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OneNote 2016 gains years of additional support and a new dark mode

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

What you need to know

  • Microsoft announced an extension of support for OneNote 2016.
  • OneNote 2016's mainstream support now matches Office 2019's.
  • OneNote 2016 will also gain a dark mode.

OneNote 2016 may be a few years old, but Microsoft realizes that it is the preferred version of OneNote for some people. To allow people to use the version of OneNote that they like, Microsoft announced an extension of support for OneNote 2016. Mainstream support for OneNote 2016 now lasts until October 10, 2023 and extended support lasts until October 14, 2025.

The extension of mainstream support aligns OneNote 2016's support cycle with that of Office 2019. Microsoft also announced that starting in March 2020, when a person deploys or installs certain Office 365 subscriptions, the OneNote desktop app will be installed by default along with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. People can also install OneNote 2016 directly from Microsoft (opens in new tab).

In addition to the extension of support, Microsoft announced that OneNote 2016 will gain a dark mode. This dark mode helps OneNote 2016 match with other versions of OneNote. A new post from the Office 365 blog (opens in new tab) details the extension of support and OneNote's dark mode.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • Better late than never, I suppose... Although more than a bit embarrassing that Microsoft is the last one to realize that OneNote UWP is not ready to completely take over...
  • Yeah dude. It still eats a good number of my audio recordings (either it arbitrarily stops recording or the audio file corrupts). But I have to say it's come a long way. UWP OneNote used to be completely unusable.
  • I've used it over the 2016 version for a long time now and haven't had any problems. I've been totally happy with it. Though, I don't use it for audio recording so I haven't encountered that problem.
  • Wow, this is great news and totally unexpected (at least by me). With Outlook now supporting dark mode even for messages, OneNote really stood out for not having it. Thanks, Microsoft! For me, there are still several advantages to OneNote 2016 over the web-based or UWP versions -- nested sections, local notebooks, and custom tags being chief among them. I'd be happy to do shift to the newer OneNote if it addressed these shortcomings. I hope MS will use this added time to add these features to the new OneNote so it works fully within MS Teams. (Can we also now get Dark Mode for Excel and Word, maybe via the Draft view? I know for Print Preview, you want to see it like it will print, so needs white background for that, but for writing or building a spreadsheet, dark mode there would be great.)
  • For me the UWP version is now a solid enough package to replace the desktop version, but I wholeheartedly understand why many would want to hold on to the desktop version, especially with its greater power and stability. The UWP is much better now, but it took a painfully long time for MS to get it stable and functional to a level that was good enough for me.
  • Some, huh? Make that pretty much everyone I know who gets to choose (prefers the desktop version).
  • Nice, But. Does this mean they are going to support a/the 'desktop' version going forward, or is this just a temporary reprieve? It is still OneNote 2016, not 2019 already. Will they just shoehorn a couple of features, or actually update it? I know for a fact that feature parity was a goal for the UWP app, when UWP was the future. Is it still a goal?
  • I coils be wrong but I believe it's temporary. At least I wouldn't want them to go back to the desktop version, the UWP version has worked really well for me. It was rough in the beginning but it has come a loooong way since. It would be such a waste of effort IMO.
  • Thank God. The UWP version just isn't good. Ideally, MS would give up on it; their Windows 10 OneNote app has paled in comparison to the Windows 8 and desktop apps ever since it was released.
  • The UWP version works really well for me actually. I use it daily across three different devices for my work.
  • Microsoft finally coming to their senses. This is what people wanted. UWP version is trash compared to the desktop version.
  • Great news. OneNotes 2016 so much easier to manage + integrates better w/ Outlook.
  • Microsoft's strategy: take every promising but under-developed application, framework, etc. and KILL IT!