Evernote was the first note-taking app that gained mass appeal and popularity. OneNote from Microsoft is now available free on most platforms and offers more powerful features than Evernote. When Evernote announced in June 2016 that they were raising prices on their Plus and Premium plans, and restricting users in the free tier to only 2 devices, many users complained and moved to OneNote, as well as other free options like Google Keep.
This comparison looks at the features and pricing for Evernote and OneNote so power users can make a well-informed choice.
|Introduction (from Wikipedia)||Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attach||Microsoft OneNote is a computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries.|
|Type||Notetaking software||Notetaking software|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Chrome OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry Tablet OS, iOS, WebOS, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone||Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone|
|Checklists as a type of note||Yes||Yes|
|User settings||Stored in cloud||Stored in each individual device|
|Collaboration||Does not track item-level changes by users||Has advanced collaboration capabilities to track who does what|
|Note history feature||Only available for Premium users||Who did what version tracking available for all users|
|Email as input channel||Supported. Users can email notes to their Evernote account.||Only supported through Outlook. Other email clients not supported.|
|Integration with Office||No||Yes|
|License||Freemium||Proprietary software, Desktop: Shareware, Mobile: Freeware|
|Release||June 24, 2008||November 19, 2003|
|Stable release||188.8.131.5270 / December 4, 2012; 7 days ago (2012-12-04)||2013 (15.0.4420.1017) / October 2, 2012; 11 months ago|
Compatibility and Pricing
Both Evernote and OneNote store your notes in the cloud and sync to it based on changes you make from your account on any device. Both offer premium versions of their service that support offline storage of notes.
Evernote has a freemium business model — the basic plan is free but with restrictions: only two devices, plus online (web) access to notes. Evernote Plus is $4/month or $35/year and adds the following features:
- Unlimited number of devices to add and access notes
- Offline access so you don't need an always-on Internet connection to take or view notes
- forward emails — including attachments — into Evernote to keep them alongside related notes
- 1 GB of upload space each month
- Customer support via email
Evernote Premium is $8/month or $70/year and adds the following features:
- Revision history for notes
- Search Microsoft Office documents to find the text you are looking for.
- Annotate PDFs.
- Scan business cards to autmatically create phone contacts
- Premium includes 10 GB of monthly upload space
- Customer support via live chat
OneNote is free to use, with no restrictions other than that your notes will be stored on Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage service. So you are not paying for OneNote but may have to pay for OneDrive's cloud storage. OneDrive is a freemium product with 5GB storage free, 50GB for $2/month. Paying Office 365 users get 1TB per user for $7/month (personal use), 1TB per user for 5 users (family plan), or 1TB per user for enterprise customers.
Paying users of OneNote 2016 can choose to store their notes outside of OneDrive. Unlike Evernote, the free version of OneNote does not have ads.
A “note” may refers to any text, voice, video, picture, webpage, webpage excerpt, or even a handwritten note that can be stored, shared, collaborated and dispersed (to other Evernote or OneNote users) using these programs.
Both, Evernote and Onenote have the following features in common, although they are structured differently for each app:
- Handwriting recognition
- Tag support (although this is significantly stronger in Evernote)
- Notebook organization
This 11-minute video compares the features of these two note-taking apps for smartphones:
In addition to the standard features above, each app has unique features as listed below:
- One can scan receipts directly to Evernote.
- Can convert handwriting to text.
- Skitch lets you use annotation, shapes and sketches.
- Evernote’s Penultimate for iPad offers handwriting recognition and saving hand-written notes. OneNote offers handwriting recognition on desktop apps but not on tablets.
- Web Clipper lets you save anything you see online into your Evernote account.
- Evernote Hello lets you scan business cards, combine information about people and meetings through Calendar, etc.
- Evernote Food gives you one place to discover, collect, and remember your life’s memorable moments in food.
- Evernote Clearly makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read.
- Evernote Peek lets you turn your notes, audio and image in Evernote into study materials, using iPad’s smartcover, or its own virtual smartcover.
- Allows voice memos.
- Can add images to Notes.
- Location Tagging.
- Voice recognition – Evernote offers speech to text feature.
- One can add audio notes, webcam stills, or .mp4 videos to notes.
- OneNote can add audio and video recordings to notes, play back and share the recordings too.
- Can add rich media, screen clips, Excel files, images, etc. using the Windows-only desktop software.
- Provides richer text formatting than Evernote.
- Allows voice memos.
- Can add images to Notes.
The OneNote user interface is like a notebook, with the ability to add notes anywhere on the page and the organizational hierarchy of notes into section groups, sections and pages. Evernote has stronger support for tags or organize notes. While OneNote also supports tags, this feature is not yet well-developed for user-defined tags.
Pocketnow has come up with 8 ways in which MS OneNote is better.
Evernote on the Web is constantly updating all of your computers and devices with the latest versions of your notes, so you'll always have the right information, wherever you are. All of the Evernote applications are in regular contact with Evernote on the Web. Whenever a new note is created or edited on any of your Evernote-capable devices, the note is uploaded to the Evernote on the web where all of your other devices will download it the next time they sync. Evernote for Windows or Mac automatically synchronizes your notes with Evernote on the Web every few minutes, but you can manually sync any time by clicking the "Sync" button.
OneNote mobile (free) allows upto 500 notes to be synced between SkyDrive and your device, after which one cannot edit notes without upgrading. Syncing happens automatically when a user moves between notes or sections, or can be done manually by click on “sync”.
- Evernote can have up to 100,000 notes with size limit of 25mb per note for Free users, and 100mb per note for Premium users.
- 250 synchronized Notebooks.
- 10,000 Tags.
- 100 saved Searches.
- 60mb per month upload limit for Free users.
OneNote has no upload limits.
Evernote allows users to selectively share Notebooks with other individuals, as well as let other selected Evernote users to edit selected folders.
OneNote has a complex sharing setup using SharePoint or SkyDrive Pro, where user access can be controlled through Active Directory and Group Policy.
Evernote allows password-protected encryption of individual notes, but not entire Notebooks.
SkyDrive SSL uses encryption while transmitting files, but does not encrypt files at rest. Microsoft encourages business users to use SharePoint instead. Office 2010 format documents use heavy duty AES encryption.
On March 2, 2013, Evernote revealed that hackers had gained access to their network and been able to access user information, including usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords. All users were asked to reset their passwords.