Deployment guide for OneNote

There are two versions of OneNote that you can deploy to users in your organizations who have devices running Windows:

  • OneNote 2016, which is part of the Office suite.
  • OneNote for Windows 10, which is included on devices running Windows 10.

Both versions are supported and continue to receive new features. For example, Dark Mode was added to OneNote 2016 in late 2019.

As of March 2020, OneNote 2016 is included alongside the other Office apps, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, when you deploy Microsoft 365 Apps or Office 2019. But, if you want to, you can exclude OneNote 2016 from being installed. For more information, see OneNote 2016 deployment guidance.

Choose the version of OneNote for your organization

Both OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 can be installed on the same device and used side by side. Each version of OneNote can access and sync with the same cloud-based notebooks, such as notebooks stored in OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint Server. Even though the notebooks are cloud-based, a copy of each notebook is cached on the user's device so that users can access them even when the device isn't connected to the internet. But, OneNote for Windows 10 can't use local notebooks, which are OneNote files that are stored on the user's device or on a file share on the network.

You can provide users in your organization with both versions of OneNote so that they can choose which version best suits their needs. Users can set which OneNote version is the default on their device. Or, you can decide to provide only one version of OneNote on their devices running Windows.

OneNote 2016 might be the better choice for your organization in the following situations:

  • Your users rely primarily on local notebooks and you don't want to migrate these notebooks to the cloud.
  • Most of your existing users are already trained on OneNote 2016, or even OneNote 2013, so they're already familiar with the user interface.
  • You want to customize OneNote settings for your users, which is available through Group Policy.

OneNote for Windows 10 might be a better alternative for your organization in the following situations:

  • Most of your users are new to OneNote. OneNote for Windows 10 has a user interface that is designed to be easier to navigate for new users.
  • Your organization supports OneNote on multiple platforms, such as Mac, web, and iPad. OneNote across these platforms, including OneNote for Windows 10, have a consistent user interface.

For more information, see What's the difference between OneNote and OneNote 2016?

OneNote 2016 deployment guidance

You can use the Office Deployment Tool or enterprise deployment software, such as Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, to include or exclude OneNote 2016 when you deploy Office in your organization.

As of March 2020, OneNote 2016 is included alongside the other Office apps, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, when you deploy Microsoft 365 Apps or Office 2019. There are no additional steps you need to take to include OneNote 2016 with new installations of Office. But, always be sure to check the deployment settings before you deploy, for example when using the wizards in Configuration Manager (current branch) or Microsoft Intune.

To add OneNote 2016 to an existing installation of Office

If Office is already installed on the device, but OneNote 2016 didn't get installed, you can run the Office Deployment Tool on the device and use the following configuration.xml file to add OneNote 2016.

<Configuration>
   <Add>
      <Product ID="OneNoteFreeRetail">
       <Language ID="MatchOS"/>
      </Product>
   </Add>
</Configuration>

Although you're deploying the freemium version of OneNote, the first time the user opens OneNote after it's installed, the license will update automatically to the same license as the version of Office already installed on the device.

Note

Using OneNoteFreeRetail isn't supported with volume licensed versions of Office 2019, such as Office Professional Plus 2019 or Office Standard 2019. To add OneNote 2016 back to these versions of Office, run an Online Repair.

To exclude OneNote 2016 from being installed

There are different ways to exclude OneNote 2016 from being installed with Office, depending on which deployment method you're using, as shown in the following table.

Method Instructions
Office Deployment Tool You can use the ExcludeApp element in your configuration.xml file.

We recommend that you use the Office Customization Tool to help you create your configuration.xml file.
Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (current branch) In the Office 365 Client Installation wizard, you can set OneNote 2016 to the Off position when you configure the Office settings.
Microsoft Intune On the Configure app suite page, you can clear the check box for OneNote 2016 in the Select Office apps drop-down list.

But, if you're allowing your users to install Office for themselves from the Office 365 portal, there is no way to exclude OneNote 2016 from being installed.

OneNote for Windows 10 deployment guidance

OneNote for Windows 10 is installed by default on computers running Windows 10. Users can also install it directly from the Microsoft Store, if you allow them to install apps from there. In either case, updates to OneNote for Windows 10 come directly from the Microsoft Store.

If you don't want your users to install apps directly from the Microsoft Store, you can set up the Microsoft Store for Business in your organization. This allows you to control which Microsoft Store apps your users can install, including OneNote for Windows 10. For more information, see Microsoft Store for Business overview

If you plan to move your users to OneNote for Windows 10, make sure their notebooks have been moved to a cloud storage location, such as OneDrive for Business. To do that, you can provide them the instructions in Move OneNote notebooks from your computer to OneDrive.

If you plan to move your users from OneNote for Windows 10 to OneNote 2016, no steps are needed to migrate their notebooks. All cloud-based notebooks associated with their user account will be accessible in OneNote 2016 after they sign in with that same user account.

Additional information about deploying OneNote

Configure OneNote 2016 settings: You can use Group Policy to configure certain OneNote 2016 settings for your users. To use Group Policy, download the latest Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) for Office from the Microsoft Download Center and implement the policy settings by using Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS).

Note

  • Group Policy requires the devices with OneNote 2016 to be joined to an Active Directory domain.
  • Most of these same policy settings can be applied by using the Office cloud policy service, which doesn't require the device to be joined to a domain.
  • Neither Group Policy nor Office cloud policy service can be used with Microsoft 365 Apps for business or with OneNote for Windows 10.

Support dates: In November 2019, we announced that mainstream support for OneNote 2016 will continue until October 2023. Extended supported remains the same, ending in October 2025. These dates align with the support dates for Office 2019. These specific support dates apply only to OneNote included with versions of Office, such as Office Professional Plus 2016, that are available as a one-time purchase or through volume licensing agreements.

Supported languages: While both OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 are available in most of the same languages, there are a few differences. The lists of the supported languages are available here: OneNote 2016, OneNote for Windows 10

Other platforms: There are also versions of OneNote for Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, and for web browsers. For more information, see OneNote help & learning.