The OneNote app that is included with the Surface has about the same feature set as the normal Desktop version of the Office 2013 suite. It runs in desktop mode on the tablet and has all the desktop like interactions and features of the Office 2013 for RT apps.
Evernote is a Microsoft Store App that runs in the ‘Modern UI Style’ (formerly known as Metro) which means either full screen mode or Snap mode where one app is snapped to one edge of the screen. In snap mode it is easy to take notes at the same time as another app is open and visible.
Finding existing notes in Evernote uses the same search functions as all Windows Store Apps, by opening the charms menu there is a search option for Evernote and all other Apps available. Compared to the search options in the Desktop app and the Android app this is quite a poor experience. It is not possible to save searches to create dynamic lists of posts and it is not possible to save the search as a short cut anywhere.
Creating notes in OneNote
The interface in OneNote is very similar to the Windows Office 2013 Desktop Application.
The App runs in window mode and can be resized and moved at will.
Created of notes can include any formatting and object supported. it is easy to insert screenshots with the clipping tool etc.
Creating notes in Evernote
The Evernote note creation experience is of the less is more variant.
There is only plain text input and the only extra options is to choose the notebook the note should be in and the tags to associate with the note.
It is possible to put the note creation interface on either edge of the screen using Snap and use the rest of the screen for another App.
Snap example, use part of the screen for Internet Explorer and part of the screen for Evernote note.
Search for notes in Evernote
The normal view when opening Evernote includes squares of all recent notes.
The opportunity to change view is somewhat limited. by opening the menu options, it is possible to change view based on notebooks and tags and it is possible to change sort order.
It is also possible to zoom out and view navigation based on months.
Both apps are available from Google Play for free. The Evernote one is available for both free and premium accounts and the standard differences between the account types are applicable for mobile apps (There are some differences such as pin code security and offline notebooks). The OneNote app is also free but requires an in app upgrade once you hit 500 notes.
Overview of user interface
Create a note overview:
Create a note in Evernote.
Create a note in OneNote
The creation process is a bit different between the two platforms.
Evernote creates empty notes that you can enter text into. images etc. are attachments to the note and doesn’t show up inline in the note. In the note you can change text to bold, italics and underlined. you can add ordered and unordered lists and checkboxes. You can move the note to another notebook and you can add tags from the tags taxonomy with ease.
OneNote creates empty notes that you in the chosen notebook. it is not possible to move the note to another notebook in the app. it is not possible to add the various tags that are available in the desktop version. Images are added to the note inline so that it is easy to relate text to a specific image.
Evernote is a more evolved Android app. it has both several widgets and support for shortcuts and shares. OneNote only has the app and everything you can do is done within the app – interaction with the features of the Android operating system is an area of opportunities for improvement.
In Android a key feature is the possibility to send information from one app to another, just chose share from something and send it on to another app. For storing information this is a very important feature to support. Evernote has the possibility to share to a new note and OneNote doesn’t support the share feature at all.
Above: Able to share a tweet into an Evernote note…
From a start page/panel on Android it is possible to add both widgets, applications and shortcuts. Evernote has very good support for shortcuts to notes and saved searches etc. From the Android add shortcut interface you can create a shortcut to an existing note but you can also create shortcuts from almost everywhere in the app. so if you have a specific view or a search that you want to have direct access to from a start panel you can create it and save it directly from the app.
Above: Evernote search and a folder of lists as shortcuts to search results on a panel in Android.
Above: Evernote folder with shortcuts to search results.
With the flexibility of shortcuts it is easier to work with a GTD approach of one note for each task/to do item. It is also easy to mix results so that you can have a specific shortcut to the list of groceries to be bought and a list of all items in the Actions Pending list for Now and At the office etc. You can even search out all notes in the Actions Pending book that have unchecked checkboxes so that you can be sure nothing gets away unchecked.
Another key area of Android is widgets, application features that display directly on a start page/panel. Evernote has several different to choose between and use, including handy shortcuts to create new notes from audio capture and photos. OneNote has no support for widgets. Once you place a widget on a panel you have more customization options to suit your needs.
Above: Evernote Widgets in Android.
Both apps gives you the opportunity to store the information you write in the cloud. OneNote stores the information in a file on your SkyDrive. Evernote stores the information in an account database associated with your account. With the file approach of OneNote it is easy to delete, move, send the file etc. With the database and service approach of Evernote it is easy for external parties to create apps that you can use. No matter what app you use they both provide you with access to all the information stored in the cloud.
Storage space available is the same as for the Evernote accounts and OneNote. The difference is that Evernote is limited to a maximum upload per month (free: 60MB, premium: 1GB) and OneNote uses the storage space that you have on SkyDrive (Free 7GB start (down from 25GB), 20/50/100GB available for purchase).
OneNote 2013 compatibility: It says in the app information that it is compatible with OneNote 2010 but I have tested it with a OneNote 2013 workbook without any issues.
Evernote app has an offline access mode for premium accounts so that you can choose what notebooks should be available offline in Android.
OneNote files are synchronized and if they are opened in the app they should be available offline as long as they have been synched. The actual OneNote files are available through the SkyDrive app.
Compared to the Desktop Applications
OneNote is a very feature rich desktop application. Evernote is feature rich but a bit different on the desktop. On Android the roles are reversed, Evernote is the more feature rich app. Even basic feature such as bold text seems to be impossible in the OneNote app, whereas Evernote app has all the features expected from an Android app…
Both Microsoft and Evernote have related apps available:
What’s new in Evernote 5 for Mac, video on Youtube
I reflected on the absence of anything related to creating and maintaining your notes. Everything in the video is about managing information that is already available in a notebook.
I guess that this is the main difference between Evernote (tagline: remember everything) and OneNote (tagline: keep tabs on your life?). Evernote is for storing readymade stuff that’s static and OneNote is for creating and working with structured pages of information that is easy to change and rearrange etc.
My biggest problem with Evernote is that it is impossible to use the editor for anything more advanced than plain text. My biggest problem with OneNote is that it is not flexible enough when it comes to sending information to a notebook and searching and tagging information.
So, as before I find myself using both platforms, Evernote for scanning, automations, archiving etc. and OneNote for my creation and editing of notes from meetings etc.
Evernote have several features for automation built in and you can use it directly with several other applications and web services. Here are a few ones I found noteworthy:
click.to sends copied information directly to Evernote and more. You can use Evernotes normal global hot key shortcut to paste the clipboard to Evernote (Ctrl+Alt+V) but using click.to and configuring Evernote as a Satellite action makes it a more visual option. Also, click.to can send your clipboard contents to several other applications directly, such as your search engine, Google Translate etc.
Image: Choosing copy brings up the click.to menu.
Auto Import Folder
Evernote has an auto import feature where you can designate folders as a pickup points for your files. You define it under Tools, Import Folders. I have a specific folder for import that also deletes the source file once it has been imported. I have placed the folder in my favorites list in explorer so that I can drag and drop files directly into Evernote without problem. I move the files I don’t want to save to Dropbox and copy files I want to retain at other locations.
Since Evernote doesn’t have a printer driver (OneNote does and it works very well) I can print a .pdf file from any application to this folder and have it in Evernote directly without to much fuss.
Image: Setting Import Folders in Evernote
Image: Part of explorer with Evernote Auto Import folder in favorites.
Send from Snagit
Snagit from TechSmith is a great way to make screen captures. I highly recommend it if you need to make any form of screen capturing on a more regular basis.
Once you have made your capture you can use the Share Tab in Snagit Editor to send your screen capture directly to quite a few applications, including Evernote and OneNote (and Facebook, Twitter, Word, PowerPoint, FogBugz etc…).
Automation from Dropbox with Wappwolf
Wappwolf is a Dropbox automator. It can do loads of stuff to your files in Dropbox such as convert your recently purchased e-book to Amazon format and send it to your Kindle for reading. Or you can use it to store information from Dropbox to Evernote.
You can choose to give Wappwolf access to your whole Dropbox system or you can choose to limit it to an application specific folder in your Apps folder.
Once you have given Wappwolf access, create an automation you need. In this case we want to upload the file to Evernote so we will choose the Any file area and specify “upload it to Evernote” and since we only want to store our file in Evernote we will also choose “Delete the original file” under Advanced.
This works very well for applications that aren’t on my desktop but that can save to Dropbox, such as my Android phone applications (if for some reason the share to Evernote feature doesn’t work) or other web services that can connect and deliver to to Dropbox but not to Evernote.
For Swedish e-book readers with a Kindle the convert and send to Kindle is very useful. You can buy/download a Swedish e-book (unless its DRM/copy protected – then you would have to first remove the encryption since the normally used Adobe Digital Edition DRM format isn’t compatible with Kindle) and automatically transfer it to your Kindle.
Using IFTTT to archive your online stuff
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a very nice automation tool that can deliver directly to your Evernote notebooks.
You connect other services to Evernote and specify what should be saved and where.
I use IFTTT for several automations and a few of them are for Evernote:
I use it to:
Archive copies of my blog posts in Evernote (and also as .pdf files on Dropbox)
Save copies of all my Facebook updates in a notebook
Save copies of all my Tweets in a notebook
Save copies of all my LinkedIn updates in a notebook
Save copies of all my Foursquare check-ins in a notebook
Save logs of specific emails (from Google mail) automatically in a notebook (invoices, license information etc.)
Save all starred articles from Google Reader to Evernote
There are quite a few other useful applications of IFTTT but these are my current Evernote related ones.
Skipping mail in Sweden
The Swedish postal service manages mail for a lot of customers. The corporation will send the information it needs to send you to the postal service electronically and the postal service will print it and carry it to your mail box.
Since I will scan it anyway and put it into Evernote, I signed up for their e-mail postbox (ePostBoxen) (a SharePoint implementation btw =) ) where I can sign in and pick up the electronic copies of the mail instead. From there I can save it to Evernote directly. Someone should write an automation channel for IFTTT of Wappwolf etc for this service so that I can get it to where it should be without intervention.
Standard features not to forget
While I’m writing, here are some plain old standard features I like.
Send email to Evernote.
Your Evernote notebooks have an email address that you can use to send information directly to. Its very easy to use when sending mail, just add the evernote address as a BCC and it will be automatically stored. If you send a mail directly to Evernote, you can also specify notebooks, tags etc in the message header. Don’t use this when BCC’ing, it will be very confusing for your recipient).
You find you Evernote email address alongside your account information.
Using Google search to search your notebooks.
You can let Google/Bing search search your notebooks at the same time as you search the web in Chrome. Very easy to find already compiled information while searching as usual.
Image: sample (in Swedish) of Evernote search integration in Chrome Google search
Scan directly to Evernote
I also use Evernote to store all my incoming papers. All normal scanners have the possibility to send the scanned result directly to an application and this works well with Evernote. I just put my papers in the scanner and press one button to get them into a notebook. If you want to get a scanner, make sure it has a proper paper feeder and can scan both sides of your document in one go.