OneNote and Notion may have the same purpose, but they are different in many ways. OneNote has grown a lot and Notion is new in the market, but the age does not matter. In this post, we are going to cover OneNote vs Notions.
Table of contents
What are both
OneNote is a simple note-taking service powered by Office apps. It allows taking notes and auto-sync over an internet connection. You can access your notes on supported platforms by logging in with your account.
Notion is a block-based note-taking service. It supports over 30 types of blocks such as heading, list, quote, link, table, and more in a single note. It makes it easier to create notes similar to Wikipedia or complex looking web pages.
OneNote is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and web. Notion, on the other hand, is available for Windows, macOS, Android, web, and iOS. The comparison focuses on the desktop and mobile versions.
Notion desktop uses a simple UI. On the left, we have notes, search, templates, etc. while in the middle, you will find selected note’s content. To add a block, you hover on the left on the note and click on + button. On the top right, we have sharing, update history, favourite options along with text style menu. In the text style, you’ll find fonts, text size, delete, and import and export options. Notion works offline, but it needs access to the internet to sync the data. Take a look at the table of blocks Notion supports (green text suggests that the competitor (OneNote) does not offer that feature)
|Heading 1||Heading 2||Heading 3|
|Bulleted List||Numbered List||Toggle List|
|Quote||Divider||Link to Page|
|Callout||Page Mention||Date or Reminder|
|Inline Table||Inline Board||Inline List|
|Inline Calendar||Full Page Table||Full Page Board|
|Full Page Gallery||Full Page List||Full Page Calendar|
|Linked Database||Upload or Embed Image||Web Bookmark|
|Embed Video||Embed Audio||Code|
|Upload or Embed File||Embed Google Drive Files||Tweet|
|GitHub Gist||Embed Google Maps||7 other services|
|Table of Contents||Math Equation||Breadcrumbs|
|Restore Deleted Pages|
Understanding Notion can be difficult at first because the service is a multi-level tool. For example, adding a full page calendar allows you to add pages for each day. You’ll have to experience each block to understand the power of Notion.
Other than above, you can make text bold, italics, strike-through, change colour, highlight, mention someone, duplicate, indent, and add a link to a piece of writing. Notion also comes with several templates to begin, including meeting notes, class notes, job application, thesis planning, simple budget, To-Do, mood board, and many more.
OneNote desktop is powerful than OneNote mobile. Some of the noticeable features are the dictate tool, assistant, drawing, and more editing tools. Dictate is a tool which records your voice to save on the cloud. The sound may also be used for speech-to-text purposes. Assistant on the top right is another tool which can do the basic tasks such as insert a table, paste text, create a to-do list etc. Let’s take a look at what OneNote supports
|Table||File||Printout from PDF|
|Local Pictures||Online Pictures||Online Video|
|Add Shapes||Translate Text||Auto Calculations|
|Restore Deleted Pages||Scanning (Office Lens)|
Other than above, here is a list of all the editing tools OneNote desktop offers
- Font size
- Change colour
- Add heading (1 to 6)
- Add code
- Add quotes
- Lists (ordered and unordered)
- Indent (increase and decrease)
Mobile versions are the most used because of ease of use. Both offer many desktop features, but some features are missing. OneNote does not provide to view and restore deleted pages on mobile, add online images or videos, assistant, text colour, meeting details, shapes, equations, table, and dictate options. Furthermore, sticky notes are something which OneNote mobile app supports, but not desktop.
Review: Both offer a wide range of tools. For a normal note-taker, both would do the job, but it’s a question of style and methods of saving those notes. Both offer the basic functionalities, including auto-sync, save, free online capacity etc.
Regarding collaboration and sharing, Notion is the winner. Notion allows you to share the documents publicly, add members, manage permissions, or copy the material and send in an email or any other form. OneNote desktop supports inviting people to view and edit the material while the mobile app offers sharing as PDF and plain text formats.
You need an account to use either. OneNote works with Microsoft account, while you can create a new one with any email address. You also get other benefits like OneNote storage, Skype account and more. Notion also requests to create an account when you use the app for the first time.
OneNote is entirely free, but you can subscribe to one of the plans to get other Office apps, Skype credit and extra OneDrive storage. Notion, on the other hand, comes in three paid subscriptions, including personal, team, and enterprise. The below image compares the free and personal plans. For educators and students, the personal plan is free.
Which one is for you?
That depends on what you want to do. Do you want to capture your thoughts in simple text or you want to do more than only the text and images? Notion can help you manage projects in an organised way, while OneNote is used for saving text and other forms of data to use in future. Figure out what’s the answer, you’ll find which one you need.
The Notion vs OneNote comparison covered the most fundamental topics, yet if you are still concerned, leave a comment below so we can discuss more. Also, subscribe to the newsletter to get post updates. The images used in the article belong to respected developers and publishers.