Microsoft moving on from OneNote 2016 to focus on OneNote for Windows 10

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

Microsoft currently maintains two distinct versions of OneNote on Windows, but that's about to change later this year. "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," Microsoft announced today{.nofollow}

Microsoft has put a lot of effort into bringing the OneNote for Windows 10 app up to par with OneNote 2016 since its release, so it's not entirely surprising to see the company is looking to shift its focus to maintaining a single version of the app. For those who prefer the OneNote 2016 experience, the app will still remain available. However, it won't receive any new feature updates going forward. "OneNote 2016 is optionally available for anyone with Office 365 or Office 2019, but it will no longer be installed by default," Microsoft says. "If you currently use OneNote 2016, you won't notice any changes when you update to Office 2019." OneNote 2016 will continue to receive security updates and bug fixes through the end of the Office 2016 support cycle.

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In a bid to tempt OneNote 2016 users to make the switch, Microsoft highlights OneNote for Windows 10's better reliability, performance, and battery life, along with a number of features not available in OneNote 2016 such as ink effects. Some new features are also coming soon to OneNote for Windows 10, each of which has been highly requested and should go a long way toward patching up any holes left in the jump from OneNote 2016. Here's a look:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!

A new sync engine is also in the works, with the goal of making any changes you make on one device appear much faster on another.

Ahead of the transition, if you have any lingering feature requests you want to see in OneNote for Windows 10, Microsoft is soliciting feedback via the Feedback Hub.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl