There is totally nothing wrong with pen-and-paper notes; in fact, many people are still using these notes for some reasons. Perhaps you have been used to it. Or maybe you are going to places where you can’t bring your trusty smartphone along with you. Nevertheless, more and more people are moving to digital notes. Slowly but surely, the digital note-taking habit is shaping the way of the future. No matter how much we love our traditional note books, we can’t deny the fact that going digital has numerous benefits – including the capability to access your notes wherever and whenever you go.
Right now, Evernote and OneNote are two of the most popular digital notes on the market. Both apps are certainly great. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have made it to be the most popular note services. Still, there are still key factors and differences that may make either Evernote or OneNote more suitable for you. So, should you choose Evernote or OneNote? Find out by reading the comparisons below.
Let’s take a look at the overviews of both apps first. Evernote is a freemium cross-platform app designed for the purposes of note taking, archiving, and organizing. It is developed by Evernote Corporation, which is a private company based in Redwood City, California. Evernote is now available for most popular operating system platforms, such as Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android, Windows Phone, iOS, and BlackBerry 10. As a freemium app, Evernote provides a restricted free version. The usage of the online service is free, but with monthly limits. Basic users can only use Evernote on two devices at once. Plus subscribers can have some additional features and increased monthly limits, whereas Premium customers are given unlimited access to the features and significantly increased monthly limits.
On the other hand, OneNote is developed by Microsoft, and is available as a part of the Microsoft Office software suite and Windows 10. Don’t worry; it is also available as a standalone application for Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone, macOS, iOS, and Android. There is also a web-based version in OneDrive and Office Online, allowing you to edit notes through a simple web browser.
Now, let’s see the comparison between Evernote and OneNote in their primary purpose: Taking notes. As a matter of fact, taking notes in both Evernote and OneNote is very similar. They have similar capabilities, with rich ways to take notes, make lists, format texts, and even create audio notes. The difference is how they organize your notes.
Evernote may appear intimidating; this app organizes your notes according to tags and which notebooks you are adding the notes to. Opening the app for the first time will present you with a list of your unorganized notes. You can get overwhelmed by these cluttered notes if you make a lot of notes daily without having the chance to really organize. So, with Evernote, you want to do some organizing every after you create a new note. Such workflow may be a little bit annoying but is very beneficial in the long run – ensuring that all of your files are in the right places.
OneNote’s user interface is fairly straightforward. It is like opening a filing cabinet and browsing through folders. It shows a list of Notebooks, and each Notebook has Sections. You just need to add a new section if you want to add something to a particular notebook.
Controls are pretty much similar, except for the fact that Evernote has drawing controls on both the mobile and desktop apps. OneNote has little to no drawing controls on the mobile apps, but these are available in the desktop apps. If you really use the drawing features on your smartphone, you may lean more toward Evernote. If you only type alphanumeric characters, OneNote’s simple design is more efficient.
Both apps here have browser extensions for clipping. But Evernote offers richer features than OneNote in this particular aspect.
OneNote presents a very simple interface; you click on the OneNote icon, and it will give you a few options to clip the screenshot of the entire display, select just a region, bookmark (just a link with a thumbnail), and choose the Article Mode for convenient reading. You can only clip to an existing notebook. There is no way to clip to a new notebook.
The features of Evernote feel so much richer. There are similar options, but you can clip to both new and existing notebooks. You can add tags on the fly. After you select a screenshot, there are more features available, such as adding annotations, drawing arrows, pix-elating a portion of the image, and cropping.
Third-Party Apps and Exporting Formats
Evernote is compatible with so many apps in various platforms, so this feat is remarkable. It supports Dragon Anywhere, which is a nice solution for dictating lengthy notes, and TaskClone, which can send your notes directly to Trello and Todoist. The number of apps that work with Evernote easily surpasses that of OneNote.
However, if you want something that can effortlessly export your notes into popular formats such as DOCX, XLSX, or even PDF, OneNote will suit you better. This is certainly for you if you work a lot with Microsoft Office.
OneNote is fully free, and it is utterly difficult to beat something free. The most attractive feature of OneNote is the full integration with Microsoft Office. Of course, Microsoft Office is not free, but if you are already a Microsoft Office user, using OneNote is awesome. It has no upload limits! You can start working right away and upload your notes from time to time.
On the other hand, Evernote has limits for uploads, even for the Premium users. Basic users can only upload up to 60 MB per month, Plus users can upload up to 1 GB per month, and Premium members are allowed to upload to 10 GB per month.
|- Freemium, with a free basic version, a Plus subscription, and a Premium subscription||- Free|
|- Notebook- and tag-based interface which can be messy if not managed diligently||- Neat, simple interface|
|- Drawing features on both mobile and desktop apps, rich clipping features||- No drawing features on the mobile apps, limited browser extensions|
|- A lot of compatible third-party apps||- Full integration to Microsoft Office, can export to more formats including DOCX, XLSX, and PDF|
|- Has upload limits||- No upload limits|
In general, OneNote makes the best choice. It is free, giving you all of its features without requiring you to pay a cent. It has no upload limits. The versatile exporting options are very practical. However, some people may have specific reasons to choose Evernote – most notably, the drawing and web clipping features.