OneNote for Windows 10: White colour is now light gray, duplicates pen upon changing

Copper Contributor

The white colour option for pens, in the drop-down menu, is now a slightly gray colour (fig. 1). Any time I've ever used this colour on any page has been changed to that gray.
Screenshot (218).png
(fig. 1: weird gray colour.)

When I use the black shades in 'More Colours' to change the pen colour to white instead, it creates a new pen with the same light-gray colour (fig.2). If I attempt to change the colour using the new white colour option, below the 'More Colours' option, it does the same thing! (fig.3)

Screenshot (221).png

(fig.2 : selecting the pure white shade, with the desired drawing selected.)


Screenshot (222).png

(fig.3 : the new pen created, in the same colour.)

If I then click on the original pen to change it back, it makes a new pen (duplicates the original?) with the original thickness, and it won't let me select the original pen!!

But if I open the same, synced page in OneNote 2016, all the light-gray drawing on the page is the correct white!!! (fig.4)
Screenshot (223).png
(fig.4 : dun dun dun!!!)
A baffling mystery.

I have reinstalled OneNote for Windows 10, to no avail. Any idea what's going on?

9 Replies

Same here, first experienced it a couple of days ago, would really want know how to fix this!

I am having the same issue, 2 months later... i really hope this gets resovled

This is clearly still an issue into November 2021. I would like to point out one work around that I have been using since microsoft decided to sht the bed on this one. When I need a white pen is usually to use it as a white out over some image that I have pasted in. To avoid the failed grey pen feature that microsoft graced us with, I use snip tool to cut out a blank white block from the page and paste it over the stuff I want to white-out. 

To microsoft: 

Nobody ever wanted you to change white to grey. Who ruined this part of the app? Fire them please.


Microsoft did not say this but a lot of people at my school would use the white pen to white out questions they didn't want to do. Maybe that's why, that's the only reason I can think of, because it really is a stupid feature. I guess they figured anti-cheat is more important than having a true white.

You can just snip and paste a white block to cover up questions or w/e. Microsoft just wanted to upset their users (like usual) by changing something that wasn’t broken
I gotta say that as a senior citizen, I appreciate that grey. When M/S went artsy fartsy style in the early 2000s my ability to work significantly slowed.

As my typology instructor said in high school- use serif fonts for your headers and kickers. Use a san serif font for your body type. Everyone over the age of 45 may not thank you for it, but they can read your newspaper better.

@Alpappo , It looks like this is still broken as of 02 July 2023, but I found a close work-around.  Not ideal, but it is very close for me.  Select the "why are you gray instead of the white that I asked for" pen, and modify it so that one of the RGB values is 254 instead of 255 (254-255-255), and you'll have an "off-white" that is almost perfectly white.  On my Surface Pro, I can't tell the difference.  Again, not perfect, but it works for my needs.  


If Microsoft wants a default white pen to be gray, fine - but I wish they would at least allow users to manually set what they actually want.

@A_Zack  that works a treat, thank you! You only have to set it up once, too. :smile: