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Evernote vs. OneNote: Note-Taking Apps Showdown

By Michelle Mastin
January 31, 2012 09:06 AM ET

Winner: Evernote is the better tool for basic text notes due to its cleaner interface. If you need more complex formatting, OneNote would be the better choice.

Multimedia Notes

Sometimes you need to add more to your notes than words alone--a chart or an image, say, or even an audio recording of the meeting. Both OneNote and Evernote let you add images, audio, video, and files including Word documents or PDFs to your notes.

In Evernote, files, audio, and video are added as attachments to notes, while images are added inline. You can add images from your computer, or take a new snapshot with your webcam. Audio attachments are limited to 2 hours in length if you're a free user, and 4 hours for Premium users. Video is limited to Premium users only.

With OneNote, you can add multimedia items anywhere within a note. Starting an audio or video recording will create an icon for the file in the note, and selecting that icon will bring up playback controls. Images also appear in line with your notes, and you can resize and reposition them. When you drag a file into your note, you choose between inserting a link to the original file, inserting a copy of the file onto the page, or inserting the file as a printout so you can read it directly from within OneNote and even add notes on top. All of these elements are independent on the page and can be moved around separately.

Winner: Evernote is great for grabbing quick audio recordings if you just have your phone with you, but OneNote syncs your notes to the audio or video playback and can even index spoken words for later search, making it a better reference tool for longer recordings.

Ink Notes

Sometimes handwriting notes as if you had pen and paper is the most comfortable way to store information. It can be especially handy in a meeting to have a tablet flat on the desk and write with a pen, rather than having a laptop open, creating a barrier between you and the other attendees. Unlike pen and paper, "ink notes" in either Evernote or OneNote are indexed and searchable just like notes you've typed in.

With Evernote, you can choose to create an ink note to take handwritten notes, but that's all you'll be able to do with it. Ink cannot be mixed with any other type of content using the desktop application, and you cancreate ink notes only with the Windows desktop application. You'll be able to view your ink notes on other platforms, but not create new ones. Some mobile apps that sync with Evernote also support ink notes, like the Notes app on the HTC Flyer tablet, but those are third-party.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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