Update 9/23/2015: The standalone version is finally out and incredibly, as of version 15.14, still no local Save As in OneNote. Thank goodness for alternatives like Outline.
Like version 15.7 currently available in Apple’s App Store, the spanking-new OneNote 2016 Preview heavy-handedly coerces the user to log in with a Microsoft account. Either you can log in to Microsoft, or you can quit the app. Simple as that. If you submit and use a Microsoft account, you might think freedom awaits. “Where do you want to go today?”
Nevermind. Microsoft knows where. And they will tell you where: your Microsoft OneDrive account.
Beginning with OneNote 2013, Microsoft nudged users in the direction of Microsoft’s cloud products, but with OneNote 2016 Mac they demand a Microsoft sign-in and Microsoft cloud storage. But don’t worry… it’s “free.” Don’t you feel the freedom? The initial Preview is version 15.8, a minor step forward from the crippleware version in the app store, and that’s exactly what it feels like. The “Where” drop-down list above, historically a “Save As” location selector, is not a list at all. It comically has only One Option: OneDrive. It might as well be replaced with a button:
When Apple adheres to a singular vision despite the naysayers and produces what Apple thinks the customer needs instead of what the customer wants, it’s somewhat annoying and sometimes a little endearing. Why is it that when Microsoft tries the same thing and denies the ability to use local files, it’s just maddening? It seems unnecessarily heavy-handed — taking away something that has been a part of the feature set since inception — and for what purpose? Errant strategery.
“But Alex,” you say. “You’re livin’ in the past. How can you have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat? Cloud is The Way. Share it all with the One. Allow the One to read it. You don’t need local storage anymore. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
Maybe. Cloud has its virtues. Gmail is solid cloud email if a little creepy. But in the words of John Locke, “don’t tell me what I can’t do.” Time will tell if Microsoft continues to force their cloud-centric vision and de-feature OneNote. The rest of Office 2016 for Mac; Word, Excel and PowerPoint, work just fine offline and with local storage. Hope springs eternal that the ability to “go local” with OneNote is forthcoming.