What's the difference between OneNote and OneNote 2016?

If you’re using a recent version of Microsoft Office together with Windows 10, chances are that you might have discovered more than one version of OneNote on your computer or device. This article provides information about the difference between the two Windows versions of OneNote.


Screenshot of the Windows Start menu with OneNote and OneNote 2016.

OneNote for Windows 10

OneNote for Windows 10 (simply called “OneNote”) is the most up-to-date version of OneNote on Windows. Its interface is consistent with the Mac and mobile versions of OneNote, and the app was designed from the ground up to feel natural with any input method — from mouse and keyboard on traditional PCs to pen and touch on modern devices.


Screenshot of OneNote for Windows 10


OneNote for Windows 10 offers an ever-increasing number of useful features that are not available in OneNote 2016 or older versions — including faster notebook syncing, a sophisticated Math assistant, special ink effects and ink-to-text conversion, integration with Microsoft Researcher and Microsoft Forms, a cross-platform Notification Center, and much more.

Tip: See What’s new in OneNote for Windows 10 to learn more about the latest additions and improvements.

OneNote for Windows 10 comes pre-installed on every version of Windows 10 (click the Start button and then search for OneNote), and you can also download it from the Microsoft Store app on Windows 10.

OneNote 2016 for Windows

OneNote 2016 was originally released as part of Microsoft Office 2016. While this version still offers some legacy functionality that might be important if you use a PC at work or at school, OneNote 2016 is no longer being updated with new features.

Microsoft recommends using OneNote for Windows 10 instead of OneNote 2016, but you can still download OneNote 2016 if you need it, especially if you’re running an older version of Windows — such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Note: If you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8 on your PC, the recommended and most up-to-date OneNote experience is OneNote for the web, which you can access by signing in at https://www.onenote.com/notebooks.

Pin your preferred version of OneNote

Whether you prefer to use one version of OneNote over another, or you want to use both versions side by side for a while, you can easily pin either version’s app icon to the Windows Start menu and to the Windows taskbar.

Pin OneNote to the Windows Start menu

In Windows 10, do the following:

  • OneNote for Windows 10 — The app icon for this version is already pinned to the Windows 10 Start menu by default. If you removed it and want to restore it, click the Start button, right-click the OneNote app icon in the alphabetical list of installed apps, and then click Pin to Start.

  • OneNote 2016 — Click the Start button, right-click the OneNote 2016 app icon in the alphabetical list of installed apps, and then click Pin to Start.

Pin OneNote to the Windows taskbar

In Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Click the Start button.

  2. While the Start menu is open, type OneNote on your keyboard, and then do either (or both) of the following:

    • To pin OneNote for Windows 10 to your taskbar, right-click the OneNote app icon in the search results list, and then click Pin to taskbar.

    • To pin OneNote 2016 to your taskbar, right-click the OneNote 2016 app icon in the search results list, and then click Pin to taskbar.

Tip: You can pin OneNote even faster if it’s already running. Start your preferred version, right-click its active tile on the Windows taskbar, and then click Pin to taskbar.

See Also

What’s new in OneNote for Windows 10

Get started with the new OneNote

Basic tasks in OneNote for Windows 10

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