Onenote vs Evernote

Two favorite tools for taking notes and storing information are OneNote and Evernote. Over the years, both of these platforms have made dramatic changes to what they can do and how they can do it. That’s why the OneNote vs Evernote comparison is so important to review. The key points in this debate can help to determine which platform meets the majority of your needs right now.

OneNote can work on its own, but its full functionality comes when it is paired with Office. You can shape notes with points that can be pulled from Outlook or embed tables that were created in Excel. That makes it easier to collaborate, organize, and distribute information. The app can be downloaded for free. For those who have Office or a Microsoft subscription, they already have this app.

Evernote offers a combination of free and premium productivity features. As of 2016, the free plan no longer allows for notes to be emailed to Evernote, which was one of its most popular features. The Plus plan is $34.99 per year and allows for 1 GB of new uploads per month. That will sync the information to all devices and provide the other advantages of Evernote. The Premium plan is $69.99 per year and allows for 10 GB of uploads per month, along with more one-click supports.

In the OneNote vs Evernote debate, which one could be the best option for your specific needs? Here are some of the additional key points to consider.

What to Expect with OneNote

OneNote has been improving its free app’s ability to be a cross-platform tool. It works best when using Windows as your operating system, but web-based versions of OneNote do work well with iOS, Android, and Mac systems. That has opened this tool to more users so that operating system or platform preference is no longer a deciding factor.

In the past, the full version of OneNote was only available with the purchase of a MS365 subscription or the Microsoft Office suite of products. Those restrictions have been completely removed as of 2016, allowing for the full features of this tool to be used for free today.

That means all users have access to these features that were once considered a premium option.


  • Password protection.
  • The ability to view previous versions of notes.
  • Audio and video recordings.
  • File attachments.
  • Notebook insertion.
  • Audio search.

There is a premium version of OneNote that provides the advantage of notebook storage outside of Microsoft’s OneDrive. Unless users prefer to avoid OneDrive for some reason, the free version of OneNote is suitable for everyone to use.

Improvements include better shapes insertion, better search options, audio notes, Force Touch, and one-tap note inclusion on some mobile devices.

Are There Problems with OneNote?

OneNote may have been thoroughly updated by Microsoft, but there is no getting around the fact that Windows users still see the greatest benefits. Nested notes, for example, cannot be collapsed in the Mac version of OneNote. The mobile apps have limited functionality compared to the desktop version that is used for the Windows operating system.

Getting into OneNote, however, is much easier than it used to be from a platform perspective. Emailing notes to yourself is possible, even on the free download, which is no longer available with Evernote. It works with Lens, found in Office, allowing photographs, documents, or whiteboard notes to be included in OneNote. The clipper function has been improved as well, eliminating the need to switch to a different window for notebook selection.

What to Expect with Evernote

Evernote has been pushing the functionality of their mobile apps over the past couple of years. While their Mac and Windows apps have stayed relatively the same, handwriting support has been given to iOS and Android users. The Android app has a customizable widget that allows for simple notes, taken in a double-tap, while the iOS received 3-D touch support, note peeking, and Spotlight notes searching.

Evernote has also included a feature called “Web Clipper.” This makes it easier for users to collect web articles for storage and reading later on. That makes the platform more suitable to information saving in addition to note taking, providing more options for use.

At the same time, however, the platform redesign that took place in 2016 has make the web app less functional than it was before. It is easier to use, but you have fewer options. On the web client, users cannot order notes by their tags or select multiple tags at once like on the desktop client.

The Windows app has seen relatively few changes, but the Mac app includes keyboard shortcuts and a split-screen view that some users may find to be useful.

Are There Problems with Evernote?

In July 2015, the CEO of Evernote, Phil Libin, stepped down. In September 2015, the company experienced a major layoff. They even closed three of their global offices. Certain supports were ended as well. At the same time, prices have been exploding on the platform. In 2016, the Plus plan was priced at $25 per year and the Premium plan was priced at $50 per year. The benefits of each premium plan have remained the same.

With Evernote Premium, that means you can search your attachments, scan business card, annotate PDF files, and use the app’s presentation mode. On Evernote Plus, users have access to offline notebooks for the mobile apps, PIN protection for access, and the ability to clip web pages, images, or PDF files.

Users must subscribe to Evernote Plus to forward emails into the platform.

What Differentiates OneNote vs Evernote?

In the OneNote vs Evernote debate, there are major differences between these two platforms that must be considered. Despite the numerous updates that both platforms have received since their initial introduction, these differences have remained.

1. Interface
OneNote has the feel of using a digitized paper notebook. You have sections and tags that can be used.

Evernote feels more like a filing cabinet, requiring a simple notes interface, but better tagging options for long-term storage.

2. Formatting
OneNote offers users the ability to create page templates. You can place elements anywhere on the page, including images. Numerous menu items are included, creating a steeper learning curve when compared to Evernote, but higher levels of flexibility.
Evernote offers users rich-text notes that include checklists, highlighting, and other forms of formatting. It can even be used as a word processor in a pinch. The interface is streamlined and easy to use, especially for basic notes, which is why it is such an attractive option – even with its price increases.

3. Mobile Interface
OneNote has improved their mobile interface across all platforms, but anything mobile is still inferior to the Microsoft Desktop version. You can access your notebooks without a data connection for free and platform access includes Android, iOS, and Mac.

Evernote provides access to notebooks without a data connection, but only on a paid plan. You have access to more formatting tools for your notes when compared to OneNote, added reminders, and quick links for note sharing. It offers the same level of app access on different operating systems with more flexibility.

4. Integration
OneNote is a superior product for those who like to use Microsoft products. It integrates very well within the Office suite. Windows shortcuts can be used to create quick notes or send screenshots to the platform.

Evernote provides more of a “general” integration. It operates like a stand-alone platform, but users can create their own degree of shortcuts and flexibility over time.

5. Clipping
Storing information has improved on OneNote, making it easier for web pages to be captured and retrieved for data retention. This allows you to create your own personal database of information that can be referenced at your convenience.

Evernote provides the same clipping experience, but their tool is a lot easier to use. As an added advantage, user Google searches can include personal Evernote notes that have been saved.

Because of these key differences, the OneNote vs Evernote debates becomes an either/or discussion instead of a both/and scenario. The differences are strong enough that one option will be better than the other for most users.

Which Is Better: OneNote vs Evernote?

If price isn’t part of the decision, then Evernote offers more functionality and flexibility.

One cannot deny, however, the cost-effectiveness that OneNote provides in its free version. Many of the most popular features that were part of the free Evernote experience are now available on OneNote, while at the same time, Evernote transitioned those features into their paid plans.

At the same time, anyone not using Windows will find that the functionality and flexibility of OneNote is somewhat limited. Evernote does not face those same limitations.

The bottom line in the OneNote vs Evernote debate comes down to this: individual preference. Some users are more comfortable with OneNote’s interface and command functions. Others prefer the Evernote user experience. That will likely be the deciding factor between these two platforms.