Evernote vs OneNote for Mac users – Mac OneNote is buggy, plus there are cross-device search problems

Now that there is an Evernote to OneNote importer for the Mac, the idea of using just OneNote was appealing. While I find Evernote useful for “all sorts of misc data” it is a poor tool for note taking, or anything you want to use for presentations or which requires formatting – such as the class notes I use every Sunday. I’ve been using OneNote for that instead and find it great for editing. And the support is good. I had an editing issue and Microsoft support helped me out right away.

Also, a one-year personal subscription to Office 365 is $69.99, the same as a one-year Evernote professional subscription. Onenote by itself is free even without a subscription, but the subscription also includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage. The free version of OneNote also includes several features only available to paid Evernote users.

Anyway, I tried it, but unfortunately it didn’t work out as well as I thought it would.

Importing from Evernote and initial searching issues

After importing about 2,000 notes from Evernote to OneNote on my Mac it was difficult to find notes on my Mac and iPhone. For example, I was looking for one note titled “Filemaker info” on my Mac. It didn’t come up in search, but I finally found buried in a section called “Pages 1201Plus” that the importer automatically created. Why did the importer need to create all those sections in my notebook? I was perfectly happy without them. (There is no “merge sections” feature either).

It turns out you need to “open” each notebook one-by-one, which is very cumbersome, to get it to sync on any device, including your Mac. After doing that search works ok, but unlike Evernote, OneNote does not automatically search on the server from iOS devices.


Crashing Mac OneNote Client

The Mac client is also too buggy to be used now, so I’ll give up for the time being. Certain imported notes which open fine in (1) Evernote, (2) onenote.com and (3) iPhone OneNote cause the Mac OneNote client to crash. I can’t even delete them without OneNote crashing. Even pasting manually from Evernote to a new note caused Mac OneNote to crash. Two Support tech people tried to help and couldn’t.

Searching on my iPhone

Also, searching on iOS devices doesn’t search the server contents, unlike Evernote. So search doesn’t work well across devices.

It’s disappointing, because there are many things I like about OneNote as well, such as the better formatting and the better structure.

But if it crashes and doesn’t search the server from all my devices then it isn’t really usable right now.

I’ll continue to use Evernote for now as my “main repository of all my bits of data” and use OneNote just for preparing some class notes, because of the better formatting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.