Microsoft is updating its OneNote for Windows 8.1 app today with some significant changes. Visually the app remains very similar to the previous version, with some tweaks here and there, and the multiple Snap Views in Windows 8.1 are now fully enabled. OneNote now also supports the Share Charm in 8.1, allowing users to copy a website or information from an app directly into a new note in the app. If you’re sharing from a Windows 8.1 app or IE11 then it keeps the full richness of the images and text that’s captured into a note.

The biggest improvements come with a new Camera Scan feature and optical character recognition (OCR). OneNote has always supported capture from cameras, but the feature has been updated to improve scanning of documents and whiteboards. The idea is to make images look like there were scanned directly into a page, and Camera Scan automatically rotates, straightens, crops, sharpens, and remove shadows from images after they’re taken so they fit into a note.


OCR just like SkyDrive

OneNote combines Camera Scan with a new OCR feature that lets you search for text within an image embedded into a note, or simply copy text from an inserted image. You can insert any image to copy the text out of it, and it works in a similar way to the OCR recognition on Microsoft’s SkyDrive service. We tested the feature a number of times and found it’s a little hit and miss that depends largely on image quality. However, screenshots with text work perfectly, and the overall Camera Scan feature works well to crop and align documents.

Other improvements to the OneNote Windows 8.1 app include page previews in the notes list, a fullscreen view, and improvements to inking support. The OneNote for Windows 8.1 update is available immediately in the Windows Store.