Those tiny details that matter !

A year ago, after OneNote released it’s new UI, I tried to switch to OneNote UWP during a “one week challenge”. This experiment brought useful insights to me : despite numerous improvements made in the previous year, I was still unable to make the move.

It wasn’t so much the lack of prominent features that I missed (such as Templates, Find Tasks, Linked notes, Docked window…), but the scarce customization options, and some details that mattered on a day to day basis.

Actually, I summarized the features that I missed most, dubbing them “Top annoying missing features” :

  • Disable link to web sources
  • Highlighter in other color than yellow (made available later in June 2017)
  • Remove table’ borders
  • Table in Table (made available later in Sept. 2017)
  • Symbols


Well ! All of a sudden all of these features are now available in OneNote UWP (version 16001.10325.20049.0) :

Three additionnal featuresWith those new features, I guess I should feel grateful my wishes have been fulfilled !
Yes I do !
But on the other side, I feel like my prediction is about to come true : with more commands on the ribbon, they become cluttered :

The Insert Menu

Insert menu before
Insert menu after

The useless Online video button takes up valuable space, causing the Stickers and Researcher commands to be pushed into the background.
(Online video is useless because if you paste a link of a supported video directly in a note, it will work the same, avoiding an unnecessary step)

Also, I would have located the Dictate button (currently in the Home menu) on the Insert Menu…

The View menu

View menu before
View menu before
View menu after


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In this case, I believe that a new Tab called “Tools” could accommodate the Translator and the Accessibility check, although that would probably not spare enough space…

Which makes the case for a command called “Others” in some tabs to accommodate those features that don’t fit into the ribbon’ width.

Finally, I am also concerned that the drop down menu where those features are hidden have no header, making a confusion with other drop down menu which offer options to the command next to which they stand.

Actually they are not consistently designed :

Watch how the drop down menu of “Deleted Notes” is part of this button’ option, whereas the drop down menu of Translator is bigger, and separated from its command.


Another instance where the Menu gets cluttered is the Settings commands :

Also, the new Office Insider menu below Settings somehow overlaps with OneNote preview (useless since May 2017).

Except for those minor considerations, new features are always welcome !

One benefit of UWP Apps is that they can improve quickly, the product team being able to push new features or fixes easily : I am confident that those UI inconsistencies will be fixed any time soon, as OneNote makes its way to professional, and potentially more demanding users.

Finally, and even if I don’t use them much, some users will be pleased with :

  • The new eraser options
  • The addition of the copy-paste button in the Home menu
  • The copy-paste default options
  • The improved clear formatting


Seven new features in a row : that was well worth a blog post !


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