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A long-time Evernote user trying OneNote for Office 2016 for the first time



I've been comparing Evernote with OneNote for the first time and would love to see a few enhancements to Evernote.


The latest OneNote for Mac (a free app) is interesting, but also frustrating in many cases. It lags behind the Windows version. It even lags behind the iOS version! For example, there is no draw feature, while the iPad and Windows version let you annotate and add more things.

Also, even though OneNote has these nice "containers" you can move around, and generally much better formatting and image views than Evernote, you can't do simple things on the Mac, such as shift containers down to make space, which you can do in the Windows version.


One question I had is it really true you can't resize images in Evernote? At least make them bigger? I added an iPhone screenshot to a note, but it was so tiny I could barely see it. And the little blue ball at the bottom didn't help at all when I tried sliding it.

If I want to draw something I can do it in OneNote on my iPad and then see it sync in the note I'm editing on my Mac, but still... I think there is some way to do draw annotations in Evernote but I've never gotten it to work.

One advantage of OneNote for iOS is that you can keep all your synced notes offline for free, while that is a premium feature of Evernote. And there are no upload limits. On the other hand, I am a premium user of Evernote, so that makes no difference for me. The OneNote "copy text from a picture" feature is cool. It would be nice if Evernote added that.

There is also no really good way of importing your notes from Evernote to OneNote on the Mac. There is a 3rd party solution for this for Windows called "evernote2onenote". I tried it and it works, but then the syncing of the imported notes doesn't work well after that. So I gave up on that.

I'm not sure what to use OneNote for. It seems maybe better than EverNote for things like preparing class notes to project because of the containers, better formatting, and the ability to resize images. It doesn't have a true presentation mode like Evernote does, but the actual formatting of the notes is nicer.  I would really love to see better formatting in Evernote. In Evernote you can't even use tabs to align columns, which has always been a nuisance. In OneNote tabs automatically create tables, which is nice.

But I'm not sure it can replace Evernote as my catch-all free-form database, where I keep thousands of scraps of info I don't want to keep in my head.

Just sharing some thoughts,



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Hi Doug.  Welcome to the wonderful world of software comparisons - I sometimes have more than one app for some purposes because app a is good for capturing information,  but app b is better at conversions,  or HTML exports or some such.  Most of the Evernote issues you've listed have been raised before,  and (hopefully) are on an Evernote 'to-do' list somewhere.  It's mainly a question of 'wait and hope see'... ;)

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I find that I actually like Onenote MUCH more. However, the Onenote mobile app(s) need a serious UI makeover. Trying to move the same desktop look to the iPhone just doesn't work well. I like EN's UI much better on mobile and that's why I stick with it, as there were I spend most of my time.

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I also find I like Onenote for composing notes much much better than Evernote's flakey editor.  Evernote is fine if you note-taking is adjusted to a twitter mindset -- short quick notes, reminders and todo things.  If your note taking mindset is more than just short quick notes, Onenote's editor is far superior, especially the ability to move and resize images anywhere on the page.   Working with ideas and relationships benefits a lot from being able to move paragraphs and images around at whim.  (Big screen helps)


For those notes I want to be able to work with on my phone, though, I stick to the upper left hand corner.


On the other hand, Evernote's web clipper is far superior to any of the tools I've explored so far in Onenote.  Of course, every once in a while, attempting to grab a full page with Evernote results in pure garbage, particularly if you want to add your own text to the captured clipping after it is in Evernote.  However, using the article or simplified article usually works well.  Plus, Select All and copy from Evernote to paste into Onenote, especially of article clips, works well, and brings along any live links in the Evernote clipping.  


I will be migrating my work from Evernote to Onenote basically one note at a time, which is the review I've kept promising myself I would make.  However, I will continue to use Evernote as an enhanced bookmarking and research tool.  It is very nice to have the full article as I found it as well as the link telling me where I found it.  And even better, having live links in the clipped text and images rather than just an image of the page.  


The research panel that is available in Onenote isn't anywhere near as sophisticated at the one in Google Docs, but for the most part, when I want to save info from searches, evernote is a better place than Onenote, so I clip to evernote and might or might not copy to Onenote.  Copying the internal evernote page link to a Onenote page work -- it will open Evernote at the page linked to.


I hope Evernote continues to enhance their clipping technology.  It is the kind of tool that researchers need, particularly when no effort is spared to insure that ANY web page can be clipped.  In the past, that has been one of places where Evernote's user support excels, they do try to fix the web clipper when you report sites that won't clip properly.  

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I tried OneNote for Mac just now and hated it... I used it years ago (hundreds of years before Evernote was even conceived) and found it useful, but this incarnation is horrible to look at, clunky and slow.  I suppose the Windows version will be great, but the OS variation is quite horrible.


Evernote is by no means perfect - there are some serious formatting issues with EN - but it's a great deal faster than ON and with the tag system a much better way, in fact it seems a much more efficient way to organise notes... Then of corse theres the web clipping tool which is a deal breaker... so I'm sticking with EN for now.

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I just tried OneNote for the first time too; I'm a very long-time Evernote user, and just the other day I got _so_ frustrated by the abysmal formatting problems in EN (I was using the Windows client, and I couldn't get it to stop indenting after an indented paragraph, and _really_ was missing a Code style, and my bullet lists kept getting messed up) I thought ***** it, I'm going to try OneNote.


Turns out ON was _perfect_ for what I needed there; the note formatting is light-years ahead of EN, and it just works.  Text boxes, tables, styles, all gorgeous.  Drawing works as you'd expect and syncs across all devices (for me, Windows, Android phone/tablet and web).  You can turn ink into text and even math (!).  Ink mode on Android almost approaches LectureNotes, which for me is the gold standard of stylus-based note-taking on Android, with one giant caveat (below).


On the downside: ON's organization and menus are weird -- Evernote is much simpler and search is much better.  The Android version of ON completely lacks undo (!!!) which is kind of a showstopper, especially with ink.  Sync is slow and not controllable.  ON 2013 uses the weird "Office Ribbon" concept so most of the menus are gone or at least hidden, and the whole "MS Office" whitespace abomination.  There's almost no customizability the way EN has.  And Evernote's web clipper is so much better than ON's it's laughable.


What I really want is the love child of EN and ON -- Evernote's structure, UI, search and organization, and focus on productivity, with OneNote's underlying note storage and editing framework.  Evernote, if you just ripped out the note editor and replaced it, I'd be _so_ happy.  (And yes, markdown support would go part of the way there, but pictures, text boxes, ink are all important too for my "personal memory store".)

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I am comparing EN with OneNote to replace my premium EN account.

Main reason : Evernote brings the IOS limitations into the desktop, instead of the other way around.


The way EN handles tags is becoming unacceptable (no scroll lists, truncating)


And indeed, the editors are really a pain in the ...


Hope EN changes this philosophy very soon, or I am gone

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I am trying Onenote as well, but emphasis on trying and have had nothing but problems setting it up.


When trying to delete notebooks it states I have to go to onenote.com to do so. I go there and try to view what is in the notebook and am greeted with "Sorry we ran into a problem" when I use Safari. It works fine with Chrome, but I want to use Safari.


Also one of the best features of evernote is I can email anything to my evernote address and it will save it. With Onenote I have to add the emails I would use as an Alias, but when I tried to add my Gmail account and my work email account I ran into a few problems. My work uses Office 365 and is now considered an outlook.com email address and I cannot add it and it stated my Gmail account was already in use, but I checked the only two outlook/hotmail accounts I own and neither have them as aliases. 


I guess Onenote works well on PCs, but not so well on Macs and iPhones.

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We are moving to Office 365 in the next month, and I was curious about OneNote. I am an Evernote Premium member as well (simply because I rely on this for work, and therefore pay because I want evernote to be pa viable business), and the foundation is solid, but they need to make tagging better, editing better, and focus on productivity enhancements to the main app rather than garbage like an app to keep food photos in... Yes, I know they recently killed it, but that project should have never launched in the first place. 


Better to-do lists would be nice as well.


But poor mac support will doom OneNote for me, so I'll stay here for now. 


Uncle Bob

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One of the drawback of OneNote for Mac is that you cannot modify the attachments and save them directly. You would have to save another copy and paste to OneNote again and delete the old file.  

I like the logic behind OneNote very much, but I never used it seriously. 

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I have an Office 365 subscription as well, it's tempting to just switch to OneNote (ON) and save the $49 premium ever year. However, like many of you, I've become accustomed to EN's way of doing things. With respect to the ON vs. EN (or EN vs. ON) compare/contrast, it's been my experience on the Mac...

  • EN is much faster at syncing than ON is, regardless of the net connection (100Mbps up/down?). Data uploads are near-instant while ON is constantly caught between "Preparing to Sync" and "Syncing..."
  • EN allows me to annotate and/or edit (via Preview) PDFs while ON has a confabulation of the original document in addition to the original attachment (which cannot be edited or annotated). Granted, ON lets you annotate wherever you want on their "open canvas" but good luck if you need a printed copy.
  • Printing on EN is much more consistent than with ON. I have to pinch-to-zoom the canvas to get where I need to be, and then resize the whole bloody thing to get it to print on a single page. EN just prints the PDF and/or document, no issues.
  • ON requires me to share an entire notebook; EN lets me share the notebook, or individual note.

Those are just a few of the drawbacks/advantages I've seen.

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But compared to to ON and EN on windows 10 mobile ON wins the game by ease of use. EN in windows mobile has been a bad nightmare for me. Why suffer after paying for EN plus better stay with ON. And now the good part it is free. Ya the functionality is different from evernote but a good user experience beats it all.

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ON makes more "beautiful" notes - EN lets you find your information - thats my summary. Finding information is much more important to me.

Esp. tags and saved searches with those tags are very powerful in EN. As well as GPS location of a notes - VERY useful to plan rides, walks, travel, etc.

And to have reminders in EN is also an important fearure - missing in ON.

Folder, tabs and sections to organize the notes in ON is completely out-dated (my personal opinion).

EN finally should consolidate annotating, sketching and digital ink (Penultimate) into one tool - that would be great...ever tried to annotate a PDF with handwritten notes using EN and Penultimate? A NIGHTMARE!

I'm using EN (and tested ON) on Apple systems only.

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Searching on mobile is a pain in ON. Not so on the desktop version

However, switching to ON, I combined notebooks into sections and have consolidated it nicely. Also, the export/import process got me to delete quite a few notes I had forgotten I no longer needed (a few hundred I am sure). Consolidation makes searching on mobile easier since there are now fewer "notebooks" in play,

Prefer my stylus with ON to EN right now.

Prefer ON organizational concept better.

ON will catch up. The space is getting hotter while EN seems to be getting slower and further away from productivity (the once upon a time folks who wanted to be everyone's brain).

EN applications are tighter, prefer the ON options. 

Oh. and I no longer have to shell out extra money with ON


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