OneNote on Touch Devices: Desktop vs Metro

As you might know, there are two versions of OneNote that can run on Windows 8/RT devices: the desktop version (2013 for Windows RT, 2010 for Windows 8), and the OneNote app from the Windows store (for Windows 8 and RT). The "metro" app, which is optimised for touch and reduced in functionality, has been praised for its handy user interface (radial menu, navigation menu), simple design and synchronisation.

With a touch device (such as my Surface RT), both versions of OneNote have their disadvantages: The desktop version is not as touch friendly and not as visually clean as the metro style app, and the metro style app does not have the full functionality of the desktop version (such as viewing options, custom tags and font styles, multiple windows side by side, et cetera).

Since the desktop version is much more adjustable than the metro app, I tried to see if I can adjust the desktop app so that it has both the advantages of full functionality AND a clean and touch friendly user interface. And YES, it is possible!

Let me introduce to you:


clean view:


touch friendly navigation menu:


adjustable full-feature tools menu:


multiple windows:


I made the following adjustments to get this experience (using Onenote 2013 for Windows RT):

- Set the scaling of the desktop to 125% in order to make desktop apps more touch and eyes friendly.

- Switch to "full page view" by clicking on the symbol in the upper right corner of the OneNote page. Select "automatically hide taskbar" in the taskbar options, if you want a truly full screen experience.

- In the OneNote options, disable "show note containers". You can also select "hide spelling and grammar errors".

- Customize the quick access toolbar (in the OneNote options) and put it in the title bar. You can add any command to the quick access toolbar.

So what you get by making these adjustments is a full-feature, touch friendly, clean looking, full screen OneNote experience.

I hope some of you find this as useful as I do!