Microsoft OneNote is getting an interesting new feature for Mac users. Back in August last year, Microsoft brought AI-backed note-taking to both the Windows and web versions of OneNote. Well, now it is the turn for the app on Apple's macOS platform.
While this is a good feature in its own right, it is more interesting in the context of Microsoft really ramping up its AI efforts in 2023. Just this week I reported on the company furthering its ties with OpenAI by integrating GPT AI into Office apps (Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint). Speaking of OpenAI, Microsoft is also working on integrating the ChatGPT chatbot into Bing.
Both these are much more advanced implementations of AI into Microsoft apps than the OneNote feature, but it shows the company is now mainstreaming AI across its services.
“Dictate” in Microsoft OneNote allows users to use their voice to input notes directly into the app. Microsoft says the tool is “AI-backed” and currently supports over 50 languages. Some of the languages are in preview, so the accuracy of voice recognition may be lower than non-preview languages.
The AI already knows loads of commands, allowing users to control the app without using a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen. For example, users can add notes, format them, edit them, and Microsoft says more commands will arrive in the future.
Microsoft has put a DICTATE button into the Home tab on the Ribbon. Here you can also access settings for the feature, such as changing language, allowing auto-punctuation, filtering sensitive phrases/words, and adding devices.
Dictate is available on OneNote Mac is currently on the Beta Channel for version 16.68 (Build 22121100) or later. As this is a preview, the feature comes with the following known issues:
- “Not all voice commands currently available in OneNote for the web or in Word across platforms are available in OneNote for Mac (such as formatting and lists). Click the Help button on the Dictation toolbar to see which commands are supported on a given platform.
- Some supported languages are considered Preview Languages, and may have lower accuracy and/or limited punctuation support. For a complete list, please check the More Information > Spoken languages supported section in this help topic.”
Tip of the day: File History is a Windows back up feature that saves each version of files in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Desktop, and Offline OneDrive folders. Though its name implies a primary focus on version control, you can actually use it as a fully-fledged backup tool for your important documents.