I'm finding it difficult to transition from OneNote 2016 to the OneNote App. I typically use a Vertical Monitor and so my Horizontal space is limited. With OneNote 2016 I didn't have any issues.

OneNote App however by default takes up the screen 'real-estate' by stuffing all of the menu options on the Left side of the screen. I'm not fan and I'm unfortunately not able to figure out how to rearrange the layout of the tabs to match the layout I loved from 2016.

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7 Answers 7


At the time of writing of this answer, there is no way to change the layout back to "sections on top" form – as confirmed on Microsoft Answers forums.

They only suggest to vote at OneNote's UserVoice suggestion pool to address this.

Sorry for not helping you better, but this is currently the answer.

  • @CodeNovice – a hint if you are relatively new user: feel free to accept the answer now and you can move green check mark to another answer later, if the reality will change and someone will add the latest solution as a new answer
    – miroxlav
    Mar 3, 2020 at 21:39

I had this exact same issue and finally figured it out. I had to download 'OneNote' from the onenote website instead of the 'Windows 10 OneNote' App that I had on my computer. I also logged into the web browser version which also gave me the option to go to the desktop version.

  • 1
    This is closest to the answer as one can get. But since it isn't an answer that actually solves the issue with Windows 10 OneNote app I chose the answer from miroxlav even though I hate the answer it is the closest to the actual answer which is that the Windows 10 OneNote app just doesn't support tabs across the top and would apparently be a 'feature request'. May 10, 2022 at 15:32

After 2 years and 7 months I still hate the Windows 10 OneNote app and its inability to allow for a dynamic layout. I use a vertical monitor and having the tabs display on the left side just doesn't work. I need them to be on the top and display horizontally.

The only answer as others have suggested was to download the OneNote Desktop version. Which is unfortunate as I originally thought I was 'Upgrading' to a newer better version and then once I did I haven't used OneNote in 2 years and 7 months and have only been using it to search other peoples shared OneNote documentation.

So... if you want tabs across the top don't download the Windows 10 OneNote App.

The Only answer to this question is to download the OneNote Desktop version.


Looks like a lot of people were complaining about this so Microsoft added the ability to switch to horizontal tabs


  • Great to know! I will check this out. Jul 24, 2023 at 14:51

Rearrange page tabs

Page tabs run down the side of your notebook and are a helpful way to organize content in a section.

In the page tabs column along the side, drag a page tab up or down until it's in the position where you want it.

A horizontal bar will appear in the spaces between other pages as you move the mouse so you’ll know where the tab will end up when you release the mouse button.

from https://support.office.com/en-us/article/rearrange-section-tabs-and-page-tabs-in-onenote-for-windows-92edb8cf-eee3-4310-b85f-06e1c25ab79f

  • 1
    In the link you posted it says "Section tabs run across the top of your notebook..." - In OneNote 2016 this was true however at this time no matter where I drag/drop the Sections I am finding that the ONLY functionality regarding placement of these sections is limited to the Left Section Pane. Currently I am still not finding a solution to allow these tabs to sit horizontally across the top of the OneNote App. I do of course wish that the same functionality that existed say within Visual Studio or VS Code existed in OneNote. I can move and rearrange all of the panes. It's very nice. Oct 4, 2019 at 19:02

Okay thanks Ash!! I am actually trying to get the look above back! I hate the old school tabs across the top, it looks so 1987 to me. So I believe I can follow your directions and get it back. It was there this whole time, then I had to hard shut off my computer (meh.. it happens) but when I reopened my onenote, it looked . . old. Tabs across the top and I was loving the new look! So. . I'll get on line and download the new version! #FingersCrossed

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Feb 1, 2022 at 5:45
  • that didn't work, I downloaded the new version and there's still no way to change the page orientation to vertical from this 1987 horizontal look :( Feb 1, 2022 at 5:59
  • Okay legit, you can only see the vertical orientation when logged into online! So.. okay, I'll work with it that way, at least that part worked! Thanks :) Feb 1, 2022 at 6:02
  • @JennelleDeschwanden if you are wanting tabs to display on the left vertically you just need to use the OneNote App... NOT the OneNote Desktop version. Also, to use the App you don't need to be Online... I now have both the Desktop version and the Windows 10 app installed. I am the one who hates the tabs on the left and so your answer is the inverse of what was asked by myself the Original Poster OP. May 10, 2022 at 15:28

I had this issue, as well, Jennelle. If you click on My Notebooks (or whatever you may have renamed it) in the upper left hand corner, then PIN (click on the pushpin icon), the sections will now appear on the left side. :)

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