18 Apr

OneNote in Office 2019: Finally certainty!

What is the future of Microsoft OneNote? Will OneNote be part of the new Microsoft Office 2019? And what about the different versions?

For months, OneNote fans have been speculating on the future of the popular notebook app. Now Microsoft has officially announced what the concrete plans for OneNote look like. I give you the most important facts as a summary in this blog post.


Focus on OneNote app for Windows 10

Anyone watching the development of OneNote will not be surprised: The OneNote app for Windows 10 will be the standard version in Office 2019 and thus also in Office365.

OneNote for Windows 10

The OneNote team at Microsoft has spent a lot of time over the last few months integrating the key features of the desktop version. Supposedly, the app now includes most of what OneNote 2016 can do – and much more.

The OneNote app is already installed automatically with Windows 10. It will receive some new features until the release of Office 2019 next fall. Scheduled enhancements include faster synchronization and smooth interaction with the other Office programs.


OneNote 2016 gets less attention

Now we come to the feared bad news for many OneNote fans: Office 2019 will not include a new stand-alone desktop version of OneNote. It is replaced by the OneNote app for Windows 10 by default.

You can optionally install the previous version OneNote 2016 or continue to use it. But it will not receive any new features. (Incidentally, that’s been the case for a few years.) For at least two years, Microsoft still wants to provide security updates and bug fixes for OneNote 2016.


Good intentions, understandable strategy

By focusing on the UWP app, the development team can join forces and continue to make OneNote better and better – as we’ve seen in the past few months. Thanks to the Microsoft Store, the app automatically receives every update with new features.

I am glad that Microsoft tries to stop the constant confusion about the different versions and their different features. During my OneNote workshops and in my blogs, I often experienced how quickly users were irritated when they accidentally opened the OneNote app instead of the desktop version. So I am looking forward to a uniform appearance and experience for all devices and operating systems.


What you should know before switching to the OneNote app

Humans are creatures of habits. I have become accustomed to the desktop version of OneNote for many years. So far, the change is easier for me than I thought. There are still some serious disadvantages:

  • In OneNote 2016, you can save notebooks locally, for example on your hard drive, in your network (NAS) or on an external storage drive. In the OneNote app, you can only create notebooks in the Microsoft cloud OneDrive or OneDrive for Business. This can be a problem for some companies and schools that are not allowed to save certain sensitive content and data on external servers. Unfortunately that makes OneNote unattractive for them.
  • Although the OneNote app keeps getting better, I still miss some basic featurese, such as exporting OneNote pages, interacting with Outlook or using page templates for my digital notebook. I hope that the developers close the feature gap soon. Before that, a complete change for me is out of the question.

If you want to switch the OneNote app, you will have to move your local notebooks to the cloud. Have look at my step-by-step instructions in this blog.

The complete announcement from Microsoft can be found in the TechCommunity. What do you think about these news regarding OneNote and Office 2019? Will you be switching to the OneNote app? Which features of the desktop version do you miss? I look forward to your opinion in the comments below!


9 thoughts on “OneNote in Office 2019: Finally certainty!

  1. Okay. I still want to be able to do the following — If I use Outlook 2019 I will want to be able to send to One Note Desktop 2016 any emails, meeting notes, etc. that I can now do with current configurations. Second I will still want ON Desktop 2016 for its ability to store on hard drive and local drives. I will be tickled pink — if the UWP of ON will enable local drive storage — PLEASE!!

  2. Current ‘connectivity’ to Outlook to be retained such as copying an e-mail from the inbox to a OneNote page, printing an e-mail or anything to OneNote, linking tasks between OneNote and Outlook calendars, etc. It would also be nice to include certain features possible with GEM and other OneNote add-ins.

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