REVISION: This is a big revision and one I must “fess” up to. After writing this and meaning every word of it, I find that I cannot be without Evernote. I love the format of OneNote and wish Evernote would take a lesson from the excellent interface of OneNote, but the sheer flexibility for access on Evernote is unbeatable. So, I’m back with Evernote’s Premium Service and using it every day.
For the past several months, I’ve been torn between Evernote and OneNote. The benefits of my premium Evernote account was clear but OneNote kept calling me back. I even left OneNote for those months, determined to fall in love with Evernote as so many others seem to have done. It was no use. I never felt comfortable in my Evernote “skin.” So, yesterday I opened back up my OneNote program and instantly felt as if I’d stepped into a comfortable robe. It just felt right. Today, I cancelled my Evernote premium subscription. Here’s a list of OneNote features that made my final decision:
Interface – The OneNote interface is just so much better than the Evernote interface. I love the larger, centered note space and the familar ribbon across the top of the screen. I’ll admit it, the Microsoft Office look is a big plus for me. On the other hand, the Evernote interface always looked crowded to me. Even if I removed the Note List in View, the white note area seems to not quite fit.
Sections and Pages - The fact that I can have a notebook in OneNote that can be divided by sections and those sections can be divided by pages is nothing short of phenomenal. The tabs denoting sections across the top and Pages along the left side are easy to read and easy to manage. The sections and pages allow me to really organize my thoughts and increase my productivity. It simply makes sense. It’s logical and easy to organize. For instance, I belong to TCEA, an organization where I am completing a certification program, attend their yearly conference, and have some of my work published in their magazine. A simple notebook titled TCEA hold a section for each of these items: Campus Technology Certification, Conference 2012, TCEA Articles. In each of these sections I have pages with emails, drafts of articles, and records of all of the components I have completed for my certification. At Evernote, I needed to have a Notebook Stack, Notebooks, and Notes. It’s certainly not the worst thing in the word but the inability to nest these within each other as elegantly as I can with OneNote was a deal breaker. I love the section colors icon and the bolding and font choice of the section titles in OneNote.
Search feature – Everything I ever read about Evernote raved about the search feature and how easy it was to find items using it. It didn’t work like that for me. Quite honestly, it didn’t function well at all and as my collection of notes grew, my ability to find them was more difficult. However, in OneNote, I simply type in what I’m looking for and it finds it everytime. I can’t tell you why this happened but I know it happened and made OneNote a clear winner in this area.
Linked Notes – OneNote is able to link notes almost effortlessly. You simply choose link and a list of your notebooks is provided for you to choose the note you want to link to. Evernote, on the other hand, requires that you get the URL of the note and then paste it into the link note system. That’s extra steps and not something I was enjoying.
Ribbon – I know I said it before but the the OneNote Ribbon is awesome! It’s comfortable and I am instantly familiar with it because I work with Microsoft Office. It’s visually appealing and it is easy to find what I need quickly. The Evernote toolbar is plain and the font is simple. It does use the standard icons for the various functions but it just can’t compete with the beauty of the Ribbon in OneNote. I love the vibrancy of OneNote that Evernote does not offer. One of the features that really stands out to me in OneNote is the ability to easily make a form of “to-do” items and put in a checkbox for marking when completel. In OneNote, this is called a tag and OneNote has several to choose from which incorporate an icon and, in some cases, special functionality such as the “to-do” checkbox. One of my other favorites is the Question tag which puts a purple question mark in front of my question then deliberately leaves space for me to input the answer once it is discovered!
Record Audio and Video – I believe this one is a wash in terms of preference. They are both great! However, there seems to be a misconception that OneNote does not allow users to record audio and video. Not true. It’s there and it’s just as good as the feature in Evernote.
Skydrive – Skydrive rocks! It’s caused me absolutely no difficulties in maintaining my Outlook notebooks in the cloud so I can easily access them from any computer. My Windows Phone easily accesses Skydrive as does my iPad OneNote app. It’s a seamless syncing experience.
Integration with Microsoft Office – If you use Microsoft Office products, then the integration with OneNote is phenomenal. With one click, items are instantly added to OneNote and I get to select which notebook, section, and page to place the item on. Instant organization. In Evernote, integration is definitely possible but it requires an add-on to make it work. I love the ability to mark something in my OneNote as a task, place it on my calendar, or send it to someone else! I’ll say it again…seamless!
For these reasons, I am saying “goodbye” to Evernote. I’m keeping my free account, of course. However, the real content of my life is going in OneNote. And, if you happen to be one of those that has not opened your OneNote program yet and hasn’t experienced what it can do, well, it’s time! I went way too long without understanding it’s power.