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Electronic Note Taking - Evernote to OneNote

Uh, Oh.


Recently, I was delivered notice from the Evernote desktop application that my account was "changing". Evernote would no longer be offering free access to their basic services from an unlimited number of devices. Instead, only two devices would be allowed to access my account which contains hundreds of important notes that I reference for work-related information on a regular basis. This immediately produced a frown upon my face. I began to wonder. Was it time to make the switch to OneNote? How difficult would that be? Evernote has grown on me; will I appreciate the OneNote experience or will I be forced to finally make the jump to Evernote's Premium service?




I access my electronic notes from two devices on a semi-regular basis, and one additional device on a daily basis. Those being my laptop, smartphone, and desktop computer respectively. I need access to my notes on more than the two devices Evernote is now offering at their basic service level. It is worth noting here I do realize that if I shell out cash for the Premium service on a yearly basis I can continue to use Evernote the way I have for the past few years. I'm just not convinced that is a worthwhile decision just yet, despite my love for the Evernote user experience. Evernote is simply outstanding at taking notes, whether they are typed out manually or pasted directly from a website. The content is always laid out exactly as it should be and is easy to search. Simply put: Evernote rocks.




Microsoft is now offering a handy import tool for converting Evernote notes to OneNote format. I decided to give this a try. The import tool can be found here: 




This tool effectively converted all of my Evernote content to OneNote format and imported it into my age-old Microsoft account, effectively making it immediately available to all of my devices.  As I have just completed this operation prior to starting this blog post, the remainder of this post will be based on my first impressions.  I'll post an update in the future if I feel it is warranted.




Admittedly, I already knew this, but I was somehow expecting more. In my opinion, the OneNote interface is clunky at best. My main collection of imported notes was not imported into the main OneNote note collection, so I had to go about finding them.  Once I did, I had access to everything from before.  However, tags didn't seem to transfer over very well and some notes reported partial errors during the import phase (albeit, I have not yet found any actual corruption in the notes). I suppose I have become accustomed to Evernote's desktop interface to the point that another approach to note taking design is going to be off putting, but I will do my best over the next few days to adjust to this new user interface. After all, I have used the Evernote smartphone application, and short of bewildering sports apps, that is one of the chunkiest user interfaces. It got the job done, however.  Here's to hoping I can have the same experience using OneNote's similar offerings.


I'm making a note here.


I'll be toying with the OneNote desktop application over the next week and I will attempt to come to a conclusion on whether to make a permanent switch or bite the bullet and buy into Evernote's Premium feature set.  In the mean time, I welcome anyone interested in this topic to throw in their own two cents to the conversation in the comments below!


Happy note taking!


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