Way back in August 2021, Microsoft promised that OneNote on Windows 10 and Windows 11 will receive a series of major feature updates in the coming months as part of the tech giant’s effort to unify multiple versions of the note-taking app into a single client.
OneNote has gone through a lot of changes in recent years. In 2018, when Microsoft really wanted people to use its UWP version of OneNote, the company stopped bundling the original and versatile version of OneNote with the pre-installed Office apps. Instead, Microsoft offered the UWP client and only added new features to the modern version.
Microsoft later reversed its decision and started pushing new features to the Win32 client as well. Users who prefer features over the UWP nature and design of the app were upset with Microsoft’s handling of the Win32 client, which convinced the company to re-bundle the Win32 version in Office 2019 or 365. .
As a result, we have two apps for OneNote – the original Win32 version is simply called ‘OneNote’ and the UWP version uses ‘OneNote for Windows 10’ instead. Neither the Win32 version nor the UWP have seen significant development in recent months as the company struggles to maintain both apps.
Microsoft has finally given up on the UWP version of OneNote and combines the best of both apps to update the existing Win32 version with new features and design.
Over the weekend, Microsoft quietly began rolling out the first parts of the new OneNote design to users participating in the beta program. The update provides a new navigation UI layout for the sidebar and a visual refresh to align it with the Windows 11 design.
The new sidebar displays all sections and notebooks by default, and synchronization has been greatly improved. The app also feels snappy and rounded corners are now visible in the app, but there’s no sign of touch and pen and other features currently part of the UWP version.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft is still working on the redesign, and screenshots published last year seem to indicate more design changes are on the way.