OneNote vs. Evernote: A personal take on two great note-taking apps

    What’s the king of the note-taking apps?There are two main contenders for the crown: Microsoft’s OneNote and the impartial Evernote. Launched in 2003, OneNote was added to the Microsoft Office suite (most variations of which are actually known as Microsoft 365) in 2007. OneNote is now additionally bundled with Windows 10 and 11 and supplied free of charge as a standalone product.Evernote launched in 2008 and has loved steadily rising person numbers since then; the corporate says it has 225 million customers worldwide. (Microsoft hasn’t launched person numbers for OneNote, however between Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 and 11, greater than a billion customers possible have a model of it put in on their machines.)OneNote and Evernote can be found for all the most important desktop and cellular OSes, they will every sync your notes to your entire units and the net, and each promise to be the one note-taking app you want. But additionally they have some very distinct variations. So which is best for enterprise customers?I’m a longtime person of each functions, so I’ve taken a take a look at the newest model of every for Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, and Android. This isn’t a deep-dive evaluation, however quite a private take a look at what I like and don’t very like about every — and the details of distinction between the 2. I spend extra time on the Windows model of every, however I’ll be aware similarities and variations in different variations as effectively.Note that after a number of years of Microsoft complicated everybody by having three completely different variations of OneNote, there’s now just one model that the corporate will proceed to replace, known as OneNote for Windows. (OneNote for Windows 10 is now not being distributed, and it’ll attain finish of help in October 2025.) This evaluation is predicated on OneNote for Windows. OneNote: A good way to get organizedOneNote could be very a lot a full-blown software. It allows you to create easy or complicated notes from scratch, arrange them into searchable, browsable notebooks, and sync them amongst quite a lot of platforms, together with Windows PCs, Macs, iPads and that iPhones, Android units, and the net. IDG

    OneNote affords top-notch instruments for creating notes from scratch and organizing them intelligently. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    It bristles with note-creation instruments for drawing, recording audio and video, scanning pictures, embedding spreadsheets, and reviewing the edits of others (though the skills of these instruments differ considerably relying on the platform). In reality, its note-creation instruments are extra complete than Evernote’s. The organization-minded will admire OneNote’s fundamental construction. You create particular person notebooks; inside every pocket book, you may create part teams that include a number of sections. Each part has particular person pages, with every web page a separate be aware. It’s excellent for organizing content material with a logical construction.For instance, for those who’re utilizing OneNote to maintain observe of notes about your gross sales employees, you might have a Sales Staff pocket book, then part teams for every salesperson, and inside every of these part teams there could be sections for every of their clients. Within every of these buyer sections, you might have particular person pages, with notes in regards to the salesperson’s relationship with them, and embrace hyperlinks to gross sales figures.OneNote is regularly changing into extra built-in with the remainder of the Microsoft 365 suite. For enterprises, dwell collaboration is very essential, and it really works precisely the way in which it does in different Microsoft 365 apps, so there ought to be no studying curve. (To get began, click on the Share button on the higher proper of the display regardless of the place you might be in OneNote.)Making OneNote much more highly effective for companies is that it integrates fairly effectively with Microsoft Teams. You can add a OneNote pocket book to Teams, and everybody in the identical Teams channel can view it and make edits to it, so long as they’re granted entry. Web clippingAs good as OneNote is at creating notes, it falls in need of Evernote’s appreciable capabilities for clipping content material from the net. OneNote affords a browser add-on for Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox known as the OneNote Web Clipper. Note that it is advisable to sign up to the extension with a Microsoft account to make use of it.The OneNote Web Clipper interface is mostly the identical in all browsers. When you’re on an online web page from which you wish to clip content material, click on the Clip to OneNote icon within the browser’s toolbar and select to clip the whole web page, a piece of the web page (click on and drag to pick it), or simply the article. You can even save the web page as a bookmark. Once you determine the type of clip you need, it can save you it on to any OneNote pocket book. IDG

    The OneNote browser add-on allows you to clip a whole internet web page, a piece of the web page, or the article textual content and save your clipping in OneNote. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    Unfortunately, clipping is a combined bag. For occasion, clipping an article generally doesn’t seize that article. Instead, you get a headline, subhead, and a hyperlink. It’s not far more than glorified bookmark. And if the location takes that web page down, it’s misplaced to you.The internet clipper often does an excellent job with full-page clips, capturing the entire web page, together with all of the scrollable parts of it you could’t see. But it may be temperamental and flaky. In some cases, it may’t seize full pages and as a substitute shows an error message that reads, “Sorry, this type of page can’t be clipped.” When it does handle to seize a whole web page, it generally overlays content material with different content material, making the web page troublesome to learn. At instances it appears to disregard the HTML instructions on a web page and shows a protracted scrollable web page with little rhyme or motive to it. And for heavy pages, comparable to these with video on them, you’ll have to attend a number of seconds for the complete preview to load earlier than you may click on the Clip button. Ironically, I most often got here throughout these issues on Microsoft-created internet pages, together with one within the Microsoft Store that describes the clipper and makes it out there for obtain, and one other that describes OneNote’s new options.What’s extra, for those who seize the complete web page or a area of a web page, the clip is saved as a graphic picture solely, in order that any hyperlinks or multimedia parts on the web page don’t work. You can add your individual textual content above and beneath that picture, however you may’t edit the content material proven within the picture.In addition to internet clipping, OneNote has a device that permits you to seize something in your display. To do it, right-click the OneNote icon within the system tray, choose Take display clipping, then draw a rectangle across the space of the display you wish to clip. You can then reserve it to any OneNote pocket book. It’s captured as a picture solely. IDG

    OneNote can seize something in your display, together with what’s exhibiting in an app like Excel.

    The variations amongst variationsIt’s in Windows the place OneNote actually shines. That’s the place it has its full complement of note-creation instruments. It’s additionally the place its heritage as an Office software is clearest, as a result of it makes use of the Office Ribbon as a strategy to offer you entry to all of its options.OneNote for Windows has eight Ribbon tabs — File, Home, Insert, Draw, History, Review, View, and Help — every of which supplies you entry to loads of options. (To save display house, you may press Ctrl-F1 to make the Ribbon instructions beneath the tabs disappear or reappear later.) The File tab allows you to open, print, share and export information; change settings; and extra. The Home tab allows you to format textual content, add tags, mark objects as essential and extra. The Insert tab affords instruments for inserting objects into your notes, together with spreadsheets, photos, audio and video you may report, equations, and symbols. IDG

    In OneNote’s Windows app, the Office Ribbon affords the complete suite of OneNote’s instruments. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    The Draw tab has the same old drawing instruments, whereas History exhibits you older variations of a web page, your edits, different customers’ latest edits, and so forth. Review contains acquainted Office options together with a spell checker, a thesaurus, and a translation device. View has loads of methods to alter the looks of your notebooks and their pages, comparable to including strains, altering their dimension, altering the colours and so forth, and Help allows you to seek for assist data, contact tech help, and provides suggestions to Microsoft. Evernote has nothing approaching this array of refined instruments.Each web page you create is a clean slate that permits you to add textual content, pictures, media, and objects in a freeform approach, transferring them round and formatting them with ease. For those that wish to spend the time, it may imply creating extraordinarily wealthy pages. But if all you need is textual content, that’s easy to do as effectively.The iPad and Mac variations have the identical fundamental look, really feel and group because the Windows model, though with fewer options. (The Mac model has extra capabilities than does the iPad model.) They have solely 4 tabs throughout the highest: Home, Insert, Draw, and View. IDG

    The iPad model of OneNote is barely extra stripped down than the Windows model. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    In some cases, the tabs are as absolutely featured as within the Windows model — the Mac’s Home tab, for instance, contains all the formatting and different capabilities of the Windows model. (The iPad doesn’t have as many capabilities.) Other tabs have fewer options — notably the Insert tab. There, the Mac and iPad variations permit you to insert a lot of fundamental objects comparable to tables, photos, information, hyperlinks, PDFs, equations, and the date and time. You can even report audio and take screenshots (on the Mac) or images (with the iPad’s digicam) and insert these. But you may’t insert spreadsheets or on-line movies, or report video as you may with the Windows model.The internet model of OneNote options the tabbed design because the Windows, Mac, and iPad variations, with the identical fundamental function set because the Mac and iPad variations. It additionally allows you to open a web page or pocket book within the shopper model of OneNote on the system on which you’re working, if the system has OneNote put in.The Android pill model seems to be and works very like the iPad model, with Home, Insert, Draw, and View tabs, though it’s not as absolutely featured. For instance, the Insert tab solely allows you to insert photos, audio, information, to-do objects, tags, and hyperlinks.The interface for iPhones is far easier than on PCs or tablets. You see your part teams in a scrollable record, and may then navigate simply down into particular person sections and pages. It doesn’t have tabs, given the restricted display actual property on telephones, and it’s constructed primarily for quick-and-dirty be aware taking or checking your current notes.AI on the way in whichMicrosoft will in some unspecified time in the future ship AI options into OneNote that might drastically enhance the way it works. Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is powered by Microsoft’s generative AI chatbot, might be built-in into OneNote, based on a weblog submit by OneNote product supervisor Greg Mace. Copilot inside OneNote will be capable of “draft plans, generate ideas, create lists, organize information, and… transform existing text by summarizing, rewriting, formatting, and adding visual context,” wrote Mace.For instance, listed here are two particular duties that Mace says Copilot will be capable of do:
    Summarize notes into bullet factors on a brand new web page.
    Generate a listing of subjects and speaking factors to be coated in an annual investor replace assembly.
    Of course, these are solely guarantees. We don’t know in the event that they’ll work in follow. And there’s no date for when Copilot might be built-in into OneNote. When it occurs, although, we’ll let you already know.Storage and pricingOneNote syncs its content material amongst your entire units and to the net through Microsoft OneDrive or ShareLevel. It comes with the subscription variations of Office (Microsoft 365 or Office 365) however isn’t included within the non-subscription variations. If you obtain the OneNote app however don’t use Microsoft 365/Office 365, you stand up to 5GB of cloud cupboard space for every part together with your OneNote content material, though you should buy further cupboard space.If you or your group pays for an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription, you get far more storage — 100GB as much as 6TB, relying on the plan you purchase. Businesses get 1TB or limitless storage per person, relying on the plan. (See OneDrive and Microsoft 365 plans for private and enterprise use.)Evernote: The finest web-clipping device you will discoverEvernote is a totally completely different beast than OneNote. Although it affords the identical fundamental performance — the power to create, arrange, and sync notes amongst a number of platforms, together with Windows PCs, Macs, iPads and that iPhones, Windows Phones, Android units, and the net — it sports activities a way more colourful and welcoming interface. And it completely excels at clipping and saving content material from the net.If you haven’t used or up to date Evernote for a while, you’ll be stunned by the brand new residence display interface, which bristles with widgets for fast entry to notes, notebooks, just lately captured pictures, and extra. On the one hand, it offers you a number of methods to view and create notebooks and notes. On the opposite, it may be a bit bit overwhelming. But you may all the time discover what you need by utilizing the search field on the higher left of the display or clicking or tapping the pocket book icon to see your notebooks listed. You can add or take away widgets on your property display to make it look and work precisely the way in which you need.The left-hand facet of the display is used for navigation; click on or faucet Notebooks to see record of your entire notebooks, after which click on or faucet every particular person pocket book to see all of its notes in a scrollable record. If you like, you may faucet or click on Notes within the left-hand navigation to see your entire notes chronologically in a scrollable record, whatever the pocket book by which they’re situated. For straightforward looking out, you may add tags to every be aware once you write it or seize it; the principle navigation additionally allows you to view your notes by tags. IDG

    Evernote’s options and format are related amongst all platforms; that is the Windows app. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    I discover Evernote to be extra visually compelling than OneNote. The show is especially enticing once you scroll by way of a pocket book, with the record of notes within the pocket book exhibiting small graphics pulled from every be aware.Evernote doesn’t have practically as many note-creation instruments as OneNote. There are the same old textual content formatting instruments, and you’ll embed tables, information, and photos in your notes; use digital “ink” on them when you’ve got a contact system with a pen; and report audio and video as a part of your notes. You can even join it to Google Calendar so that you just’ll be capable of see your schedule and conferences from inside Evernote, create notes based mostly on these conferences, and extra. (As I write this, Evernote is engaged on the same integration for Outlook.) You can even connect with Google Drive and embed information from there into your notes as effectively. It’s an inexpensive choice however doesn’t embrace OneNote’s superior options, comparable to reviewing the edits of others.Web clippingWhere Evernote actually shines is in capturing content material from the net, organizing that content material, and making it straightforward so that you can discover it and use it.Its web-clipping device is exemplary. The device runs as a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera; the precise options range considerably from browser to browser. In normal, I’ve discovered it to be probably the most sturdy in Chrome and Edge, in a position to deal with even probably the most complicated internet pages. IDG

    Evernote’s exemplary clipping device runs as a browser add-on and allows you to seize content material utilizing quite a lot of choices. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    With most browsers, once you’re on a web page from which you wish to seize content material, click on the Evernote icon within the toolbar and the clipper seems on the right-hand facet with quite a lot of choices, together with:
    capturing simply the article itself, eliminating advertisements and different pointless materials
    capturing a “simplified article” — simply textual content and graphics with out the unique format or movies
    capturing the complete web page as you see it
    capturing solely a bookmark to the web page
    capturing a screenshot of the web page
    When you clip one thing from the net, you may also add tags and notes. And you may select which pocket book you wish to add the content material to or create a brand new pocket book on the fly. In addition, the clipper has markup instruments once you seize screenshots, so to annotate what you’re capturing by including textual content, highlighting, arrows, drawing on it, and so forth. In your browser after you save a clip, you’ll see a Share button that permits you to share the be aware with colleagues or share a hyperlink to the unique supply through e-mail or social media.Once you’ve captured the content material, you are able to do extra with it. When you open the be aware in Evernote, the textual content is dwell — you may copy it, paste to it, edit it, change the formatting, and so forth. The hyperlinks are dwell as effectively, so to click on any hyperlink and have it open in your browser. Any multimedia on the web page, comparable to video, isn’t dwell, although — click on it and also you’re despatched to the unique web page you captured.The variations amongst variationsEvernote sports activities the same feel and appear throughout its Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, and internet apps. They function the identical widgets and format on the house display, and related left-hand navigation. You’ll don’t have any drawback in any respect switching among the many variations. IDG

    The iPad residence screens widgets can really feel overwhelming, however you may all the time faucet the search icon to carry up the search field or faucet the pocket book icon to get to your entire notebooks. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    The iPad model’s residence web page bristles with widgets for fast entry to notes, notebooks, just lately captured pictures and extra, and could be a little bit overwhelming. But you may all the time discover what you need by looking out; faucet the search icon within the left margin and the search field seems on the higher left of the display. And as with the opposite variations, you may faucet the pocket book icon to exhibits your notebooks listed alphabetically, after which flick thru them. IDG

    Evernote’s iPhone app seems to be and works like a simplified model of the Windows and Mac variations. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    On the iPhone, Evernote isn’t as complicated and crowded-looking as on the iPad. It seems to be and works like a extra streamlined model of its Windows, Mac, and internet variations. Tap the three-line menu button on the backside left of the display to show navigation, faucet the New button to create a brand new be aware, and faucet the Search button for Evernote’s well-done search capabilities.Storage and pricingThe fundamental model of Evernote is free, however it limits you to including 60MB of latest notes a month, allows you to sync between solely two units, and doesn’t embrace superior options. There are additionally Personal and Professional subscriptions out there, which have differing options comparable to whether or not you may flip notes into shows; search inside PDFs and attachments; and combine with different software program and providers comparable to Slack and Microsoft Teams. Personal, meant for people, prices $80 a 12 months and allows you to add 10GB per thirty days. Professional, additionally for people, prices $110 a 12 months and contains 20GB of uploads per thirty days.Evernote Teams is designed for enterprise collaboration, providing shared workspaces, a coaching program, and centralized administration instruments. It prices $150 per person per 12 months and affords 20GB month-to-month uploads plus 2GB per person.Bottom lineAlthough Evernote and OneNote are each note-taking instruments, they’ve very completely different emphases and can be utilized for fairly completely different functions.If you’re primarily searching for a device that permits you to simply seize, arrange, and discover content material from the net, you’ll need Evernote, as a result of its instruments for doing which are exemplary. If you as a substitute wish to create notes from scratch and have them in well-organized notebooks, or for those who’re a heavy Microsoft 365 person, OneNote is the way in which to go.Then once more, you might be like me. I’ve been utilizing each of them for years. OneNote is my go-to device for organizing and taking notes for initiatives comparable to books and articles. I take advantage of Evernote for analysis. Given that they’re each free (no less than for the essential model of Evernote), it offers me the very best of each worlds.This article was initially revealed in March 2014 and most just lately up to date in May 2023.

    Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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