Microsoft merging modern features into OneNote 2016

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Microsoft gave OneNote 2016 a stay of execution earlier this week, revealing that it is extending support for the app to October of 2023. As it turns out, Microsoft has bigger plans for the OneNote desktop app, however. In an Ignite 2019 session today, Microsoft laid out plans for merging modern code and features back into the OneNote 2016 desktop app, which is a pivot in focus to begin operating under one codebase.

When it announced extended support for OneNote 2016, Microsoft said that a dark mode is also coming to the app. Beyond that, however, Microsoft plans to bring more modern features like @mentions and integration with Microsoft Search to the desktop app. There are also plans to integrate Microsoft To Do, which has already come to apps and services like Outlook and Microsoft Launcher on Android.

Notably, Microsoft previously continued to push the OneNote Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app over its traditional desktop counterpart as part of the Office suite. As part of this pivot, Microsoft is also shifting back to OneNote 2016 as the default version of the app that will be deployed and installed with Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

“We also want to make deployment and installation easier for organizations and individuals, so for Windows users, starting in March 2020, when you deploy or install Office 365 subscriptions that include the Office desktop apps or Office 2019, the OneNote desktop app will be installed by default alongside Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,” Microsoft said in a blog post this week.

Where that leaves the UWP app is unclear, but we’ll presumably see Microsoft flesh out its vision for OneNote in the coming months.

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