Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > The Web/Virtual Worlds/Social Networking

Revisiting the Evernote/Microsoft OneNote Competitive Landscape

Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are chameleon-like tools for information management and collaboration. Both can be used as simple note-taking tools, but they also can address far more elaborate scenarios, such as advanced hypertext content and distributed collaboration capabilities. Peter O'Kelly highlights some of the differences between the two tools.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Microsoft OneNote and Evernote are the market-leading note-taking tools for a variety of device types (PCs, smartphones, and tablets). In March 2011 I wrote a competitive comparison, "Evernote and Microsoft OneNote: Comparing Two Noteworthy Tools/Services," and I encourage you to take a few minutes to review the earlier article if you're not familiar with both products.

This article shares my perspectives on what's new (since early 2011) with Evernote and OneNote, including a brief comparison of the iPad versions of both applications. I'll start with "big picture" updates for both Evernote and OneNote, share some observations about how I continue to gain value from both, and close with some projections about what may happen next, as both tools continue to evolve.

What's New with Evernote?

The Evernote team has been very busy and productive over the last year. Some highlights:

  • Evernote now has more than twenty million users, according to the late 2011 PC World article "The Rise of Evernote--and Why You Should Take Note," although, as a leading "freemium" offering, only a small percentage of the Evernote user population actually pays to use Evernote.
  • Also on the financial front, Evernote accepted a large venture capital investment in mid-2011.
  • Some of the venture capital funding was used to accelerate Evernote's evolution through a series of acquisitions, including new tools for sketching, uncluttering web pages, and capturing information about to-do items (in beta testing as of February 2012), people, and food. It also introduced Evernote Peek, an innovative study tool for the iPad 2.
  • The ecosystem of products and services built on Evernote as a platform and set of services continues to expand. Evernote Trunk is a resource for products and services that complement or extend Evernote. A growing list of tools tap into Evernote services; for example, the ability to send an information item (such as a scanned image) directly into Evernote, treating Evernote as a distributed information management service.
  • The Evernote team introduced and/or enhanced Evernote clients for several device platforms, with a primary focus on Windows and Mac OS personal computers; Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone smartphones; and tablets, including the iPad and Kindle Fire. Evernote also continues to offer simpler clients for less-popular device platforms such Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Mobile (the Windows Phone predecessor). The Evernote client for Android smartphones is especially feature-rich at this point (reflecting, I assume, the readily extensible nature of the Android platform).
  • The browser-based Evernote web client gained new capabilities, and it now provides a useful client alternative for a variety of usage scenarios. Evernote also delivered several updates to browser extensions for clipping web content and sending it to Evernote, with special emphasis on Google Chrome. (I assume that's because Chrome is more readily extensible than some other popular browsers.) These updates make it possible for some combinations of platform, browser, and search service to have Evernote-managed content appear in web search results; for instance, to have content that you created or captured in an Evernote notebook appear in Bing or Google search results. Note that Evernote Web doesn't currently work on the iPad, however (using Safari or non-Apple browsers such as Dolphin).

Occasionally it's frustrating to use Evernote on multiple device platforms, because the various Evernote clients are inconsistent in some respects and evolve at different rates. However, in general it's easy to learn how to use Evernote clients on a wide range of device types, and the Evernote service keeps everything in sync across your device collection.

Evernote for the iPad is a very popular tool, and it has been updated with new features and bug fixes several times since it was introduced in April 2010. Figure 1 shows an example of a web page (the previously referenced PC World article) sent to and viewed in the Evernote iPad client.

Figure 1 Evernote for iPad note-reading view.

In this example, I used an Evernote notebook titled "Harvest" to collect various web pages and other information items to read on my iPad. Using Evernote browser extensions (automatically installed along with the Windows and Mac OS Evernote clients), it's easy to capture and send web content into Evernote. Many features available in the Windows, Mac OS, and web Evernote clients (such as the ability to use stacks of notebooks) are missing in the Evernote iPad client, but I believe that's reasonable, as the iPad client is optimized for content consumption, and the iPad's touch-based interface is in some respects less flexible than PC interfaces.

Figure 2 shows an example with the same Evernote page as in Figure 1, but viewed in edit mode.

Figure 2 Evernote for iPad note-editing view.

Figure 3 captures setting options for the Evernote iPad app (the settings window isn't resizable, so I took one screen shot, scrolled, and took the second). The options including setting a passcode for security; users who sign up for the Evernote Premium service also gain the ability to specify which notebooks are available offline (that is, with no iPad Internet connection).

Figure 3 Evernote for iPad settings.

This is far from a comprehensive review of what's new with Evernote over the last year, but I hope that you've gained a sense of what the Evernote team has been doing. Track the Evernote blog for a more detailed set of ongoing Evernote updates.

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