When Microsoft launched Office 2019, the OneNote 2016 desktop application didn’t receive an update, making its future unclear. Now however, Microsoft has surprised everyone by deciding to add a bunch of new features and a dark mode.
As The Verge reports, a Microsoft Ignite session detailed the functionality OneNote 2016 would receive. Users will be able to have notebooks sync faster, enjoy better search functionality, and can take advantage of accessibility improvements. There’s also going to be better integration with other Microsoft services, such as Tasks, To Do, and the ability to “@mention” OneNote inside Microsoft Teams.
Mentions integration will come in the first half of next year, while To Do support will arrive at an unspecified point during 2020. Ben Hodes, product manager of OneNote, said that “there are lots of nice features we can do to make that experience better,” but was not clear on what those would be.
If you’re wondering why Microsoft decided to update OneNote 2016, it’s because, “We are literally merging all of our modern code back into the legacy 2016 codebase to create a unified single codebase that we can ship and deliver OneNote from,” Hodes said. By doing so, OneNote can also take advantage of Microsoft’s move to Fluid Framework.
The Fluid Framework is a way of tying together all of Microsoft’s software – a collaborative platform allowing users to, for example, edit an Excel sheet within a Teams chat. “We are working very closely with the Fluid engineering team to co-develop the Fluid Framework and that sometime next year we’ll be debuting a preview of what OneNote in Fluid will look like together and what they’ll be capable of together,” Hodes said, with Fluid also expected to appear in Teams and mail in Outlook next year.
For the moment, there will still be two separate versions of OneNote – one for desktop and the UWP version that ships with Windows 10. Moving to one codebase and one app makes sense when you look more widely at what else Microsoft is working on. Just a few days ago we saw an all-in-one Office app launch for mobile devices, and then next year we’re getting Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo, which is sure to have first-class support for Office and this newly-enhanced OneNote.