Best OneNote Alternative: Review of Top Note-Taking Apps | Otter.ai

Top note-taking apps 2022

Microsoft OneNote is one of the most popular note-taking apps on the market. With the power of Microsoft’s software infrastructure and support, OneNote offers a great way to take notes using a variety of mediums, while also collaborating with teams in real-time. But is there a OneNote alternative that can provide a similar or even better experience? In today’s guide, we will examine and review some of the top alternatives to OneNote to find out!

6 Best OneNote Alternatives of 2022

  • Otter.ai- Note-taking and live voice-to-text transcription application.
  • Evernote — User-friendly note-taking and collaboration application.
  • Notion — Comprehensive note-taking and project management app.
  • Laverna — Note-taking application with an emphasis on privacy and security.
  • Bear — Flexible writing and note-taking app for iOS users.
  • Simplenote — Easy and straightforward note-taking application.

What is Microsoft OneNote?

Like any good note-taking app, OneNote offers users the ability to keep all of their notes in one place that is accessible with the click of a button. This way, you don’t have to go fishing around for post-it notes or scroll through endless files on your phone or computer. Instead, you can simply open the OneNote app, navigate to the notebook or section you want, and start writing or sharing notes. Additionally, both the free and paid versions of OneNote offer various useful features, including:

As you can see, Microsoft OneNote covers many of the essentials that you will need in a notetaking app. However, OneNote also comes with a few notable drawbacks. For example:

  • App performance can be slow, especially if you store a lot of notes at one time
  • No free trial for the paid version
  • Layout tabs make it difficult to work on more than one note at a time
  • Free version limits certain features
  • Does not integrate well with third-party software or apps
  • Saving note templates can be time-consuming and complex
  • In-house tech support is minimal
  • App lacks markdown tools for fast text-to-HTML conversion
  • OneNote is scheduled to be discontinued (with no ongoing support) in 2025

So, while there are plenty of reasons to use Microsoft OneNote as your go-to notetaking app, there are also plenty of reasons to look for an alternative. This is especially true if you want to use the same app for the long term. Microsoft offers a wide range of services and note-taking is just one of them. Therefore, it has the ability to change or remove OneNote from the marketplace at any time. The company intends to do so (with limited info on potential replacements) in 2025.

Fortunately, there are hundreds of apps solely dedicated to note-taking out there, but they vary greatly in quality, pricing, and additional features. For this reason, we have done all the research for you and narrowed it down to the top 6 best OneNote alternative note-taking apps!

Top 6 OneNote Alternative Apps

When looking for the best OneNote alternatives, we examined the features offered by each service. A good alternative to OneNote should allow you to accomplish all or most of the same tasks as OneNote with similar efficiency. Ideally, the apps should also have extra features that make it even easier to record and share your work in a way that makes sense for you. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top 6 OneNote alternative apps:

Otter.ai

Otter.ai is a comprehensive note-taking and sharing platform that is ideal for students, professionals, and entire organizations. If you just want to get all of the same features as Microsoft OneNote, Otter.ai is the app for you. However, Otter.ai stands out for its voice-to-text transcription abilities. This makes it easier to take notes during classes or meetings without missing a single word. Live transcriptions can also be edited and notated in real-time, making it even easier to create comprehensive notes without needing to write or type out every single word.

“Otter.ai has multiple functions that allow you to import recording files, live audio, and website links for transcription — there are so many options! The free version, which is a huge perk, allows you to import two files a month and unlimited live recordings for transcription. It separates the speakers for you and time stamps to make it easy to go back and reference the original audio file or meeting, should you need to. Having a free transcription service is a huge plus, especially as a reporter who spends countless hours sifting through and transcribing interviews and meetings for every story.” Desiree K., Reporter

Additionally, Otter.ai integrates seamlessly with popular video conferencing applications like Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams. In doing so, you can keep all of your most important notes and communications saved in one place. Unlike OneNote, Otter.ai is not bogged down by slow performance or clunky UI. In fact, Otter.ai is extremely easy to use and navigate with just a few clicks. This makes it far easier to create, organize, store, and share notes as efficiently as possible.

Basic features:

  • Standard note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Real-time voice-to-text note transcription
  • Keyword and summary analytics
  • Highlight, revision, and comment features
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration
  • File sharing and collaboration

Pricing:

  • Basic — Free version
  • Pro — $8.33 per month (billed annually) or $12.99 per month (billed monthly)
  • Business — $20 per month (billed annually) or $30 per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise — Customized pricing

Why Otter.ai is a good alternative to OneNote:

Though OneNote does allow you to bring multimedia files into your notes, it does not allow you to create multimedia files directly from the application. With Otter.ai, you can create recorded notes with text transcriptions. Otter.ai also has faster average performance speeds and does not get bogged down with large files. Lastly, Otter.ai is specifically designed to work with a wide range of third-party platforms and operating systems, giving it a leg up over OneNote. In short, Otter.ai gives you everything that OneNote does — and a whole lot more.

Evernote

Evernote as an alternative to OneNote

If you’ve worked with multiple note-taking applications in the past, then you have probably had some experience with Evernote. It is one of the most popular applications of its kind on the market, thanks in large part to its simple interface and quick sharing capabilities. The app makes it easy to quickly write down thoughts and save them for later, while also organizing your notes into different categories based on topic and importance. Like OneNote, Evernote also gives you the ability to add multimedia files to your notes with ease.

Evernote is one of the most popular applications of its kind on the market, thanks in large part to its simple interface and quick sharing capabilities.

Most consumers just want an app that offers note-taking functionality without all the extra “fluff.” While Evernote does offer additional features for those who want a more nuanced experience, it is primarily designed to appeal to people who just need a fast, easy way to stay organized. To make it an even better deal, Evernote integrates with many Google applications — including Google Drive and Google Calendar — to help you sync your notes with your personal schedule and work or school tasks.

Basic features:

  • Standard note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Highlight, revision, and comment features
  • Calendar and Cloud software integration
  • File sharing and collaboration

Pricing:

  • Free — Free version
  • Personal — $5.83 per month (billed annually) or $7.99 per month (billed monthly)
  • Professional — $8.33 per month (billed annually) or $9.99 per month (billed monthly)

Why Evernote is a good alternative to OneNote:

Evernote offers all of the same features as Microsoft OneNote, with the addition of an improved interface for faster notetaking. Rather than navigating through multiple tabs or menus, you can just open the app and start writing. Later on, you can go back to organize how that note should be filed and stored. Another factor to consider is the longevity of Evernote. OneNote will likely be discontinued as of October 2025, which means that Microsoft will likely transition to a different note-taking app, or potentially abandon that segment of its business entirely. Alternatively, Evernote’s entire business is built on providing high-quality note-taking services, so it is unlikely that Evernote’s note-taking app will be leaving the market anytime soon.

Notion

Compared to some of the other note-taking apps on this list, Notion is a relative newcomer. However, that doesn’t mean that it has less to offer than its competitors. In fact, Notion works as both a project management app and note-taking program, making it ideal for both individual professionals and organizations of varying sizes. Many note-taking apps simply focus on the activity of taking notes (for obvious reasons). Alternatively, Notion combines the basic features needed to take notes with enhanced collaboration and project management tools for teams.

“You can use Notion either by yourself or as part of a group. You can collaborate in near real-time with your colleagues. When multiple people are logged in and viewing or editing the same note, their profile images appear at the top, and you click on anyone’s image to jump to the text block where they were most recently active. You can follow pages if you want to receive notifications of changes to the page. Notion also supports @ comments for flagging someone’s attention. Sharing notes so that the recipient can only read and comment on them is also possible.”Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

You can certainly get plenty of note-taking done by yourself with Notion. However, the interface and collaboration tools make it ideal for teams and organizations. Since it doubles as a project management tool, it is easy to tag other members, create tags for important notes, and even schedule deadlines for special tasks. If you work with a team that needs both project management and note-taking simplified, Notion could be a great way to save on the cost of purchasing separate app subscriptions.

Basic features:

  • Standard note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Ample visual cues for different kinds of notes
  • Can import files and data from other note-taking apps
  • Real-time file sharing and collaboration
  • Both free plans and affordable paid plans

Pricing:

  • Personal — Free version
  • Personal Pro — $4 per month (billed annually) or $5 per month (billed monthly)
  • Team — $8 per month (billed annually) or $10 per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise — Customized pricing

Why Notion is a good alternative to OneNote:

Though some may find the sheer number of stickers and identification images overwhelming, it does offer a simple and fun way to quickly find the notes you need. It also provides project management tools within the app itself, unlike OneNote which requires integration with Microsoft Teams or similar in-house platforms. Finally, it is difficult to beat Notion’s affordable pricing structure, even though the free version is relatively limited, especially when it comes to the size of the team or organization with whom you can share your notes.

Laverna

As Laverna makes abundantly clear on its website, it is all about privacy. Laverna uses the latest encryption tools, ensuring that nobody but you can see your notes. Additionally, if you want to have optimum anonymity, you can choose to bypass the registration process entirely and start using the app without disclosing any personal identifiers. Naturally, if you want to share your notes, you can do so with ease. However, the app is primarily designed for those who want to avoid any kind of privacy or security breach while using a note-taking app.

Laverna uses the latest encryption tools, ensuring that nobody but you can see your notes. Additionally, if you want to have optimum anonymity, you can choose to bypass the registration process entirely and start using the app without disclosing any personal identifiers.

However, it is important to note that Laverna does not just rest on the laurels of its privacy standards. It also offers a lot of additional features that you can’t find with its competitors. For example, Laverna lets you turn on “Distraction Free Mode” so that you can just focus on writing notes. Additionally, the app has a live markdown editor to make it easier to write text notes and have them quickly converted to HTML format.

Basic features:

  • Standard note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Distraction-free mode for more concentrated note-taking
  • Live markdown editor
  • Enhanced privacy settings
  • Free to use

Pricing:

  • Free — Free version

Why Laverna is a good alternative to OneNote:

OneNote may have plenty of great integrations with other Microsoft platforms, but it does not distinguish itself as one of the best note-taking apps for writers, bloggers, or those who want optimum privacy and anonymity. Fortunately, Laverna does all of this and a lot more. It makes it easy for people to take notes that can be published online with HTML formatting. Moreover, since Laverna only has a free version, you get all of its features without needing to pay a cent; you don’t even have to provide any of your personal information to start taking notes!

Bear

Bear is the latest application that is solely dedicated to Apple iOS devices. While Apple users can always use the native notes app that comes with iPhones, iPads, and Apple computing devices, they may want alternative options. Thankfully, Bear combines a visual experience that is easy on the eyes with organizational tools that work efficiently, making it easier to quickly take notes and keep them tidy at the same time.

“Bear is a beautifully designed note-taking application for Mac and iOS. Its elegant design, the ability to add full in-line images and the Markdown editor make it the perfect tool to easily draft quick notes or in-depth essays.” Alice Camilla, Keep Productive

Though it is limited to Apple devices, Bear makes up for it by designing its app for writers, bloggers, and professionals. You can quickly take notes, use the in-app markdown editor, import and export PDFs or Word files, and other features to ensure that you are creating notes that can be used for a myriad of purposes. You can also automatically share your notes across devices using iCloud, with the need to send individual notes or sign up for a third-party cloud service.

Basic features:

  • Beautiful and simple visual design
  • Focus mode cuts out distractions
  • Easily import and export a wide range of file types
  • Both free plans and affordable paid plans

Pricing:

  • Free — Free version
  • Pro — $1.49 per month

Why Bear is a good alternative to OneNote:

It’s easy to argue that OneNote has the advantage of working on non-Apple devices. However, if you are committed to using Apple iOS and need a OneNote alternative, Bear is a solid option. It is easy to use, affordable, and great for professionals who frequently need to create and share well-formatted notes.

Simplenote

As the name implies, Simplenote is a simple, straightforward, easy-to-use note-taking app. Rather than bombarding you with a million extra menus and add-ons, Simplenote uses a streamlined UI and fast functionality to make note-taking a breeze. Additionally, Simplenote is available on a wide range of devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and most browsers.

Rather than bombarding you with a million extra menus and add-ons, Simplenote uses a streamlined UI and fast functionality to make note-taking a breeze.

While Simplenote always aims to keep the user experience “simple,” it also makes it easy for students and professionals to get the most out of the application. For example, the app includes features like automatic syncing across all of your devices, tags for enhanced organization, markdown support, and easy file sharing. So, while Simplenote may seem pretty basic on the surface, it actually has a lot of great features that rival OneNote and similar note apps.

Basic features:

  • Standard note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Automatic syncing across different devices and operating systems
  • Automatic note backups
  • Users can write and publish in Markdown format
  • Free to use

Pricing:

  • Free — Free version

Why Simplenote is a good alternative to OneNote:

One of the most common complaints about OneNote is that many of its functions are hard to manage and its free version puts some minor limitations on additional features. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about either of these issues with Simplenote. The Simplenote app is designed from the ground up to be easy to use for anyone, while also making all of its features and services free to everyone.

Which Is the best OneNote alternative?

As you can see from the information above, the best note-taking app for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Some apps are better for personal use, while others are best for professionals, teams, or even entire organizations. That said, Otter.ai comes out on top when it comes to functionality and extra features. It simply offers the most bang for your buck and provides voice-to-text transcription, which can completely change the way you create and share notes.

In any case, if you are looking for the best OneNote alternative, you will almost certainly be happy with any of the options above! For more information on signing up for Otter.ai, be sure to check out different plan options

Originally published at https://home.otter.ai.

--

--

--

Otter is a note-taking and collaboration app that empowers you to remember, search, and share your voice conversations. Visit https://otter.ai to sign up free.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

10 WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED AT WORK

Want A Radical Way To Evaluate Your Habits?

The Art of Time Management

4 Random Things I Realized While Cleaning an Old PC

These 3 Tips will Better Organize your Work Life

21 Rules For Getting Your Shit Together

Introducing The Micro-Retirement

The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Habit Change

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Otter Voice Notes

Otter Voice Notes

Otter is a note-taking and collaboration app that empowers you to remember, search, and share your voice conversations. Visit https://otter.ai to sign up free.

More from Medium

Top 8 productivity hacks for busy entrepreneurs

Networking Tips

Stock, flow, and digital gardens

Spaced Repetition with Todoist

Forgetting Curve diagram