I came across Evernote a while ago now and I really liked the concept. The trouble was though, it just felt to me like it was lacking in capability. Something about it didn’t feel quite right. I would like to say that it’s still very good and in the absence of anything better, I’d go with Evernote for sure. My question was whether I could find an application better than Evernote. So I went on an interweb quest. A great place I often start with when I want to look at what’s out there is a site called alternativeto.net. There’s a load of stuff on there for all sorts of apps. Sometimes there’s an app which should be there but isn’t, but I did say start with 🙂
There’s quite a few about when you start looking, but when it came down to it there were just two that really got my attention. The first of these is Google Keep. Integration with Android (sorry Apple lovers) and Gmail etc. has definitely got massive potential. But like the other office apps Google has to offer, it seemed to me that there was a lot missing in terms of functionality and really it was no competition for what Evernote already had. It was/is relatively new however and given time, the mighty Google could make it a fantastic tool. But I just don’t see them doing it right now and right now is what I was after. So enter the real match for Evernote: – Microsoft OneNote.
Now That’s an App
To begin with I was happily surprised that as an Office user I already owned a full copy (2010 version) of this rather more fleshed out application. The usability I found was fantastic and did everything and more that Evernote could do. All I wanted it for was my own note taking, journalling and daily prep. It did all of this seamlessly and the 2013 version adds deeper office integration. Features such as tagging, text search, sections, docking, templates and many more just felt more intuitive to me than they did in Evernote. But it wasn’t until the last week or two that I really started loving this application. When we went over journalling and being able to share documents and have access on multiple devices, I had another look at OneNote.
Now here’s where Microsoft is really fantastic. Sharing and the cloud. It had something called SkyDrive which mutated into OneDrive – don’t ask me what the difference is as I have no idea. What you get with OneDrive is cloud storage, sharing/collaboration ability and some basic versions of Microsoft Office apps which fully integrate with their respective desktop version (so you can update your notes etc. from anywhere). So you get 7GB of storage space for free. You can get an extra 5GB for free by referring people (0.5GB per person) and you can pay for more if you really want (if you have loads of files and just can’t face creating another account). Remember that the free version of Evernote allows you 60MB per month – MB not GB. You get a whole host of methods for sharing and collaborating and most importantly, you can either install mobile apps or access/edit your files from a web browser. You get the ability to use Word, Excel, OneNote and several other Microsoft apps from within a browser – admittedly these are not full versions by any stretch (although you can pay for an Office 365 subscription where you get the full versions). ALL THIS IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE.
This isn’t meant to be a review of features and a rating of the application, but it’s simply to tell you about something which I’m finding to be a really great piece of software. The caveat is that it’s going to work much better if you already have the desktop application as part of Office (ideally 2013 or 2010). If you don’t then you can still use the online version for free. All you need to do is sign up to OneDrive (that’s not a referral link) with any email address or make a new one. That’s really it. I hope you take a look at OneNote and find it to be as useful as I have – for me, it beats Evernote hands down. Oh and by the way, you can import your existing Evernote journals if you need to.
*** Update – Microsoft have announced a user suggestion forum to submit ideas for improvements to OneNote. It can be found here***