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mac Why is Evernote so weak compared to OneNote?

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There's an elephant in the room and I'm going to describe it. I've been using Evernote religiously for about 3 years and do all my notes, reminders, todo's etc with it. The main reason I'm so into it is because I switch devices and platforms ALOT. But you know what? Honestly, I feel like Evernote SUCKS compared to OneNote in terms of actual usability.

 

I used OneNote a long time ago. I don't remember what version it was maybe 2003 or 2007... all I remember is that it was the BEES KNEES! I could add anything to anywhere. I could click on a point and just start typing, I could do all these different fonts quickly, I could make all types of lists. I could shove in media, and link things to other things. I could make any note look just how I wanted.

 

When I switched to EverNote, everything was a struggle. I couldn't put stuff where I wanted. Tables and lists, were a struggle and felt so limited. Taking notes in University was HARD. When the instructor would diagram stuff it was a computer science challenge to get it to look similar in my EverNote note.

 

So before everyone comes to the EverNote defence here. I'm not saying EverNote is no good as a product. I can get a lot done. And I understand a lot of people have specific uses and don't need a lot of features that OneNote would beat EverNote at. BUT, I feel like EverNote has known about OneNote for such a long time, EverNote has been almost king of the hill for such a long time. Why can't you just duplicate the best of OneNote so we can do all the same things?

 

Please. Why do people even have to make the EverNote vs. OneNote comparison anymore? Just jack their best features and blow them out of the water...

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Sadly Evernote doesn't seem to major on the text editing experience. But, like you, the "your stuff anywhere" benefit is important to me.

 

It seems to be left to third parties to do stuff with text. Maybe text isn't exotic enough. :-)

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Well Evernote has one clear advantage/disadvantage over Onenote. It is available on a multitude of platforms - this is great it means you can get your data everywhere and it's bad because it means that they have to support a very wide range of devices and specifications.

 

If you like them both and they are both good for doing different things, then why not use both? I absolutely don't subscribe to the theory that you should only use one app for everything. Use the best tool for each job and you'll get the best experience all round.

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The "use both" @Metrodon would have us partitioning our data in an unnatural way: Into stuff that wants decent editing and stuff that wants to be accessed across multiple devices.

 

I think I'd discern three issues:

 

  • A slightly underwhelming XML grammar: While not visible as such to most users it limits what can be expressed.
  • A somewhat underwhelming editing experience - on all platforms.
  • A conservative approach to how you can edit the data programmatically - without jumping through (in my view) unnecessary hoops. For example Enscript and Mac capabilities that don't allow you to update a note but force you to create a new copy with the edits in.

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Hi sportbike and welcome to the forum,

 

I guess it is all about preferences and likes. 

 

I was a OneNote user for several years and until I found EverNote thought it was great. But for me OneNote is note ever remotely near EverNote in terms of usability.

 

Of course both products could be better, but give me EverNote any day. I would hate it if they tried to make it like the MS offering.

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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The "use both" @Metrodon would have us partitioning our data in an unnatural way: Into stuff that wants decent editing and stuff that wants to be accessed across multiple devices.

 

I think I'd discern three issues:

 

  • A slightly underwhelming XML grammar: While not visible as such to most users it limits what can be expressed.
  • A somewhat underwhelming editing experience - on all platforms.
  • A conservative approach to how you can edit the data programmatically - without jumping through (in my view) unnecessary hoops. For example Enscript and Mac capabilities that don't allow you to update a note but force you to create a new copy with the edits in.

 

 

I'm not saying Evernote is perfect by any stretch, but of course there are going to be differences between apps that are built for 'decent editing' and apps that are built for quick note capture.

 

Every time I see a post on here from people who are trying to write books or create beautiful docs in Evernote then the first thing that springs to mind is that they have either been oversold (evernote's marketing and PR is very good) or they just haven't done enough research into what Evernote is.

 

Evernote provides a very very very simple text editing experience, there's been some indication over the last few weeks that there are moves to improve this. But Evernote isn't Word, or Pages or Scrivener, the text editor is designed to quickly capture text and really not much else.

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Agreed that Evernote's strength is simple notes. Two points...

 

  • Even at that job the shoe pinches sometimes.
  • The flow of information from e.g a quick note to a presentation is unpredictable and should be as friction free as possible.
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There's an elephant in the room and I'm going to describe it. I've been using Evernote religiously for about 3 years and do all my notes, reminders, todo's etc with it. The main reason I'm so into it is because I switch devices and platforms ALOT. But you know what? Honestly, I feel like Evernote SUCKS compared to OneNote in terms of actual usability.

 

I used OneNote a long time ago. I don't remember what version it was maybe 2003 or 2007... all I remember is that it was the BEES KNEES! I could add anything to anywhere. I could click on a point and just start typing, I could do all these different fonts quickly, I could make all types of lists. I could shove in media, and link things to other things. I could make any note look just how I wanted.

 

When I switched to EverNote, everything was a struggle. I couldn't put stuff where I wanted. Tables and lists, were a struggle and felt so limited. Taking notes in University was HARD. When the instructor would diagram stuff it was a computer science challenge to get it to look similar in my EverNote note.

 

So before everyone comes to the EverNote defence here. I'm not saying EverNote is no good as a product. I can get a lot done. And I understand a lot of people have specific uses and don't need a lot of features that OneNote would beat EverNote at. BUT, I feel like EverNote has known about OneNote for such a long time, EverNote has been almost king of the hill for such a long time. Why can't you just duplicate the best of OneNote so we can do all the same things?

 

Please. Why do people even have to make the EverNote vs. OneNote comparison anymore? Just jack their best features and blow them out of the water...

 

 

If you think Evernote sucks, then you clearly should stay with OneNote.

 

I am Evernote Premium (over three years now) and have used OneNote for many years. I currently also have ON 2010. I use EN pretty much every waking hour (average of) in one way or another. IMO, Onenote is better for brainstorming & bigger picture things. IE, when brainstorming a project for work, I normally use ON to store copies of emails from everyone involved, research I may have done on a product (IE on the web) as well as notes as to whether this product will do what I think it might, research I did on our existing code to see what will need to be modified, etc. But, IMO, it's overkill for things like addresses, birthdays/anniversaries, remembering things I may want to buy or someone I know may want to buy, smaller work issues/notes/memos, etc.

So Evernote is used to store things like bills, correspondence, notes regarding smaller issues/problems at work, notes about what I can & cannot feed one of our dogs who is on kidney diet (for renal failure), etc. We purchased a home in June 2011. It was bank owned & the settlement statement shows a deduction for taxes from 1/1/11 through 6/27/11. I'm *still* arguing with the county on this b/c they are charging us for the full year, rather than for 6/28/11 - 12/31/11. I use EN to keep the notes about who/what & when I talked to someone about this, including scans of the bills I'm receiving, the dates/times/phone numbers & names of the people I talked to.

In a nutshell, I do not consider ON & EN as competitors. I use ON occasionally & EN pretty much every single waking hour. (Really!) B/c I even have some emails auto forwarded to my EN account & often send photos from my iPhone or iPad to EN.

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Well Evernote has one clear advantage/disadvantage over Onenote. It is available on a multitude of platforms - this is great it means you can get your data everywhere and it's bad because it means that they have to support a very wide range of devices and specifications.

 

That's changing (even MS can learn a trick or two) The value add and differentiators are beginning to tighten. It will be interesting to see how it all falls out in the end and what clever things EN does and what MS does to drive its business.

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Well Evernote has one clear advantage/disadvantage over Onenote. It is available on a multitude of platforms - this is great it means you can get your data everywhere and it's bad because it means that they have to support a very wide range of devices and specifications.

 

That's changing (even MS can learn a trick or two) The value add and differentiators are beginning to tighten. It will be interesting to see how it all falls out in the end and what clever things EN does and what MS does to drive its business.

 

 

I found EverNote because I wanted OneNote to work on multi platform. It supposedly works on the iPad for which I paid £25. 

 

It never worked and in the end I searched for an alternative, then found EverNote.

 

Perhaps MS might get it right in the future?

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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I've played with OneNote a little. Nothing about it jumped out at me as amazing. To be honest, I'm not sure anything about Evernote jumped out at me when I first started playing around with it either. But, I've yet to find any program that matches Evernote in it's ability to work on every platform I need it to work on. That remains the deal breaking feature for me. I've posted publicly a multiple times: Evernote isn't a very good text editor. And I don't care. Text editing programs, good ones, are a dime a dozen on every platform. Programs to store and retrieve a vast array of data from a variety of platforms are quite rare.

For text editing on iOS devices, I use Drafts. It supports Markdown (which I don't use) and TextExpander (which I use extensively). It's beautiful and fast. Two taps will put whatever I wrote in Evernote.

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@megsaint Ah but it's the round-tripping through Evernote and <insert-your-fave-editor-here> that's the bear. Else nobody would care about the Evernote editor.

 

But for some people round-tripping doesn't happen: They compose a note in their fave editor and into Evernote it goes - for posterity.

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And it keeps coming back to - Best Tool For The Job.

 

Want to write something beautifully formatted - use Pages (save the file in Evernote if you want available on other devices).

 

Want to write something really long - use Scrivener, it's exactly what it's built for.

 

Want to make a quick note - use Evernote.

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OneNote recently(ish) got an upgrade and can do more interesting things these days,  but as long as Evernote works for me I'm not about to even make the effort of checking how many ticks the two apps can score.  If I need Evernote to do something and find that it can't,  I'd look at OneNote next.  Meantime I have a deadline to meet - and Christmas is coming...

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@megsaint Ah but it's the round-tripping through Evernote and <insert-your-fave-editor-here> that's the bear. Else nobody would care about the Evernote editor.

But for some people round-tripping doesn't happen: They compose a note in their fave editor and into Evernote it goes - for posterity.

It doesn't seem like a bear, large or small, to me. Evernote is find for minor editing. But then, I'm not one of those people who counts steps in a process and spends time trying to whittle them down to the smallest possible number. Good enough is good enough for me. ;-)

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Thanks for all the opinions and informative replies. :)

 

I just want to point out a lot of people are thinking Evernote as it is vs OneNote as it is, and then it becomes a comparison of compromises. Do I need cross-platerform? Do I need integration with my Office products? etc etc. In this view, yeah then it's best tool for the job I guess.

 

But what I'm saying is why can't we look at things in terms of potential features and then I'm wondering why EverNote lacks them. Evernote went BETA 2008, that was more than 5 years ago. As a new kid on the block, I can see them saying "let's go cross-platform", people need that. We can be simple and that will be good enough because it will be easy to use. There's no point waiting to launch the product when people can use it RIGHT now. But after you enter the market you gotta continuously evolve.

 

In the 5+ years since they released, I don't see why they can't have added the powerful features of OneNote. Yes, some people don't like them, but that could be as simple as adding a toggle on the menu-bar saying <Rich Text> or something to that effect that will give people the option. You can always choose not to take advantage of features in a program, but as a user you can't ADD them.

 

Right now, EverNote is missing a lot of OneNote features. OneNote is missing the cross-platform component. For OneNote, AFAIK they are invested in Windows so they didn't want to go cross-platform, but if they did they could do it like almost tomorrow; it wouldn't take them 5 years. I understand EverNote probably has less resources, but I'm not sure why they don't add the BEST of OneNote in 5+ years.

 

Anyways, IMO if MS even cared about this market segment and decided to go cross-platform they would destroy EverNote and most people would jump-ship, and those who didn't would eventually jump ship also because of the pressure of everyone else jumping ship and features that would spawn from a high market adoption. EverNote could easily just avoid this doomsday by getting better. So I'm not sure what their programmers are up to.... ?

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Thanks for all the opinions and informative replies. :)

 

I just want to point out a lot of people are thinking Evernote as it is vs OneNote as it is, and then it becomes a comparison of compromises. Do I need cross-platerform? Do I need integration with my Office products? etc etc. In this view, yeah then it's best tool for the job I guess.

 

But what I'm saying is why can't we look at things in terms of potential features and then I'm wondering why EverNote lacks them. Evernote went BETA 2008, that was more than 5 years ago. As a new kid on the block, I can see them saying "let's go cross-platform", people need that. We can be simple and that will be good enough because it will be easy to use. There's no point waiting to launch the product when people can use it RIGHT now. But after you enter the market you gotta continuously evolve.

 

In the 5+ years since they released, I don't see why they can't have added the powerful features of OneNote. Yes, some people don't like them, but that could be as simple as adding a toggle on the menu-bar saying <Rich Text> or something to that effect that will give people the option. You can always choose not to take advantage of features in a program, but as a user you can't ADD them.

 

Right now, EverNote is missing a lot of OneNote features. OneNote is missing the cross-platform component. For OneNote, AFAIK they are invested in Windows so they didn't want to go cross-platform, but if they did they could do it like almost tomorrow; it wouldn't take them 5 years. I understand EverNote probably has less resources, but I'm not sure why they don't add the BEST of OneNote in 5+ years.

 

Anyways, IMO if MS even cared about this market segment and decided to go cross-platform they would destroy EverNote and most people would jump-ship, and those who didn't would eventually jump ship also because of the pressure of everyone else jumping ship and features that would spawn from a high market adoption. EverNote could easily just avoid this doomsday by getting better. So I'm not sure what their programmers are up to.... ?

 

 

Evernote strives to be multi platform.  I'm guessing at least one reason MS ON is so far behind EN regarding cross platform compatibility is that it's not an easy task to take all the ON bells & whistles & make them work well across all the platforms EN lives on.  It's really easy for users to make determinations that something should be "easy" to implement.  When you're in the trenches, the reality is much different.

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The elephant in the room is, OneNote does a much better job of syncing across multiple devices. I would say that Evernote is better in terms of cross-platform compatibility, and basic usability....I think Evernote should NOT try to keep up with OneNote in terms of features...that is where their development effort is probably going wrong. What they should FIX in their catastrophically BROKEN application is the complete UNRELIABILITY of syncing issues. I won't even go into details, the elephant IS in the room. STUPID things happen far too often with Evernote, that can't be dismissed as "user error". There is something fundamentally WRONG in the way they are doing things. That is why I am being DRIVEN back to OneNote because, in spite of the fact that the interface is more clunky, at least I can RELY on OneNote to be consistent. I cannot rely on Evernote for that...it has been spectacularly FALLIBLE, and I will not waste my breath on my own personal anecdotes, it is a waste of my time.

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The elephant in the room is, OneNote does a much better job of syncing across multiple devices. I would say that Evernote is better in terms of cross-platform compatibility, and basic usability....I think Evernote should NOT try to keep up with OneNote in terms of features...that is where their development effort is probably going wrong. What they should FIX in their catastrophically BROKEN application is the complete UNRELIABILITY of syncing issues. I won't even go into details, the elephant IS in the room. STUPID things happen far too often with Evernote, that can't be dismissed as "user error". There is something fundamentally WRONG in the way they are doing things. That is why I am being DRIVEN back to OneNote because, in spite of the fact that the interface is more clunky, at least I can RELY on OneNote to be consistent. I cannot rely on Evernote for that...it has been spectacularly FALLIBLE, and I will not waste my breath on my own personal anecdotes, it is a waste of my time.

Good LUCK with FINDING an app that better SUITS your NEEDS.

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I'm a heavy Evernote user across multiple devices, now maybe I'm lucky but I haven't had a sync issue for years. I can't even remember the last time I had a conflicting note.

Now again, maybe I'm lucky but I also do everything I can to help myself and the application. I sync often, I sync when I'm finished working on a device and I take some notice of where I am and what connectivity I have. In an ideal world I could use the app and not have to worry about anything, but the world isn't perfect and so I try and take some responsibility for myself and my data.

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I too use Evernote, 1000+ notes, on 4 devices. Nary a sync problem to be found in 3 years. Conflicted notes, sure, when I'm careless, but that's quickly resolved...

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I too use Evernote, 1000+ notes, on 4 devices. Nary a sync problem to be found in 3 years. Conflicted notes, sure, when I'm careless, but that's quickly resolved...

Same here.

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I only use four different devices and three different platforms. Maybe that's why I don't have any syncing issues. 

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5 devices and just broke 11,500 notes.  it just works despite my occasional grumblings (features not performance)...

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Now that OneNote is now free (or at least 90% of it) and available for Mac and iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows mobile devices, what are EN's strengths? Web clipping? Third party integration? Import/Export? More features without a Premium account? What do you think?

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Now that OneNote is now free (or at least 90% of it) and available for Mac and iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows mobile devices, what are EN's strengths? Web clipping? Third party integration? Import/Export? More features without a Premium account? What do you think?

OneNote on iPad is very limited. E. g. no way to move text containers -> nogo.

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After reading all the posts here, very good discussion by the way, a few thoughts come to mind ... The more features, cross-platform and compatibility become a lumming beast of burdon . The best features of EverNote by far are the Web-Clipping and OCR as I donot like the fact that OneNote brings the sites in as an uneditable image, HUGE pain for myself on my 5 devices and 3 platforms ... However, I do tend to stick to the OSX & iOS platforms for Audio, Photo and Video tasks ...

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I think we'd all like Evernote to avoid bells and whistles and concentrate on reliably storing and finding on any platform..

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I know this is an old chain but it's over a year later and the answer to me is that OneNote doesn't allow me to visually see things that have been clipped well on my iPhone.  Evernote simplifies and allows me to read pdf much easier than OneNote does.

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