Notion vs OneNote – Which is Best for You?

Notion vs OneNote - Which is Best for You?

Both Notion and OneNote are great note-taking applications, but which one is best for you? This detailed comparison guide will compare and contrast these two powerful applications and help determine which one is best for you based on your workflow.

Before we get started, if you are looking to learn even more about Notion, OneNote or other apps, Skillshare is a great resource to check out. Skillshare has courses on Notion, Evernote, Todoist, Things 3, Trello, and more. In fact, there is a great Notion course by Francesco D’Alessio on Notion that you can check out at the link below:

Link to Notion Course on Skillshare

Notion dashboard

Notion is a wiki-based productivity platform that supports a variety of functionality, including:

  • note-taking
  • databases
  • Kanban boards
  • calendars
  • to-do lists

You can customize almost everything to your specifications to keep your work well organized. Notion also provides collaboration capabilities. It is a cross-platform service that runs on:

  • Web
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • iOS
  • Android.

If you are just getting started with Notion, you should check out our Beginner’s Guide to Notion, which you can find here. Our guide will take you from beginner to Notion ninja! If you are looking for some essential Notion tips and tricks, check out 14 Amazing Notion Tips and Tricks You Must Know.

Once you want to use the template on the page, simply click the template button.

Project teams prefer Notion due to its adaptability and flexibility. Look at the most critical features in identifying and encouraging organized work in this software.

The flexibility of Notion

One of the biggest strengths of Notion is its flexibility and versatility. At its heart, Notion is a customizable wiki. Notion allows you to add a variety of content types to Notion. You can use Notion for a plethora of use cases beyond note-taking. 

Project and Task Management

Notion enables teams to schedule, monitor, and update numerous projects and tasks through a centralized platform. Remote teams benefit from high accessibility, reliability, and real-time updates that provide a detailed view of all activities.

Database Management

Notion software is more than a text editor; it utilizes databases to manage all content, including notes and documents. Users can keep their notes private, share them with their team, or publish them on the public web, depending on what they want.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None?

Notion is incredibly powerful. You can do anything from note-taking to database management, todo-lists, Kanban boards, and even websites. Because Notion does so much, it can be fair to ask whether it is best in class at any one of them.

Complicated to learn

The learning curve beyond the basics in Notion can be a bit steep, especially if you are new to wikis. Fortunately, there are tons of Notion tutorials out there (many created here) to help you master Notion.

Looking to automate your productivity workflow? You should check out my Guide to the Elgato Stream Deck. Stream Deck allows you to set up actions that can be enabled by a simple push of a button.

OneNote Notebook

OneNote is a note-taking app developed by Microsoft. It acts as a central repository for all of your notes, structured into different notebooks and sections within notebooks. It is compatible with a wide range of digital formats, allowing you to pin multimedia documents and plain text.

Like Evernote and Dropbox Paper, OneNote enables you to store images and text in free-form documents that you can share or keep private. OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office Suite, which also includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Some of the main benefits of OneNote include:

  • Real-time collaboration
  • Data Fidelity
  • Multimedia Support
  • Integration with other Microsoft Services and Applications

Real-time collaboration:

Due to the cloud-based nature of Office 365, you can share a OneNote file with others to create a collaborative workbook that updates in real-time. Share notebooks for viewing or formatting, and multiple users can collaborate concurrently.

Data Fidelity

OneNote saves all content that users enter into the program automatically. OneNote can sync your OneNote data to all of your devices, and you can rest assured that your data is backed up.

Multimedia Support

Apart from the standard text, image, and other media types supported by Microsoft Word, OneNote enables you to record audio and video directly into your notebook. OneNote is ideal for recording and sharing meetings with coworkers.

Integration with other Microsoft Services and Applications

The wonderful thing about Office 365 is how seamlessly its applications integrate. For example, OneNote can be synchronized with Outlook, allowing you to send information directly from emails to OneNote, and users can email notes directly from OneNote.

Here are some of the disadvantages of OneNote as given below:

It Is Complicated for Newcomers

OneNote is different than many other note-taking applications, so there is a bit of a learning curve. In particular, sharing notes and notebooks can be a little complicated to learn at first.

Platform Inconsistencies

The functionality available to MAC and Windows users is slightly different. However, Microsoft has been working diligently to close the gap.

FeatureNotionOneNoteNote-takingYesYesText FormattingYesYesPre-Made templatesYesYesTagsYes(per database or page,
not universal)YesStructure
(smallest unit
to biggest)subpage(s) -> Page
(HTML Web directory like)page->section->notebookEmbed videoYesYesAPI supportYesYesOCR supportNoYesAbility to create database
in applicationYesYes*
(basic table only,
or embed Excel
Spreadsheet)Kanban BoardsYesNonative calendar supportYesNoGoogle Calendar embed
supportYesNoGoogle Calendar interworking
via API (Zapier, etc)YesYesNotion vs OneNote Feature Comparison Table

The short answer is yes, but the real question is whether it makes sense to stop using OneNote. 

Whether to replace OneNote with Notion is entirely dependent on:

  • What do you currently use OneNote for?
  • What are you missing in OneNote that is available in Notion?
  • How much do you use the rest of the Office 365 application?

If you only use OneNote for traditional note-taking and want to take your notes in Notion instead, it doesn’t make sense to switch. If, however, you wish to incorporate databases and rich tables into your note-taking system, switching to Notion is a great option.

You also need to evaluate the value of how OneNote integrates into the rest of the Office 365 ecosystem. If you are a power user of most Office 365 apps, staying on OneNote may make more sense than switching to a different platform.

This question is tricky because it is highly subjective. Depending on your workflow and use cases, either could be better for you than the other.

That said, enclosed below is a table outlining scenarios and which application, in my opinion, is best for that particular use case:Use CaseRecommended
ApplicationNeed Note-taking onlyOneNoteNeed Database functionalityNotionNeed basic tablesOneNoteDesire rich integration
to other Office 365 applicationsOneNoteAbility to embed third party
applications in app (Google Calendar,
Todoist, etc)NotionWant an all-in-one productivity
application (todos, database,
note-taking)NotionNotion vs OneNote Recommendation Table

Notion Pricing

Notion Pricing

Notion offers 4 different packages, 2 for individual users and 2 for teams and businesses. You can choose the package according to your requirements.

As OneNote is included in MS Office, OneNote is free if you are an MS Office paid user.

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