OneNote 2016 updates, a new Class Notebook add-in, and best practices for educators and students

Published Apr 29 2020 09:00 AM 23.8K Views

With many schools already involved in remote learning and more making the adjustment every day, we want to help ensure you have the best OneNote experience possible. Read on for important information about OneNote and Class Notebooks updates as well as best practices.


Get the latest update for OneNote 2016 Desktop

If you're using OneNote 2016, we encourage you to install Office updates for the best experience.  This will apply to Office ProPlus or the Monthly Channel or Semi-Annual Channel.  More specific IT Admin info is here.  We have put together a 1 minute how to video for you to watch this process, but for the steps by step process on how to check for updates:


  1. Open any Office app, such as OneNote 2016.
  2. Go to File > Account (or Office Account, if you opened OneNote 2016).
  3. Under Product Information, choose Update Options > Update Now.

Note: You may need to select Enable Updates first if you don't see the Update Now option right away.

OneNote update dialog.png


4. Close the "You're up to date!" window after Office is done checking for and installing updates.


Install the new OneNote 2016 Class Notebook add-in - version

We just released a brand-new Class Notebook add-in update for the OneNote 2016 Desktop app. This new add-in helps improve reliability and performance of page distribution and fixes a few known bugs. We encourage all educators to install this new update as soon as they can.  We also have a 60 second "How To" video to watch.



Best practices for educators and students 

Some of our favorite tips and tricks for the best possible OneNote experience (get the full details on OneNote best practices here

  • Insert a link to files. If you can’t create the content directly in a page, upload your files to a shared folder in a class team (or in a location that students can still access) before linking it to a OneNote page.
  • Avoid embedding large files. This includes PDFs and large Word documents with many images or tables.  If you need to embed an image, reduce the size of the image to approximately 1MB.  Link to large PowerPoint decks rather than using the Send to OneNote “print” option.
  • Avoid distributing pages with large attachments. As mentioned above, try to keep your files in a shared folder, like your class teams, and use links instead.
  • Use the Content Library. Use the Content Library in your Class Notebook to save reference material for students, rather than distributing an individual page to each student. Individual distribution is great for pages that you want students to edit, but the Content Library is a convenient home for material you want students to read, view, and reference consistently.
  • Keep audio and video recordings concise. Keeping audio recordings to 90 seconds or less helps to minimize large file sizes. You can also embed Flipgrid or Microsoft Stream videos in your OneNote Class Notebook to allow students to respond using video.
  • Improve the performance of OneNote for iPad or iPhone. For iPad, turn off Auto Sync Attachments by navigating to the Sync page in your OneNote settings. All text and ink content will still sync automatically, but OneNote pages with rich content like images and PDFs will wait to sync until you visit the page. After that, the page you visit will begin syncing automatically. Find more info on additional ways to improve performance of OneNote for iPad and iPhone. 


We encourage all educators using OneNote 2016 to update to the latest and greatest, and use these tips and tricks to better manage your Class Notebooks during these unprecedented times.  If you have any support needs or issues, please file a Support ticket at


Mike Tholfsen

Microsoft Education Product Manager


Version history
Last update:
‎Apr 29 2020 09:24 AM
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