| By Katherine Murray |
Once upon a time, researchers and writers might have debated the virtues of paper notebooks versus index cards for recording their thoughts and findings. Today, it’s all gone digital.
The choice between two leading note-taking apps — OneNote or Evernote — depends in large part on how well they integrate with the platforms and software you’re already using.
Why you need a versatile tool for note-taking
If you take notes by typing memos in Word docs or by sending yourself e-mail messages, you probably do so with the worry you might not find them later. Moreover, text notes are not the only, nor best, evocation of an idea: when you want to grab a couple of quick photos on your smartphone, or add a voice note, or sketch a new design, pasting them into disconnected documents just won’t do.
Note-taking apps let you quickly organize and connect many bits of information — and share them with others who might also need access to that data. Although there are many variations of the note-taking theme, two of the best for generalized use are Evernote and Microsoft’s OneNote.
Evernote has both free and paid versions and is hugely successful — in July 2011, it boasted more than 11 million users worldwide. OneNote is offered as part of Microsoft Office 2010 or as a standalone product for U.S. $80. Despite its high price, it too is acquiring a rapidly growing following.
Many of the basic note-creation tasks are similar in both programs. So this article looks at common features that extend the function of each app: the number and range of platforms it supports, how easily you can grab and paste content from the Web, and how challenging it is to apply collected content to other programs.
Where you take notes and where you keep them
Evernote is popular in part because it works on all sorts of platforms and devices. Whether you use a Windows PC, a Mac, an iPhone, an iPad, an iTouch, a Blackberry Play book, Android, or Windows Phone — or any combination of these — Evernote can keep your information synchronized between all the devices. When you browse online (with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer), you can use a version of Evernote’s Web Clipper to clip content and paste it into your notebook, along with the Web link and any tags you want to add to simplify finding the note later.