• Steve Huffman

Why I went back to Evernote

With the recent terms of service communication snafu by Evernote this year I wanted to see if Onenote by Microsoft was a viable alternative. I’ve been an Evernote user since April 2010 and have paid regularly for their premium offering. I’ve also used Onenote on a somewhat regular basis through an Office 365 subscription. I run a MacBook Pro running Sierra O/S and the latest versions of Evernote and OneNote.

When the terms of service were changed I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the new Microsoft Onenote converter tool from Evernote. I converted a few of my most used notebooks and notes over and for a solid month tried to only use Onenote. Here are my observations and why I decided to convert back to Evernote.

  • The importer tool did not convert 100% of the notes I needed. I had to play with the import tool, export the notes from Evernote and then batch upload my notes. When I got them in OneNote they didn’t convert flawlessly. They were in page sections that were listed 1-100, 101-199, etc. It took about 3 hours to get the layout to the point I could actually functionally use OneNote.

  • I enjoyed the text entry capabilities in OneNote. It felt more like an editor that was viable for everyday use and it mimicked the capabilities in Word more than Evernote. I really found it great to use from an editing standpoint.

  • I found myself asking “why did it just do that?” frequently with OneNote. When I was creating a long text document and wanted to put a text box of “ideas” to the right of my main text box. I found it started to move my content in the main text box. It was terribly annoying.

  • Even though Evernote and OneNote should help you not print so much paper, the reality is printing is something needed. OneNote printing on the Mac is an absolute joke. It doesn’t “fit to page”. You might as well just not give the option if the output is terrible.

  • There is no ability to sort the pages by date created in OneNote. Sort is kind of an important thing.

  • OneNote feels like it sits atop multiple Microsoft platforms. From SharePoint to Word and OneDrive it just feels like it is stacked on top of many Microsoft platforms and it feels bloated.

  • The “experimental”features in OneNote try to mimic the left had format of Evernote, however it is an improvement, but not what I need because it continues to lack sort options. (why is this?)

  • OneNote on the mac crashes or locks about 1x or 2x per week. Evernote rarely locks or crashes. Like I cannot remember the last time it was unstable.

  • Tables in Evernote work much better than tables in OneNote – there are more formatting options and it is an important feature in note taking software.

  • The tags in OneNote I thought would be helpful just became annoying. I’m sure if this was part of your workflow it might be useful, but the only one I used was “todo”.

Even though Evernote has made some bonehead decisions that they have had to change later, the reality is EverNote is still more robust and easier to use than OneNote. I’m hopeful that EverNote will continue to develop it’s core technology, improve the editing capabilities, become a leader in security in the industry and normalize it’s leadership communication and direction.