Not too long ago I noticed that there were a number of Microsoft Office tools that I never use. Some of them I simply don’t need (like anything to do with drawing or photo editing) and others I never tried because I have other apps to fulfill their function. However, like many people I have my Microsoft suited synced to my phone, so it seemed a waste not to give some of them a try.
The first was OneNote.
If you don’t know, OneNote is a note taking app that you can sync across all of your devices. It has a bunch of great features that allow you to organize your notes, pictures, drawings, and ideas and then share them with others. It’s great for collaborative work or for brainstorming.
Almost all of the features you can find in OneNote are also available in Evernote Plus, Evernote’s paid upgrade ($25/year). While these features come at no extra charge in OneNote you still have to PURCHASE Microsoft Office, so we’ll ignore price for now.
What makes OneNote different is that it functions just like a notebook, allowing you to make tabs and pages in individual notebooks. And yeah, it’s a little faster than Evernote. If you are invested in your Microsoft suite then you will be happy to see how seamlessly it syncs across all of the other apps. But that’s about it.
I’m an android user so its safe to say that Google owns me. I love my Google Drive for projects that are in-progress (completed projects get saved to OneDrive) because I can literally work on them from anywhere, using my phone or any other device. Which is why when I realized you could sync your Google Drive with Evernote, I lost my mind. Why? My two favorite things join forces to become one?
Drive is a workhorse, great for office productivity. Create charts, spreadsheets, files, graphs, pages and then share them without ever leaving the cloud using Drive. Where Evernote is a more nuanced and organized program, Drive is a powerhouse. Syncing the two meant that I could clip my project to the notes that I was making about them seamlessly.
So I set out to see if I would make the switch from Evernote to OneNote. I wasn’t worried about losing anything because Microsoft cleverly created an import tool to move Evernote files to OneNote. I gave myself two weeks to see how I would fare. I watched the video and went through the tutorial to see how it works and what OneNote was capable of. It was all very impressive.
But here is what I found…
OneNote exists in a universe all its own. While my Google suite easily syncs with most of my other apps, Microsoft products tended to prefer to work with other Microsoft products. That’s great for your PC but what if, like me, you need to be able to sync with Android apps? Even after installing the Microsoft launcher on my mobile phone, I still found OneNote to be clunky when it came to integrating files.
Also, remember how I said that OneNote was like a digital notebook? I thought that would be a great feature. it turns out that it wasn’t so great for me. This really depends on how you use your notetaking apps. For me, Evernote’s organizational style was much better. It was like a filing cabinet where I could take snippets of things, notes, pictures, articles and drawings, and file them away for later use. Also, my Chrome extension allows me to search Evernote whenever I run a Google search.
Simply put, Evernote won out in the end.
Would I ever use OneNote?
Hell, yeah! Its a great piece of tech that anybody, but especially creatives, can use to organize their work. While it doesn’t work well for me and the way I work, it may be better suited for collaborative efforts and office work. While it’s web clipper isn’t as good as Evernote’s its structure and the multitude of ways that you can create notes lends itself to very long-term projects with multiple parts and objectives. It’s very much a “work app”. In fact, I will probably use it in one of my upcoming collaborative projects, but for everyday creative writing and brainstorming, I’m going to stick with Evernote.
What about you? What note taking methods do you use?