Which is better? Evernote and OneNote compared


On and off I have used Evernote for many years, if I’m not mixing up my years, I think I have used Evernote for more than 8 years now. I have just started using OneNote from Microsoft – it hasn’t even been a couple of weeks. So I’m going to tell you which is better based on my experience with both Evernote and OneNote and I have compared them by the benchmark of the features that I use. There might be hundreds of features that I have never tried out so I have no idea whether they work better in Evernote or OneNote but, since I have started using OneNote when I had been using Evernote for many years, I must have found something in OneNote that I couldn’t find in Evernote.

In case you are wondering what’s Evernote and what’s OneNote, at least you can make out by the names that they must be note-taking apps, and they are. They’re much advanced compared to let’s say Google Keep, although for many needs Google Keep is perfect and there is no need to use Evernote and OneNote. Google Keep is very light and totally no-nonsense. Both Evernote and OneNote have their quirks despite the massive collection of features that they give you. Again, not everybody wants or needs all these features.

My views on Evernote


Evernote has been there perhaps since the mid-2000’s and I have had phases of using it and not using it. While beginning to use OneNote and importing all my old Evernote notes, I realized that I had saved more than 1200 notes!

Evernote can be used as a standalone desktop application. You can go to the Evernote.com website and use the software there. To quickly save information while browsing the Internet, there is also a browser add-on that you can use that allows you to save the entire page, click a portion or save a stripped-down version without the header and navigation.

The information organization scheme of Evernote includes

  1. Individual notes
  2. Notebooks in which you save notes
  3. Stacks in which you save notebooks

You can also associate tags with individual note so that when you need to find a particular note, you can quickly search for a tag. A tag also comes handy when you’re saving information on the Internet and you don’t have time to navigate to a particular stack and then a particular notebook. In fact, some Evernote veterans suggest that there is no need to create notebooks and stacks. Simply create notes in the root notebook and keep assigning tags. There is no need to create stacks in order to create notebooks.

So why I stopped using Evernote if it is so great?

Small answer: I found a better alternative in OneNote.

The bigger answer is, I couldn’t save information the way I wanted to save. There is no way to arrange individual notes manually. They are arranged by Evernote by time of creation. I faced lots of problems while trying to maintain a schedule using Evernote and even while working on my book. I definitely needed to arrange notes manually – I should be able to drag them up and down in whichever way I want. This is something I found in OneNote, and something else.

Why I started using OneNote?

I was using a premium version of Evernote and OneNote comes free with my Office365 subscription. That was one reason but definitely not the only reason and I would have kept using Evernote if I hadn’t found the feature that I had been wanting in Evernote – the ability to arrange individual notes manually!

So, there are two reasons why I started using OneNote and stopped using Evernote:

  1. OneNote comes free with my Office365 subscription (for which I pay a monthly fee)
  2. I can manually arrange my notes unlike in Evernote

My views on OneNote


OneNote is a robust product if you’re using it on your PC. On my Android phone, it was clunky. I’m using “was” because after a while I stopped using it on my phone and eventually uninstalled it, it was that terrible. But I normally don’t use OneNote on my phone. On the phone I use Google Keep because it is very light and it is very easy to save information on Google Keep notes. On my mobile phone I didn’t even use Evernote. On my Mi Pad although I have installed OneNote, I haven’t yet used it extensively. Most of the time I’m working on my PC and it is here that I need to save and organize information as well as my schedule. Yes, talking about schedule.

Maintaining a schedule is a nightmare in Evernote but it is a breeze in OneNote and the reason is the way OneNote organizes information. The scheme that OneNote uses is:

  1. Individual notes
  2. Tabs
  3. Notebooks

The flow of information organization is almost the same but adding notebooks to a stack is not an option. You create a new notebook. Within that note you create    a tab, and then you start adding notes to the tab.

Let’s suppose you want to create a scheduler for yourself. This is how you would do:

  1. Create a new notebook called “Scheduler”
  2. Within the “Scheduler” you create months tabs like “January 2017”, “February 2017″… “December 2017”
  3. Then within those tabs you can create individual days (notes) such as “January 1, 2017”, “January 2, 2017”, and so on and then create a list of checkboxes for your schedule.

Another good thing about OneNote is you can add information in a note anywhere within the page. Just click whenever your cursor is and start entering information. It’s a paper notebook simulation.

Comparing Evernote and OneNote

Both Evernote and OneNote have their pluses and minuses and as I have written above, there are some features that you may find useful in Evernote and there are some features that you may find indispensable in OneNote, just like I did. Whether you like its features or not, Evernote is solid product and it works quite well across all platforms. OneNote on the other hand, although works well on the PC and also within the browser, it doesn’t work well in the mobile environment. Also, the browser add-on for Evernote was much better than the browser add-on for OneNote.

About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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