Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You?

Joel Lee 03-02-2016

Digital note-taking is the way of the future. While there’s nothing wrong with pen and paper notes 5 Ways To Kick Your Moleskine Notebook Up A Notch Over the years, the Moleskine notebook has become a trademark staple for anyone dabbling in creative endeavors. In fact, the Moleskine is almost as iconic as the Apple laptop, the hipster glasses, and the daily... Read More , no one can deny that going digital comes with many benefits, such as the ability to access your notes anywhere you go and the ease of making reliable backups 5 Basic Backup Facts Every Windows User Should Know We never tire to remind you to make backups and keep your data safe. If you're wondering what, how often, and where you should back up your files, we have straight forward answers. Read More .

This guide is available to download as a free PDF. Download Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? now. Feel free to copy and share this with your friends and family.

Want to get started? Then your first stop should be our guide to taking great digital notes A Quick & Dirty Guide to Perfect Digital Note-Taking Learn how to take notes the right way. Here are some of the most effective tips for becoming a digital note-taking pro. Read More . A few simple tips and tricks can be all it takes to boost your note-taking skills to the next level. But digital notes have to be taken down in something, and for most people, that means deciding between Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.

Both are certainly great, but which one is better for you? Only you can answer that as the answer depends on the person. We hope this comparison article will help you make the best, most informed decision that you can.

Navigation: Interface | Note-Taking Features | Organizational Features | Cross Platform Availability | Pricing & Plans

To be clear, we’re comparing the Windows desktop versions of each program. We do mention cross-platform availability near the end, but just so you know, in-depth reviews of the non-Windows versions are beyond the scope of this article.

User Interface

User interfaces are a tricky topic. They’re important, but they aren’t everything. A great interface isn’t enough to save a poor app, yet at the same time, a poor interface will easily turn me away from an otherwise feature-packed program.


And when it comes to digital note-taking, user interfaces are arguably more important than in other applications. If the interface doesn’t feel comfortable to you, you’re going to spend more time wrestling with the program than actually taking notes.

People have different ideas as to what constitutes a great interface — yes, it’s mostly subjective — so I’ll just highlight the core differences between these two and let you make your own judgments.


Evernote uses a three-column design that makes it easy and fast to switch between many different notes and notebooks when necessary. If you shrink the window’s width to less than 840 pixels, the sidebar disappears and the interface becomes a two-column design with more breathing space.



You can also go into the options and switch to a layout that splits the notebook and notes horizontally, but I don’t really see any benefits to this mode. Of course, you can always disable the note panel altogether and access notes by double-clicking in the notebook.

Overall, I like that Evernote’s layout is as flexible enough to accommodate nearly everyone’s tastes. The amount of whitespace is perfect, though the lack of colors can be hard on the eyes.


OneNote feels really weird at first, and it can take a while to get comfortable with it, but I personally think it’s more intuitive and conducive to productivity. I also feel that OneNote is more responsive (read: less laggy) than Evernote on my several-years-old laptop, though your mileage may vary.



In OneNote, you work within a single notebook at a time. Each notebook has tabs at the top to distinguish between sections, and each section has tabs in the sidebar to distinguish between pages. Want to switch notebooks? Just use the dropdown selector at the top left.

One quirky but useful thing in the interface is the Quick Access Bar at the very top. You can customize the Quick Access Bar in the options Boost OneNote Productivity With the Quick Access Toolbar If you aren't using the Quick Access Toolbar in OneNote, you should! It can really speed up your workflow if you have a lot of highly repeated actions. Read More to add/remove nearly any action that you can perform in OneNote. This feature is extremely useful oft-used actions, like inserting things or changing formats.

Ultimately, there’s lots to like about both, but they’re also very different from each other. I personally prefer OneNote’s approach, but it really comes down to your own preferences.

Note-Taking Features

Both Evernote and OneNote can handle regular note-taking just fine, including all of the core word processing features that you’d expect in any serious document editor, as well as things like image, video, and optical character recognition (OCR).


But a handful of things are quite different between the two.


First, OneNote can handle free-floating “paragraphs”, which are groupings of notes that you can move around on the page wherever you want. This is in stark contrast to most other note-taking apps that can only handle notes on a line-by-line basis.


A lot of people have come to love the way OneNote handles its paragraphs and other note contents, but some people adamantly hate it. We realize it’s a polarizing feature and that could make it a deal-breaker.

Just know that if you prefer the traditional line-by-line way of taking notes, it’s definitely possible in OneNote. All you have to do is ignore that the feature exists.

Handwriting & Drawing

Even though both apps can import handwritten notes as images, one thing that separates OneNote from Evernote is the ability to draw and write notes by hand right inside the application.


Tools offered by OneNote include pens and highlighters of varying colors and thicknesses, lines, arrows, shapes, graphs, and an eraser for when you make any errors. Drawing in Evernote is made exponentially better when using a drawing tablet rather than a mouse.

Note: Evernote indirectly supports drawing and handwritten notes if you take notes using one of Evernote’s mobile apps.

Web Clipper

Both applications have something called a Web Clipper that can clip entire webpages from the Internet (e.g. for research) and save them directly as notes, though Evernote is generally considered to be miles ahead Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Remember Everything. That’s the Evernote motto and that’s what it allows you to do best. If you aren't familiar yet with Evernote, you’re in for a real treat! If you have heard of it, but... Read More of OneNote in this area.

The main difference is that Evernote’s clipper offers more precision and flexibility. Evernote can clip simplified articles and custom-size screenshots, and you can annotate the results. Not only that, but Evernote lets you pick where the clip goes, while OneNote always sends it to Quick Notes (and then you have to move it manually).


OneNote has a feature called Templates, where you can create and edit your own preset page layouts. If there’s a particular format that you need for a certain type of note (e.g. meeting agenda, lecture notes, design annotations), this will save you a lot of time.


Check out our guide to using OneNote templates How to Use OneNote Templates: Everything You Need to Know OneNote templates are essential for true productivity. Here's all you need to know to edit and create your own OneNote templates. Read More for more details.

Note Links

If you’ve ever wished that your note-taking application could be more like a wiki, then you’ll love Evernote’s Note Links feature. Long story short, you can insert clickable links to other notes in a notebook, which comes in real handy for things like documentation.


It’s one of the features that set Evernote apart 5 Cool Features That Prove Evernote Is Still A Kick-Ass Service With all the hoopla surrounding Google Drive, and everyone going nuts over Dropbox, I think one other service is being sorely neglected - Evernote. Our Evernote coverage has been rather sketchy of late, and I... Read More from most of its competitors. However, OneNote can also link pages to other pages just by typing out the note title verbatim and surrounded by [[ and ]]. One way is easier than the other, but both are still incredibly useful.

Docked Editing

Have you ever had to take notes while watching a video or reading through a webpage, such as during a video lecture or an online course? Swapping back and forth between windows can be a huge nuisance, which is why OneNote’s docking feature is so awesome.

It may seem a little unwieldy at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll have a hard time using anything else. It’s immensely convenient, and it’s easy to underestimate how useful it is if you don’t actually try it out for yourself.


In addition to regular text notes, you can easily make checklists that work well for to-do lists, reminders, and more.


Using these checklists, you can do some really interesting things, both in Evernote Get Creative With Evernote: 10 Unique Uses You Haven't Thought Of Evernote is one of the ultimate tools in productivity, and with a wide variety of multiplatform apps, there's no limit to the way that you can use the service. We're big fans of Evernote here... Read More and in OneNote 10 Unique Ways to Use Microsoft OneNote OneNote is one of Microsoft's most underrated apps. It's available on almost every platform and can do many tricks you wouldn't expect from a note keeping app. Read More . Whichever one you prefer is up to you.


Digital note-taking applications have never been good when it comes to math, which is one area where OneNote truly excels above every other note-taking application. For example, if you type 1934 / 121 = into a note, OneNote will auto-calculate the answer for you.


But more importantly, OneNote can handle advanced math equations, including calculus and beyond. Of you’re a college student who’s going to be taking a lot of math-related courses, then this is one of the best reasons to start taking advantage of OneNote 5 Ways to Take Advantage of Microsoft OneNote Read More right now.


One thing that’s really cool about Evernote is the ability to encrypt selections of text. All you have to do is set a passphrase and the text will be hidden behind it. Unfortunately, you can’t encrypt entire pages or notebooks.


Contrast this with OneNote, which can only do password protection for sections, but not notebooks or pages.

Version History

The last notable feature that deserves highlighting is the ability to track and revert to previous versions of a note, which is available in both Evernote and OneNote, except Evernote’s feature is unavailable to free users. (Pricing options will be discussed at the very end.)

Version histories give you piece of mind when editing notes because you never have to worry about “losing” anything, even when you delete big chunks of text. If you ever need something you deleted, you can just look through the history of changes.

Organizational Features

With the note-taking features covered, it’s time to look at a different — but equally important — aspect of digital notes: keeping them organized, finding notes quickly, and not going crazy when your notebook gets full.


One of the most useful ways to stay organized is to tag each note that you make. Every time you edit a note, re-evaluate the tags. These tags come in handy in a lot of ways, but mainly for searching (which we’ll talk about in just a moment).


Between the two, I think Evernote has the better tagging system, which lets you type out whatever tags you want under each note. OneNote forces you to create and edit tags separately before applying them to each note, which has its benefits (much easier to track) but requires a little more effort.


Both Evernote and OneNote have built-in search features to help you find notes you’ve written but apparently misplaced. Searching is also a good way to quick-switch between notes that aren’t in the same notebook.


But Evernote has a far more powerful search engine than OneNote, with at least twenty different search features 20 Evernote Search Features You Should Be Using It's one thing to use Evernote, but it's entirely another thing to master Evernote. If you’re new to Evernote, I don’t want to come across like it’s something complicated – it’s not, in fact, it’s... Read More that you can use to really narrow down your queries and find the exact notes you need. You probably won’t need them if you aren’t a power user, but they’re worth learning regardless.

Lastly, both Evernote and OneNote have the ability to recognize and search for text within images, meaning you can search for that handwritten lecture note without first transcribing it into text by hand. Some might say that one has better OCR search than the other, but both are pretty good and similar.

Note: Don’t confuse this with OCR text extraction. Both can recognize text in images and search based on that text, but only OneNote can actually extract text from an image to your clipboard. Evernote can’t.


Another feature that Evernote has and OneNote lacks: shortcuts. You can also think of them as favorites or bookmarks. In short, you can drag any note into the “Shortcuts” section of the sidebar for immediate access.


It’s a small feature in the grand scheme of things, but you really miss it when you’ve come to rely on it as a note-taking staple and it’s suddenly unavailable. Maybe one day OneNote will implement something similar, but as of right now, the gap is noticeable.


For those who have deadline-drive notes, Evernote’s Reminder feature is very useful. Reminders are manually set on a per-note basis, and once added, reminders sit at the top of your notes list so you don’t forget. You can even receive alerts, for example by email.


OneNote doesn’t have anything like that. Instead, the closest feature would be its tight integration with Outlook Turn Outlook Into a Project Management Tool With OneNote Integration OneNote can do more than you think. We'll show you how to turn your Outlook to do list into a powerful project management tool using the OneNote plugin for Outlook. Read More (the desktop client, not the email service Hotmail Is Dead! Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained Stop searching for Hotmail! Microsoft Outlook email services are confusing. Here are Outlook web app, Outlook Online, and others explained. Read More ) and the ability to email notes directly to Outlook, which becomes an Outlook task. Not very elegant, but it kind of works.

Import & Export

If you want to migrate to one of these two programs, you’ll probably want to bring all of your old notes along with you. Best case scenario, you’ll be able to import them all in one click. Worst case, you’ll have to manually input each note one by one.

But first, let’s look at their export options.


Evernote has a handful of useful export options, including the option to combine all of your notes into a single HTML file or exporting each note as its own HTML file. But most useful is the ENEX format, which makes it easy to transfer notes to another computer with Evernote.

When exporting, you can also specify which details to include or exclude, including note titles, timestamps, author, location, and tags. Exporting is one effective way to back up your Evernote data 3 Ways to Backup Evernote (and Do You Need To?) Unlike, say, Dropbox, Evernote does not offer a revision history, your content all syncs as-is. This means you could potentially lose any note you accidentally delete from the trash, or any content you accidentally delete... Read More .


OneNote is far more flexible in its options. You can choose whether you want to export the current page, the current section, or the entire current notebook. For each option, exports can be made in PDF, XPS, MHT, or OneNote-specific formats.

Unfortunately, as far as imports are concerned, both Evernote and OneNote fall short. OneNote doesn’t even have an import function, while Evernote can only import ENEX files and OneNote notebooks.

As of right now, it’s definitely easier to migrate from OneNote to Evernote. However, if you’re open to using a third-party tool, it’s certainly possible to migrate Evernote to OneNote 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 as well.

Cross-Platform Availability

Both Evernote and OneNote are notable for being cross-platform solutions. However, everything we covered up until now is only applicable to their Windows desktop versions. Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from their other versions.


Both applications have Web versions that you can access from anywhere, and an entire separate article could be written to compare the two of them. The important thing, however, is that they both pretty much resemble their desktop counterparts.


It might not seem like it at first, but Evernote’s Web client is unusually hard to navigate. Unlike the desktop app, almost everything in the Web app is hidden behind extra clicks. The interface lacks polish, is too harsh on the eyes, and lacks responsiveness.

If Evernote was only available in Web form, I’d personally write it off as unusable. It almost seems as if it’s meant to be used on a table, but there’s a mobile version of Evernote so that can’t be right. Other than that, it has a lot of the same features as its desktop version.


OneNote’s Web interface is much nicer on the eyes and far easier to navigate. Like Evernote, OneNote Online also falls short of its desktop counterpart, but at least it’s usable. In fact, if OneNote was only available on the Web, it’s good enough that I’d happily keep using it.

The only complaint I have is that sometimes I’ll rearrange the page order in a section and the new order won’t save. That’s only a minor quirk though. Everything else seems to work just fine.


What we’ve found is that whether you’re on Android or iOS, and whether you’re using a smartphone or a tablet, the mobile versions of both Evernote and OneNote are fantastic.

In both cases, their user interfaces are modern, their performance is speedy, crashes are rare or nonexistent, and everything works just as you’d expect.

The only downside is that both of these apps are a little feature-heavy — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can be a bit overwhelming if you’re just looking for something really simple and lightweight. Neither of these are anywhere close to lightweight.

There are some good note-taking alternatives Time To Ditch Evernote? Letterspace & Fetch Are Compelling Alternatives If you're looking for a supplement or an alternative to Evernote, let me — a notebook junkie — suggest Letterspace or Fetchnotes for pure simplicity and ease of use. Read More out there, but just know that if end up using something else, you lose the ability to synchronize with your desktop and Web — and that’s one of the main reasons to use these apps in the first place.

Download: Evernote (Android | iOS), OneNote (Android | iOS)


One more thing to mention regarding cross-platform availability: both applications keep all of your notes synchronized on the cloud so that they are accessible no matter which versions of the app you use.

For example, I love that I can make recipes on my desktop and view them in the kitchen using my phone or tablet. However, while I’ve noticed very few syncing problems with Evernote, OneNote seems a bit slow — at times taking upwards of several minutes to propagate changes between devices.

Pricing & Plans

The very last thing to worry about is price. How much will it cost you to use these amazingly powerful applications? It’s an important question, and in this case, the answer is quite simple.

Microsoft OneNote is 100% free to download and use OneNote Is Now Truly Free With More Features Than Before Evernote no longer rules the roost of note taking apps. Microsoft recently announced OneNote would be more free than ever before. Let us show you what this means in terms of features and functionality. Read More without any restrictions or crippled features. Note that some limitations apply to Mac users. Most importantly, all your notes will be stored on one OneDrive, not locally. However, if you truly don’t ever want to pay a cent, then OneNote is the way to go.

Evernote, on the other hand, could cost you.


At the Free tier, you’ll have access to the desktop, Web, and mobile versions and they’ll sync together just fine. However, you’ll be limited to 60 MB of new data (whether text, image, or whatever else) per month. For heavy users, that’s quite restricting.

The Plus tier costs $25 per year and raises the limit to 1 GB of new data per month. You also get offline access to your data on mobile devices (unavailable in the Free tier) as well as the ability to lock Evernote with a pass-code on mobile.

The Premium tier costs $50 per year and raises the limit to 10 GB of new data per month. You also get a few advanced features like annotating attached PDFs, viewing previous versions of notes, and the ability to turn notes into presentations.

Download: Evernote and OneNote for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile.

Which Note-Taking App Convinced You?

If you really prefer Evernote over OneNote, maybe the price is worth it to you. Yet, while Evernote has several features that are really nice, I’ll stick to using OneNote due to its superior interface and lack of restrictions.

At the end of it all, what do you think? Which note-taking application is the right one for you? Evernote, OneNote, or neither? Which features are the most important? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Related topics: Evernote, Longform Guide, Microsoft OneNote, Note-Taking Apps.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Carly
    December 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I used to absolutely LOVE EVERNOTE; that was before the (greedy!) Price increase for such simple things that USED to be free, and that I used a LOT, like sending emails to my Evernote address.
    There's a way to get around that, but I don’t really WANT to sneak around it, such a basic convenience should still be standard.

    The per month limit gets on my nerves sometimes, too: you get these CONSTANT little warning messages (ADS!!!) saying you're running OUT of SPACE, UPGRADE NOW OR DIE !! really, long belong it gets critical. I get warning "threats" almost every month but have always managed to stay under the limit. NEVERTHELESS. ... with that being said, it's a pain in the assignment to have to worry about it, and if the upgrades weren't so darn pricey, I'd gladly stay at that level. I received a free year of Premium with my new cell phone in 2016, and after that, things just weren't the same in the basic version. I had come to rely on the full-featured app for all my many needs.

    Now, ONENOTE, I was highly impressed with in 2014, when I was stuck at a desktop model all day, and pre-smartphone era. I loved it's versatility, and used often for both graduate school and work. BUT. .. with the advent of smartphones, and my escape from that desk chair... I used the full app less and less, and the mobile app just couldn't keep up with Evernote Premium.
    Now, looking at the improved interface (it was BORING...) and Evernotes' "priciness", I will definitely re-visit.
    Thank you for the update!


  2. Bogdan
    September 30, 2017 at 1:44 am

    As a Blackberry Z10 owner, my only option is Evernote. I like OneNote for its sketching tools, but even their website doesn't work from my web browser on Blackberry. When Evernote stopped supporting Blackberry for couple of months, I switched to Onenote without regrets. But I am back to Evernote since they restored supporting Blackberry 10 platform.

  3. David
    July 6, 2017 at 4:45 am

    So what happened to my post? The comment of thank you for you comment, We appreciate your response. came up but then my post never made it to this forum? It did not say it had to be moderated so I was not expecting to have it not show up at all.

  4. David
    July 6, 2017 at 4:28 am

    You never mentioned a very important part of the equation. The size of the program and if you can install it out of the main memory of a phone such as a a samsung. I have a new phone that started off with 8gig of memory but with the amount of memory used by the OS and it's system files I only have a little more than 3gig left. So if the app cannot be installed on a MicoSDcard then it cannot feasibly be used on a budget android phone. From what I see now a little late is 8gig on a phone renders the phone almost totally useless. Most programmers seem to be unable to write code that can be installed outside the main memory. I found the amount of space Evernote takes up is about 91.98 MB or space and that does not even include the data for the application. So be warned, neither of these app programmers know what they are doing to make their programs useful to use on a budget platform. This is really disappointing. When computers still had 640k as their top limit, programmers really had to be good. Now most programmers are what I call, "Code Slingers." They figure they do not have to produce good efficient code because after all, all anyone has to do is add more memory. When that memory is in the form of an external memory card they become totally lost.
    External Memory Card??? What is that?

  5. Sun
    February 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I love OneNote, I can't live without it. I use OneNote on a daily basis and very easy to use, I can keep track on phone and my tablet. I am thoroughly impressed.

  6. carla
    January 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    I have found that when I send a note to someone via email.. they can't open it unless they sign up. What about one note? Can someone open up a note I send them via email without signing up for a free account?

    • Johannes
      January 31, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Guess you are talking about Evernote ;-)
      Instead of going straight to "Email", choose the following from the right-hand drop down menu:
      "share - send a copy"
      This opens an Email-box from which you send the complete note.

  7. AJP
    December 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    First time I came across your website wow. Super wow. Such a detailed review. I'm highly impressed!! Keep up thethe good work. e

  8. Sylvain Rodrigue
    November 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for this post! This is the first time I come across MakeUseOf. Lot of valuable content here, but the layout is a real mess. I don't know if you want my opinion, but just in case : first, why do you put such large pictures in the header of each post? I have a 30 inches LCD (2580x1600) and I have to scroll down to read the first *two sentences*! Images are cool, sure enough, but I didn't came here for them. The design of the front page is even worst: everything seems to have the same importance and images (in L shape ??) are hiding the subject (text) of every post. Result: I just don't want to read it. This is sad since your posts seems to be helpful. Anyway, thanks again for this one.

  9. Juan
    June 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Evernote has a feature to search over text within an image. Does the OneNote is able to do something similar?

  10. Jason Martin
    April 11, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I'm looking to digitize a dozen plus of my old journals, without the considerable time of scanning each page (versus a jpg photo of each page). Which program would you suggest? If the OCR does not recognize all of my handwriting, or I want to annotate those journals or add in photo/videos will they let me? I still will always hand write my journals, but need better organization for 6 years worth and multiple concurrent journals.

  11. Diane
    April 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I've been using Evernote for a few years, and I've experienced strange syncing problems between the laptop version and my iPad. Most recently, I lost extremely important data when trying to create a numbered list in a note using my iPad, and you have to pay premium prices to be able to revert to an earlier note (I don't require all the premium benefits). Also, on the iPad, instead of syncing a note, Evernote adds the latest copy of the note to the top of the note, making for a LONG note of duplicates with updates. It was quite time-consuming to delete all the exta text once I discovered this issue. I also have problems accessing things like the formatting toolbar on the iPad -- the interface isn't as easy to get around as on a laptop. I used to use OneNote at my previous job on a Windows OS, and never had a problem. I think I'll try OneNote on the Mac--I'm really tired of Evernote's bugginess on the iPad.

  12. Gene Ricky Shaw
    February 11, 2016 at 9:24 am

    The only thing about Evernote that's lacking to me is being able to use styles when taking notes. I'll write a title in bold, Arial 12, then I have to use the mouse to select a different font and size for body text. This is annoying.

    I haven't used OneNote but my guess is I can probably use the paint/style paint tool that's common in MS Office to format text to match other body text that you highlight.

  13. Kinshuk
    February 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I am using both onenote and evernote for mac. I liked Evernote's default font and spacing between the lines, which enhances the readability, but I also like onenote's tabs for organization. But both of them are not really great for Mac right now. Hope they improve.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:12 am

      Yeah, the Mac versions could use a bit of work. Hopefully the improvements come sooner rather than later! I miss a lot of the missing features.

  14. Kalin
    February 9, 2016 at 7:39 am

    I prefer Evernote, but it's turning into nagware, so I ditched it in favor of OneNote. If the nag screens were asking "hey, wanna support Evernote? consider subscribing" I'd be fine with that, actually. But instead they're this condescending "choose the Evernote that's right for you". Please! I already chose the Evernote that's right for me and it's the free version. The paid version does not offer anything I personally will ever need.

  15. Baja Pete
    February 9, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Editing notes in Evernote is sometimes impossible. I've clipped articles from the web into Evernote and then when you attempt to remove extra space or ads in sidebars Evernote the program refuses to let you highlight and delete. Its as if some part of the page is hidden in a layer like in photoshop but you can't access the layer to edit your document.

    Evernote is affiliated with Foxit PDF editor. Right clicking on a PDF in Evernote allows you to edit PDF in Foxit (if you have Foxit installed). Unfortunately Foxit has many deficiencies. For example cropping a page in Foxit is not drag and drop. Cropping in Foxit requires much longer and much more effort to crop.First there is not a menu selection in the Foxit ribbon for cropping so getting the document in the cropping state requires a couple of steps. Once you have it in crop mode it requires you specify the top, bottom, left, and right margin dimensions.

    If you want your search to include PDFs that you have stored in Evernote you have to purchase Foxit PDF IFilter for $699 to search all your PDFs stored in Evernote.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:12 am

      Whoa, that sounds pretty bad. I haven't had to mix Evernote with PDFs before so that's all new to me. Ouch.

    • juror8
      April 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      I am able to annotate PDF's right in Evernote without any additional software. Copies of the original PDF plus the annotation layer are available to both edit and search.

  16. Anonymous
    February 9, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Good articles. A few points I would like to highlight
    - Syncing speed - Yes u've highlighted the difference, but to me this is MASSIVE difference, at least here in my country. This is the main reason I could not trust ON (&OD sync as well) as they take very long time to sync, resulting in lots of data loss. I've emailed MS for this few times but to no avail. EN, on the other hand, synced seamlessly on the same network.

    - Security & Encryption - If u work in an office and the possibility of a shared computer (or an open workspace even using individualized computer like my workspace), if u want to install a desktop application then I would go for EN as u need to type the regular username & pwd to login. As for ON, u need to log out from the whole system (windows -> Change user), or else people may peek straight to your files (Correct me if I'm wrong here)

    Within the programs itself, EN has encryption BUT is severely limited - text only and only within the notes itself. NONE for audios, images or documents which is the main bulk of my notes. ON, on the other hand allows users to protect-pwd the entire section.
    However in both, people still get to see the notebook & headline titles.

    Please note that whenever an image, pdf, office documents that u click in EN will be saved locally. & I dont mean the database, I mean the physical pdf files that u had just opened. And of course I dont think you should consider these 2 for your more super-sensitive files.

    - Web browser integration - ON & Edge works perfectly if u use Edge. I use Edge only for this single purpose. Not only can u While EN has good integration with other browsers using Clearly, I think they are going to end support soon.

    - Offline - In ON, u choose which notebook to download & offline and that’s it. For EN, I’ve noticed that in previous versions (their desktop, the offline feature was good - everything is there until your last sync. However in version, you need to be online to access (I don’t understand why there’s need to be online during log in when all the datas are still in local system). For my home PC, I’ve since reverted to EN 4.7 and do not plan to update until this issue is corrected (since I’m on broadband only at home).

    - File limit - There is no actual limit total storage for EN, but EN limits 1) note size of 25MB, 50MB, 200MB for basic, plus, premium 2) upload limit of 60MB, 1GB and 10GB. I’ve tried and never reached any limit for ON, the only limiting factor here is the sync speed. Yes, I’ve seen people using ON to save their large collection of photos. & its FREE

    - Tablet intergration - EN for tablets and desktop are very much alike, in terms of UI and functionality. ON, on the other hand, creates magic in tablets & 2-in-1 (yes, in ipad or surface). While EN has Skitch (which I think is also going Dodo), ON integrates well with pen & stylus. And if u want to be creative, there are many types of ‘papers’ and page layout to grids for ur notes.

    - Others - While both can be used directly for basic image manipulation, I'm surprised that EN has slightly better integration with MS photos & paint. Images in EN can be directly opened in photos, adjust their sizes, crops etc. I take lots of receipts & documents from phone, & edit them on desktop.

    That's it I think. TQ

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:11 am

      Wow, thanks! Lots of great info in your comment, some of which I didn't know. Much appreciated. :)

  17. Grumblingoldgit
    February 8, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I have OneNote 2010 on my desktop. I also have OneNote that comes with Windows 10 and I cannot get the two to synchronise. I am seriously considering moving over to Evernote.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:10 am

      That sounds frustrating. Is there a reason why you're staying on OneNote 2010? It's completely free now, so you should be able to get OneNote 2016 without paying anything. That might solve your syncing problem, but I can't say for sure.

      • Grumblingoldgit
        February 12, 2016 at 10:10 am

        I would use ON 2016 if I could get the stuff on ON2010 to transfer over easily.

    • Anonymous
      February 11, 2016 at 6:45 am

      When we talk about ON, there seems to be few 'versions' out there - ON that comes with office subscription, the free ON that is downloadabe from website and the ON Metro that comes with W10.

      The 1st two are easily syncable - I've used both and are usable & syncable immediately after installation. (However note that the downloadable ON has 2 versions also -32 & 64 bits. I'm commenting on the 64 so I don't know about the 32.

      However there are much problems within the ON Metro version as I've discovered & also from other forums - not syncable, corrupted sync. And it has reduced functionality - cannot cut, copy paste into the app, unable to edit images, no pwd protection option (this is as of mid of last year that I used) that I completely abandoned the metro version & installed the free ON ver. The good news is now there's no difference between the free & paid version (not that I know of).

      If u plan on PC version, I'd suggest download the ON free version. I've been able to sync ON 2003 with this with no problem.

      • Grumblingoldgit
        February 12, 2016 at 10:08 am

        Part of the problem is that it keeps telling me that I need to buy Office 365 to sync. I'll have to look into which version I'm trying to sync with.

  18. LUIGI
    February 7, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Enjoyed the article. . One quick addition is the use of powerful plugins like OneTastic and One Note Gem. . They add a whole new world of functionality to One Note. . My favorite being OneCalendar which displays a monthly view with links to all pages you have modified on a day by day basis.

    Also with OneTastic you can use a macro to pin favorite pages, sections or notebooks. Pin to desktop then drag icon onto the onenote icon on the Taskbar to have it pinned to the right click menu

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:09 am

      Thanks LUIGI, I haven't used any OneNote extensions yet, but it seems like I should start! I can't wait. :)

  19. Terry
    February 5, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I like the way OneNote is organized better, but I don't trust it. I have two notebooks that just will not sync. I have had notes disappear, etc. So far, Evernote has not lost anything or ever failed to sync properly. I tried to get customer support for my OneNote sync problem, good luck with that. I had an Evernote problem, got emailed back within 10 minutes.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:08 am

      Interesting issue. I've never had that happen, but I can see how you might be wary after it has happened more than once. Can't blame you!

    • Anonymous
      February 12, 2016 at 3:23 am

      Terry, the only way I've found to get unsyncable notebooks to sync is to first make a copy of said notebook, sync THAT one, and then after you've verified the second against the first for accuracy, delete the unsyncable notebook.

      I've had to do it a few times myself. Usually I've found that when I have sync problems, it's because I'm asking the system to rapidly sync several large notebooks at once, so I've gotten into the habit of splitting them up into more focused ones.

      Hope this helps!

    • Sergey
      June 29, 2016 at 5:35 am

      Completely differrent for me, I had a syncing issue with Evernote for circa 2 years until recently. I exported some Chrome bookmarks as part of my effort to move everything to one location (Evernote), and I was able to import them to Evernote to a temporary "unsynced notebook" but then, Evernote just refused to move them to a regular notebook, I don't know why.

      I emailed their support a few times about this issue, the answer was sorta "we're looking into it, will fix in the next release" but releases came out one after another and my bookmarks kept being locked in a temporary notebook until I just neglected the efforts.

      It's only a month ago (May 2016 it seems) that a major version (the one with UI update) came out and I tried again and now it worked and my 2 year old bookmarks are now in proper place.

      I have another issue irritating me a lot about Evernote, I use a crypted, password protected notebook to keep some of my passwords, and the flow really sucks. 1/ You can't make an entire notebook, or even a note, encrypted by default, it's only a "fragment" of note that you can "protect" this way, 2/ as soon as you "unlock" this fragment and working with it, then you leave the Evernote window, then you hop back again and OOPS - your "fragment" you were working with, is collapsed again to the "locked" state and you have to click it again to expand (not to mention that you lose the position in the document during that) 3/ When I'm trying to paste something INSIDE the encrypted fragment, most of the time it's impossible - it's being pasted outside (before) the locked fragment AND the damned fragment collapses again. So the only way to add text to your protected fragment is TYPE it in, not paste (at least for me here)

  20. Arriva
    February 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I switched to OneNote from Evernote about a year ago because I have Office 365. But I have entirely stopped using OneNote because whenever I want to use it, I find it has logged itself out and since I use strong passwords, and LastPass can't automatically fill them in, I have to manually go and extract the password and paste it in. I'm now looking at Evernote again.

    Bad doesn't even begin to describe OneNote for me. Unusable is more accurate.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:07 am

      That is a really weird issue, Arriva! I can't say I can reproduce it, so I wish I could help but I can't. But hey, if OneNote is proving problematic, then by all means, Evernote is a great alternative. :)

    • Andrew Nielsen
      December 26, 2016 at 4:09 am

      Dashlane works well for passwords. Except for two-factor authentication to add devices - could not get that to work.

  21. Anonymous
    February 5, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Despite the initial roller-coaster learning curve with OneNote, I began tinkering with it back last August, and it quickly far-exceeded Evernote for me in practical day-to-day use. The fact that I can organize my files the way I want them, compared to the very shallow couple of levels deep that Evernote offers, was the clincher for me.

    Initially I was miffed at Microsoft when they neutered the OneDrive storage plans, but I'm over that since they allowed me to register to keep my free 30GB. That had pushed me back to using Google Drive as a pseudo-Note setup, but the pure slickness of OneNote keeps me hangin' round. I do wish that MS would allow auto-saving to GDrive (and other storage services) in addition to OneDrive. But hey...they're a business.

    Basically now I'm using GDrive for daily interaction, and OneNote for indepth projects (like planning and writing books). After all the project is complete, the end product is finally stored in GDrive in Google Docs format, which makes it completely free to store hee hee.

    As always, great article, Joel.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:06 am

      Thank you Kelsey! Like you, my first experience with OneNote was indeed a rollercoaster learning curve. I'm glad I stuck with it though! I agree, OneNote integration with something other than OneDrive would be really nice. :(

  22. Bernhard Gramberg
    February 5, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I startet with Evernote 2 years ago and I am happy. My Scanner DirectX Feedback evernote.

    And all my travel Informations from Web goes direct to evernote. Like the... Import from Directory Feature and the web clipper.

    My first start with note just today failed, dont understand the navigation

  23. Carl
    February 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    As with any cloud app, the biggest concern is that the app can just go away. evernote could fold, and then you are at the mercy of the export function. Microsoft has a horrible track record when it comes to just dumping an application as they change directions (same is true of Google).

    All that considered, I wouldn't give up Evernote until I'm forced to, so I hope Evernote stays around. I love how easy it is to save web pages, and those will be around even as links change or content gets pulled...

    This article was very well researched and written, thank you. I will give oneNote a try.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:04 am

      Thanks Carl! Glad you liked the article. You're right, the big danger is if these services go under. Hopefully they won't, but the chance is always there...

  24. Jonathan Wylie
    February 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Worth noting that the OneNote web clipper for Firefox and Chrome lets you choose exactly where you want to save an article you find on the web. It does not just go to quick notes any more.

    Other comparisons missed include the ability to email a page to Evernote and OneNote and the ability to add/embed files like PDFs in notes. Recording audio notes is also possible in both.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:04 am

      Oh, I totally overlooked the browser extensions. Thanks for that, Jonathan, and the other things you mentioned!

  25. Vinzy
    February 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I have exhaustively tried and tested both the Note taking platforms on all the devices for almost 2-3 years now.
    OneNote wins Hands down. Even if it was paid, id still prefer it. OneNote strikes a nice balance between modern and classic UI. Excel and OneNote are the best applications to come from Microsoft.
    Evernote on the other side is too restrictive and pricey for what it gives when compared with OneNote.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:03 am

      I agree, Vinzy. If Evernote was fully free like OneNote, it'd be on much closer ground, but I think I'd still prefer OneNote.

  26. Luiz Dias
    February 4, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I tried Evernote twice, even the premium version. But I definitely prefer OneNote, not only because of the integration with Outlook, but also because it lets you get better organized. Excellent article, by the way.

    • Joel Lee
      February 11, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Thanks Luiz! Glad you liked it. :)

  27. sicunder
    February 4, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Well if you you use samsung's Snote for android pen input then it only syncs with evernote, earlier samsung account used to be other option now it is not. Snote is currently the only app that can translate asian and indic languages which makes sense as android is thirdworld centric and a "free-ish"platform. Microsoft being more of a "paid service" is first world centric so no handwriting recognition for HINDI which is my language. Onenote though now completely free still remainis useful for first world people. And 15 GB cap limit in the free OneDrive account might make it a bit restrictive for an avid user. Evernote though being hugely lacking in functions no such cap with ur data that has been already been synced, it has monthly limits instead (though it's not unlimited in the strictest sense, they have books and notes limits). Also differences between photonote of samsung's Snote and office lens of microsoft's onenote makes Snote a superior product. I will go into the details but i don't want to write another article in the comments itself. :)

  28. Susan
    February 4, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I've tried both, but since I don't need anything with too many bells and whistles I use Google Keep. I found Evernote fairly complicated and had trouble navigating OneNote. My husband uses OneNote for to dos and shopping lists and I hold my breath if I have to add to it, stuff disappears and moves around on its own it seems.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:43 am

      Nice! Google Keep is actually really nice for what it is, but it's much too simple for me. If that's all you need, keep using it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Thanks for sharing, Susan. :)

  29. Matt
    February 3, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Good post about the big ones.
    I used to go with simplenote (cinta notes as client for the pc) but missed the feature for attachments etc. This is possible now and might be extended in future versions, but I switched to Evernote premium about 2 years ago. It has all I need combined with a pleasant interface, both web and local clients (PC & Android). I'll possibly never get used to MS products, I have to use Outlook at work and send important mails to Evernote for future reference. OCR in Evernote is ok, searching heavens sent. Don't need handwriting or pen support, old school typist here.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:42 am

      Haha, I don't blame you. If you like Evernote, keep using it. A lot of people are switching to OneNote lately but I say use the one you like best. :)

  30. Todd
    February 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I prefer OneNote for note taking and prefer Evernote for capturing info from the Web. My issue with OneNote is that it requires Windows Live to Sync which is blocked by my companies firewall. I can sync with Evernote without issue.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:41 am

      I've heard that a lot (note-taking vs. capturing from the Web) and I tend to agree. It sucks that OneNote sync gets blocked though. Must be frustrating! Unfortunately I can't think of a workaround, otherwise I'd share with you. Sorry Todd!

  31. Anonymous
    February 3, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Your comparison is good except for one thing that confused me. You say that Evernote doesn't support handwriting but it does. If you create a "new ink note" all the handwriting and drawing features are available to you. This is to be expected since Evernote was developed as a standalone inking application for Windows XP Tablet Edition.

    That said, I would offer a caveat regarding mobile. For Android users, Evernote seems to be focusing heavily (and sometimes solely) on iPhone. New features come first to iPhone and take some time to make it to Android, if they make it at all.

    My general impression regarding the feel of the two (having used them both for over a decade) is that OneNote expects you to have an organization, fit items into it, and navigate through the hierarchies you've built. Evernote expects you to be disorganized and navigate with search. If you keep your papers in a file cabinet, OneNote might fit you better; if you keep them in a basket, you might be more an Evernote person.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:40 am

      Oh wow, I can't believe I never knew about Ink Notes in Evernote. It seems like they're a completely separate type from regular notes (so you can't have both in one note) so OneNote still wins in that category, but yeah, good to know that Evernote has some support for handwriting. Thanks hildyblog!

      (And yeah, I'd agree with your general impression. The file cabinet vs. basket seems pretty apt, if you really want to boil it down like that.)

  32. CraigMcB
    February 3, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Excellent comparison. It's difficult to compare such products when one uses one but this is very even handed. One thing I like about OneNote is being able to get Meeting details from Outlook calendar onto a note-taking page.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:37 am

      I personally don't use Outlook, but the clean integration between OneNote and Outlook is definitely a huge plus for users who do. Thanks Craig!

  33. Marjolein Hoekstra
    February 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    That's quite a well thought-out article, Joel.

    Just one tiny correction with regard to OneNote Clipper: you are perfectly right that OneNote's browser extensions and bookmarklets can send full articles and clipped regions to the Default Location.
    In addition to that, you can also open the drop-down menu to navigate and select a different target notebook section. There is no need to move notes manually. I hope this helps.

    Marjolein Hoekstra
    Microsoft OneNote MVP

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:36 am

      Hmm, I had no idea that OneNote had browser extensions. That's really interesting, I'll have to look into them. The ability to quick change target notebooks is also great. Thanks Marjolein! Really appreciate it.