The best version of OneNote on Windows

Published Apr 18 2018 09:00 AM 463K Views

The below article is out of date as of Nov 4th 2019. Please check out this article for the latest OneNote announcement.


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.



  • 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.



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


Not applicable

When will this come as part of Office 365 ProPlus ?

@Deleted OneNote for Windows 10 will be included with all versions of Office 365, including ProPlus, around the same time Office 2019 is released.

Frequent Visitor

Are you planning on allowing offline notebooks to be opened with the Windows 10 version?

@Steve Winn OneNote for Windows 10 has a way for you to move your offline notebooks to OneDrive. For more details, check out our FAQ.

Frequent Visitor

@William Devereux


How about page templates and page size limits - this is a requirement in my field to be able to print archive documents or submissions and only currently available in OneNote 2016.


I'm also a left handed user and the OneNote windows 10 app only allows for the navigation pane on the left hand side which I am constantly getting unwanted clicks on, desperately need the option to move everything to the right side of the screen.

Occasional Contributor

What if I, like you said, "don’t want to store your/my notebooks in the cloud"?


Is your answer "If so, you’re more than welcome to continue using OneNote 2016" basically saying that offline only notebooks will never be a feature for the Windows 10 version?


Thanks in advance.

Frequent Visitor

Some information doesn't need to travel over the Internet or even certain private networks, which is why some of my notebooks are offline. Other notebooks are on Onedrive so I can access it on my phone or wherever.

Occasional Contributor

While this is interesting and somewhat exciting news, I'm really concerned about feature parity. OneNote for Win10 is still a very long way from the desktop OneNote 2016 in terms of feature robustness (and arguably stability as well) - the gap is in all the details we rely on everyday using the desktop version of the app - sometimes very basic features we now take for granted are noticeably missing in the 'settings' of the OneNote app. If the OneNote app can be made of equal features with the 2016 desktop version then users will gladly switch over to the newer technology without any issues, else probably only new and more casual users will be on the OneNote app, while more hardcore and legacy users will just stick to the desktop version for the next few years, until it catches up (if it ever does). 

@Donald Bockoven III Page templates are coming! Your point about page sizes is a good one. Can you please vote for it on the Feedback Hub? It'll help us prioritize what we work on next. We also have a full screen mode that you can use while inking (regardless of whether you're left or right-handed). 


@Yuk Fai Lo We understand if you don't want to store your notes in the cloud. For most people, having access to their notes on all their devices is a core part of the value of OneNote. None of OneNote's modern apps support local notebooks, so we recommend using OneNote 2016 for now. To be clear though, notebooks stored in the cloud are still available offline, since we keep a cached copy on your device. For more details, please check out the FAQ.


@Ibukun Momson Please let us know in the Feedback Hub if there's a particular feature you'd like to see in OneNote for Windows 10. We've added a lot of features to the app over the last year and a half, and it nearly all of the top features in OneNote 2016.

Senior Member

Will the insert Online Video feature be added to the OneNote app?

@Garrett Adams Yes! This works today. Simply paste a link to any supported online video and we'll automatically convert it on the page. There's no need to click a special button any more.

Senior Member



I'll be back to using OneNote!

New Contributor

For us we need to have offline notebook access as there are things that do not belong in the cloud. Healthcare HIPPA PHI info is a good example. 

If OneNote loses offline files then we will need to look for a replacement. 

Frequent Visitor

@William Devereux : sure which one of the hundreds of feedback posts about adding page size should I upvote.....can Microsoft do some spring cleaning on their end and consolidate these into a single feedback option, similar to how github or Ubuntu's Launchpad can mark topics as duplicate. Who knows maybe this feature actual has more votes than anything else but it is spread out as 2 to 10 votes over a 100 feedback posts so it can't be properly prioritized on Microsoft's end.

Senior Member

Heath Bates, Unless I am wrong MS has HIPPA compliant storage options.

Senior Member

It pains me to say it because I use OneNote constantly but yeah if I have to sync with the cloud I'll have to look for a replacement moving forward.  My company is definitely not going to let us do anything cloud based for privacy reasons anytime soon and I have no sway in that decision making process.  

Not applicable
I saw it coming as the Office 365 version from the Microsoft Store doesn't have Onenote 2016. But please, add more keyboard shortcuts, since we can't navigate through the different tabs using ALT just like Word or Excel, for example; or add custom shortcuts using the Quickbar. Also make it easy to paste without formatting or linking the source.
Not applicable

We really need the ability to locally store and create notebooks.  Please consider that in the near future for OneNote for Windows 10.

Without the ability to do those things, this announcement pretty much sunsets the use of OneNote for any real business use for people like myself who prefer to keep their data off of Microsoft's servers for various organizational or legal reasons.  Since the existing desktop versions will not be updated, eventually there will come a time when notebooks will not be useable in them.

Please consider this in adding features.  OneNote was the one standout feature that made Office more compelling than its competitors.  LibreOffice can do virtually everything Office can, except OneNote.  This change will affect purchasing decisions regarding Office 2019 and all future versions.  

Thank you.

Senior Member

I agree with @Deleted.  OneNote, particularly it's ability to be a local Wiki, was one of the only things keeping me on not only on MS Office, but also on Windows in general.  I do development so I'm mostly using PyCharm anyway. OneNote was the last application that was tethering me to Windows... I'll probably just switch to Linux and try to get a replacement there.

Senior Member

@DeletedAgain, I don't think that your statement is correct. There are legal requirements to be careful with a whole host of various data, but that does not preclude storing it in encrypted legally certified systems.

Regular Visitor

Outlook integration is huge and will be very much missed in the UWP app.

Occasional Visitor

Can you please remember to make the pages/sections/notebooks design work in mirror too? I'm left handed. Trying to write on a touch screen with a pen is a nightmare for me with this app, it always ends up changing page.

@Josh Hipple We are actively working on Outlook integration, so please stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, you can already insert meeting details in your notes, which pulls details about the meeting from your Outlook calendar.

Occasional Visitor

Not having the ability to create and open notebooks from a local or network drive is crippling. I'm all about moving to newer technology and staying up to date on software (which is why I pay for Office 365 to begin with), but replacing the awesome OneNote 2016 app with the W10 version before it reaches FULL feature parity is an incredibly backwards thing to do. I use OneNote 2016 to stay organized with all of my projects for work. However, I'm required to store my notebook on a company server and it cannot be uploaded to OneDrive due to our security policy. I really hope MS thinks about this moving forward...I know they want to get everybody using OneDrive, and I understand why, but some of us just can't do that for security purposes.


I'm disappointed to see the response from Microsoft be "oh dont worry it's easy to move your stuff to OneDrive". They're either not getting the point, or are telling us to leave the platform.

Occasional Visitor

I have just been upgraded to Office 365 and launched OneNote (I used to have the desktop version) and noticed right away that I'm using the "inferior" version of OneNote.  I've been searching online on how to download OneNote 2016, but the download link for the "Windows Desktop" version is no longer available.  How can I get OneNote 2016?

Senior Member

 Will you (please!) carry over from 2016 the ability to PIN /UNPIN the workbook list on left edge, to augment the current SHOW WORKBOOKS  < methodology? BTW, very excited, but with nervous anticipation as I've been a die-hard 2016 guy forever it seems, shying away totally from the Win10 edition due to inconsistencies in the UI vs my old fave 2016!! Oh, to the topic of Outlook Integration, remember that this includes the OneNote icon in Outlook to quickly copy an email into OneNote. Its MORE than just calendar appointments!


GOOD LUCK with this effort (he said very nervously!)

Occasional Visitor

No please, make it stop!  Why did you do away with the Top-View section bar?  This takes up too much screen real-estate and makes navigating between sections tedious.  Please, please, please give us a "Classic View"

Senior Member
Yes, Microsoft we want one OneNote for Windows but we DON'T WANT the Universal App. The Desktop App is so much better. Stop focusing on Universal Apps. We want native x64 Desktop Apps! If you move everything to Universal Apps there is no reason to stay on Windows. The only reason to use Windows are the Desktop Apps. This is the Strength of Microsoft!

@Ed Aldrich Thanks Ed! Today, you can choose to pin the notebook list open by going to the View tab on the ribbon and selecting Navigation Options > Show All. We're always looking at how we can improve the experience though, so please keep the feedback coming. :)

Senior Member

@William Devereux: tested the View/Navigation Panes option you mentioned.  For some reason the Show All option remains gray at all times. Just an FYI. I can see that - when it's enabled/available, this would indeed answer my PIN IT request.


Unfortunately I believe it'll be a LONG time before the app can ever replace OneNote 2016. I'm an evangelist at work--I actually give trainings on it--and nearly all the functionality I highlight feature-wise simply doesn't exist in the App. I really believe you're going the WRONG way on this way. It's too bad and I guess I'll be hanging onto OneNote 2016 for as long as I can.


One thing I'd like to note--we have a LOT of OneNote notebooks in SharePoint online. When these get messed up occasionally--which happens once or twice a quarter--the only way I've found to fix them consistently is to move them to a local hard drive, delete them from the SharePoint library and then move them back to the same library. I'd be happy to talk to someone about this use case, but I don't see how cloud-only will make this better.

Occasional Visitor

Screen Clipping is my #1 need for the Modern app. I appreciate win+shift+s allows screen clipping to clipboard, then paste into OneNote but this is a 2 stage process vs the desktop application’s 1. This is especially critical when capturing during live we seminars and presentations; screen clipping as one goes is easy. Keyboard shortcut, clip then paste will make it hard to keep up for real time uses.


+1 on screen clipping. It was bad enough when Windows 10 felt the need to scoop up Windows + S and made me switch.

Occasional Visitor

Features included in onetastic need to be added as native functions. Like sorting, creations of TOC for notebooks and tabs and others.

Sorely missed is the hability to scan a document directly into Onenote. Office lens is a nice portable fix, but its no real substitute for a scanner.

Another thing needed is a fix to the image cutoff due to the margins of pages in onenote. As there is no way to scan directly as there was in 2010. The user has to scan in another application and then print to onenote. When one prints to onenote new margins are applied and either the images get cutoff or are inserted as smaller images inside the page.

Neither is good enough, especially if it is a document because part of the text will be lost. 


OK--not to keep going on about this, but I still can't navigate to a OneDrive or SharePoint location to open a specific notebook from the app. If it doesn't magically appear in my list of notebooks to open, how do I open it? This is just sad. I feel like you're taking my favorite toy. :(

Senior Member

We have a lot of servers that don't have access to the internet. We can RDP into them but for security reasons they have no access to the outside world.  we use OneNote as a personal wiki to create documentation for them since it's by far the easiest way to represent all of the details.  This basically eliminates those use cases too.  

Frequent Visitor

NOOOOOOOOOOO! Oh my gosh NO! That is so crazy why in the world would you do that. I don't want some notebooks in the cloud and I HATE the windows 10 app. This is a tool I use daily. I am so disappointed.

Senior Member

Very disappointing that this is the case (but admittedly not unexpected).  As others have said, OneNote UWP is just not ready yet to replace its far superior predecessor.


In addition to some of the stuff already noted (though I am glad page templates and better tagging is apparently coming to OneNote UWP), I'd miss out on so many features.  Audio recordings turn to a 'dumb' generic embedded file instead of linking to what I'm writing at the time.  Linked Notes as a feature is entirely gone.  Meeting details that only work for Office 365 accounts and not on-premises Exchange (how about just using the W10 calendar APIs?).  Video recordings gone.  Embedded content from other apps gone.  I mean heck, I would say even the fullscreen UI is far better in 2016 for quickly switching between pages.  And in all honesty, searching inked notes via a text entry has never worked as well for me in UWP as it does in 2016.  (In fact, the only time it works at all for me is if I sync from OneNote UWP to OneNote 2016, let OneNote 2016 index it, and then sync those changes back to OneNote UWP.)  I have no desire to convert handwritten notes, but one of OneNote's best features is searching those... and it just has never worked right in the UWP version for me.


This is like if you discontinued Word 2016 to replace it with Word Mobile (UWP).  The only reason it's not causing a bigger fuss is that nobody knows how great OneNote 2016 is.


Who's starting the petition to keep the OneNote in Office?

Occasional Visitor

The general consensus seems correct.

The modern ui app is not ready to substitute the desktop verssion. Too many features missing. 

Jumping ship to a lesser version makes no sense. 

New Contributor

I use Outlook Tasks function quite a lot.  It's not just Meeting Details.


OneTastic is a daily thing for me - Crop Photos, Set Column Widths on Tables, Pin to Favorites, Insert Monthly Calendar, Search & Replace, Uncheck all To  Do's..........


I was worried about the Creating and Inserting Tags, but it looks like that might be addressed. Will we be able to Add a previously used Tag to the new list?


What about hiding Table borders?  (Tables need LOTS of improvement!-Should function more like Word tables)

Occasional Visitor

Can you please confirm that we will be able to insert a4 page sizes as templates in the Onenote app.

Occasional Visitor

A few people brought up OneTastic and I have to chime in and agree. Pretty much daily, I find myself using it to rotate printouts because attaching a printout/file in landscape mode is pretty much impossible without having to manually print to ON from another application.

Occasional Visitor

Would someone please contact me so I could share a group of ideas that are useful for Project Management in OneNote, and how the current setup has some serious limitations that could easily be addressed?

Occasional Visitor

I'm developing a wiki-like information system using OneNote 2016, which is perfect for this purpose. It is absolutly necessary for me to export the OneNote as a onepkg-file which can be separetly distributed to my colleagues. I'm working for a judicial authority and for me an my colleagues it is not allowed to use OneDrive. On my work i organize all informations with OneNote local on a server. If OneNote only works proper with access to OneDrive it will be completely useless for me and many of my colleagues. A lot of time and effort would be wasted, what a pity.

Senior Member

@Frank MüllerThe data in he notebooks are still accessible through incredibly simple APIs.


You can read here,, nothing you have done is wasted.

Occasional Visitor
Can you search ink across pages with the UWP version?

I have to add my voice of discontent and sadness. This is not customer friendly.

Regular Visitor

Also remember that OneDrive (non business version) is not encrypted at rest.  So, cloud based data will not be acceptable with my employer.  


The UWP version is blocked from my work notebook also, so I’m stuck moving forward.

I use ClassNote a lot every day. The most important thing for me is that the software is fast. May I wait for these little tenths of seconds when I change page, I will stick to the desktop version.  

Version history
Last update:
‎Nov 04 2019 07:31 AM
Updated by: