive reading mode to remove distractions.

But Microsoft points put that you could also use the Learning Tools to magnify the text in what was originally a paper note:

learning tools onenote

If all you want is to magnify that one note then this add-on is more work than it is worth (just zoom in on the original photo). But if you are looking for a new feature for a note-taking app then this is definitely worth installing.

Learning Tools for OneNote is a 70MB download which you can find here.

OneNote blog via TNW

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Erin Campbell February 4, 2018 um 5:01 pm

Hi Nate. Is there any way I could read a book in One Note and take notes on it at the same time? My daughter needs to put posty notes on many many pages of a book for school and it is very difficult to start and stop…. then is there any way to pull those notes out but still know which page of the book the note was take on? Thanks so much.

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