in Apps, Mac, OS X

Back some 10 years ago Microsoft added in a little know product to their Office suit called One Note. It was one of those hidden gems that many people didn’t know about but the few users who did were avid and hardcore fans. The idea of a single notebook with cross format support that would allow you edit and annotate notes won it a hardcore following. However, in the subsequent stagnation of Microsoft and the rise of Evernote, One Note was pushed to the sideline by many.

Yesterday Microsoft pushed out One Note for Mac (via the Mac app store) and also made every version of One Note free to use, taking away a substantial reason for choosing Evernote. But is it worth switching to One Note, especially as Evernote itself has admitted that the quality of it’s core products could do with more focus? Maybe some of One Note’s features will convince you to switch.

Write Anywhere

One of the really nice features of One Note is you can just start adding content anywhere. If you have a picture, it’s easy to add notes to it. If you have a document to read then you can add your notes around the side. It’s more like the experience with Paper where you aren’t bound by locations on the page.

Multiple Media Formats

Evernote has come a long way but it still uses it’s own file format and limits the variety of file formats you can use in one document. You can’t take a skitch file and then add on audio, nor can you change your penultimate file in skitch. However, with one note you can add any type of media to one file. Of course the standard Evernote files can have pictures, audio and text all together but you can add them from the separate specific Evernote apps for different functions.

New Web Clipper

One of the key features missing from skitch was a Web Clipper. Now they have added one in removing one of the key differentiators between the two products. Now with a One Note web clipper you have that function built into One Note too. However, there is no “clearly” type web clipper which removes the adverts and sidebars leaving you only the article and images from the article.

Third Parties and APIs

Microsoft has clearly been working with some big companies in the background as they also announced integration with a range of third parties across different services including email, blogging, scanning, notebooks and livescribe allowing you to simply and quickly add data into your One Note account for a variety of sources. There is also a developer API now to encourage more integration and innovation.

Catching up With Evernote

All this means that One Note has certainly taken away a set of core reasons why you would use Evernote instead of One Note. You can now use it on almost any device and for free. There are still some functions where Evernote is better and it has a much more conclusive infrastructure at the moment where it links with more services.

There’s no doubt that this is great step forward for One Note but I’m not sure it’s enough to get people onto their system. The culture and mindshare of Evernote maybe just too much.

Are you using One Note? What do you think of it?

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