Microsoft confirmed last year that it was merging the modern (“OneNote for Windows 10”) and classic (Win32) OneNote apps on Windows into one combined app, and now the company has detailed its recent and upcoming changes.
The updated OneNote app has a similar design to the classic OneNote app, but with a completely revamped look and feel to match Windows 11 (and other modern Microsoft apps). There’s still a ribbon interface at the top with tabs to switch between tools, just like all other Office apps. For anyone used to the simpler view in OneNote for Windows 11, there’s a switch to switch to a simplified ribbon with fewer buttons.
Microsoft has updated the look of the notebook’s section tabs and dropdown menu, and there are more rounded corners throughout the app. The window frame even has the same ‘Mica’ effect as some other modern Microsoft apps, where the color changes slightly depending on what’s behind the window, like a more subtle version of Aero in Windows Vista and 7.
Ink (drawing) support is one of OneNote’s main features, and the updated version still has all the usual writing and drawing tools. The tools are similar to what you get in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with an ‘Ink to Shaping’ tool for drawing cleaner lines and a ruler for drawing straight lines. There is also an ‘Ink to Text’ feature that converts text to a font size similar to your original handwriting.
The updated OneNote also has some features tied to drawing and voice dictation. The voice dictation feature was already in testing, but when transcription is turned on, OneNote will record your drawings in sync with the audio recording. When you’re ready to review everything, the ink will play at the same time as the original recording. Voice dictation will also support phrases like “remove that”.
Ink to shape, ink to text with font size awareness, and page sorting are already implemented in the Office OneNote app, and options to insert a photo from the camera and an improved share button are being tested in the Office Insider Program . Everything else (like some of the layout changes and the pen focus view) will come at some point in the future.
Eventually, the plan is for this updated OneNote app to replace ‘OneNote for Windows 10’, which was a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. Microsoft stopped working on most UWP apps a few years ago, due to the failure of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile and lack of interest from other developers. As a result, Microsoft has been updating the original OneNote for Windows with a new interface and more features.
Source: Microsoft Tech Community