When selecting the best note-taking app, there are two clear winners: Microsoft OneNote and Evernote. As with all apps, each has its pluses and minuses. If you are looking for a free app, then look no further than OneNote. It comes with Window 10 and is available as a free standalone product. Evernote has a different structure that makes it easier to organize, tag, find and share information, as long as you are willing to pay for the app. OneNote and Evernote are available for desktop and mobile devices, and of course, you can access both through a web browser. But each app also has some distinct differences. Whether you will prefer OneNote or Evernote depends on how you use it and what value you want in an app.
Not an In-depth Review
Now, I need to state that this is not an in-depth review but rather a personal look at what I like and don’t like about each, along with differences between the two apps. I will concentrate on the Mac version as that is what I primarily use for my business.
OneNote: Great Way to Get Organized.
OneNote is a compelling application. You can create simple or complex notes from scratch, organize them into searchable, browsable notebooks, and sync them among various platforms.
It has excellent note-creation tools for drawing, recording, audio and video, scanning images, embedding worksheets and reviewing edits that others have made. However, the ability of those tools differs depending on the platform. The Mac app tends to receive fewer features than the Windows app. It is that way with all Microsoft products, so I am used to it. OneNote provides you with 5GB of free space.
Do You Have a Microsoft 365 Subscription?
If you have Microsoft 365 Personal, then you get 1TB of storage, although you must share that space with the other apps. Microsoft 365 Personal costs $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Suppose you need a family account that costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year. Now, Microsoft recently announced that it would again offer non-subscription purchases of Office applications sometime in 2021. However, it is not clear if OneNote would include the OneDrive storage option.
Evernote is an entirely different beast when compared with OneNote. However, they share the same basic functionality. For instance, the ability to create, organize, and sync notes among multiple platforms. The application is similar no matter what platform you are using. You use the left-hand side of the screen to navigate within Evernote. You can click or tap Notebooks to see a list of your notebooks, and then click or tap each notebook to see all of its notes in a scrollable list. Evernote can add tags to each note when you write it or capture it. If you want, you can also view your notes by tags. What are tags? Tags are like categories.
Mac and iOS Version of Evernote
The Mac and IOS versions of Evernote are more compelling than OneNote. The display is attractive when you scroll through a notebook, with the list of notes in the notebook showing small graphics pulled from each note. Whereas the display with OneNote, although pleasant, does not have the same flair that Evernote does. Evernote appears more modern than OneNote.
Who Has More Tools?
OneNote has more note-creation tools than Evernote. Evernote has the usual text formatting tools, and it allows you to embed tables, files, and pictures on your notes. You can use electronic “ink” on them if you have a touch device with a pen. Also, you can record audio and video as part of your notes. Plus, you can set reminders on notes with dates you’d like to receive email and in-app notifications. However, it cannot review the edits of others like OneNote.
Evernote has the best web clipping tool of all the note-taking apps. The device is a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera. The features will vary from browser to browser, and I would recommend the Chrome version as it is the most robust and can handle even the most complex web pages.
Click the Evernote Icon on Your Browser to Capture
Evernote icon will reside on your browser, so when you find a page that you want to capture, just click that icon. You have choices when capturing the content. You can catch just an article itself without capturing the ads and other necessary material. You can also capture a “simplified article,” which is just text and the graphics without the original layout or videos. Another option is capturing the full page as you see it or capturing only a bookmark to that page. Plus, you can capture just a screenshot of the page.
Send the content to someone through email?
Do you want to capture the content of a Gmail message? Well, Evernote web clipper will let you do just that.
Add Tags and Notes Easily
When clipping from the web, you can add tags and notes. You also have the option to select which notebook you want to add the content to or create a new notebook on the fly. Besides, the clipper has markup tools when you capture screenshots to annotate what you are capturing by adding text, highlighting, arrows, or drawing on it. Do you want to share the clip with someone? Well, Evernote has you covered as well. Click the share button, and you can share the note with colleagues or share a link to the source through email or social media.
Content is Live
After capturing the content, you can do even more with it. The text is live, meaning that you can copy it, paste to it, edit it, change any formatting, and so on. The links work as well. The only thing that is not live in the multimedia such as video. When you click on it, it will take you to the page where you captured the content.
Evernote has three tiers: Basic (free), Premium ($69.99 per year or $7.99 per month), and Business ($12 per person per month). With the free Evernote account, you can only sync between two devices and upload only 60MB of data each month. Evernote Premium adds more storage and features. For instance, you get business card scanning and digitizing, OCR on PDFs, documents, and images.
Which One Should You Use?
Evernote and OneNote are great note-taking tools with very different emphases and can be used for quite different purposes.
If you want to capture and organize content from the web you cannot beat Evernote. If you want to create notes from scratch and have them in well-organized notebooks, or if you are heavy Office 365 user, then OneNote is the way to go.
Personally, I am more impressed with Evernote than I am with OneNote. Evernote’s appearance is better than OneNote’s and Evernote just seemed easier to use to me. I was so impressed with Evernote that I would even be willing to pay for the service which is saying something.
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