Evernote vs OneNote for Lawyers

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Several years ago, I used OneNote for note taking and organizing information. I loved the digital notebook concept. I loved having nested notebooks and pages and sub-pages where I could organize everything.

Ironically, one thing I wasn’t crazy about was something OneNote is known for: the ability to place notes and graphics anywhere on the page. I was used to a more linear approach to organizing things. I tried to get used to this free-form method of displaying content, but never did.

Another thing I didn’t like is that each page was itself a big graphic (I think) and each element on it was a graphic. I may have the tech wrong but it always felt a bit weird. Maybe I’m just a plain text kinda guy.

As my notes grew, I found that keeping them organized wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I had so many notebooks and pages and sub-pages, things got confusing. Tags and search weren’t terribly reliable in the version I was using and I started looking at what others were doing to organize their notes.

I read lots of blogs about OneNote and kept hearing it compared to Evernote. I had Evernote on my hard drive, but used it only on occasion. I saw that many OneNote users had switched to EverNote because of some of the same frustrations I had experienced, so I started using Evernote more and liked it. I made the switch and haven’t looked back.

Evernote is my virtual filing cabinet, my GTD platform, and my universal note taking system. I use it all day, every day, on all my devices and in every part of my work flow. If you’re a lawyer, you can see how I use it in my Evernote for Lawyers ebook.

Microsoft just made OneNote free for PC and Mac users so I thought I would give it another look. I read an excellent article comparing OneNote vs Evernote. It concluded that Evernote takes the gold, but it also showed how far OneNote has come since I last used it.

I just downloaded OneNote and will take it for a test drive. At first blush, I can see how I might use it for certain projects, but I can’t see making my primary note taking system.

How about you? How do you weigh in on the Evernote vs OneNote for lawyers debate?

Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized and Increasing Productivity is available here

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Comments

  1. James D. Fowlie says

    David–

    I had just read this article on LifeHacker yesterday: http://lifehacker.com/lifehacker-faceoff-onenote-vs-evernote-1550697885 — I think you hit many of the same points. Like you, I prefer EverNote to OneNote — but I also live in a realm without too much Microsoft in it, so that’s part of it, too.

    It looks like each product is trying to nudge into the other’s space, EverNote with its new handwriting features, OneNote, by mimicking more and more of the EverNote feature set, and by getting a free product out there — but both remain with their distinct personalities.

    • Hi James,

      That’s the same article I linked to in my post. It was well done.

      I don’t use Office much, but as the article points out, for those who do, OneNote has a place.

      David