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After Evernote’s recent price hike, many paying subscribers are opting to jump ship in favor of Microsoft OneNote. Heck, even free subscribers are leaving the service now that the free package only allows syncing on up to two devices.

If you’re one of these experienced Evernote users looking to migrate your Evernote library over to OneNote, you’ll want to read this article first. We’ll not only discuss what makes OneNote different, but also how to actually migrate (on Windows and Mac). Common concerns will be addressed toward the end of the article.

Is Evernote in Trouble?

Although Evernote may not actually be in trouble, from the outside it certainly looks like it’s in panic mode. Last year, Evernote’s CEO stepped down and 13% of its staff were laid off. We even had to say goodbye to Evernote Food. It’s no surprise that long-time users are getting worried.

Don’t get me wrong, Evernote is continuing to improve its heavyweight note-taking app. In the last year alone, the Windows app has been completely redesigned, cool camera features were launched on Android, and the Mac version saw plenty of updates, too.

Yet despite these improvements, the app still feels clunky. It’s more buggy than it should be. And notes still seem to take an age to sync. As long as these problems plague Evernote, OneNote will keep prizing users away.

What Makes OneNote Different?

Although we’re considering two different note-taking apps, they are not one-and-the-same. For an in-depth breakdown of both apps, read our side-by-side comparison of Evernote and OneNote Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? Evernote and OneNote are amazing note-taking apps. It's hard to pick between the two. We compared everything from interface to note organization to help you choose. What works best for you? Read More . In essence, many of the major features are available in both apps. They are both cross-platform. They both allow for third-party integrations, etc. But its in the nuances of those features where the differences lie.

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Assuming you’re already familiar with Evernote, here’s how OneNote differs.

OneNote-organization-640x331

In terms of UX, OneNote offers a far sleeker user interface than Evernote’s now-ageing appearance. If you’re used to Microsoft Office, you’ll adapt to this new interface in no time.

Notes are also organized differently. Evernote pretty much offers us a basic files and folders approach. OneNote, however, is aiming to mimic the use of physical notebooks as much as possible. Each notebook is separated by tabs. You then store your individual notes (pages) within those tabs.

But it’s OneNote’s individual notes 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote These 12 tips show you how to take better notes in MIcrosoft OneNote. Today, digital note-taking is as much about skill, as it is about the tool. Read More where the app really differs (in a good way if you ask me). Rather than merely offering us the space to type a few notes and insert some images, OneNote gives us far more control. As you insert different elements into your note (blocks of text, images, tables, videos, etc.) you can drag and drop these wherever you like. This means the layout of each of your notes is completely customizable. Take a look at how Darwin would have used OneNote How to Use OneNote Like a World Famous Scientist How to Use OneNote Like a World Famous Scientist Charles Darwin would have loved OneNote. He was an avid note-taker who recorded everything he observed. Here's how he might have used OneNote to organize his work and move his research forward. Read More to see this in action.

OneNote also offers several lesser-used features 7 Little-Known OneNote Features You Will Love 7 Little-Known OneNote Features You Will Love OneNote is 100% free and packed full of advanced features. Let's check out some of the ones you may have missed. If you're not yet using OneNote, these may win you over. Read More that you might appreciate.

I’ve worded these differences in a positive way, but if you love the way Evernote works, you may find it difficult to adjust to OneNote (I did). But you will get used to it after a week or so.

Is OneNote the Best Alternative?

Keeping in mind the issues facing Evernote, and the key differences in the apps, I took a detailed look at the best Evernote alternatives The Best Alternatives to Evernote You Need Today The Best Alternatives to Evernote You Need Today Has Evernote's recent price increase and two-device restriction for the free plan disturbed your note-taking workflow? Then, it's time to take another look at some of the best Evernote alternatives. Read More . You can read that article in full if you like. But to summarize, OneNote is most definitely the best Evernote alternative The Best Evernote Alternative Is OneNote and It's Free The Best Evernote Alternative Is OneNote and It's Free The market is drenched in note-taking apps competing with Evernote. But there is only one serious Evernote alternative. Let us explain why that is OneNote. Read More (for Windows users, at least).

OneNote-App-640x351

Other alternatives just don’t seem up to par. Simplenote The Best Evernote Alternative Is OneNote and It's Free The Best Evernote Alternative Is OneNote and It's Free The market is drenched in note-taking apps competing with Evernote. But there is only one serious Evernote alternative. Let us explain why that is OneNote. Read More is too basic. Google Keep will probably be shut down one day. DEVONthink is more of a file organizer. Quip is aimed more at team collaboration. That’s why if you’re a Windows user and you want something feature-heavy, with the added benefit of actually being free, OneNote is is almost guaranteed to be your best bet.

What About Mac Users?

While the Windows version of OneNote is packed full of awesome features, several of these aren’t available to Mac users. If you rely heavily on any of these missing features, you might want to stay with Evernote, or find another alternative.

OneNote Mac

The most important of these missing OneNote features The Essential Guide to OneNote for Mac The Essential Guide to OneNote for Mac OneNote is a free and cross-platform note-taking app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Our short guide summarizes everything you must know. Forget about your Microsoft hatred and try OneNote with us today. Read More are:

  • Custom Tags: You can tag your notes with OneNote’s default tags, but you can’t create custom tags in the Mac version.
  • Templates: Creating templates for your notes is not possible in the Mac version.
  • Printing Options: Instead of printing your notes direct from OneNote, you’ll need to download the note as a PDF first.
  • No Spotlight Support: While you can search your Evernote notes in Spotlight, you can’t yet search OneNote in this way on OS X (though it is possible in iOS 9).

If you think you can live without these features, OneNote should definitely be a viable alternative for Mac Users Is OneNote for Mac A Viable Alternative to Evernote? Is OneNote for Mac A Viable Alternative to Evernote? Even you're a diehard Mac or iOS user, you still may find the stylish Microsoft OneNote for Mac, iPad and iPhone a worthy option for capturing notes and creating page designs. Read More .

How to Migrate From Evernote to OneNote

If you think you can live with the differences between Evernote and OneNote, it’s time to migrate your library.

For Windows Users

Until quite recently, you had to use third-party apps to migrate from Evernote to OneNote How to Migrate from Evernote to OneNote, and Why You Should How to Migrate from Evernote to OneNote, and Why You Should Do you think that Microsoft OneNote is better than Evernote? Or maybe, it just suits your project management style. Either way, here's how you can migrate all your notes from Evernote to OneNote easily. Read More . Now you can simply use Microsoft’s official tool — OneNote Importer.

evernote-onenote

Microsoft makes the whole process pretty painless, but we have written a complete walk-through Export Your Notes from Evernote to OneNote for Free Premium Features Export Your Notes from Evernote to OneNote for Free Premium Features Evernote is a great note-taking app, but OneNote is free and offers many premium features. If you're fed up with paying for Evernote, here's how to easily transfer your notes to OneNote. Read More if needed.

In short, when your notes are moved over to OneNote, any notebooks you had in Evernote will be copied as new notebooks in OneNote. Your individual notes in Evernote will then become individual pages in OneNote (stored within their respective notebook). You’ll also have the option to retain your Evernote tags so you don’t have to re-tag (potentially) thousands of notes.

There is a downside, though. OneNote does retain formatting such as links within your notes, but it can scuff up other formatting such as paragraph spacing. This can make your notes look pretty messy. You either have to be happy living with this, or dedicate some time to tidying up each of your notes individually.

For Mac Users

Update: Meanwhile, Microsoft has released a OneNote Importer for Mac. We have covered it in the article How to Migrate Evernote to OneNote on Mac How to Migrate Evernote to OneNote on Mac the Easy Way How to Migrate Evernote to OneNote on Mac the Easy Way The OneNote Importer for Evernote is now available to Mac users. If you've been waiting for a comprehensive note-taking app that's free and cross-platform, do try OneNote. Read More .

Once again, Microsoft doesn’t make things pleasant for Mac users. Microsoft’s official Evernote to OneNote tool only works on Windows. Several MakeUseOf authors have searched the web and just can’t find a viable solution for Mac users. This leaves you with two options.

Your easiest choice is to make friends with someone who uses Windows. Install Evernote and OneNote to their computer, then migrate your files as described in the section above. When you sync your OneNote account on your Mac, you will have access to your notes.

Second, install Windows on your Mac. This isn’t for the faint hearted. There are a few different ways you can do this 4 Ways To Get Windows On Your Mac 4 Ways To Get Windows On Your Mac Want Windows 8 running on your Mac, but don't know where to start? Let us show you how. Read More , including running Windows natively on your Mac Run Windows 10 Natively On Your Mac: The Good, Bad & Ugly Run Windows 10 Natively On Your Mac: The Good, Bad & Ugly While Mac OS X works well for most tasks, there are times when it just can't do what you want it to. More often than not this means running Windows on your Mac. Read More .

Potential Issues (and Workarounds)

If you’ve been using Evernote for a long time, there will be certain features you use, or certain workflows you’ve picked up that you need OneNote to recreate. A few of these are addressed below.

Changing You Mind

Once you’ve migrated your Evernote library, don’t delete your account just yet! It may turn out you just hate using OneNote.

Back Up Evernote

Be sure to follow these instructions on backing up your Evernote library. Save this backup to the cloud or to an external hard drive. If you ever want to go back to Evernote, you can use this back-up to restore your library to that point.

Clipping Web Pages

If you regularly used Evernote’s web clipper, you’ll know how powerful it is. From annotating screenshots, to saving entire web pages, it was the best option on the market. OneNote does have its own web clipper, though it’s somewhat more lightweight.

OneNote Web Clipper

You can clip entire pages, sections of pages, or simply an article on a page. You can write a note for each clip, but you can’t visually annotate clips like you can with Evernote’s web clipper.

IFTTT Recipes

Many of the IFTTT recipes you set up for Evernote will be replicable in OneNote. Maybe not exactly, but close to it.

IFTTT OneNote

You can see the available OneNote recipes here.

Maintaining RSS Feeds

If you were sending RSS items to your Evernote account, don’t worry, you can do the same in OneNote.

RSS to OneNote

You can do this by using this IFTTT recipe. Or if you have a Feedly Pro membership, you can send items direct to your account.

Saving Photos

Just like Evernote, OneNote’s mobile app allows you to snap photos and take shots of documents and business cards from within the app.

OneNote Camera App

If you want even greater functionality, download Microsoft’s Office Lens (iOS, Android, Windows), which “enhances and makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable, and saves them to OneNote”.

A New Note-Taking Experience

Hopefully this article will have addressed everything you need to consider before migrating over to OneNote. If there’s anything missing, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.

As mentioned, Evernote and OneNote have a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences. If you’ve been using Evernote for some time, OneNote’s workflow may seem alien, but it’s easy enough to pick up. In fact, most people end up liking it even more. Good luck!

Let us know what you think of OneNote after trying it for a little while. Do you prefer it to Evernote?

  1. Plutopants
    August 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Nighnmare wasted 24 hours trying to migrate from EN to ON on Mac and iPhone. EN might have its quirks, but its way of handling tags and notebooks is far better. Only Tags were carried over (890 notes) with any notebooks they were in being lost and I was left with just one section of everything else called PAGES.
    I had to use WIndows 7 and ON2010 from the installed Office Suite to migrate (couldn't do it with my El Captain OSX) - it took ages and then losing the sprting and subnotebooks was awful.
    Syncing with an iPhone 4S was, well, it just didn't work. You have very little control or information on what happiness in the background as far as progress is concerned and it reminded me of why I first started looking for alternatives to MS software in the first place - the feeling that you are crippled if you don't have the latest and their own OS.
    My advice to someone with lots of work in EN is to stick with it and, if you have to, put up with the limitations of 2 devices if you want the free version.
    I find the ON bias towards MS OneDrive and its lack of uniformity across platforms confusing. Even the online version is different!
    EN used to be superb - before they started diversifying and making things complicated. As a basic text-based relational database of sorts it is superior to the clunky and un-intuitive interfaces of ON.
    Be careful, avoid wasting your time on something that is obviously so half-baked. ON is not a replacement for my EN. I may try Keep. I won't use Apple Notes as I do, however, feel that independence from a particular OS is a bonus.

  2. Kim
    August 25, 2016 at 4:24 am

    I have decided to switch away from Evernote, primarily because I wanted tighter integration with Office, particularly Outlook. The Evernote Outlook clipper has been buggy - breaking several aspects of Outlook if it's enabled - for two years, making this important part of my system unusable. Add to that the Evernote price increase and the fact that their most recent upgrade saw them arbitrarily putting the data file on my small, fast SSD C: drive, not on my big data drive, where it belongs, and I've had enough.

    But, OMG, the migration issues I've had!

    Six thousand notes in about 50 notebooks, which had been in a few notebook stacks, became 50 separate notebooks, with notes arranged in sections of 100 notes.

    OneNote is the slowest syncing application I have ever seen in my life, so the process of joining all of those broken up sections into one section, and then putting those new sections into master notebooks (what used to be my notebook stacks), has taken me a week - a WEEK - and I'm just over halfway through the process.

    And then I have to install an add-in to sort notes by date, which seems like it should be one of the most rudimentary functions of this type of app.

    So, my choice at the moment appears to be stick with the buggy Evernote and forget about using it to log current work via Outlook, or use the ridiculously slow OneNote, which doesn't have some of the most basic features of note organisation.

    Rock, meet hard place.

  3. Mercedes
    July 20, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    So, will Evernote release an import tool for all the disappointed OneNote users out there? :)

    • Rob Nightingale
      August 21, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I sure hope so!

  4. Patricia
    July 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I think if you're using OneNote from the very beginning, it becomes a great option. My problem is that converting all my Evernotes to ON has been a formatting disaster. Along with that, I have a feeling Microsoft will make ON a paid subscription. What will you folks do, then? At least with a bug, Evernote customer service responds promptly. With Microsoft...

    • Rob Nightingale
      August 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks Patricia! They're all valid worries with OneNote! Sometimes, it's just best to stay with Evernote :)

  5. Richard
    July 20, 2016 at 4:03 am

    I've always used OneNote, as it's bundled with MS Office. I do remember briefly using the metro version of Evernote on my pc. It was a mess, and I quickly switched back to OneNote after that.
    Also tried installing the desktop Evernote, but the installation crashed. I guess I won't be using that anytime soon.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      It seems that for the vast majority of people, once they've tried OneNote, they never really go back to Evernote...

  6. Jeffrey
    July 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I'm sorry but the ON import tool made a formatting mess of my Evernote notes. I'd rather pay the extra amount to keep my notes in place and available on all devices. The cost is equal to a case of IPA :)

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      I guess. I did mention in the article that you'd have to be willing to invest some time to re-format some of your notes.... though I'm not sure there's too much OneNote can do about that right now...

  7. Andi Meyer
    July 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I am using Evernote, but on my Surfae Pro I really miss the hand writing and editing funcionality of OneNote, and it never worked out for me to split my notes between the two platforms. Why not attache a OneNote Notebook/Section/Page to Evernote? The following solution seems to work, but is not really tested in every day work.

    1. Creat a new local Notebook in OneNote and remeber where you saved it.
    2. Open the folder with the Notebook files.
    3. Attach the file to a Note in Evernote (drag and drop or using the paperclip in Evernote). I use the German version. The file name in the English version will probably be like .
    4. Double click the attachment, and the section opens in OneNote.
    5. Edit the page in OneNote. You can add and rename pages, insert any elements (e.g. an Excel Table or a youtube video from dottotech), but do not add new sections or rename the section.
    6. Close OneNote.
    7. Sync Evernote.
    8. View and edit the attachment on any other PC you use Evernote.

    If you want to rename the OneNote section, rename the attachment in Evernote.
    Evernote will not search the content of your attachment. But I did not expect it to.
    You cannot edit your attachment with the web interface of Evernote with.?

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 20, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      How are you finding that setup, Andi? It sounds a little complex, but if it works... :)

  8. Kat Brookes
    July 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Have you seen doogiePIM from BiteSpire? Data is stored locally, not using a privacy invading security problematic Cloud. A possible alternative, if you can handle it.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      I'll take a look, thanks!

  9. Suzanne Grundy
    July 14, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Losing Google Keep? No!
    Information, links, please (your link took me to my Keep).

    I use Evernote, OneNote, and Keep - each has its strong points for me.

    IFTTT recipe for Keep to OneNote? Anyone know?

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Google Keep isn't going anywhere yet, but Google is known for randomly closing down its services...

  10. Sunil Joshi
    July 13, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I think OneNote is not an alternate if you are working on Apple devices. I have been using Evernote for more than 5 years and never had a problem. I have used it on Blackberry, Android, iPhone; currently using on iPhone, iPad, and Macbook.

    Considering the differences in features it does not stand even comparable (at this time at least). Though it is free for now, we never know when Microsoft starts the subscription.

    Secondly, handwriting, drawing etc does not work well in OneNote (at least on Apple devices). Evernote has its handwriting, sketching, drawing feature and also works seamlessly with Penultimate. There are many Evernote compatible styluses, Apple Pencil works equally good on Evernote drawing/handwriting and Penultimate. I personally have been using Jot Pro and Jot Script for a long time, much before Apple Pencil was launched. I do not have good experience on Onenote using any of these.

    I have not worked on Windows laptop for more than 6 years now, I have no idea how good is Onenote for Windows and Android users.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Sunil, I agree that Evernote does have plenty of additional features, thanks to Microsoft strangling the Mac version of OneNote. BUT, if you don't use any of these features (as I mentioned), like I don't use handwriting, tags etc, then OneNote is definitely an alternative for Mac users.

      A worrying issue is, as you said, whether Microsoft will charging subscription fees... I have a prediction that they may charge Mac users for a fully-featured version, while Windows users get to use it for Free.

      • Sunil Joshi
        July 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        Rob, Agree with you.

        Each of us has a different way of using apps and everyone's needs are different too. Therefore there is no 'one fits all' solution available.

        By the way, I found handwriting and facility to draw diagrams, charts etc while thinking on new ideas, working on new plans/projects as the very useful feature and I use this extensively.

        For my kind of use, looks like it is better to accept the discount offered by Evernote and upgrade now. I too feel Microsoft will start charging for Onenote any time in future, considering the way they have rolled out and moved for their products/services in recent past. All other ones, including Apple note, do not have comparable features of Evernote.

        • Rob Nightingale
          July 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          Well, if Evernote works that well for you, you should stick with it, Sunil :)

  11. Bill
    July 12, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    I have really like Evernote, but although I know that things in life are not free, I do like free when I can get it! Having said that, I migrated from Evernote to OneNote. It worked beautifully on my laptop. However, when I put the app on my iPad and iPhone, these cannot find the info that migrated to my laptop. We're talking 2 days ago--so it should have all synced. In fact, the name of the only notebook on the two mobile devices is different from the names of my notebooks on laptop. Do you have suggestions?

    • Tristan
      July 13, 2016 at 3:33 am

      Pardon this snarky comment. There will come a time when OneNote users will need an import tool to convert back to Evernote. I can't think of a reason why Microsoft would keep OneNote free. Watch and once ONeNote gains traction, there will be a subscription fee and other device limits. Pay now or pay later; esp. if the import tool doesn't work perfectly. I've already seen formatting errors on a test file

      • Rob Nightingale
        July 13, 2016 at 11:52 am

        Formatting from Evernote to OneNote isn't perfect. You have to be willing to put a bit of time into checking your notes (unless you want to leave them a mess). As mentioned in a previous reply, I have a prediction that they may charge Mac users for a fully-featured version, while Windows users get to use it for Free.

        I personally prefer the layout of OneNote, but I'm heavily invested in Evernote right now, so still won't make the full move across.

  12. Randy
    July 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Totally disagree. Clipper is not much of 'a' reason when comparing EVERYTHING in OneNote! I have MS OFFICE PRO ($10 through HUD!) I used Evernote for a long time and within 5 minutes in OneNote, I switched. Home and at work, GREAT product and for free, that's insane! Besides, there are dozens of clipper apps and windows Snipping Tool is fantastic! Save it and paste it in OneNote.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

      That's true. And with so many people complaining about OneNote's clipper, it's only a matter of time before it's improved.

  13. JB
    July 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I've used Evernote for the past 6 years. I also have been testing OneNote.

    Two things are stopping me from migrating to OneNote:

    - The Web Clipper truly sucks in OneNote compared to Evernote.
    - Tagging in Evernote is MUCH better. Tags seems to be more like labels for OneNote where in Evernote they are very powerful for identifying, categorizing and (most importantly) searching/finding notes with Tags.

    If Microsoft improves that functionality, I'll convert.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      Thank you for your feedback, JB! We keep hearing that the web clipper and tagging aren't up to par.

      If Microsoft fixed that, OneNote would not just be the best Evernote alternative, but the best note-taking app, hands down.

    • Nate
      July 13, 2016 at 3:10 am

      I agree, JB. Although I don't use the Web Clipper a lot, the tagging feature is fairly indispensable for me. I've been trying to think of how I can make ON work well with that, but I haven't really come up with anything yet.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

      The Web Clipper does suck, but it's nowhere near as demanding on Chrome's resources. I do think Microsoft will work on improving it though.

  14. gett
    July 9, 2016 at 7:14 am

    One Note web clipper sucks!. That is the only reason I using Evernote

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      Lots of people share that notion. Hopefully, the OneNote team is working on it.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Seems to be a common feeling!

  15. rahul
    July 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I don't mind paying for an Evernote subscription. Ultimately, not everything is free in life.I've never had a problem with their service. It does what I want it to do. If they're profitable, they will continue to strengthen their product. I can't tell you how many times I've dealt with a buggy MS Word

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      That's a great attitude, Rahul. Hope Evernote will continue to be of good service to you!

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Evernote will continue to be a great service, but it looks like they're concentrating more and more on improving things for their paying subscribers, which is understandable, but it's at the expense of gaining fewer new users (many of whom would have become paying subscribers).

  16. Mike Henry
    July 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Is there a way to view all of my notes in chronological order in OneNote? I couldn't find it so I bailed. I don't always remember where I put a note. Finding the most recent notes was not intuitive for me. Also, I use both Mac and Windows.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Mike! OneNote lets you organize your notes very freely and it comes with comprehensive search features. Unfortunately, it's not always intuitive.

      To order all notes in any or all your notebooks by date, open the notebook you'd like to search in (or any if you want to search all your notebooks) and head to History > Recent Edits > All Pages Sorted by Date... A side menu with search results will open. Here you can pick where to search in the currently open notebook (section, section group, or entire notebook) or to search in all notebooks.

      That should be what you were looking for.

      • Dave Hauss
        July 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Doing that doesnt sort notes. That just brings up search results sorted by last updated. Where in evernote, they are always sorted with new notes at the top, where in ONE NOTE the newest notes are at the bottom..

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