Hurrah! Vertical tabs are coming to Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft has just announced a forthcoming change to OneNote that has made me very happy.

For the past 10 years or so, Microsoft OneNote has been an integral part of my personal organisation and productivity system.

I store almost all my life admin in OneNote. This can be everything from documentation to meal planning. It is really useful if you’re involved in a road traffic collision, for example, and quickly need access to your car insurance documents. Or you are in the supermarket and can’t remember what you’ve planned for dinner at the weekend.

Screenshot of my OneNote showing meal planning for December. Three vertical columns from left to right - categories, pages and then a table of information about food.
Screenshot of my OneNote showing meal planning for December.

For the last few years, Microsoft offered two versions of the application. One, called simply OneNote, came bundled with Microsoft Office (now Microsoft 365), the other was styled as a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app (the kind that started to get introduced with Windows 8) and called OneNote for Windows 10.

It appeared that Microsoft’s strategy was to phase out the older Microsoft Office version and play feature catch-up with the newer OneNote for Windows 10 app. That was until recently, when in a complete u-turn, Microsoft announced that they were retiring OneNote for Windows 10 and moving all their efforts into OneNote as part of Microsoft 365.

It makes sense to focus on only one code base, but my heart sank, I really like the simplicity and aesthetic of OneNote for Windows 10. For comparison, this is what OneNote looks like:

Screenshot of my OneNote showing meal planning for December. Three vertical columns from left to right - categories, pages and then a table of information about food.
OneNote

Most of the application is fine, but I really don’t like the horizontal tabs. Apart from anything else, I don’t find them aesthetically pleasing plus I can’t see as much information as the vertical.

But, great news! Vertical tabs are coming to OneNote (for Microsoft 365).

As you can see from the animation below, Microsoft are planning on introducing a vertical option.

Gif animation of navigation moving from horizontal to vertical
Animation source: Microsoft

I’m so happy!

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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