What is happening with OneNote?


It seems like OneNote has been put on life support. Microsoft hasn’t added any new features to the product family in like 5 years! Also there is no clear vision for the future of the product. Is Microsoft moving away from OneNote or are they working on it all behind the scenes? It is getting insane photo cropping is still not an option.

Comments (21)

21 responses to “What is happening with OneNote?”

  1. 8370

    TheJoeFin has a point. Completely agree with you about the 9 points you raised above.


    Microsoft' strategy to focus on the UWP version of OneNote (multi platform) has certainly helped to broaden it's audience, and to catch up with Evernote (although I have no updated figure about that...).

    But Microsoft' roadmap for UWP is not crystal clear (although they focus so much on it) :

    - on one side they say they want UWP to get - some day - most of the desktop features,

    - but on the other side, they add features like ink replay and ink effects (rainbow, galaxy...) which aren't available in the desktop version, and are rather advertising gimmick (editable ink - released at the same time - with much less emphasis - has actually contributed more to narrow the gap between both version) ;

    - or they add such a feature like "Sharing Notifications Email service" (a pain in the a..) prior to solving single note (or single section) sharing (now on it's way...).

    More significantly, OneNote UWP' improvement could be more consistent with Microsoft' ink strategy : why including an Ink workspace in W10 anniversary (confusing, and poorly competing with OneNote...), and failing to add the ruler in OneNote ?!? A ruler is a killer feature which I was expecting to benefit from in OneNote : what a disapointment !!!


    As far as Desktop version is concerned, I have not noticed any improvement between 2013 and 2016 version (except Online video) :

    - insertion of PDF is still not possible, with Insert/File Printout

    - capture with the camera, although available in UWP, is still not present in the Desktop version

    - Integration with Office is still lagging behind (no OLE link with Excel for instance)

    - Linked notes don't work with Excel


    Sometimes I get the disturbing feeling that paying customers get less attention than free users !

    Is it only me ?

    • 6914

      In reply to Noteadviser:

      "insertion of PDF is still not possible, with Insert/File Printout"

      Not sure I understand what you mean by this. When I drag a PDF into my note it asks if I want to attach the file or Insert/File Printout. If I select Insert/File Printout it adds the actual printed document as well as the attached PDF.

      • 8370

        In reply to DBSync:

        Further to your reaction, I tried further to make it work. Actually I found a way : install a desktop PDF reader (since an UWP reader cannot communicate with a Desktop Office program). Thanks for your comment, which helped me fix this issue !

        For those having this issue, please refer to this blog post (https://onenote2016.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/insert-printout-issue-with-pdf/) for more explanation.

      • 8370

        In reply to DBSync:

        I got an error message saying "There was a problem inserting the file. If you can open this file in another application, try printing the file to the "Send to OneNote 2016" printer instead.

        This error message appeared in OneNote 2013, and the same occurs in OneNote 2016 (although I can embed PDF file in OneNote sending them through the printer, as suggested).

        I though it would occur to anyone, meaning PDF was not supported with Insert/File (or the drag option you suggested), but I am happy (?) to hear that it's only me !

  2. 3148

    If you mean the desktop app, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Microsoft is focusing on the UWP app. I wouldn't be surprised to see the desktop app killed in a couple of years or so.

    • 248

      In reply to NazmusLabs:

      I know they are focusing on the Win10 app, which is fine. However there doesn't seem to be any vision or roadmap for the Win10 app. It is still way behind the desktop app, and is missing features from even the iOS app. It just seems like Microsoft does not care about this product.

      • 5721

        In reply to TheJoeFin:

        What features are you missing, I think Onenote is just a feature filled as all other office apps.

        • 248

          In reply to Edward_Grego:
          • The Add-in model was changed on all the Office programs except OneNote,
          • No image crop tool.
          • No way to tie ink to images or text.
          • No custom styles.
          • No commenting support.
          • No modern collaboration support (seeing other users editing).
          • PDF annotation support is still buggy.
          • Sync performance is frequently lackluster.
          • It doesn't talk to the new universal OneDrive sync client for SharePoint credentials.
          • and more


          to list a few.

          • 6914

            In reply to TheJoeFin:

            I am in OneNote right now and selected an image, right clicked and selected crop. Is there something I am missing.

            • 248

              In reply to DBSync:

              If you added OneTastic it give cropping, but it is not native and the images loses resolution

            • 8370

              In reply to DBSync:

              Which version are you using ? Mine is OneNote 2016 with an Office 365 family subscription, and - except which a 3rd party add-in called Onetastic - I definitely cannot crop images.

              Would you please include a screen capture ? 


  3. 1523

    The one issue I see is taking photos in the OneNote Android APP. You have to select CAPTURE PHOTO, then save the phone, then take another photo, etc. With Evernote you can just snap pictures one of the other which helps when walking through a project site for example. If OneNote is updated with better photo capturing I would switch back. 

  4. 4010

    I seem to be unlucky because whenever I try to use OneNote I almost immediately start running into unable to sync errors, where the recommend fix is delete and recreate and hope it works. (it rarely does, I then have to recreate the entire notebook - but eventually the sync errors comes back again)

    I love all the other Office stuff but OneNote has been an absolute nightmare for me in terms of reliability. I wouldn't care if they killed it off.

  5. 6913

    I have Office 365 for my small consulting buisiness and have weaned us off Evernote in favor of OneNote because of almost 100% overlap as to features (which seems to be front burner for MSFT's 365 team), excellent integration into Office products, and reliability on iOS platform for phones and iPads, our last Apple holdover.

  6. 124

    Anyone know of some place I might find templates and suggestions on using OneNote as a personal tool?  I mean I am retired but not dead.

  7. 5530

    They did mention at one point that they didn't want users to have to choose between OneNote 2016 and UWP OneNote, so if I were to guess, OneNote 2016 is getting killed in favour of UWP OneNote.

  8. 8357

    What do you want it to have ? I use it constantly.  .  .desktop, UWC, web app and Android app. There have also been many recent improvements related to education purposes. Class notebook alone is amazing. There are also the new learning tools. I would however love to see the functionality of the desktop app nice  over to the other platforms. 

  9. 1321

    The mobile apps are getting a lot of features, I think this is currently where the effort is going.

  10. 5038

    Ummm... it's a completely mature product, what do you expect?  They are still adding features, they just aren't all hugely visible.  Some new things are not directly in the product but additions to the browser add ons etc.  

    • 248

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      Except it is not completely mature when compared to all other Office programs. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook see feature additions and improvements every month, but OneNote is left in the cold.

  11. 1712

    I use it all the time for Logging my Weightlifting records/workouts, cooking recipies, Work items, and making quick notes is a great feature.  Because i use and like it so much, it will go the way of other MS products i loved and used, Technology Valhalla.  Zune, WMC, WHS, Band, Win Phone.....