This month in OneNote, we want to highlight three recent features added across platforms. From new navigation, to roundtrip editing of embedded files and phrase search, find exactly what you need and stay in the flow with OneNote.


A new look for navigation

We heard the user feedback and incorporated some new elements to navigation in OneNote for Mac and OneNote for Windows 10. In the updated navigation, switch easily between your notebooks, search results and recent notes using the buttons along the left-hand rail and use the drop-down button across the top of sections and pages to view additional notebooks. If you want to maximize your canvas, you can hide navigation by clicking the notebooks icon at the top of the left rail. Click the icon again when you need to navigate your way to another page, section or notebook.


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The updated navigation is currently rolling out to all users on Mac and available for Office Insiders on Windows 10. It will be available to all Windows users in the next few weeks. We are working to bring this update to OneNote Online and OneNote for iPad as well. See here for a detailed refresher on the updated navigation.


Edit embedded files seamlessly

Starting this month, you can edit files embedded in notebooks more easily on OneNote for Windows 10. Users will be able to open files, make edits and have those changes saved seamlessly without having to save a new version or re-embed into the notebook.

To try this feature, open a file embedded in a notebook and make edits. Don’t worry about saving the new changes as a separate file and re-attaching to your notebook – your changes are already synced and ready to be viewed in OneNote! Make sure AutoSave is on, edit what you want, and close the file when you’re done. The next time someone opens the file from the notebook, those latest changes will be there.

This feature will be rolling out to all users on OneNote for Windows 10 over the next few weeks.


Search for exactly what you need

We’re continuously working to make OneNote’s search experience even better with each new feature. Our newest addition to search capabilities: phrase search. To try it today, open the search pane and put a phrase between quotations to get more relevant search results. Putting your search terms in quotations searches for exactly those words in that order rather than each word separately, providing more relevant search results.

This feature is available for all users across platforms, so try searching for exact phrases in quotation marks to find exactly what you need across sections and pages!


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We hope you enjoy the latest updates on OneNote and look forward to hearing your feedback. As always, request and vote for feature requests in the Feedback Hub. Leave us your thoughts down below and we’ll be back with more OneNote news soon!

Established Member

Thank you OneNote team


Just want to know is there any plans to bring the missing features from the old OneNote 2016?


For example,


  • Create Outlook Tasks in your notes

  • Pin your favorite commands to the Quick Access Toolbar

  • Apply a template to pages to maintain a specific look or layout (used to save me a lot of time I and my friends really need this)

  • Record video

  • Link your notes to webpages in Internet Explorer and Office files

  • Store notebooks on your local hard drive instead of in the cloud, including backups

  • Support for third-party COM add-ins

Occasional Visitor

And please restore the ability to create and use custom Tags.

Senior Member

Like many of the people who care enough about this product to read its blog, I am a long time user (circa 2008).  OneNote is an app continuously open on my work desktop.  I currently have access to about 25 notebooks.  About half are private, the rest are a mix of mine shared with others, others shared with me, or shared notebooks on Teams (SharePoint). 


I always avoided the UWP version mostly because of how ingrained the old layout was.  Late last year I forced my to start using the Win 10 version to see what I really lost.  Overall, I use Win 10 version 90% of the time and will open v2016 for specific activities I need to do that can't be done yet with the Win 10 version.  I'd be super bummed if I didn't have that fall back.  Below is my ongoing list of pros and cons of the new version.  Please note loss of local notebooks is not on my con list because I was happy when moving notebooks into the cloud became possible.


Things I like about Win 10 version

  • Speed
  • Recent Notes list
  • It can tell if you recently opened a notebook on another device that isn't open in the app and will offer to open it for you (discovery)
  • How links to pages and sections pasted in a notebook automatically reformat to the name of that location.
  • Ability to pin certain pages on the start menu.  Not useful for me, but it could be for others…


Things I miss about 2016 version

  • Snipping tool in the toolbar is missing; have to use the windows snip tool instead
  • You can't restart the numbering of a list if there is a break in it
  • Very limited tagging tool
  • Search for tags is very limited; can't ask for a certain type and only the unchecked versions, no export of the list
  • Can't promote or demote sheets by dragging
  • Can't send an email with attachments to a page using the button in the Outlook ribbon
  • No option at all to drag and drop from Outlook Online to OneNote UWP
  • Can't email a page or a section! - all you can do is share the entire notebook - not always ideal…
  • Search function breaks if you use the apostrophe character ( ' ).  For example, searching "pro's and con's" or "pro's" or "con's" turns up nothing.  Yet searching "pro and con" turns up the proper results even though the text string is literally "pro's and con's"
  • If you nickname a notebook, no easy way to see the "real name".  Causes problems with shared notebooks because in things like Flow, if you trigger a flow related to OneNote, it loads the nicknames and not the real names.  Prior to letting you select a section.  If you pick the nickname, it will not load the sections.  You get an error.
  • You can't add outlook task checkboxes (which now integrate nicely with the To Do app)
Occasional Contributor

I also want to re-iterate the mild frustrations I have over the amount of missing functions from the 2016 version. Tagging, dragging and dropping,  not being able to email a page from the client are just a few. But...the one function that made it feasible to move from Evernote to OneNote for our Enterprise, was the Outlook Integration. I asked about this over a year ago and still am struggling with how this is not being worked into the new product, as I was far from the only one asking. If we can't open an email in Outlook and click "send to OneNote", it will lose its value to us very quickly. Admittedly I may have missed an update, but this needs to be added ASAP.

Occasional Visitor

I don't particularly like pile-ons, but in this case, I must add my voice to the chorus. I use OneNote extensively (work, personal, band, dog rescue organization), and I have been an evangelist, teaching seminars on how to use OneNote as an effective tool to enhance Project Management, Program Management, and Portfolio Management. Two of the missing features are critical to me: custom tags with robust search and lists; and Outloook/Office integration. When I have to use the newest version of OneNote (force by employer) it is painful. Simple things like moving selected list items up and down using ALT-SHIFT-arrows no longer works, and I accidentally rearrange my pages instead. My workflow is MUCH less efficient with the newest OneNote. I long for relief.

Occasional Contributor

I use the UWP (Windows 10) version on two different computers.  One shows the "new look for navigation" described here.  The other doesn't.  The version numbers are the same.  Any idea why?


For more details, see:


Senior Member

@Dave_Walters I read your post on OneNote issues.  I wanted to let you know the UWP version I'm currently using (16001.11629.20028.0) does allow the ALT-Shift-Up or Down to rearrange lists or rows in a table.  Also the custom tags started working for me.  Before I could pull it up and select an icon, but it would never let me type anything in the name box and the create box stayed greyed out.  Those work now.  I do have under settings:  OneNote Preview toggled to On and Office Insider switched to "Insider".  I still have a couple things I really need in UWP before I could abandon 2016 fully, but these items are getting better.  Good luck.

Regular Visitor

I have used Onenote extensively as a teacher to organize my teaching materials. I use it all day long. We've had to move to the online version today and I am very sad to see some of the features I used all the time are not there anymore. I agree with others that the lack of being able to customize tags is a huge loss. I used the clipping tool all the time, but don't see that anymore. I used to clip materials and paste them onto pages very easily with the clipping tool. Being able to customize a page by pasting an image on the page and then setting it as a background was something I used a lot - made all sorts of templates to write on top. And the one that I'm really missing is the ability to drag rows on a table into different orders. Now it looks like I have to cut and paste rows if I want to move them around, which I used to do all time. Visually, I'm finding the sections/pages tabs on the side too large. I'm constantly having to show/hide pages. It was much easier to navigate when the tabs were on the top. I loved the desktop version because I could customize so many things. I raved about it to all of the colleagues. Now, the online version is okay, but it feels like a pre-packaged program. Being able to have customization options is really what used to set notebook apart. 

Occasional Visitor

Please save all the right click functionality that is how notes are kept like Exclamation, highlight, question, important, all the ways that people take notes.

New Contributor

OneNote is getting to be more and more crutial to my every day and I love the ability to work with embedded documents.


BUT - Big huge but here - search doesn't include OneNote embedded documents!! :flushed_face::flushed_face::flushed_face::flushed_face:


I am pushing hard for a customer who is adding a new rule to remove all e-mail older then two years to save information in OneNote that they want to keep. Becuase they aren't included in the search the our GDPR police are saying no. It's a big risk for them as enclosed documents become embedded documents when they are sent to OneNote. 


I have asked people in our organization to vote for this suggestion, please help!


Frequent Visitor

@Jee Soo Han three suggestions about embedded files in OneNote:


1. If I embed a file that is already in OneDrive or Sharepoint, OneNote should detect that and embed the original file instead of creating a new copy and uploading it somewhere else inside OneDrive

2. OneNote should allow you to edit embedded Word/Excel files directly from the preview (basic edits only)

3. OneNote should index the text from embedded Word documents, so when you do a global search, you can find text located in those files as well

Hope that helps!