Handwriting and stylus functionality just got a huge boost in the latest OneNote on Windows update. A new collection of gestures allows you to quickly navigate, annotate, and edit OneNote documents with a stylus, while handwriting can now be converted into text. This update also includes a Vertical Tabs layout option and text prediction.
To unlock the new pen and ink functionality, take out your stylus and select the “text pen” tool from the Draw tab. Start writing something by hand, and it will automatically convert to text. You can delete the text by scribbling it out, and you can edit the text using natural gestures—run your stylus across a portion of text to highlight it, or flick between two words to create a line break. (You can also convert old handwritten notes to text. Open the note, select the lasso drawing tool, circle the handwriting, and tap “Ink to Text” in your toolbar.)
OneNote on Windows also gets a new Vertical Tabs layout option, which can make it easier to navigate between notes. You’ll find Vertical Tabs in the View menu at the top of OneNote. Note that Vertical Tabs isn’t a new thing—it was already available on OneNote for Windows 10 and a handful of other platforms.
If you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber, this OneNote on Windows update includes a Text Prediction tool. As you type, OneNote will try to complete your sentence. Predictive text appears alongside your writing in a light gray color. Pressing the tab or right arrow keys will insert the predictive text. (This feature is also available in Word and Outlook if you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber.)
An update in late November will add Microsoft’s Copilot AI assistant to OneNote. Microsoft says that Copilot will help you organize notes, generate ideas, and more. Microsoft also promises inline video previews for OneNote, though there isn’t a specific launch date for this feature.
To be clear, these changes only affect OneNote on Windows. This application is different from OneNote on Windows 10, which will be discontinued in 2025. If you haven’t installed OneNote on Windows, now’s the time to do so.