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Evernote vs Onenote (comparison/review 2016)

This is a review by a real Evernote user who switched to Microsoft Onenote.

Evernote Microsoft Onenote

Terminology Notebooks Notebooks
Tags groups that appear as tabs
Notes Pages

Platforms Windows
Mac OS X
Web login
Mac OS X

Free account limitations Can sync up to only two devices (since summer 2016) No limitations

Sharing You can share notes with others You cannot share pages with others, but only whole notebooks. Not very convenient.

Syncronisation between devices Almost instant synchronisation Extremely slow sync. Each notebook of Onenote is stored as a file on your onedrive account.

Offline access Only in paid Evernote plans Yes

Working via the browser If you are doing updates on a note, you might see that some of your updates go into a completely new note instead of updating the existing note. As a result when you finish your updates you might see in the list of notes, several notes (like the past history) of the same note. This is probably a kind of connection bug of evernote.

Migrating from one to the other A migration tool exists that takes all the Evernote content and imports it to Onenote. You must synchronise the installed Evernote before the migration

Quick access to your recent content Notes are listed in reverse chronological order. You see on the top of the list your recent updates. Old entries fall to the bottom. Very convenient. No chronological sorting available. Some extra software is needed to achieve this, but only on Windows.
View all notes of one Notebook (because you do not remember how you named the note) Yes Not possible. You have to visit all tabs (groups) to look for your note (page)
A list of all notes from all Notebooks (because you do not remember how you named the note and in which notebook you stored it). Yes Not possible. You have to open all notebooks and then all tabs to look for your note. Notes are not sorted chronologically so you will have to look at all of them. Very inconvenient.

Size of the program (Size measured on an iPad. The size ratio would be similar for all other devices) 100 Mb 250 Mb

Time needed to send a page URL to a note (waiting time while the program picks information from the web page and until the "send" button becomes active) 5 sec 15+ sec (it looks as unresponsive)

Conclusion Evernote is very a mature product, a leader in its category.
If you do not mind paying the annual fee, go and stay with Evernote.
Onenote looks like it has been developed to simply match Evernote and compete with it. But the Microsoft team does not seem to understand the actual use of the product. They just copy the "leader" without understanding the decisions behind each feature. See the lack of sorting by "update date", the lack of a list of all notes (regardless of their notebook or group container), the lack of sharing individual notes.
Onenote's benefit is that it is free.


Google Keep

In 2020, you should also try Google Keep.
- Android and IOS apps
- Web interface on Desktop computers
- No limits
- Automatically removed font sizes and colours so the final note is like plain text
- Supports bullets, tables, imag