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We’re incredibly lucky to have millions of passionate OneNote users around the globe, and we love learning how we can help you remember, think, and organize better. 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’d love for you to start using OneNote for Windows 10 today, however we know some of you might not be ready yet. Maybe you rely on a feature we don’t yet support on Windows 10 (please let us know using the Feedback Hub), or you don’t want to store your notebooks in the cloud. If so, 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 for the duration of the Office 2016 support lifecycle, which runs through October 2020 for mainstream support and October 2025 for extended support. For more details, please refer to this FAQ.

 

A preview of what’s to come

We've been listening to your feedback about what you like—and what you don'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.

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. 

 

 

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 and find it 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. The new tags experience was designed based on your feedback, and it will be available later this summer.

 Tags.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 OneDrive with the context and convenience of an attachment or preview on a OneNote page.

 

Cloud Files.png

 

  • Additional Class Notebook features: The full slate of Class Notebook features available in the add-on for OneNote 2016 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!

 

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.

 

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

 

 

You can try the first set of improvements today by opening a OneDrive notebook in OneNote for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, or Android. These improvements will be rolled out to OneNote Online in the coming months, as well as notebooks on OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.

 

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. In addition to bringing consistency to our apps, the new user experience scales much better for large notebooks and significantly improves accessibility for those who rely on assistive technologies. To learn more about the new design, check out our help article.

 

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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

 

627 Comments

Like so many promising Microsoft technologies it's looking like this is on the slow boat to obscurity.  It's one "thank you for having been such wonderful users" memo away from the boneyard.

Senior Member

The New UI is atrocious! Sure it may have some new features, but to take away a user's choice and shove this thing down our throats is obnoxious.
Not everyone has the hypnotic charisma of a Steve Jobs. People don't want to BE TOLD what they want. They know what they want. I'm still scouring through the KB's and FAQ and do not see a simple link to download or enable the older version.

Occasional Visitor

Can Microsoft please give the option to have the topic tabs along the top of the screen rather on the left handside? It takes up too much space and limits the view. onenote2016 was much easier to view and use purely because of this one feature.

This seems to be a big issue on other feedback forums so please listen to your users.

 

thank you

 

Occasional Visitor

I and members of my contracts organization have been using OneNote for most of this decade.  We manage government contracts and as the U.S. government and its private sector contracting community moved from paper-based to electronically-formatted documents and filing systems--we are required to maintain complete and compliant contracts files for audit--OneNote appeared to be the standard-issue solution.  OneNote proliferated through our organizations as part of standard Office installations and we used it.  Microsoft's move to cloud computing and its abandonment of the desktop leaves us in a difficult situation.  The U.S. Gov't, and particularly Dept. of Defense, contractors are prohibited by the terms of their contracts from storing contract data in the cloud.  It's not a choice we are allowed to make, but rather, a directive.  Beyond that, cyber security mandates to government contractors have since placed significant and onerous limitations on the storage of "controlled unclassified information" or CUI and "covered defense information "CDI" that make cloud storage (outside our own organizations) completely forbidden.  What we face now, is what to do with many years of accumulated data and documentation in OneNote files that we cannot transfer to the cloud--a dead end--and we've institutionalized the use of OneNote, which doesn't have a substitute with reach coextensive with that of the Windows operating systems and Office suites we will use well into the future.  Microsoft has not offered users like us--and as another good example, law firms--an acceptable off-ramp or substitute into which we can draw and continue to access our contract documentation.  In my opinion this switch to cloud only was extremely short sighted and it will do us injury.  What is Microsoft going to do to soften the impact of this decision?   

Visitor

Very good note, captures a lot of cluelessness in this lock-step-without-thinking move that Microsoft Office and OneDrive seem to be having on the development of OneNote, if not all of Office itself. 

 

It is unfortunate that the author of this article, who no longer works on the OneNote team, has either chosen not to care about their legacy, or if they’re passing this along isn’t bothering to spend 5 minutes to update the users here. Similarly, if the OneNote team is getting this feedback, they’re equally “care less” about letting us know that the message has been received and they either are taking it into the development process or they simply don’t care.  

 

Small secret about Office: Initiatives like cloud services that are pushed heavily from on high rarely get a challenging word from people who are more concerened about how their accomplishments have lined up with “important innitiatives” than they are with being an advocate for their established user base.  This is doubly-true for application/feature creators who move from a product or feature team to another “unrelated” team.  They’ll score zero points for focusing on their old work instead of their new tasks. 

 

So the hope here is someone still on the team might fall across this lenghty, passionate, and aged thread and consider taking action. 

And in the meantime, hopefully someone will come up with an alternate product (cross-platform if possible) that we can use as this product slips further and further into a state of uselessness.

Occasional Visitor
What happened to "New Section Groups" in OneNote with automatic alaphabetical and numeric indexing, and ability to create sub-folders? One of the best feature of OneNote - Gone?
Occasional Visitor
What happened to Sections and Section Groups across the top of the page? An extra column tamking up valuable space... More I am looking at the new OneNote, the less I am liking it. It has completely disrupted how I use it. Back the drawing board. Plus too much dependence on the "Cloud". I switch it off when I am working on Microsoft product. The AutoSaving freezes every ten minutes for twenty minutes when there is traffic congestion inupload and downloads. Cloud based sucks.
Occasional Visitor
What happened to Sections and Section Groups across the top of the page? An extra column taking up valuable space... More I am looking at the new OneNote, the less I am liking it. It has completely disrupted how I use it. Back the drawing board. Plus too much dependence on the "Cloud". I switch it off when I am working on Microsoft product. The AutoSaving freezes every ten minutes for twenty minutes when there is traffic congestion inupload and downloads. Cloud based sucks.
Occasional Visitor

I've tried it several times. Hated it each and every time. Leaves me wondering, yet again, WHEN Microsoft will get SOMETHING right. What about macros? Templates? Etc. etc. etc. 

 

Another discontented user.

Occasional Visitor

I really hope to see the Outlook Tasks option in OneNote. I used it a lot in OneNote 2016.

Is there a version of O365 OneNote that includes the ability to save to a local drive or local file server, instead of OneDrive? It looks like Microsoft is moving away from desktop installs for OneNote. We have OneNote users who are getting stuck when we try to migrate them to O365 A3 licensed installs. Our current organizational policy is to store all of our internal documents on a file server, where we can manage and back them up.
Senior Member

Unfortunately, you have (painfully) discovered one of many significant changes between OneNote 2016 and the newer Windows 10 version. The inability to use local storage is a major show stopper for a large number of OneNote 2016 users trying to go to the new version as you are doing. 

 

You should also know that this blog, posted 16 months ago, has had zero Microsoft interaction in over a year now. Is it being monitored for community sentiment and feedback? Your guess is as good as ours....

Regular Visitor
Well, if they're looking for a sentiment, let me try this one: 👎🏻
Occasional Visitor

Seems like a lot of us are disgruntled with many of the changes and I think it's equally obvious Microsoft isn't listening. Feels very like having an IBM product. We are just a few of so many users they don't have to listen. HOWEVER, with Evernote's increasing lack of features and hiked up subscription prices, Onenote is one of the most viable alternatives so they need to be listening. Is there ANY way to get them our thoughts?

Basically if we're forced to store documents in OneDrive that's effectively kills off OneNote in our organization. Not having the ability to secure, back, restore, and basically manage our documents is a deal breaker. Too bad, OneNote's an amazing product. It would be nice if Microsoft would simply provide the tools and let us decide what works in our environment. I can understand appeal of the SAS O365 revenue model but forcing customers into it obviously doesn't create goodwill. Bill
Occasional Contributor
What a delusional load of tribble droppings. You admit 2016 features are missing. A year and a half later UWP is till massively feature deficient. . Don't you know when you "replace" and existing tool the replacement is supposed to be an improvement! Have all the old features plus MORE, NOT LESS! Who at MS hates OneNote so much to allow UWP to be forced on defenseless users?
Senior Member

@LCGriffith the official Microsoft answer to your question "Is there ANY way to get them our thoughts?" is to use the USER VOICE feedback space. Doing some quick searching from the main User Voice page, this appears to be the logical place to submit feedback on the UWP version of OneNote:

 

Welcome to OneNote and Sticky-Notes Suggestion Portal

 

A brief look at the many suggestions relating to OneNote 2016 being revived would appear to be THIS SUGGESTION that needs your votes!!!

 

https://onenote.uservoice.com/forums/327186-onenote-for-windows/suggestions/32737648-include-onenote...

Regular Visitor

Here is the download page for OneNote 2016: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Install-or-reinstall-OneNote-2016-for-Windows-c08068d8-b517...

 

This page actually links to this article to explain all the supposed crunchy goodness of the new version, that we all find so clearly lacking. At the bottom of the page are the usual buttons to indicate if the page was helpful. Perhaps the place to put all these comments would be in the additional info that shows up when you indicate that the page was not helpful, since clearly, no one is listening here.

 

In the meantime, there is some consolation in that OneNote 2016 should have support through 2026.

 

HEY MICROSOFT, IS ANYONE LISTENING HERE?

New Contributor

Not that they're any more likely to listen on user voice. But you might as well shout into the void over there as over here LOL

New Contributor

At this point what I'd like to see them do is release OneNote2016 desktop code to public as an Open Source release.  Then we could just spin up our own versions and keep it up to date, write better plug ins and modules for it. One or the other. Either support it and support it properly or release it and let us build entire businesses off it's obvious potential.  Because UWP is still an abomination and obviously microsoft is dedicating zero resources to fixing that.

Senior Member

@WaryOldGuy   Thanks for sharing this link! I didn't have that one in my list. The last "official" MS page that had this was OneNote 2016 is Missing After Installing Office 2019 or Office-365. That had installers there as well but last I checked, the downloads actually provided the UWP installers and not the 2016 versions.

Senior Member

@Lee Drake I fully understand your point. I personally suspect, however, that raising concerns in User Voice, the "official" product feedback forum, will get a lot(!!!) more visibility than a bunch of us cantankerous users buried here at the bottom of an old, old, single blog post.

 

Think about it... suppose that the suggestion I linked earlier ( Include OneNote for Desktop in Office 2019 were to jump rapidly from the current 2,929 votes and go viral to many, many more because all of the folks complaining in here were to upvote the suggestion, and we all started spinning the social media machine (Twitter, anyone???), what sort of impact might that have?? I did!

Occasional Visitor

This piece has no bearing on reality. You abandoned one of the best tools ever built and replaced it with a toddler-level toy. Oh, I guess I'm supposed to be "positive and polite" -- while you're screwing us over with your ridiculous rationalizations. When people behave in such delusional ways, there's always an ulterior motive. You could have left the REAL OneNote just as it was and never made another improvement -- and I'd be just fine with that. But nooooo, you went and eliminated it entirely -- all for your own interests (while you insult us as you pretend that you're doing us a favor). 

 

Does this look like you're listening?

 

"i-hate-windows-10-onenote"

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_onenote-mso_win10-mso_365hp/i-hate-windo...

 

"Windows 10 OneNote app sucks."

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_onenote-mso_win10-mso_365hp/windows-10-o...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regular Visitor

Nothing good ever came out of UWP and I don't think it ever will. "Yeah but it runs really well on my taaaablet". a) It does not. b) So does a Sledgehammer in a babystation. However the outcome is questionable at best.

 

Desktop support until when?

Then I'll be fine with that... and vow, that i will have a replacement... Including the rest of that subscription based nonsense. Switching to Linux might also be an idea, now that the control panel has gotten as bad.

Occasional Visitor

I would like the ability to insert equations on the new OneNote for Windows 10. I really like this feature on OneNote 2016 as I use OneNote a lot for math work.

Occasional Visitor

This has to be one of the worst ideas Microsoft succumbed to. The Office 365 version of OneNote is not user friendly, it has minimalistic features, the entire look is totally different than 2016! Besides that, for those of us who have used OneNote for years and are now being forced to utilize 365 for our employers, all our saved years of data is not able to be moved or saved to the newer version since it is not backwards compatible and in a different format! It makes absolutely no sense why you would change something so drastically and infuriate a bunch of diehard loyal users of OneNote to be forced into this "new" version that is less than acceptable. Change it please. Stop with the online version. Half the time the info doesn't save anyway and the data is lost. Do more beta testing PRIOR to releasing something. 99% of us on this forum do not agree with this cloud scaled WAY down version. 

Occasional Visitor

Like everything Microsoft does since Windows 7 and Office 2016, you successfully transformed a fantastic tool into a piece of junk by throwing an obnoxious UI on it and downgrading the UX to something that a negative IQ dumbo would find easy to use. And where are the add-ins ? Where is OneTastic, something that should have been integrated in the product itself a long time ago ?

 

Just like I'd rather die than upgrading my Windows 7 to the low-IQ-Win10, I'll use OneNote 2016 until 2025. Thanks for maintaining it so far, at least.