Somewhere in the middle of 2007 I was encouraged to use OneNote to clear my desk and move to a “paperless” system, initially this was a little painful as it seemed a gargantuan task to scan in all of the bits of paper on and around my desk that appeared to contain useful information. As it turned out I realised that if a bit of paper was covered by another (or in fact covered by anything) it wasn’t that important to the execution of my role and could probably be thrown in the bin. At the time I was not using Microsoft Office at home, opting to use OpenOffice for the limited needs I had for productivity software. I did however want a better way of organising my paperwork at home, OneNote 2007 came in at about £70 which isn’t unreasonable for what you got. Then I discovered Evernote. Seemed perfect, I don’t generate so much paperwork that I would bust the 40mb/month limit on the free account. In the end I decided to adopt Evernote at home and continue to use OneNote at work, it proved quite a handy separation of work and life. Recently I have run into two problems that are pushing me towards using Evernote for everything, and ditching OneNote entirely:
- Evernote handles PDFs really well, you drag them in and they are displayed using the Foxit rendering engine. It just works. OneNote on the other hand plain old embeds them into the note, great now how is that different from having them in a folder in My Documents.
- Evernote 3.5 has vastly improved the synchronization mechanism meaning that I can safely put something on Evernote on my PC and it will be on my laptop shortly after it is turned on next. Microsoft has tried to get this kind of functionality into OneNote and SharePoint however it just doesn’t work that well, it is too slow and there seems to be a 10 minute refresh cycle hard coded into the product.
I am still not sure that I want to ditch OneNote entirely, the 2010 version has some nice labour saving devices built in such as quick screen clippings and image formatting with the fluid user interface. Nothing in OneNote 2010 screams “don’t leave me” though.