OneNote vs. Evernote: Who’s the King of Note-Taking?

This comparison will help end the debate on whether you should choose OneNote vs. Evernote for your note-taking needs. Find out which app is for YOU.

Note-taking is important for everyone, be it students, employees, business owners, homemakers, and even writers!

As a writer, having a reliable note-taking app is very important so I can jot down any idea I suddenly get in my head and work upon it later. The two industry giants when it comes to note-taking are Microsoft OneNote and Evernote. 

In this post, we will compare both of these apps, and we shall be pitting them against each other to decide which one of the two is the best and which app YOU should use. We’ll be going through all the features, the UI, the pricing, and lots more! 

What is OneNote?

OneNote vs Evernote

OneNote is a note-taking app from Microsoft. It has powerful features, and it has an interface similar to other Microsoft apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. You’ve got the familiar ribbon, and the tools are also quite similar. 

The app is highly organized, divided into notebooks, sections, and pages. Moreover, it has a lot of powerful features like inserting audios, images, OCR, sync across devices, collaboration, etc.

OneNote vs. Evernote
OneNote is highly organized, divided into notebooks, sections, and pages

It automatically integrates with your OneDrive so that you can access your notes everywhere. It is a free-forever app, and you can also get more storage by upgrading to Office 365.

What is Evernote?

OneNote vs. Evernote
Evernote is regarded as the best app for note-taking

Evernote is an independent app for note-taking, organizing your life, task management, etc.

It is a web app and can be accessed on other devices also through their platform-specific app. It is regarded as the best app for note-taking and is an app that you must use to make your life better and increase your productivity. 

This app is also divided into various notebooks, and there are numerous options like sketching, text, audio, tables, code blocks, etc. It has a limited free version, and there are paid versions for more features. 

Accessibility

Note-taking is all about jotting down important tasks and ideas, and they can come at any time, anywhere. 

Hence it is essential that your note-taking app is available for many platforms and that it automatically syncs your notes so that they are accessible everywhere. 

You don’t want that you write a note on your phone and not have it sync through to your computer. 

When it comes to OneNote, it is available for Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Android, WearOS, Chromebooks, and you can also use it as a web app. 

OneNote automatically syncs across all your devices, and it is included with a free Microsoft account, which means you get 5GB of storage!

One thing to note is that OneNote has different versions for each platform. So, for example, some extra features are available on Windows that are not there on Mac, and some features are present in the mobile app that are not in the tablet app, and so on.

Evernote is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and a standalone web app. It also automatically syncs across all your devices, and you can create individual notes up to 25MB max. 

Winner: It’s a clear win for OneNote as it is available on so many devices, including your wrist!

Pricing Comparison

As I mentioned before, OneNote is available as a free-forever app and can be used with a free Microsoft account. You also get free 5GB of storage. The paid version is included with Office 365 that also adds 1TB of storage. Office 365 costs $69.99/year and $99.99/year, depending upon your plan choice. 

OneNote pricing
OneNote is available as a free-forever app and can be used with a free Microsoft account

The free and the paid plans have the same features. The only upgrade is going to be in the form of storage space. 

Evernote also has a free plan, but it’s pretty limited, and the paid plans start at $7.99/month and go till $9.99/month.

Evernote pricing
Evernote has a free plan, but it’s pretty limited

Winner: Tie

Ease of Use and Interface

OneNote

OneNote interface
OneNote has different modes for different tasks

When you open OneNote, you are greeted with the last note you were working on. At the top, you can find the ‘classic’ Microsoft ribbon housing all your tools and formatting options. OneNote has different modes for different tasks. The text mode is for writing text, the draw mode is for annotations, and the select mode is to select various parts of your notes.

For the organization, OneNote is divided into notebooks, sections, and pages. That enables you to be more organized, and you can find notes and other stuff quickly. For example, suppose you are a student. In that case, you can have one notebook for one subject, say Chemistry, one section within that notebook for each chapter, and individual pages for different topics within that chapter.

Interface-wise, OneNote is pretty easy to use, and I find it modern enough to make it a pleasure to use. 

One complaint with OneNote is that once you add annotations and highlighting over your text, the selection becomes very hard, and you select the wrong things leading to a lot of frustration.

Evernote

When you open the Evernote app on your computer, you are greeted with a home screen where you can see your recent and suggested notes, start a new scratchpad, and view some of your important documents, videos, images, or web content you clipped and saved. 

Evernote interface
The app is better looking and more modern than OneNote

One of the best things about Evernote is that the home screen is customizable, and you can add and remove widgets and suit it to your taste. 

From the app sidebar, you can find your notes, tasks, notebooks, and tags. Evernote is also divided into notebooks and notes. The app is better looking and more modern than OneNote and also feels easier to use. 

Winner: Evernote

Features

OneNote

Some of the most remarkable features of OneNote are:

  1. Web Clipping
  2. Search through notes
  3. Screen and audio recordings
  4. Password protection
  5. Note translation
  6. Tags for greater organization

Evernote

Evernote also has a lot of good features, the best ones being:

  1. Templates for faster note creation
  2. Sync across devices
  3. Web clipping
  4. Document scanning
  5. To-do tasks

Now let’s, deep-dive into some of the command and most used features of both the apps:

Web Clipping

Web clipping is the process of saving something you have seen on the web for later use. Both OneNote and Evernote support web clipping. 

Evernote has a handy web browser extension to save clips of PDFs and webpages. The app has different clipping options, allowing you to choose between different types of clips like full page, simplified article, article, bookmark, or screenshot. You can also save it to a notebook, add tags to it, and add remarks. Once you take the clip, it gets automatically synced with your notes. The syncing is also very fast and happens automatically.

Evernote web clipping
Evernote has a handy web browser extension to save clips of PDFs and webpages

OneNote also offers an extension you can add. After adding it, you’ll have to sign in with your Microsoft account. OneNote has four options for clipping a page: full page, region, article, and bookmark. And you can also choose your notebook and section. The full-page clip was taking very long and producing errors for me, although other modes were working. Once you take the clip, it gets automatically updated on both desktop and web OneNote. 

OneNote web clipping
OneNote also offers an extension you can add

Winner: Evernote’s web clipping is better and feels smoother. All the modes work, and there are more options than OneNote. It also feels more polished and modern. The clip was also better formatted and inserted than OneNote. 

Search

When your notes get too big, searching through them easily is very important. Evernote offers searching through text, handwritten notes, and tags.

OneNote offers searching through text, handwritten notes, and words in images. It also allows you to search through all notebooks, current notebooks, sections, or pages. 

Writing and Formatting Options

In the OneNote editor, you have similar options to MS Word for formatting your text like Bold, Italics, Subscript, Superscript, Lists, Indentations, etc.

OneNote writing and formatting options
OneNote editor have similar options to MS Word for text formatting

You can also add tables, files, printouts, pictures, screenshots, equations, audio recording, and annotations. 

On the other hand, Evernote supports text formatting like bold, italics, highlighting, font, lists, tasks, calendars, attachments, code blocks, audio recordings, sketches, and Google Drive. 

Evernote writing and formatting options
Evernote functions like a standard text editor

The OneNote editor works in a boxed layout where everything is a box, and this can sometimes lead to problems and frustrations, but there is no such thing in Evernote. It functions like a standard text editor. 

Winner: Evernote. Although OneNote and Evernote have the same features, Evernote executes them better.

Support

OneNote is owned by one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Microsoft, and as you might have guessed, the support isn’t really good. They have some self-help resources, and you can search on the web or YouTube if you face any issues, but I couldn’t find any live chat or email support.

Evernote, on the other hand, has pretty good support. There is extensive documentation, and a large number of help articles are present. Evernote also has a discussion forum to ask other users for solutions to your problems. Paid users can also file a support ticket with Evernote directly for a solution. 

Winner: Evernote

Security and Privacy

OneNote allows you to add passwords to your personal notes, hence making them very secure. Apart from that, Microsoft’s servers are some of the best and the most secure servers in the whole world, so the app is relatively safe to use in itself. 

Evernote claims to be a very secure app following all internet security protocols, using firewalls, VPNs, two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and SSL, but users have reported many security breaches with the app. 

Winner: OneNote

Pros of OneNote
  • Very accessible with apps for almost all platforms
  • Very generous free version with 5GB of free storage
  • Easy to use with the classic Microsoft app design
  • Different modes like text, drawing, highlighting
  • Great organization
  • Very secure
Cons of OneNote
  • Features are not very refined
  • Support is pretty much non-existent
Pros of Evernote
  • Very refined and modern UI
  • Customizable and personalized home screen to have a quick overview of some important tasks
  • Very refined features for note-taking along with a significant number of options
  • Great and responsive support
  • Nice organization for personal use
  • A very feature-rich notes-editor
Cons of Evernote
  • Expensive for a standalone note-taking app
  • Not the most secure
  • A minimal free version

Final Verdict: What’s For Who?

In the end, both the apps are good, and they are built for different types of people. So here’s what I would recommend:

If you are on a budget and don’t want to pay for another app, then OneNote is for you. It has all the features you would need to start effective note-taking. The implementation of some essential features is not very good, but they are pretty usable if you don’t make a fuss about it. If you already have an Office 365 subscription, then it’s even better as you get a ton of storage with it!

On the other hand, if you want the absolute best experience with note-taking, it has become an essential part of your daily life, and you find it worthy enough to spend your hard-earned cash on it, then Evernote is the best app for that! They have the most features. In addition, they are implemented very well and are packed into a very friendly feeling UI. 

That was for this comparison! I hope it helped you make a better choice between Evernote and OneNote and which note-taking tool is the best for you.

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