Embracing OneNote and ditching Evernote

Embracing OneNote and ditching Evernote

I try to be paper free as much as possible because loose sheets of paper are a problem and I never know what to do with them. I have managed this issue for the last 8 years by relying on information archived in my ever expanding Gmail inbox and using Evernote as an online digital filing cabinet. Between the two services I have created a massive, searchable compost heap of data that stores all my important work and life digital documents, notes and snippets.

I have archived everything from passports, journal entries, workshop notes, teacher plans, resources, bills, insurance documents, payslips, receipts, clipped webpages and anything that I can scan or capture from my computer, phone or tablet.

I have recently moved from Evernote to OneNote for a number of reasons.

Save Money

I am a teacher and have just paid £65 for a 4 year subscription to Office 365 University. This allows me to install the latest version of MS Office on two Windows or Mac computers and I get 1 TB of OneDrive Storage included as part of the package. OneNote is an MS Office application which stores and syncs notes between all my devices and platforms using OneDrive. OneNote offers similar ubiquitous digital capture and storage but I do not need to pay any additional money for this service. Evernote Premium is £34.99 a year or £3.99 a month.

Better Workflow

I have recently purchased a Surface 3 tablet running Windows 10. While Evernote works well enough in Windows, I find OneNote is a better tool for capturing and writing notes on my tablet. I am using OneNote the stripped down universal app and OneNote 2016. Both applications support native inking using the Surface Pen and I can save new content into OneNote from any piece of software using the print tool. OneNote is supported as a virtual print destination. Evernote offers a print to Evernote feature in OSX but the Windows version lacks this option although automated workflows can be setup to achieve the same result.

OneNote Works at School

OneNote 2013 is installed at my school so I can use it with my classes. I do not have administrative privileges to install Evernote and I can only use EN on school computers using the web version. My classroom has a SmartBoard and I have found that I can use OneNote as a decent alternative to the Smart Notebook software which is bundled with interactive whiteboard. I can share content with students using Smart Notebook but I have to export and save my notes. New notes on OneNote are added to a notebook, which is synced and shared automatically to students who have been given the link. Integrating OneNote and the Smartboard is worthy of its own blog post.

A Few Caveats

OneNote is not perfect. It was problematic exporting 10000 notes from Evernote to OneNote but I only had to get this working once by exporting my notes in sections, a thousand at a time.

Evernote seems to sync quicker than Onenote and the OCR search facility does not always find my old buried, archived content. New OneNote content is naturally added to the bottom of a notebook, which is counter intuitive to me after working with Evernote’s stack model for eight years. New notes in Evernote are added to the top.

In spite of these minor issues, I am happy to have a tool I can use at home or school and it largely meets my needs as far as continuing my digital paperless-ish life.

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