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First Impressions of OneNote

First Impressions of OneNote

I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my system for keeping on top of all the information that I have and staying focused on getting things done. With the announcement at the end of June by Evernote regarding their pricing and plan changes I have been kicking around whether or not to give OneNote a shot as my exclusive knowledge capture device. So far, the results have been mixed. It has solved a few problems that I had with Evernote, but introduced some new ones that can be a little frustrating.

Getting it setup to work on all my devices seemed to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. I have a Macbook Pro, an iPhone 6 Plus, and an iPad Pro 9.7 that it needs to work on. For the first two days it seemed like every time I touched either my iPhone or iPad I had to enter my password or it would have some type of sync problem. It seemed to clear up after the first two days, but it was almost a show stopper even before I got started.

From an interface perspective, I like it a lot better than Evernote. It has more functionality and looks a lot cleaner. One of the big upsides is its support for the Apple Pencil. Unlike with Evernote, I can write anywhere on my notes and still actually see what else is on them. I also like that it is “free” since it uses my 1TB OneDrive storage that I already get as part of my organizational account.

The biggest problem that I had was with their email to OneNote functionality. Unlike Evernote, which gives you a personalized email address you can send to, with OneNote you send it to a single address which then routes it to your account based on the from address of your account. They say that you can add more to your account if you are using a Microsoft account, since I am using an organizational account I cannot seem to add other addresses to my acceptable list, which means now whenever I forward an email to OneNote I have to remember to switch my email’s from address to the account that it allows.

The only other main problem that I had with OneNote is that it won’t allow me to have more than one note open at a time. This is a feature that I find extremely useful in Evernote, especially when I want to merge incident notes with general knowledge notes or I need to reference something I wrote for one thing while I am writing something else. You can get around it by opening a version using the OneNote app and opening the same folder in the online app via your browser. It works, but not very efficient.

I’m going to continue to use OneNote exclusively through the end of September before I make a decision whether to stay with it or switch back to Evernote. I’m interested to know how well it tracks receipts, bills, and budgets.