OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016 are here to stay, but the codebases will be merging

Laurent Giret

Good news for OneNote fans, Microsoft will be doing much more than extending support for OneNote 2016 and bringing a dark theme option to the note-taking app. During an Ignite session yesterday (via The Verge), OneNote product manager Ben Hodes announced that Microsoft was working on merging all the modern code from the OneNote for Windows 10 app back to OneNote 2016.

“The reason we’re doing this modern merge is to get back to a single codebase and start to deliver these features in the coming year and a half,” Hodes explained yesterday. As of today, the universal OneNote app for Windows 10 is touch-optimized and generally better for digital inking, and these unique features will hopefully make their way to OneNote 2016 at some point.

Microsoft is also working on several new features for OneNote 2016 including Tasks and To Do integration, support for @mentions for OneNote inside of Microsoft Teams, plus new meeting notes capabilities. When you add the fact that OneNote 2016 will come back to the Office 2019 and Office 365 installer next year, it really looks like the legacy app is now being prioritized over OneNote for Windows 10.

Although Microsoft announced last year that it had stopped actively developing its Office Mobile apps for Windows 10, it seems like OneNote for Windows 10 isn’t going away anytime soon. “OneNote for Windows 10 is alive and well and preinstalled on Windows 10 devices or available for free from the Microsoft Store,” a Microsoft spokesperson said to The Verge. The Windows 10 app may still have some value on new form factors such as HoloLens, Surface Hub, or the upcoming Surface Neo, but on PCs OneNote 2016 will likely remain the better choice for most users.