Those tiny details that matter !

Updated 20/12/2018

Version : √ OneNote for Windows 10

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” :

  • 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 may become cluttered. It’s already visible in the French version, so I fear it will be the case in English too, sooner or later, except if Microsoft becomes sensitive to this issue, and start addressing it.

The Insert Menu

Insert menu (in French) before
Insert menu (in French) with new features (Symbols and Online video) : note the drop down menu on the right




Insert menu (in English) with the new “simplified ribbon” user interface : despite the addition of new features, it does not look as cluttered because the commands’ font size have been reduced in the “simplified ribbon” UI (and “Math” is much shorter to write in English than “Equation mathématique” in French !).

The new Online video button, recently added, 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 video directly into 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… where the Audio command stands : but this is precisely to avoid any confusion that Microsoft choose not to gather them…

LIRE AUSSI  1 Week with OneNote for W10 : Day 4 - Sharing

The View menu

View menu before
View menu (in French) before
View menu after
View menu (in French) with a new feature (Translator). Three existing features have been moved to a new drop down menu because the Immersive reader icon is now complemented by its name.

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…

View menu (in English) with the “simplified ribbon” user interface : it does not look as cluttered because the commands’ font size have been reduced  ;  but there is no more spare space for a single new command / feature : expect a drop down menu soon, as in French !!!

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

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

The chevron which opens the Deleted Notes ‘ drop down menu is closely tight to its command (notice the greyed area when the mouse pass over the command), whereas the chevron on the right of Translator is bigger, and clearly separated (see the greyed area). It can nevertheless give the impression to be related to the Translator command.

Another instance where a menu gets cluttered is the “…” menu (“Settings and More”):

Also, the new Office Insider menu below Settings somehow overlaps with OneNote preview (not used 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

These are also “tiny details” (or customization options) that matter on day to day basis.
Ten new features in a row : that was well worth a blog post, and a high five 🙏 to the OneNote product team !

Updated 23/08/2018 : Insert and View menu illustrations were added (in English), with the new “simplified ribbon” look that was rolled over to O365 users in August.

Nota 05/09/2018 : Symbols is much less versatile than in OneNote desktop : It offers a much more limited set of symbols. For example, I can’t insert µ, → or ①, ②, ③ which I use a lot…

Nota 20/12/2018 : The solution could come from an Office wide feature, the WIN + “period” key (or “semicolon” key) command, which is currently limited to emoji, but will soon (Windows update 1903) offer kaomoji and symbols :

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