Evernote vs. OneNote: A Comparison of Two Popular Note-Taking Apps

If you’re someone who relies on note-taking apps to stay organized and productive, you’ve likely come across two leading contenders in the market: Evernote and OneNote. These apps have established themselves as powerhouses in the note-taking space, and it’s no surprise why. In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of both Evernote and OneNote, helping you decide which one is better suited for your needs.

Evernote: Your Digital Filing Cabinet

Evernote functions as a comprehensive archive for all your notes, images, and files. It’s designed to be like a filing cabinet, allowing you to create notebooks and organize notes within them. You can create text notes, to-do lists, attach files from cloud storage platforms, record audio notes, and even draw or take handwritten notes. Evernote also offers templates to help you structure your notes in your preferred format and design. Additionally, you can assign tags to your notes, making it easier to search and find specific information. Evernote’s search functionality is robust, ensuring that you can quickly locate buried notes with the right search keywords.

evernote folder hierarchy

OneNote: Your Digital Diary

OneNote, on the other hand, functions more like a digital diary. It allows you to create notebooks and organize them into sections containing notes. Similar to Evernote, OneNote supports various note formats and enables you to clip web pages or share app content. However, OneNote stands out with its flexible structure. You can type anywhere within a note, without having to start a new line on the left. This feature is particularly useful when you want to present data side by side. Instead of tagging notes, you can tag individual containers within a note. You also have the freedom to move these containers, along with all the information inside them, across sections and pages.

onenote notebooks, sections, notes hierarchy

Key Differences and Features

While both Evernote and OneNote offer similar functionalities, there are noteworthy differences between the two. Evernote’s mobile app provides a refined user experience with a sidebar menu, allowing for easy navigation between folders, notes, and tags. OneNote, on the other hand, lacks a sidebar, requiring users to navigate in and out of notebooks. Dark mode is available on both apps.

OneNote boasts impressive mathematical capabilities. You can solve equations by simply typing them in a note, and OneNote will solve them on the fly. It even offers a menu with complex formulas to assist with your work and research. This feature sets OneNote apart from other note-taking apps.

Evernote offers paying customers access to Related Results. It integrates with your Google search results, displaying relevant notes from your collection alongside the search results. Over time, it eliminates duplicated web clips and information.

Both Evernote and OneNote excel at searching text within images and attached documents using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities. Scanning is a powerful built-in feature of both apps, allowing you to scan whiteboards and book pages. Evernote is particularly useful for scanning business cards and saving contact information in the correct format. OneNote does not yet offer this feature. Additionally, both apps support annotating PDF and image files and sharing them with others.

Collaboration is a core feature of both Evernote and OneNote. However, Evernote offers a dedicated plan for business users called Spaces. Spaces create a dedicated area for sharing, collaborating, and working together. It includes features like a bulletin board to track changes and a Work Chat feature.

OneNote saves changes in real-time, eliminating the need to manually save. In contrast, Evernote requires users to click a save button, which may be seen as a minor inconvenience.

Evernote comes with version history, allowing you to track changes made to notes over time. This feature proves useful for retrieving old data or detecting unauthorized changes during collaboration. OneNote does not offer version history, but it does provide a history tab that quickly gives access to recently used notes.

Platform and Pricing

Both Evernote and OneNote are available on popular platforms such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and the web. They also offer browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge.

Evernote integrates with various third-party apps, including Gmail and Office. OneNote, being a Microsoft product, seamlessly integrates with other Office Suite apps.

OneNote is free to use, with 5 GB of free storage on OneDrive. However, if you require more storage, you’ll need to subscribe to the pro plan. Evernote offers a free plan with limited features, while premium users gain access to offline access, PDF annotation, scanning, version history, 3rd party integration, AI-suggested content, unlimited devices, 10GB bandwidth, and 200MB note size. Business users enjoy extended limits with CRM and admin rights and features.

Wrapping Up: Making Your Choice

Both Evernote and OneNote offer a wide range of features, with many similarities between them. OneNote is a compelling option, especially for Microsoft Office users, given its seamless integration with the Office Suite and its unique mathematical equation capabilities. Evernote, although it requires a subscription plan, offers features like version history, Spaces, and Work Chat.

Ultimately, your decision may come down to design aesthetics and how the note-taking app functions for you. Most features are available on both platforms, providing a dumping ground for notes in any format. It’s only when a specific feature is crucial to your workflow that you’ll be able to determine which app is the best fit for you.