Note-Taking Apps: Comparing Evernote, OneNote, and Apple Notes
Collaboration and connectivity are increasingly important in today’s world. It seems like every day there is a new tool or system for taking, sharing, and collaborating on notes. Each of these promises to make everything we have documented accessible any time, anywhere – and for the most part, that’s possible.
With so many choices available, how do you know which note-taking app is the best? Let’s explore the three most popular note-taking apps available right now and see which might be best suited for your needs.
Evernote’s slogan is “Get organized. Work smarter. Remember everything.”
It gives you the ability to create notes within notebooks for almost any use case. You can clip articles from the web, scan and save documents, and even annotate PDFs. Your notes sync to virtually any Internet-connected device, so you’ll have them wherever you need them.
The tool has a great search engine built in, so you can easily find what you’re looking for. It uses optical character recognition (OCR) to analyze everything from hand-written text to PDF documents. All of this is indexed, and it will even suggest notes related to what you’re working on while you write.
There is also a presentation tool built into Evernote that lets users easily turn notes into documents that resemble PowerPoint more than notes. This is really useful in team meetings where collaboration is needed.
Entire notebooks or single notes can be shared if you need to collaborate. An especially unique feature is being able to share a note in read-only mode with a web link, so the recipient does not have to be an Evernote user to see what you shared. This is especially useful if sharing a presentation with a client or business associate.
Evernote recently changed their plan tiers, so the free version is much more limited than it used to be. However, the paid versions now include more functionality. Paid plans range from $35 to $120 per user per month. Business plans also allow users to delineate between “business notes” and “personal notes” so that if the user leaves, their notes don’t leave with them.
OneNote’s slogan is “The digital note-taking app for your devices.”
With similar functionality to Evernote, OneNote and has improved dramatically in the last few years. You can access it from any device and save pictures, handwrite notes, scan documents, clip web pages, or type notes.
If you use Microsoft Office, a major benefit for OneNote is that you probably already have it, and it the user experience is similar to tools you already use. It also integrates seamlessly with the Office apps – you can embed Excel tables, Word docs, etc. without any problems. The only issue is that it doesn’t work as well on non-Microsoft platforms. The functionality on macOS, iOS, and Android is limited.
OneNote is free and included with Office 365. Similar to Evernote, notes that are created with a business Office 365 account will remain with the business account if an employee leaves.
Apple Notes has been a great, albeit basic, note-taking app for quite some time. It probably not would have made this list had it not been significantly improved in the latest updates of iOS and macOS. Where it used to be a simple way to create text documents on your iPhone, it is now a full-fledged note-taking app.
You can organize notebooks, take handwritten or typed notes, scan documents, attach photos, and markup documents.
The search functionality is pretty good and is accessible from Apple devices (or through the web via iCloud). If you use Apple devices, this could be a good fit. However, if you regularly use other operating systems, you may end up frustrated.
Apple Notes is free and included with Apple devices.
Choosing a notebook or note-taking app really comes down to personal preference and the functionality that you need. If you plan to use these tools for business, make sure that you’re investing in a tool that will keep your notes around, even if an employee decides to pursue new opportunities.
If you need any recommendations or help choosing the app for you, chat with your IT department or IT support provider. They have in-depth knowledge of your business and can help find the perfect fit for how you work.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.