Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

📄 Contents

  1. Exploring Evernote
  2. Notable Differences Between Evernote and OneNote
  3. Complementary Competitors
  4. What's Next?
  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Notable Differences Between Evernote and OneNote

Notable Differences Between Evernote and OneNote

Now that we've taken a high-level look at Evernote, let's turn to a comparison of Evernote and OneNote capabilities. This section reviews some fundamental product differences, highlights collaboration-related differences, compares supported device platforms, and discusses a few additional high-level considerations.

Figure 7 presents a diagram of the primary parts of the Evernote user conceptual model.

Figure 7 Evernote conceptual model (fragment).

As suggested in the diagram:

  • An Evernote user may have a collection of notebooks, optionally organized into stacks. In Figure 1, for example, the stacks include "Demo," Home," and "To harvest," among others.
  • Evernote notebooks contain notes. The notes may include multiple information item types (such as text outlines, images, and video recordings), so notes are actually composite information items, but for the most part the Evernote user experience operates at the note level of abstraction.
  • Evernote notes may be associated with zero or more tags, which are essentially note category names created by a specific Evernote user.

Figure 8 provides a partial view of the primary parts of the OneNote conceptual model, elaborating on the model diagrams included in my previous articles "Information Item Management in Microsoft OneNote" and "Microsoft OneNote as a Distributed Information Item Database System."

Figure 8 OneNote conceptual model (fragment).

Let's highlight some of the major differences between the Evernote and OneNote conceptual models:

  • OneNote has more levels of organization than Evernote. Evernote manages notebooks (optionally organized into stacks) containing notes, while OneNote notebooks may be further organized into section groups (which can contain additional section groups and/or sections), sections, and page/sub-page relationships. OneNote's multiple levels of organization are also stored in each notebook, whereas Evernote stacks, in particular, are visible only on the latest Mac OS and Windows PC Evernote clients. For example, Evernote stacks are not visible in the Web, Android, or iOS Evernote clients.
  • OneNote has more sub-page capabilities. Evernote supports tagging at the note level, while OneNote supports tagging, as well as Outlook task associations, at the paragraph level. A OneNote paragraph is any selectable/linkable intra-page item, such as an outline, image, or ink drawing.
  • From a user conceptual model perspective, many OneNote settings, including user-defined tag types, are managed at a device/user level (such as a specific user account on a Windows PC). As a self-contained service, Evernote stores most user-level settings in its cloud service. (By "self-contained," I mean, for example, not relying on Windows, SkyDrive, or SharePoint for identity services, as OneNote does.)

Some other differences (not directly reflected in the conceptual model diagrams) relate to collaboration and content versioning. Although Evernote Premium users may share notebooks with other people via their email addresses, and Evernote has a form of versioning in maintaining some note history, OneNote's collaboration and versioning capabilities are more advanced. Following are some of the key differences:

  • Evernote does not track page item-level author attribution, so the system can't inform you about who did what.
  • Evernote does not provide new-activity indicators at any level in the Evernote notebook hierarchy, so it's not easy to see what has changed since the last time you viewed a shared notebook.
  • Evernote indexes PDF file attachments; OneNote doesn't. Neither Evernote nor OneNote indexes other types of file attachments, although both can index text content in handwritten notes and embedded images.
  • Evernote has relatively limited options for reviewing note history, and the note history feature is available only to Premium subscribers. OneNote's version tracking is more extensive, including paragraph-level author attribution, and the feature is available to all OneNote users, regardless of license type.
  • Based on my experience testing shared notebooks on Windows, PC browser, iPad, and Android smartphone Evernote clients, Evernote's shared notebook synchronization services are a bit inconsistent, with update synchronization timing being unpredictable in some test scenarios. OneNote's synchronization approach, based on near-real-time updates (when users are network-connected) instead of Evernote's user setting of 15-minute (or longer) synchronization time intervals, produces a more predictable and consistent user experience.
  • Client platform support is another major difference between Evernote and OneNote, and it's a domain in which Evernote currently has a strong competitive advantage. Evernote clients include Apple's Mac OS and iPad, along with Android, Blackberry, and HP Palm devices, none of which are supported with native OneNote clients. (OneNote Mobile for iPhone can be used on the iPad, but isn't optimized for that platform.)
  • The browser-based OneNote Web App client works on several of the Evernote-supported platforms; for example, including the use of Safari on Mac OS, but that's not helpful for people using Android, Blackberry, or HP Palm smartphones or tablets. Both Evernote and OneNote either currently are or soon will be available in versions for the iPhone (and iPod touch) as well as Windows Phone 7.

I'm hopeful that Microsoft will eventually deliver a full OneNote client for the Mac OS and the iPad, along with OneNote Mobile clients for Android smartphones and perhaps Blackberry devices (it's not yet clear if HP will be able to revitalize the Palm device platform), but Microsoft hasn't announced any related plans at this point. Overall, for many people, the lack of broad support for non-Microsoft platforms is a significant competitive disadvantage for OneNote today.

Let's briefly review some additional high-level competitive considerations:

  • The Evernote Web client model can be useful for viewing all of your notes across all notebooks. OneNote supports search operations across all open notebooks, but it doesn't provide a single interface with which a user can review all notes across all notebooks.
  • Evernote creates an email identity for each Evernote user, associating a user-selectable mail-in notebook with the email input channel, so you can send information items to Evernote from any email application. There's a "Send to OneNote" action from Outlook, but Microsoft doesn't otherwise support email as a OneNote input channel.
  • On Windows PCs, you can open only one instance of the main Evernote client and one instance of Evernote's note editor window. With OneNote, you can open multiple OneNote instances—a convenient option when you're working with multiple notebooks and pages (for example, copying/pasting or linking content between pages).
  • Evernote does not support hyperlinking as flexibly as OneNote does. With OneNote 2010, it's easy to create links to notebooks, section groups, sections, pages, and paragraphs. There is no way to create links to Evernote content in the Windows Evernote client, although it is possible to create note-level links from the Evernote Web client.
  • OneNote has no equivalent for Evernote's Trunk. Microsoft maintains a site with some OneNote templates, but many of them are for earlier versions of OneNote; there aren't yet many resources specifically for OneNote 2010.
  • Evernote is not integrated with Office applications other than Outlook; for example, there are no Evernote add-ins for Word or PowerPoint. By contrast, OneNote offers several integration options for Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote itself (such as creating linked notes to other OneNote pages), and shares many common services with other Office applications, such as the Office-wide spell-checking dictionary.
  • Unlike OneNote, Evernote is not integrated with SkyDrive and SharePoint.
  • Evernote is available for multiple device platforms at no cost (in an advertising-supported client), and in a fee-based Premium edition (refer to Figure 5 for details), which costs either $5/month or $45/year. OneNote also offers a no-cost option with limited capabilities (compared to OneNote 2010), using the OneNote Web App and SkyDrive (with OneNote Web App advertising). For the full OneNote feature set, OneNote 2010 is included with all Office 2010 editions, and is also available as a standalone client application—but that is unlikely to be a cost-effective option for most people, considering the low price of Office Home & Student edition, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. At the time of this writing, the Product Key Card (download-only) version of Office Home & Student 2010 was available on Amazon.com for $105.99, so you could purchase four Office 2010 applications (licensed in perpetuity) for a little more than the cost of a two-year Evernote Premium subscription.
  • Evernote is used as a target for item saving/sharing by some third-party vendors, such as My6Sense. To my knowledge, no vendor other than Microsoft supports sending items into OneNote at this time.

To recap, Evernote is a handy note-taking application available on a variety of client platforms, but its collaboration and sharing features are limited. OneNote is a more mature and powerful offering, and is more closely aligned with other Office applications. Relative to Evernote, however, OneNote is constrained by supporting fewer client platforms, and it also doesn't offer a unified, browser-based view of all notebook content.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020