After my decision to switch away from Evernote, I looked at a couple of Alternatives: And OneNote It Is
After Evernote increased its pricing during the last week I started to feel that I don’t get enough value out of my subscription and spent the last days thinking about how to replace the service in my daily routine. I looked at my usage and use-cases of the app and thought about how I can achieve the same or even something better with another app.
A few replacement solutions came to mind:
- Microsoft OneNote
- Google Keep
- A folder based system using Dropbox/Drive with native files and plain-text files
After looking at each solution’s strengths and weaknesses I still wasn’t quite sure which way to go and eventually made, because I overthink stuff and much to the amusement of my wife, a spreadsheet. Why wouldn’t I?! As stupid this is, it helped a lot and the clear winner is OneNote, and by a far stretch because:
- I can automate it,
- it is cross-platform1,
- it accepts a lot of different media types,
- I can email stuff into it and
- it has browser extensions for easy clipping2.
I have used OneNote for a while before, so I am already familiar with it and also with its quirkiness. It does sync, it is though not particularly fast at times and I’m not always sure about the whole blank-canvas/type-wherever-you-want-thing, but I think I will get over that.
The app fits all my requirements and use cases and is available for all my devices (even on Android Wear). From all the devices I have worked with it so far, I like it almost best on the iPad, where it has features that are not even on the Mac version.
From my previous usage and from my working with it during the last days, the only thing I’m missing and I wish it had is some sort of tagging system in addition to its Notebook/Folder system. But that just means that I have to be a bit more organised.
Obviously Microsoft easily could pull off a similar stunt like Evernote and introduce a separate subscription for the app or bundle it back into Office. To be honest, I’m surprised that it is free in the first place. Naturally Microsoft’s interest is to sell software and I guess they use this as a kind of gateway to sell more Office subscriptions.
Which to be honest might even work: after having worked with One Note on the iPad, I am mildly curious how the rest of the Office holds up. Since the experience is very nice I’m a lot more inclined trying the rest of the Office suite. It certainly would also make some of aspects of my work easier.
Getting all my notes now exported will probably take some time. One Note does have an Evernote importer available, it is though Windows only. There are some other possiblities, but this looks to me be the most solid one.
For the time being it seems that One Note should serve me well for the tasks I need it do. Should it for some reason not hold up, then I still can switch to a folder based system and plain-text notes.