Tech note: Microsoft OneNote from the view of a long-time Evernote user

I’ve been comparing Evernote with OneNote for the first time, since I started the new Office 2016, and had some observations.

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 iPad 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.

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 was unable to view the imported notes on my Mac or in iOS. Or even online in OneDrive. So I gave up on that. Evernote has never had any syncing problems. On the other hand, I’ve never tried importing 1,800 notes to Evernote before.

I’m not sure what to use OneNote for. It seems perhaps better than EverNote for things like preparing class notes to project to a group 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 OneNote 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.

And it would be good if the Mac version of OneNote could catch up feature-wise with the Windows and iPad versions.


Tech note: Microsoft OneNote from the view of a long-time Evernote user — 2 Comments

  1. You are on MS Office 2016, Doug?
    Are you then, also on Windows 2015?
    One-note – is a cool thing, although I – pesonally – never really needed “it”.

    But then again, maybe I do – need it!
    Or EverNote.

    Be Well, Doug!

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