Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 users gain access to an interesting peek at Microsoft’s coming Office Touch for Windows: a preview version of the OneNote universal app. This app shows that complex productivity solutions are possible in the Modern environment, and we can now compare this app to the version for iPad to see what’s different.
These are early days, so I’m still struggling with the terminology, but this new OneNote Preview app features the same type of navigation slide-out that is common to other universal apps in Windows 10.
But it also features an Office ribbon interface, which is new to the Modern environment. It’s also consistent with what we see in the Office apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, and of course on PC and Mac too. It appears to scale well, and should work fine for touch users.
Of course, previous OneNote apps for the Modern environment featured a quirky and unique radial menu that didn’t take up space onscreen unless you needed it. Some will lament the passing of this UI, but moving to the ribbon was the right choice, not just for consistency, but because it sends the message that Modern has finally mature and can be used for standard productivity apps without requiring dopey app bars.
As with the desktop version of OneNote, this preview Modern app can connect to all your notebooks across multiple accounts, though I wish you could pin that navigational slider open for easier access to multiple notebooks.
Functionally, the ribbon is more of a tabbed toolbar than a full-fledged ribbon, with just a tiny fraction of the commands you see in the desktop application.
But then it also very closely resembles OneNote for iPad and for Android tablets. So I checked to see how the commands varied between OneNote Preview on Windows 10 and OneNote for iPad. And you’ll be disappointed to find out that the iPad version is richer in some ways—i.e. has more commands overall. But this is still a preview, and of course we get rich pen/stylus support in Windows, something that will never come to iPad.
Overall, however, this is a sharp-looking app. Let’s see how it evolves before we get excited about its missing features.
Tagged with OneNote