Best of 2016: A year in review including over 36 new reasons to try OneNote

Over the past year, the OneNote Team have steadily pushed out an impressive number of new features and improvements including over 36 new features for education. This blog includes an overview of those new features with links to relevant announcements and coverage by the OneNote community.

OneNote for Windows 10

The changes to this OneNote app have been nothing short of impressive. Summarized, you can now:

  • Add Special Ink Effects to your pages, such as the immensely popular Rainbow Ink (Office 365 accounts only). Microsoft has made a special page about OneNote Ink available this year. Other ink effects are Galaxy, Gold and Silver. You can also select the pencil ink type. The pen thickness of ink objects can easily be adjusted.

OneNote Ink Effects on Windows

OneNote Ink Effects on Windows


  • Change page background color and change table cell color
  • Apply a highlighter
  • Clear formatting from a piece of text



OneNote Web Clipper

July and August saw substantial improvements for the Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Chrome browser extensions,  allowing you to

OneNote Web Clipper

OneNote Web Clipper

OneNote all clients

  • Embedding live content easily ranks among the most popular new OneNote features for 2016. You can play back videos from YouTube, Vimeo, TED and Office 365 Videos, display Sway and Office Mix presentations, even execute programming code snippets and run GeoGebra applets (how-to by MIE Expert Kurt Söser). To learn some cool and undocumented OneNote embedding tricks, watch the Embedding Live Content video. Also keep an eye on the Microsoft Support page for video embedding in OneNote.
  • You can now add alternative text to pictures in all OneNote clients. This is a very helpful and important courtesy for people with visual impairments who rely on a screen reader.


OneNote for Mac

Welcome to Ink for Mac

Welcome to Ink for Mac

  • Grid and lined-page backgrounds
  • Arabic and Hebrew RTL support
  • Enable Experimental Features in the Settings panel (also available in OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote for iPad). These features affect the layout and location of the section tabs.
  • Accessibility Checker


OneNote Online


OneNote for Android

The mobile app for Android is completely being overhauled in close collaboration with the OneNote for Android Beta Feedback community on Google+. The first results of the hard work were announced publicly in October:

Multi window support on Android

Multi-window support on Android



OneNote in Education

In the video The Future of OneNote in Education released by Mike Tholfsen to the occasion of the Learn OneNote Conference last November, several exciting plans are revealed for OneNote Class Notebook, Learning Tools and the add-ins:



OneNote Class Notebook

Class Notebook Add-in for Mac

Class Notebook Add-in for Mac


  • Save-A-Copy feature, to let students and teachers export a Class Notebook to their personal OneDrive account
  • Significant Class Notebook update, offering new features, such as teacher-only section groups, Manage Notebook, Lock Collaboration Space section group

Class Notebook Update

Class Notebook Update

OneNote Staff Notebook

In November, the following improvements were launched for Staff Notebooks:

  • Staff notebooks now can be managed through the Manage Notebook button in the Class Notebook add-in
  • Lock the Collaboration Space section group
  • Create a section group only accessible for Staff Leaders, just like the Teacher-only Space in Class Notebooks
  • Add or rename student sections


Learning Tools add-in for OneNote

  • The popularity of this add-in started with its preview announcement in January, including the wildly raved Immersive Reader and Dictation features that aim to improve reading and writing experiences for students of all abilities.
  • Language, user interface and other improvements were announced in July. A nifty new option is to have the narrator in the Immersive Reader tool seamlessly switch from one voice to another, for example from French to English and back again. For a quick impression of this feature, watch the video Learning Tools for OneNote multi-lingual demo.


OneNote resources

OneNote in Education interactive video guides

OneNote the Ultimate Collaboration Tool – Teacher Academy course

OneNote in Education sample notebooks on

OneNote 101: Take More Creative and More Organized Notes with Microsoft OneNote – Melanie Pinola for (Dec 2016)


Follow us on Twitter

@OneNoteEDU – the official Microsoft OneNote in Education account

@Microsoft_Edu– the official Microsoft in Education account

@OneNoteC– Guest post author Marjolein Hoekstra from OneNote Central


We’re inviting all OneNote avengers to also share #Bestof2016 OneNote experiences in our upcoming OneNoteQ TweetMeet on December, 6th at 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, PT.

Browse affordable devices starting at $219