I think years from now people will still be talking about EverNote 2 as one of the best programs ever built. And I have harped on about the sheer genius of it. So, this might come as a shock.
I’ve switched from EverNote 2 to OneNote, something I never could have imagined doing in a million years. I started using EverNote as a beta-tester when it was barely a speck in the womb about a million years ago. I feel like I gave birth to it myself. Then the child grew into a teenager (Version 3) and went horribly wrong.
It could be my personal installation of Windows7 that’s been corrupted over time. Or it could be a recent update, but the clipboard has stopped working for EverNote 2. Cut, copy, paste, no go. The Compatibility Troubleshooter says it’s incompatible and it’s not changing its mind. Occasionally it works, if I shut the program down and reopen it, but mostly it doesn’t and that’s a deal breaker.
So I spent a few hours the other night, with a crushing weight on my heart, dragging and dropping my remaining 160 notes from EverNote 2 to OneNote. I thought I hated this software but I don’t. I actually like it!
Because it also handles images and URLs easily, it’s the closest program I’ve seen to EverNote 2. The organization is different but it’s close enough.
Notebooks are like categories in EverNote 2.
Sections are sub-categories.
Sections can be organized into Section Groups.
Pages are sub-sub-categories or ‘notes’ that can also be further subdivided.
That’s the basics and once your eyes adjust to those differences, it’s full steam ahead.
There’s a third-party clipper button called Clip to OneNote that works with Firefox and Thunderbird. Or, natively, notes you copy and paste by clicking the icon in the taskbar go into Unfiled notes (like Uncategorized in EverNote 2) for later organization. The icon also houses a screenshot button – Windows+S.
Inside OneNote, notebooks and sections can be viewed with one click from the sidebar. Navigation is simple. Search is brilliant. You can search everything or you can search by notebooks, sections, section groups or tags. Text in images is also searchable.
Various toolbars can be quickly turned on and off. There are writing tools, outlining tools, integration with Outlook, formatting tools, tags. I use the 2007 version so I can’t speak for the improvements or regressions in 2010. What I’ve read about the 2010 version is that there are more syncing options so it can be accessed from any computer on the web. And there’s also a mobile version and a mobile app.
OneNote can be used in pen mode. Notes can be dragged around on the screen to re-arrange them. You can create and share templates. Password protect sections. Use drawing tools on images. You can hyperlink between pages and notebooks, something not possible in EverNote 2. You can insert and work with tables, something also missing from EverNote 2. Depending on your blog platform, (self-hosted WordPress is not one of them in the 2007 version) you can create a blog post in OneNote and have it automatically published to your blog through MS Word.
What initially turned me off OneNote was too many options. Fifteen different pen colors made me tired. But they’re only there if you need them. For instance if you were in a live meeting – yes! you can do that too – each participant could be identified by their pen color.
At this point I give OneNote a thumbs up.
I still use EverNote 2 for my email as I’ve done for years. I send email to EverNote 2 using the clipper button in Thunderbird. (Unlike Firefox 4 the EverNote 2 clipper button in Thunderbird still works.) It’s easy to collect emails in chronological order, categorize them, then select a list and print to PDF one email per page. Printing multiple pages in that way can also be done in OneNote so I’m just hanging on. When I finally let go, EverNote 2 will go to software heaven, never to return.
Does software get all light and happy when it goes to heaven? Does it hang out with other software and say things like, “Hey, man, I used to really be something.” I am so going to miss that EverNote 2 icon on my taskbar.
OneNote came with my purchase of Microsoft Home Office 2007 but can be bought separately from Amazon for about $40. Or the 2010 version for about $70.