OneNote logo with magnifying glass

Microsoft has a habit of confusing us with multiple apps that perform essentially the same task. Thankfully, the company will fix one of those issues by combining multiple OneNote apps for Windows into one app with all the functionality.

This comes right after we discovered that Microsoft is set to merge the redundant Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch.

OneNote Confusion Is About To End

If you’re a OneNote fan, then you’ve almost certainly dealt with the fact that there’s more than one app that serves the same purpose. You can install the OneNote app that’s part of Office or the OneNote for Windows 10 app available in the Store. The remaining app will be the OneNote app on Windows, according to a post from Microsoft.

If both apps were the same, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Sure, it’d be a little confusing, but at least whichever app you used would work the same way as the other. However, there’s some functionality that’s only available in the Windows 10 Store app, which makes matters even more frustrating.

Thankfully, part of Microsoft’s upcoming strategy with its note-taking service is to merge both apps into one, making it so users won’t have to choose between each app (or have both installed by mistake).

However, it doesn’t seem as simple as deleting one app and making one the final app. Instead, the current OneNote app will be getting some of the features from OneNote for Windows 10. It’ll also get new features, such as a visual refresh, the latest Microsoft pen and ink advancements, and a new navigational UI layout option.

Windows 11 OneNote App

There won’t be a third app replacing the two existing ones. Instead, the OneNote App will evolve to receive new features and key existing features from OneNote for Windows 10.

When the time comes, OneNote for Windows 10 users will get an in-app invitation to update the OneNote app. Users of the OneNote app that comes with Office won’t need to do anything—they’ll be on the app that’s set to stay. Additionally, this OneNote version is available free as a standalone download, so you won’t need to pay for Office to get it.

Still keeping things confusing is that Microsoft isn’t phasing out the OneNote for Windows 10 app when Windows 11 comes out. Instead, Microsoft says, “Both OneNote apps will continue to run in Windows 11.” Clean Windows 11 installations won’t come with the OneNote for Windows 10 app preinstalled, but it’ll still be available for download from the Store.

This Is Still a Little Confusing…

Microsoft is bringing the OneNote apps to feature parity, and that’s good, but the fact that the OneNote for Windows 10 app is sticking around after Windows 11 comes out makes it so there are still two apps. Of course, it’s less confusing because the standalone OneNote app will have all the same features, but I fail to see why still having two apps is necessary.

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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