Alternatives to Microsoft One Note?
July 3, 2007 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an alternative to Microsoft One Note

Hi there,

I just started using Microsoft One Note. I hate to rave about an MS product but currently I'm loving it. It seems like the solution to a lot of problems I've been having organizing pictures and text for writing projects.

But I'm wondering if there are any better alternatives out there before I put all my eggs in this basket. Are there shareware programs that do basically the same thing? Has anyone used One Note extensively enough to comment on it? It looks good but I don't know anything about it other than using it for a few hours.

posted by sully75 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen a few other notebook/journal type applications over the years but I have found OneNote to be the best amongst all of them. Not only is it very keyboard-mouse friendly but you can even use it with a pen input either via touchscreen or a tablet.

I've used OneNote back when it was a beta and I really liked it then and now in Office 2007 it's gotten much better. If I blogged or needed a place to store my thoughts, I would use it daily.

I recommend sticking with OneNote.
posted by riffola at 5:44 PM on July 3, 2007

i can personally recommend evernote as a good free (or cheap with extra options) open source onenote replacement. It even has some things onenote doesn't have (like inserting empty check boxes for to-do lists...)

that being said now that i have a version of onenote personally i have uninstalled evernote.

oh, also, i used a ton of the various free or shareware replacements for onenote.... evernote was BY FAR the best. ymmv i suppose.
posted by chasles at 5:48 PM on July 3, 2007

Check out, a forum of tablet users, for reviews of other one-note-like programs. Also, used to have some good comparisons up, don't know if they're still there. I've only used OneNote, and I'm a die-hard fan. I find myself using it for everything from designing dresses to keeping track of research papers to logging my labwork (I have a tablet).
posted by Eringatang at 6:01 PM on July 3, 2007

I came across LivePad, but did not try it so cannot vouch for or speak against it.
posted by yclipse at 6:05 PM on July 3, 2007

Like chasles, I recently abandoned Evernote for OneNote. If I didn't have OneNote now, I would definitely have stayed with it. The pay version only adds handwriting recognition, so if you don't have a tablet, the free one is fine and does the majority of what OneNote does.

The only thing I really found it lacked was the ability to make a table. It supports tables, you just have to copy and paste them in from Word or something similar, so I didn't understand why it had no way of making them itself. But compared to how easily they can be created in OneNote (just press 'tab'), that turned out to be a deal breaker.
posted by Partial Law at 6:34 PM on July 3, 2007

Take a look at Zoho Notebook -- it's got a lot of the same functionality as OneNote, is free (currently), and, since it's web-based, addresses my main problem with OneNote (trying to keep notebooks synched across multiple computers).
posted by Kat Allison at 7:16 PM on July 3, 2007

And for the Appleists amongst us, Journler does rather a good job, as does Microsoft Word's Notebook feature.
posted by oxford blue at 8:12 PM on July 3, 2007

It even has some things onenote doesn't have (like inserting empty check boxes for to-do lists...)

Wrong, OneNote does this. There are several templates available for free from MS that have it by default as well.

I, too, am a OneNote user, and I love it. I really doubt that there's anything else out there as feature rich. But if I'm wrong, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by SlyBevel at 8:58 PM on July 3, 2007

I've used onenote for a couple of years and it is just awesome (yes I hate raving about M$ products too). I use onenote to catalog recipes (I can do a really fast screencapture from a webpage to onenote), keep track of todos (not as much anymore since I use basecamp and backpack), and plan ideas (it's easy to drag around chunks of text/images).

Backpack [shameless referral link] offers something similar as an online service (basic plan=$5/month). The one advantage it has over Onenote is that it's online so you can update notes/todos/pictures etc. from anywhere. Onenote lacks that feature (which is sometimes frustrating) but not such a big deal if you only work on one computer. I'd say go ahead and get it.

One more thing. Are you at an educational institution? if so it may just be free or dirt cheap (< $25 for a single user license)
posted by special-k at 11:06 PM on July 3, 2007

I am a happy Evernote (non-Pro) user and fire it up almost as soon as I sit down at work everyday.

I did try out a few other note taking applications (hazy on the actual names), but Evernote stood out as the best of the bunch.

That said, I have no experience with One Note and found Evernote ideal for my needs. My guess is that if you have been using One Note a lot and find it suits your style best, Evernote will be a major let down in terms of functionality.
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 2:52 AM on July 4, 2007

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