Mergers! One way to make sense of Microsoft’s current efforts is via the idea of unification. The company has been taking the loose ends of its software and services and tying them up.
Whether it is going with a singular UI in Windows 11, or fusing two of its more popular apps together into the Snipping Tool, simplification is the name of the game. This extends to other company platforms too, like for example, the Outlook clients which are soon to be merged into one coherent app.
Something similar is at play for OneNote, as well.
The note taking app has had a rollercoaster of a ride these past few years, with Redmond dropping the desktop version of the application from the suite of preinstalled Office apps, recommending the UWP version instead.
At least for a short while, because the desktop program was resurrected in 2019, started receiving updates, and was bundled back into Office once again.
Now, though, Microsoft has new plans for the future of this popular solution.
With Windows 11 on its way, it was unclear what the strategy would be for OneNote, with the app being split in two. We have OneNote and OneNote for Windows 10, but the latter UWP version has not seen much in terms of development lately.
But now we have news that the two apps will eventually be combined into one, with the functionality of both applications unified over the course of the next 12 months.
Redmond even has some horribly low-resolution mockups to share:
The way this will happen is that the desktop version of the OneNote app will begin receiving updates that will bring its user interface in line with other Office programs. Alongside a new navigational UI layout, the app will also gain support for touch and pen, and other features part of the UWP app.
Eventually, once the desktop version achieves feature parity, Microsoft will start inviting users running the UWP version to move to the unified desktop program. That’s penciled in for some time in 2022.
The download will be available here, and the new application will not be tied to any specific Office subscription. Nor will the Android, iOS, and web versions of OneNote be affected by this change.
This is the way it should have been from the very start.