Microsoft plans to end the confusion surrounding the company's two OneNote applications by focusing development on OneNote for Windows 10 and putting OneNote 2016 on extended life support.
OneNote is available in two versions currently for Microsoft Windows 10. Windows users and administrators may download and install the OneNote for Windows 10 application from Windows Store, or use the OneNote desktop program that is included in Office 2016 and installed by default.
Microsoft plans to make OneNote for Windows 10 the default "OneNote experience" when it launches Office 2019 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.
It is clear from Microsoft's description that this will be the case only on Windows 10. The upcoming Microsoft Office 2019 will be Windows 10 exclusive and it appears that it will still include OneNote but that the program won't be installed by default. OneNote 2016 will also remain available for Office 365 subscribers for the entire support period, and of course for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users who don't have access to Office 2019 or the OneNote for Windows 10 app.
It looks as if Microsoft plans to distribute OneNote 2016 with Office 2019 and not an updated version of the application which is another indicator that development focus shifted to the app some time ago.
OneNote 2016 users on supported versions of Windows may use the program just like before. The software will be supported until October 2025 but users should not expect any new features or big changes going forward.
We’ll continue to offer support, bug fixes, and security updates for OneNote 2016 for the duration of the Office 2016 support lifecycle, which runs through October 2020 for mainstream support and October 2025 for extended support.
Microsoft, of course, wants OneNote users to switch to the the new Windows 10 application, and the company states that OneNote for Windows 10 has "improved performance and reliability", that it uses a new sync engine that is quicker than the old, and that app users don't have to worry about updating the application as that happens automatically via Microsoft Store.
The company revealed that it has added more than 100 features based on user feedback to the Windows 10 application in the last 18 months, and that it plans to add even more features and other improvements in the coming months.
OneNote for Windows 10 supports features already that OneNote 2016 does not support (and vice versa), and Microsoft promises that features that OneNote 2016 supports but OneNote for Windows 10 lacks will come to the application as well.
It mentions three in particular:
OneNote for Windows 10 offers a better inking experience already. Microsoft published a comparison of available features in OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 on this website.
OneNote for Windows 10:
Now you: Do you use OneNote?
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