For over 15 years, Microsoft OneNote has been the go-to app for note-taking for many people. Nevertheless, it has begun to lose ground and users to its competitors. One of such is Evernote, which was once heralded as the OneNote killer by Silicon Valley.
And while OneNote and Evernote were trailblazers, Notion is another great app that has positioned itself as the note-taking app for the future.
But this begs the question: how does the Notion app stack up against OneNote? This article aims to highlight their similarities, differences, and overall workflow so you can make an informed decision when choosing a note taking app.
At the moment, OneNote has the edge. It has additional features and plugs into the Microsoft ecosystem. On the other hand, Notion provides a block-based layout that you can use as both a to-do list and a note taking app.
Notion Vs OneNote: Platforms Pricing and Integrations
Microsoft OneNote is available for Windows 10 at no cost, especially since it comes preinstalled. You can also use the same version with Office 2019 and Office 365 versions.
OneNote integrates seamlessly with Office apps such as Skype, Excel, Word, and more. Of course, you should expect as Microsoft made the app. However, note that you cannot integrate third-party apps.
With the Office 365 subscriptions, OneNote offers the Researcher feature. This feature is not available on the free version. The Researcher feature enables users to search Bing for references, quotes, and anything else, right from OneNote.
Users can get Notion at no cost for up to 1000 blocks (1000 blocks should be sufficient for moderate users). After the 1000 blocks, Notion charges users $4 per month.
When it comes to integration, Notion one-ups OneNote by integrating with other apps, such as Unsplash, Slack, and more. Unfortunately, the only way to know if an app integrates with Notion is through trial and error, as Notion doesn’t have a dedicated app list page.
Both Notion and OneNote are available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. Both applications also come with their own Chrome extension. In addition, OneNote has an extension for Firefox. This is not the case with Notion.
Notion Vs OneNote: Unique Features
OneNote has an inbuilt calculator. To access it, type a simple formula such as 2 + 2 – 7 anywhere on the note and you’ll get the answer.
OneNote enables users to go two levels deep, meaning that you can go from Notebooks to Sections and then Notes.
The app also has handwriting recognition, enabing you to convert handwritten notes into digital notes. This feature is particularly useful for creative individuals.
While OneNote supports numerous fonts, Notion supports icons. There are no limits to how deep its users can go when creating pages within other pages. This is a feature not found on any other note-taking application.
Notion Vs OneNote: Taking Notes
OneNote enables you to create notes in many formats, such as image, audio, and text. These notes can be filed and tagged into sections as well as notebooks, and you can search for them on any device. Users can even use browser extensions that enable you to clip website pages or parts of them.
On the other hand, Notion allows you to create pages and blocks. The blocks can be a gallery, tables, audio, text, video, wikis, code, Kanban-style board, and more.
Each of these formats opens up numerous possibilities and provides users additional ways to customize their workflow. Moreover, there aren’t any limits to how deep a page can go. In theory, you can have a page within a page within another page, and so on.
You can move the blocks in Notion freely both in and out of the page. You can also use templates such as projects, databases, to-do lists, and knowledge bases to take notes.
New users will be pleased to find a host of options available with Notion. But they can also be a tad bit confusing and overwhelming.
OneNote doesn’t use blocks. Instead, it uses paragraphs that you can seamlessly link to other notes, notebooks, sections, and other paragraphs. Nevertheless, there are no templates available at the moment, and users get a limited number of options for creating different formats of notes.
Notion Vs OneNote: Security and Privacy
OneNote allows users to add passwords to different sections of their documents or notes. The notes in a particular section will also become encrypted.
Keep in mind that if you lose or forget the password, Microsoft Support won’t be able to help you recover or access the password-protected notes. That’s because passwords in OneNote use AES-128 bit encryptions.
Notion takes a different route when it comes to encryption. The notes are encrypted in Transit and at Rest but are not encrypted end to end. Notion doesn’t offer Two-Factor Authentication, and neither are blocks or pages encrypted.
Notion Vs OneNote: Layout and UI
Both Notion and OneNote have a neat layout with notes and additional elements being seamlessly accessible.
OneNote uses a notebook approach where you can create notes in sections. These sections are stored in different notebooks. Think of it as a digital representation of the age-old method of taking notes.
Notion goes a different way. Instead of using sections and notebooks, users are met with pages where blocks can be created. The pages can be drilled down using the sidebar, just as with other note-taking apps.
OneNote doesn’t offer this functionality since it doesn’t feature a sidebar. The way OneNote works is to select a notebook and drill down to the notes from sections, which can be a time-consuming and cumbersome process.
On the other hand, you can hop easily between notes and pages in Notion without wasting unnecessary time clicking back and forth. This is all thanks to its sidebar.
However, the search function and other menus are at the top of the page instead of the bottom, making them a bit hard to reach.