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Alternatives to Evernote?

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12 replies to this topic

#1 jaffar

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:53 PM

I've been a fan of Evernote for quite some time, and love the fact that I can sync my notes between my Mac, iPad, and iPhone. However, I can no longer live with the pervasive and ongoing problems with text mangling on the iPhone (if you haven't experienced this, consider yourself fortunate -- many of us have, see http://discussion.ev...roken-newlines/).

I want to use EN, I really really do. But I spend more time reformatting my notes due to the iPhone editor problem than I do actually using EN for what it was intended.

So I'm curious what alternatives EN users have found which will allow syncing notes/notebooks cross-platform. I've used SimpleNote in the past, and like it, but I'd like a little more functionality (like text formatting, links, pictures, etc) in my notes.

Any recommendations?

#2 jbenson2

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:54 PM

I think OneNote might be an up and comer. Their text formatting is much better.
They are getting their act together on syncing with multiplatform setups.
It runs on PC, the Web and Mobile devices.

One issue might be a problem in transferring stuff from Evernote to OneNote.

#3 Chris Burbridge

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

I am so ... confused, that they don't have a highlighter feature — like Kindle, like iBooks, like — well, any text note-taking app that was designed for research, etc.

I've often been confused over the years, why Evernote didn't just do a little better in terms of having a few basic formatting options. Not a ton, just a few basics, like GMail has — indent? And a highlighter, like Diigo has.

That is why, finally Google'ing "alternatives to Evernote". Sigh.

#4 BurgersNFries

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:36 PM

I am so ... confused, that they don't have a highlighter feature — like Kindle, like iBooks, like — well, any text note-taking app that was designed for research, etc.

I've often been confused over the years, why Evernote didn't just do a little better in terms of having a few basic formatting options.


Probably b/c Evernote's focus is not to be a note taker. It's focus has mainly been an information collection, organization & retrieval tool that works across a multitude of platforms.
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#5 nigelt

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:46 PM

So I'm curious what alternatives EN users have found which will allow syncing notes/notebooks cross-platform. I've used SimpleNote in the past, and like it, but I'd like a little more functionality (like text formatting, links, pictures, etc) in my notes.

Any recommendations?

I use Awesome Notes in conjuction with Evernote... but will probably dump EN just like I did Springpad and just stick with Awesome.. It does notes(with photos.drawing and location), todo all the usual..

#6 jbenson2

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:59 PM

I use Awesome Notes in conjuction with Evernote... but will probably dump EN just like I did Springpad and just stick with Awesome.. It does notes(with photos.drawing and location), todo all the usual..


Awesome Notes looks pretty, but it does not appear to be able to run in a Windows environment.
From their web site, it looks like it is limited to only the iPhone and iPod Touch.

#7 psionmark

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:18 PM

I think OneNote might be an up and comer. Their text formatting is much better.
They are getting their act together on syncing with multiplatform setups.
It runs on PC, the Web and Mobile devices.

One issue might be a problem in transferring stuff from Evernote to OneNote.


I haven't looked at this for a while, but just taken another look and the web app looks real good. Combined with the 25Gb I've got on SkyDrive and the companion iOS apps, this could be very useful.

#8 Jeff510

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:43 PM

I am so ... confused, that they don't have a highlighter feature — like Kindle, like iBooks, like — well, any text note-taking app that was designed for research, etc.

I've often been confused over the years, why Evernote didn't just do a little better in terms of having a few basic formatting options. Not a ton, just a few basics, like GMail has — indent? And a highlighter, like Diigo has.


I totally agree. A simple highlighter would be so great. To provide context for why you collected that information. To point out the important information. Seems like such a no brainer.

#9 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:45 PM

There are all sorts of great competitors. VoodooPad, Springpad, OneNote, SimpleNote, and even Google Docs come to mind. They share a great deal of overlap, but each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Which one you use depends a lot on what you aim to get out of the app.

In my case, I want an app that:
(1) can store everything in one place (PDFs, Word files, text, etc.),
(2) search through everything, anytime, anywhere, on any device
(3) can import and export information easily -- sharing is a nice plus

None of the competitors even comes close. I do research as well, but highlighters aren't part of it for me in dead tree books or in the digital world. Fortunately, for those of you who do use highlighters, the iPad and iPhone have them. See the exclamation mark :)

As for the formatting, I think the iPhone app has solved most (all?) of the major formatting problems with 4.2.2. You may want to give it a try.

I still have formatting issues in osx and ios, but as irritating as they are, the trade-offs involved in migrating to another service far outweigh any benefits. i am sure that all of evernote's platforms will overcome the formatting issues (personally, i am hoping for a plain text option someday) and everyone will get a highlighter. for now, i think only ios has the highlighter, though.

#10 BurgersNFries

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:04 PM

for those of you who do use highlighters, the iPad and iPhone have them. See the exclamation mark :)


And guess what...this is the iOS section... :)

So there you go.
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#11 JMichael

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:19 PM

There are all sorts of great competitors. VoodooPad, Springpad, OneNote, SimpleNote, and even Google Docs come to mind. They share a great deal of overlap, but each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Which one you use depends a lot on what you aim to get out of the app.

In my case, I want an app that:
(1) can store everything in one place (PDFs, Word files, text, etc.),
(2) search through everything, anytime, anywhere, on any device
(3) can import and export information easily -- sharing is a nice plus

None of the competitors even comes close.


GM, can't say that I fully agree with your assessment.

While I don't think that any of the Evernote competitors is currently as good overall as Evernote, IMO there are some that are competitive. And, in some cases, they actually provide more features, and a more stable in Note editing while providing more text formatting features.
  • Dropbox works across the same platforms (I think) as Evernote
  • Microsoft seems to be improving OneNote and making it available on more and more platforms
  • When you combine SkyDrive, Office 365, and OneNote Web you have a very powerful solution
    (if you haven't tried OneNote Web recently you might be surprised by how good it is)
  • Indications are that Google will continue to improve Google Drive, Google Docs, and make available on many platforms
Both Microsoft and Google have the resources to equal and even exceed Evernote if they choose do to so.
IMO, it is just a matter of time before one of them chooses to do so.

#12 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:32 PM


There are all sorts of great competitors. VoodooPad, Springpad, OneNote, SimpleNote, and even Google Docs come to mind. They share a great deal of overlap, but each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Which one you use depends a lot on what you aim to get out of the app.

In my case, I want an app that:
(1) can store everything in one place (PDFs, Word files, text, etc.),
(2) search through everything, anytime, anywhere, on any device
(3) can import and export information easily -- sharing is a nice plus

None of the competitors even comes close.


GM, can't say that I fully agree with your assessment.

While I don't think that any of the Evernote competitors is currently as good overall as Evernote, IMO there are some that are competitive. And, in some cases, they actually provide more features, and a more stable in Note editing while providing more text formatting features.
  • Dropbox works across the same platforms (I think) as Evernote
  • Microsoft seems to be improving OneNote and making it available on more and more platforms
  • When you combine SkyDrive, Office 365, and OneNote Web you have a very powerful solution
    (if you haven't tried OneNote Web recently you might be surprised by how good it is)
  • Indications are that Google will continue to improve Google Drive, Google Docs, and make available on many platforms
Both Microsoft and Google have the resources to equal and even exceed Evernote if they choose do to so.
IMO, it is just a matter of time before one of them chooses to do so.


hi. i began by saying that there are great competitors out there now. i actually really like a lot of the services. but, wouldn't you agree that none of them fit my three priorities (obviously, these will differ for each user)?

1) storing everything in one place. in my list, i think only google drive, voodoopad, and onenote make the cut.
2) searching everything, anytime, anywhere, on any device: none of them -- offline gdrive doesn't work, voodoopad doesn't search pdfs in iOS, and OneNote is not available on the Mac.
3) all of them seem pretty good at exporting, but of course, most lack the ability to email things to your account.

i think you are really not disagreeing with me at all, but speculating about the future, of which none of us knows anything!

but, ok, let's play. i have seen absolutely no indication that dropbox is planning to enable searching of content, that onenote will ever come to osx, that voodoopad will search pdfs, or that any of them will have viable offline apps on all the major platforms: osx, windows, android, and ios. there are some rumors about gdrive, but that project has been mostly rumors for years now. tremendous potential, but we still have yet to see a commitment to offline usability.

in the end, when you turn on any of your devices today, the one thing you can depend upon is evernote. at least, that is my experience. it's not perfect. you'll find lots and lots of threads and posts by me that chide evernote for its shortcomings and urge it to do this or that in order to improve the service. but, whatever its weaknesses, i maintain that none of the competitors even comes close to meeting my three criteria.

#13 BurgersNFries

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

(Emphasis mine)

in the end, when you turn on any of your devices today, the one thing you can depend upon is evernote. at least, that is my experience. it's not perfect. you'll find lots and lots of threads and posts by me that chide evernote for its shortcomings and urge it to do this or that in order to improve the service. but, whatever its weaknesses, i maintain that none of the competitors even comes close to meeting my three criteria.


And that's what it's all about. I pay at least $45/year for Evernote. (I often bump up my monthly allotment, since they've added that feature.) I also PAY for Dropbox b/c I use it a lot. I am regularly amazed how often the comparison between these two comes up b/c IMO, they are different animals. The only similarity they have is that they are cloud services. Same thing with Onenote, which I also use on occasion. The only thing comparing these services serves is to find what works best for each user. I suspect a lot of us use multiple services b/c no one service covers all the bases. If one works for you, then great! However, speculation as to whether or not another service will eventually overtake EN is really fruitless as well as droning on about how the lack of a highlighting feature will be the death of Evernote.

JMO. YMMV.
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