Evernote vs. OneNote: Battle of Personal Productivity Platforms


[Last Updated: March 18, 2021]

Evernote vs OneNote

In productivity circles, Evernote and OneNote dominate as far more than note-taking software and are often considered a "Second Brain."   After a decade as both users and developers for both, our team has seen thousands of clients use each to improve productivity.  As a result, we know the small touches clients value and the headaches that cause the most complaints.  Given this experience, our goal is to help you choose wisely because we know getting the most from either will require a significant investment of your time. 

While you'll find dozens of Evernote vs OneNote blog posts online, this comparison guide is different because it a) contains the most comprehensive comparison available, and b) focuses on these tools as Personal Productivity Platforms (PPPs).  

Although we choose a "Winner", we also hope to expand your view of both and prepare you to become a more effective person using the tool best for you.

What is a Personal Productivity Platform?

 A Personal Productivity Platform (“PPP”) forms the foundation of an integrated system that helps you:

  • Capture ideas
  • Retrieve them
  • Take effective action

Whether you’re managing a startup, planning your bucket list or researching a career transition,  your PPP organizes all the ideas. It then allows you to easily retrieve those ideas  for reference or action.  You might use a calendar or task app to drive action, but the underlying ideas and purpose live in your PPP.  Just like your brain, the more you use it, the more valuable it becomes.

Why Evernote and OneNote?

There are now many contenders, but Evernote and OneNote remain best suited to serve as Personal Productivity Platforms because each has:

  • An industry-leading scope and flexibility of information capture
  • Survived in the tech industry for nearly 20 years with the backing to stick around
  • Built an ecosystem of connections with other apps, consultants, supporters that allow it to add more value to many areas of our lives

Because the battle between these heavyweights will rage on, this guide will be updated at least quarterly.

How to use this guide

Our goal is to provide you a ringside seat to a battle that compares major features and subtle differences between Evernote and OneNote.  Along the way, we'll share our opinion, but we know a second brain must be an extension of your unique style.  Lastly, we aim to convince you of the benefits of a PPP along with some tips on how to use one.

While we've built the most comprehensive comparison available, we've structured it to make it easy to get around.

How to use our comparison guide

First, all chapters are linked in the right sidebar.  Second, each chapter page has quick links to each section and subsection.  Third, at the beginning of each chapter, we've listed its sections and highlighted in gold the ones we consider most important in choosing a PPP.  

Feel free to follow the guide's logical flow or jump around to match your interests and priorities.  For every section in a chapter, we answer:

  • What is this and why does it matter?
  • How Evernote & OneNote compare?
  • Who wins and why?

Let's go!


EN vs ON - Basic Capabilities

Chapter 1: Basic Capabilities

Evernote vs OneNote - Platform Foundations

Chapter 2: Platform Foundations

Evernote vs OneNote - Look & Feel

Chapter 3: Look & Feel

Evernote vs OneNote - Productivity Ecosystem

Chapter 4: Productivity Ecosystem

Chapter 5: Making a Choice

Anything Missing?

Let us know if something is missing in our comparison or something has changed.  We're committed to having the most comprehensive and updated comparison around.  Let us know