I first checked out Evernote sometime in 2009 when I had just started out on my PhD. I thought that it would be an excellent tool for my research but I soon gave up, since the more I researched, the more complicated my links and references became and I quickly abandoned it for a more familiar Word, Excel and Endnote. Evernote didn’t really fill in for my academic needs.
Then a year ago I caught the bug to start blogging again, I found that all eyes turned towards Evernote for getting one’s thoughts in order. I downloaded the app onto my smartphone and to my surprise, I was rewarded with a one year premium membership merely for being with a partner carrier. Thank you O2!
The Evernote app found its way to my tablet and Mac and the Web Clipper tool, a godsend, nestled itself nicely within my Safari and Chrome browsers. And the clippings began. Anything that fancied me was clipped, I then entered a steep learning curve of using the Evernote hierarchy. Notebook and notes and that’s about it. I created a ‘blog’ notebook and realised that I could stack notebooks and thus had ‘blog ideas’ and ‘draft blogs’ nested within ‘blog’.
I read an article praising the richness of the ‘tagging’ feature. Touted to provide an efficient search option, I went ahead and laboured to tag each of my notes. I now realise that it was a waste of time. The tags just piled up and I don’t even remember what words I had used. According to my Evernote, the most often tag that I have used was the word ‘blog’!
Now my one year subscription has ended and I had the option to revert to the Basic, Plus or the Premium version. I had to weigh my options carefully. But sometime in the past year, I had also invested in Microsoft Office 365. Now my options were Evernote’s Basic, Plus or Premium, or Microsoft’s OneNote. Here I am furiously typing away on OneNote over the Chrome browser and it looks like a decision has been reached.
I am not a blogging machine so any comparison I set out in the following paragraphs are simply based on my attempts to blog at least once a month and the usage that goes along with it.
Evernote and OneNote pretty much offer the same levels of hierarchy. Evernote allows you to create Notebooks and Notes within them. Notebooks can be stacked within another Notebook and thus ends up providing the same three levels as does OneNote with its Notebook, Section and Page.
Both provide sharing towards Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. They allow for collaboration and also provide you with a link that can be e-mailed. But OneNote goes a step ahead and also provides sharing across Weibo.
But here is the major drawback of OneNote, you can only share a Notebook, not a page/note. This is an absolute pain if you are a ‘quick-draw sharer’ and you find yourself logging into individual blogging platforms and copying and pasting your ‘page’ from OneNote and into their editor every time you need to share. OneNotes sharing is analogous to handing over your PC to someone while all you needed to share was a file!
In order to test the sharing capability of the web version, I copied this ‘page’ and created a new Notebook (since that’s the only way) and shared that across Twitter. I went over to Twitter, clicked the links and here are the results as compared to sharing only a ‘note’ through Evernote. The difference is obvious- sharing to other blogging platforms using OneNote sucks!
If anyone can suggest a workaround then that would be awesome.
At first thought, Evernote’s best offer, that is, the Premium subscription at £45 per year looks awesomely tempting as against MS Office 365 (Home edition) at £80 per year (right as of 19/Aug/2016).
Dig deeper and you realise that OneNote comes with its family members- Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the enormously generous 1TB of storage via Onedrive. With Microsoft, you can share your subscription with 4 more people, so that means, 5 PCs or Mac, 5 tablets and 5 phones are the number of devices across which they would perform. But this is purely for installed version and not the web version which can be accessed through most browsers.
Evernote comes out blazing by providing sync capabilities across multiple devices on which the Evernote app has been installed. But for me, all I ever needed was the app on my phone, tablet and the Mac, then again, I usually ended up using the web version more often than the apps.
OneNote is the way to go. Right Click Win!
And the conclusion…
OneNote has not wowed me yet when it comes to sharing. It comes with the usual familiarity of a MS product and the price is right for the features you get. Editing features are brilliant and as long as I have a web clipping tool, I am happy.
And yes, I am not giving up on Evernote entirely.
Photo credits: Tom Burzalinski (http://www.freeimages.com/photo/note-1482362)
Nice post. One thing to, erm, note. OneNote is free across all platforms. No need for your O365 subscription to get the full-fat version.
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Cheers Darren. Point ..noted.
Thanks for sharing Bala. OneNote is nice and convenient when your organisation has it. I find that the tool I use most is Trello, but I admit it is poor for writing content, it is more a sleek project management and to-do-list kind of tool where you can attach any kind of file…. I should probably use OneNote to keep my blog content, I currently use word. But Evernote is so nice and sleek to use, while OneNote is much more traditional. The plus thing will OneNote is that it lets you draw stuff, great for basic mind-mapping and making simple thematic diagrams.
Hello Ian, thanks for your insight. Yes, now and then I catch myself heading back to Evernote but then OneNote makes it easy with its integration with other office products. But for me, I just need a place to gather content and write which Evernote is!
The great thing of onenote is gathering content. As a notebook/ blocnote. The great thing of Evernote is being a to-do list with multiple options. Using it like a kind of getting things done. To know what to do today, this week, sometime or waiting for somebody. This GTD kind of things can not be done in onenote without using outlook. And for I use it a lot on my phone I don’t have the tasklist integration like I have on a desktop (outlook onenote)
Thanks for your comment Frank. And as you pointed, Evernote with its to-do list feel in itself prompts you to get back to it and get things done. I log into Evernote through the web a lot and I find the interface more welcoming than OneNote.