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The best version of OneNote on Windows

We’re incredibly lucky to have millions of passionate OneNote users around the globe, and we love learning how we can help you improve learning and save time in the classroom. In spending time with you, we heard a recurring theme: you want a single version of OneNote on Windows that combines all the benefits of the modern Windows 10 app with the depth and breadth of capabilities in the older OneNote 2016. We took that feedback to heart, and over the last few years we’ve been focused on making OneNote for Windows 10 the best version of OneNote on Windows.

 

Beginning with the launch of Office 2019 later this year, OneNote for Windows 10 will replace OneNote 2016 as the default OneNote experience for both Office 365 and Office 2019. Why OneNote for Windows 10? The app has improved performance and reliability, and it’s powered by a brand new sync engine (which we’re also bringing to web, Mac, iOS, and Android). You don’t need to worry about being on the latest version since it’s always up-to-date via the Microsoft Store, and it lets us deliver updates faster than ever before. In fact, over the last year and a half we've added more than 100 of your favorite OneNote 2016 features based on your feedback (thank you!), with more improvements on the way including tags and better integration with Office documents. We’ve also built Class Notebooks, Learning Tools, Forms, and other education add-ins directly into the app!

 

We’d love for you to start using OneNote for Windows 10 in your classroom today, however we know some of you might not be ready yet. If you rely on a feature we don’t yet support on Windows 10 (please let us know using the Feedback Hub), you’re more than welcome to continue using OneNote 2016. 

 

What’s happening to OneNote 2016?

While we’re no longer adding new features to OneNote 2016, it’ll still be there if you need it. OneNote 2016 is optionally available for anyone with Office 365 or Office 2019, but it will no longer be installed by default. If you currently use OneNote 2016, you won’t notice any changes when you update to Office 2019. We’ll continue to offer support, bug fixes, and security updates for OneNote 2016—but not new features—for the next two school years. For more details, please refer to this FAQ.

 

A preview of what’s to come

We've been listening to your feedback about what works well in the classroom—and what doesn’t—and working hard to address it in the product. Your opinions, feature requests, and, yes, complaints have been critical in helping us shape the current experience. Today, we’d like to walk you through some of the work we’ve done to bring your favorite features from OneNote 2016 to OneNote for Windows 10, highlight some of the capabilities that are only available in the Windows 10 app, and give you a sneak peek at a few of the improvements coming this year.

 

An improved sync experience

We've been hard at work making sync faster and more reliable on OneNote for Windows 10, as well as on Mac, iOS, Android, and web. Changes made to new or existing pages now appear on other devices in seconds, and large files are synced in the background so you can continue working together without waiting for the file to finish uploading or downloading. We’ve also done work behind the scenes to automatically detect and repair page corruptions and sync errors.

 

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a look at the new sync engine in action:Sync.gif

You can try the first set of improvements today by opening a personal OneNote in OneNote for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, or Android. These improvements will be available for OneNote Online and Class Notebooks for Back to School 2018.

 

Your favorite features, improved

OneNote for Windows 10 was designed to feel natural with any input method, from mouse and keyboard to pen and touch, and it contains numerous improvements under the hood for better performance, reliability, and battery life. It also has a number of new features not available in OneNote 2016, including ink effects* and dramatically improved ink-to-text (check it out—it’ll even preserve your ink color, size, and highlights!), Researcher*, a notification center, deep integration with Windows 10, and much more. Bird2.gif

 

For many of you, shifting our focus to the Windows 10 app won’t come as a surprise. Aside from a handful of targeted improvements, we haven’t added any new features to OneNote 2016 in some time. Instead we’ve been focusing on consistency, ensuring that nearly all your favorite features in OneNote 2016 are also available in OneNote for Windows 10. We’re almost there, and in the coming months we’ll be adding even more top-requested features.

 

Top requested features coming soon to OneNote for Windows 10

Here's what you can expect later this summer:

  • Insert and search for tags: OneNote 2016’s popular tags feature is coming to OneNote for Windows 10! Soon you’ll be able to insert, create, and search for custom tags, making it easy to mark key information, questions for the teacher, topics that might be on an upcoming test, and more and find them later. Tags you create will now roam with you to across your devices, and OneNote will even show you tags other people have used in a shared notebook so you don’t have to recreate them yourself. Gone are the days of asking your students to create a specific tag before they can use it. The new tags experience was designed based on your feedback, and it will be available later this summer.
  • Blog 2.png
  • View and edit files: See live previews of Office files in OneNote, work together on attached documents, and save space in your notebooks with cloud files. You’ll get all the benefits of saving a file on with the context and convenience of an attachment or preview on a OneNote page. BLog5.png

 

    • Additional Class Notebook features: The full slate of Class Notebook features available in the add-on for OneNote 2016, including Undo Page Distribution, Content Library Distribution, Individual Page Distribution, Group Distribution, and Bulk Section Group Creation/Distribution, will be available in OneNote for Windows 10 this summer. Best of all, you no longer need to install a separate add-in—it's all built-in!
    • Dictation: As we recently announced, Dictation is coming soon to OneNote for Windows 10. This simple yet transformational tool will help students of varying abilities to write freely by using only their voice in over nine languages.

     


  • These are just a few of the improvements coming soon to OneNote for Windows 10. The app is updated every month with new functionality, and we have a lot of cool stuff in the works—including page templates. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements

  •  

    Improving the user experience

    Last year, we unveiled a new look and feel for OneNote on Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and OneNote Online that aligned the disparate designs into a single, unified interface. While everyone will benefit from the new design, classrooms with mixed devices will see the biggest benefit since you’ll no longer need to give each student a different set of instructions. In addition to bringing consistency to our apps, the new user experience scales much better for Class Notebooks and significantly improves accessibility for students who rely on assistive technologies. To learn more about the new design, check out our help article.

     Blog 4.png

     

    This is just a quick look at OneNote for Windows 10, but we’re not done yet. We'll continue listening to your feedback and incorporating it into our future plans, so leave us a comment below or add your feature request using the Feedback Hub. You can also join the Office Insider program for early access to the latest updates. And before we sign off, we want to say a huge thank you for your support. We really hope you love the new OneNote for Windows!

  • OneNote Team.

*Requires Office 365 subscription 

 

 

 

12 Comments
Regular Visitor

It is hugely disappointing to lose the immense functionality and customization capabilities of the desktop version of OneNote.  The app is fine for tablets and phones, but it is does not even come close to the level of functionality the desktop version provides on a full computer.  Navigation is slow, with no options for customizing it to fit the user's workflow, there are no options for add-ins to provide missing functionality, and it doesn't even connect well to the other Office programs like the desktop version does.  

 

For those who want the simplicity of the app, let them use the app.  For the rest of us, the app is years away from satisfactorily replacing the desktop version.  I have accumulated multiple gigabytes of data in my OneNote notebooks, and I am now wondering if I made a big mistake in putting all that irreplaceable information into OneNote.  I chose OneNote over Evernote because it had so much more functionality and ease of use.  This move by Microsoft will erase all that.

Regular Visitor

I agree, it seems like the onenote 10 version is lacking compared to onenote 2016 but  it's nice to see that you're porting over more features from our beloved onenote 2016. Keep up the good work and keep on importing those key features in onenote 2016 that have made onenote the popular app it is today.

I agree this is beyond disappointing.  The Windows 10 version is still a joke.  Something as basic as section layout wastes a huge amount of screen real estate.  I can see half the teachers at my school dumping it tomorrow for that fact alone.  None of us at my school have seen any of this purported reliability as well.  The OneNote app crashes all the time on many different types of hardware.  OneNote on the desktop has been rock solid for us.  I'm normally the first to embrace change but this is sad sad sad.  The integration between OneNote Desktop and Outlook is far superior than that of the app, because you start your notes from Outlook, my users love that.  One of the most popular features built into OneNote for the Desktop is the Send to OneNote Printer.  It's not even part of the app, unless you download an add-on from the Windows Store.  Exactly 0% of my users will even bother trying to figure that out and that's just about how many have Windows Store accounts in the first place.  The immersive reader in the OneNote app sucks at best, this is a must have feature for Schools.  It works beautifully in the desktop version, the last thing we want to do is place more barriers in front of students who struggle with these tasks, but that's exactly what the app is, a barrier.

Microsoft

Hi Sandra - the OneNote app has been radically improved in the past year, and as you can see in the blog, a lot more changes are coming.  The team can now make much faster progress on all fronts with a unified user interface on all platforms that will ultimately be easier for all to adopts.  If there are top features you want, you can vote on them at http://onenote.uservoice.com and the team is regularly checking this site and adding the top requested features.  Feel free to keep sending me feedback on Twitter at @mtholfsen and we'll keep listening.

Occasional Visitor

Good to hear that tags are going to be as powerful as in OneNote 2016; I use many (custom) tags.  This is the value of 1N for me; the ability to find things via tags.  So I hope that it will also add a powerful tag search, just like OneNote 2016.   That's critical (or frankly, the tags lose a lot of value).  

The sad thing will be the loss of functionality from Onetastic.  I use so many macros to make 1N more valuable: sorting, table of contents, find/replace, tag summaries, date/time stamps, etc., etc.

Frequent Visitor

A method to compromise this situation is to use the Windows 10 version as long as you can have a mode to turn it into a fully featured editing application like OneNote 2016. Therefore, for those on slower devices can have the application run in'Basic' mode and those who need the functionality can go into 'Advanced' mode. I get the feeling that this is a change as of a result of the new Microsoft school laptops coming out will allow them to run more smoothly. 

Occasional Visitor

I am also extremely disappointed with this new scenario. Microsoft is fragmenting all of its products, Outlook has goodness knows how many versions, Edge was forced onto me when I upgraded to Win10, and now I finally know what this barebones version of Onenote is that popped up at certain times on my laptop. If the Help features was synchronised to your version of the product, that would also have been much better, but now I search for help on Outlook 365, but get answers for 2010, 2003, 2016 all bundled together. It does NOT make for a satisfying user-experience. 

 

I had just finally decided to ditch TheBrain for Onenote, now this, without even any proper description of how to get the old notebook into 2019.  

New Contributor

@Mike Tholfsen, I'm excited for the new sync engine in OneNote, the slow syncing and page conflict errors in Team notebooks did not make fans out of our teachers who were used to real-time collaboration in Google Docs.  I know you stated the feature would be coming "Back to School 2018", but would you be able to give a more precise timeframe when we could be expected the improved syncing and will it apply to other notebooks created in Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint as well?

Microsoft

I don't have a precise timeframe to share yet.  It will apply to all notebooks and long as you are using any OneNote client other than Desktop OneNote 2016 or 2013

Anonymous
Not applicable

Hello,

it would be very nice if the OneNote for Windows 10 App supports to copy ink in a way that i can paste it in PowerPoint 2016 as ink (at the Moment it‘s only possible to paste copied ink from the App as bitmap in PowerPoint). Otherwise it is not possible for me to switch from OneNote 2016 to the new App.

The fast sync with the new App is very nice. I‘ve tested it.

Sincerly

Sebastian

Occasional Visitor

Hi folks,

 

Was really glad to read here that searching for tags would be available at some point on Onenote for Windows 10. The current version I have lets me insert tags (stars, to-do, etc) but I don't see any search functionality yet. I used this extensively on Onenote 2016 and it's a real loss to me not to have it on Onenote windows 10, which I understand is the only supported version moving forward. Would love to know if and when this might happen!

 

Thanks

 

 

Occasional Visitor

As an educator and edtech integration coach, responsible for rolling out 1:1 with tablet PC's, we will continue to rely on OneNote 2016 desktop version until the app version can match the features and functionality of the desktop version. While there are features within the app version that could prove helpful, ideally, I'd prefer they just be rolled into the desktop version. Ultimately, if the app version isn't vastly improved to match the needs of teachers and students (especially coming from the 2016 desktop version) any shift will be viewed negatively, forcing us to seek alternatives.