Best Windows 10 apps for going back to school

OneNote Surface Laptop
OneNote Surface Laptop (Image credit: Windows Central)

Back to school shopping used to only include notebooks, pencils, and some new clothes. Nowadays, the month before school is about making sure students have the best tech to help them in their studies. Whether you're getting your child ready for a new school year or you're going off to college, these are the best apps to help students get ready for the new school year.

If you need some new hardware to run these apps or other accessories to help out your studies, check out our Back to School Gift Guide.


Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

OneNote is an extremely powerful application for taking notes. You can type or write notes with ink, record classes or lectures with a microphone, and annotate your notes with color and highlights.

It plays nicely with other Office applications like Word and Excel and makes it easy to keep track of all of your notes.

One of the best features of OneNote is that it easily syncs across all of your devices as well as the web. It can also sync with your classmates to enable better collaboration.

It's available for free on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and HoloLens and there are also free versions on iOS and Android.

See in Microsoft Store

Index Cards

Physical index cards are a staple for memorizing information. The Index Cards app for Windows 10 has all of the advantages of physical cards and adds some features enhance the studying experience.

You can create unlimited stacks of cards, enter contents with a keyboard or ink, highlight content, tag cards for easy organization, and add photographs to cards.

I loved using Index Cards when I reviewed the app and highly recommend it. The only downside is that it's only available on Windows 10 so your cards can't sync to your iOS or Android devices.

It's available on Windows 10 and Surface Hub. There is a free version or you can upgrade to pro for $4.99. At the time of this article's publication, there's a sale lowering the price of pro features to $2.49.

See in Microsoft Store

Neon Notepad

Neon Notepad is a simple note-taking application that has a Compact Overlay Mode. It's a great way to keep a spot open for notes above all of your programs, or a good way to keep notes on the screen while watching Netflix.

The app doesn't have a lot of depth to it, but in my testing it worked very well.

It's available for free on Windows 10, Surface Hub, Windows 10 Mobile, and HoloLens.

See in Microsoft Store


Penbook takes excellent advantage of inking options on Windows 10. You can use a variety of styles of paper, from college-ruled to sheet music to take notes.

It's a simple to use app for note taking and also lets you plan for the weeks and months ahead. Inking support allows you to highlight and color different parts of your notes to make content stick out.

You can easily export notes as PDF or print them out as well to have physical backups.

The app is available on Windows 10, HoloLens, and Surface Hub for $9.99.

See in Microsoft Store

A great calculator

While some classes require a specific calculator, many tasks can be done using your Windows 10 devices. From scientific calculations to graphing equations, there's a lot of powerful tools available on Windows 10.

I recently did a roundup of the best Windows 10 calculator apps and found quite a few apps that can handle most daily mathematical tasks.

The calculator app that's best for you will depend on your needs and any of the apps from the roundup will probably do the job you need to do. I'm partial towards Naturplay Calculator for its design and functionality. It has an attractive Fluent Design and scales well on bigger screens.

See in Microsoft Store

Summing things up

Technology is now an integral part of studying in school and while picking the right hardware is important, the right set of apps can make all the difference. These apps will help you stay on top of your studies and help keep you organized.

Which apps do you use for school? Let us know in the comments below.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at