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This article was published on August 5, 2021

Microsoft is finally making the OneNote to rule them all

Windows has had two quite different versions of OneNote for years

Microsoft is finally making the OneNote to rule them all

As someone who’s been on tablets PCs since before the Surface line even popularized 2-in-1s, I’m something of a religious stylus user. I wrote many of my college notes on Microsoft’s OneNote, but in the last few years, the app has lived in a rather frustrating dichotomy. You had ‘OneNote for Windows 10,’ built on the more modern UWP code and available right from the Windows Store, and then you had OneNote, the classic version of the app distributed through Microsoft Office.

In my experience, the former has tended to be more responsive, while the latter had way more features built-in for power uses. But then the former would often get new features before the latter, as if the apps were being developed in parallel. It’s honestly been a bit of a headache to keep up with which version can do what, and I often found myself switching between the two. It’s quite annoying.

It seems that will soon be a worry of the past. At long last, Microsoft plans to unite both versions of the app, coinciding with the redesigned Office suite to match Windows 11.

While a few years ago it seemed Microsoft was looking to deprecate the office version in favor of building out the UWP app, now it seems like the opposite will happen. Microsoft says advances in Windows and Office will allow for the unification, with the Office version of OneNote set to get “new features and key existing features currently unique to OneNote for Windows 10.”

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The company also provided a few low-res mockups of the new OneNote. It’s not clear if these are two separate design ideas or if the company will let you choose between the two UI’s, but they look pretty neat. The first one looks more like the Office version of OneNote:

Mockup of the new unified OneNote
Credit: Microsoft

And the other one draws more inspiration from the UWP version:

Mockup of the new unified OneNote

Microsoft says regardless of which version you use, you’ll have an upgrade path. People currently using OneNote for Windows 10 will get an invite sometime in the second half of 2022 to the new version of the app, although I imagine Office Insiders will get earlier access.

To be clear, you won’t need to pay for the upgrade, as the full version of OneNote is available for free separate from the rest of the Office suite. Microsoft also warns that while it’s working to make the best features from OneNote for Windows 10 available in the new version, you shouldn’t expect every single one to survive:

While we won’t be incorporating the entire list of features from OneNote for Windows 10 into the OneNote app, we are working to ensure that all the most loved features will continue to be a part of OneNote. We will follow up with the full list of features in a future announcement. 

For more on the future of OneNote, you can check out Microsoft’s post here.

Via The Verge

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