I tried. I really did.
When Evernote decided last year to limit their free accounts to what amounts to trial use only, I abandoned the best note-taking tool on the planet, and out of sheer spite moved to Microsoft OneNote. I even ranted about Evernote’s evil corporate greed on Facebook.
Evernote, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
I’ve used OneNote for 9 months now.
Or at least, I’ve tried. But OneNote is so horribly cluttered, counter-intuitive, overly flexible, and un-searchable that I’ve caved, and moved back to Evernote. By now, I’m about ready to beg Evernote to take my money for the privilege of getting to use their app again.
OneNote is everything that’s wrong with Microsoft’s user interface design paradigm. Obsessed with both flexibility and consistency, they seem to have developed OneNote to conform to their own archtectural standards, rather than think about what a multi-platform note-taking tool should look like, or how it should function.
OneNote’s notebook paradigm sucks. I’ve used two versions of the OneNote desktop app, the Android app, and the web version. In each instance, I had to spend time rediscovering where my notebooks hung out every single time I opened the app. More often than not, only one of my eight notebooks turned out to even be loaded. Why?
OneNote search sucks. I’ve had countless occasions where, despairing of locating the notebook I needed, I attempted to search for a particular note by entering its exact title. More often than not, the note refused to show up in the search results. Usually because the corresponding notebook turned out not to be loaded. Again, why?
The OneNote user interface sucks. Tagging my notes seemed like a good idea, until suddenly, my tags were displayed as tabs in the UI, and all the other, untagged notes in a notebook were lumped together in a separate tab named Pages. Hello, Microsoft? When I stick notes in a notebook, at the very least I want the possiblity to display all of them in a single, searchable, sortable list. I can’t even count the number of times I ended up creating a new note instead of editing or even opening an existing one, because the UI defeated my efforts.
The OneNote editor sucks the root. Microsoft seems to have chosen MS Word-level flexibility at the expense of having the editor make any sense at all. I’ve actually fallen back on Notepad for plain text notes, because OneNote seems to support every possible variety of graphical, desktop publishing, freestyle drawing, handwriting, or Braille note, EXCEPT PLAIN TEXT. And that wouldn’t be so bad if the editor were at all intuitive, but in fact, it responds with infuriating scrolls, jumps, zoom-ins, and pop-up frames to anything I do.
And it does so sss……llll…..ooooo….wwww…..l……y.
For the final thing that sucks about OneNote is its performance. Loading a notebook is slow. Opening a note is slow. Editing a note is slow. Finding a note is slow. Hell, even launching any variety of the app takes ages.
So boooo to OneNote, hello back to Evernote, the note-taking app that OneNote isn’t worthy of shining the shoes of.