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Microsoft Onenote Alternatives: The Best Note Taking Softwares for 2023

Learn all about the best Onenote alternatives for 2023. Supercharge your productivity today!

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One Note Alternatives: The Best Note Taking Softwares


In the realm of digital note-taking and organization, several tools have emerged to assist users in capturing ideas, organizing thoughts, and managing projects. Among the most prominent is Microsoft OneNote, a comprehensive solution that offers a myriad of features for both casual and professional users.

While OneNote has become a staple for many, the constant evolution of technology has led to the rise of alternative applications, each bringing its unique spin to digital note management. For those who are accustomed to OneNote or are seeking the best OneNote alternative, understanding the core features and capabilities of this tool is essential.

Overview of OneNote

Microsoft OneNote, often simply referred to as OneNote, is a digital notebook that allows users to capture, store, and organize notes seamlessly. As a part of Microsoft's Office suite, OneNote integrates effortlessly with other Microsoft applications, providing a cohesive experience.

Whether you're jotting down ideas, creating a checklist, or gathering research, OneNote offers a versatile platform for all your note-taking needs. Its popularity has soared over the years, making it a go-to choice for many. However, as with any tool, some users seek alternatives to OneNote, searching for features or interfaces that might align more closely with their preferences.

What is OneNote?

OneNote is a digital notebook application developed by Microsoft, designed to facilitate the capture and organization of ideas, notes, and information. Whether you're in a classroom setting, a business meeting, or simply brainstorming, OneNote provides an intuitive platform to jot down and categorize your thoughts.

Unlike traditional physical notebooks, OneNote is boundless, allowing users to add as many pages or sections as required. Its integration with other Microsoft applications and cloud storage solutions, such as OneDrive, ensures that your notes are accessible across devices and can be shared or collaborated on with ease.

While OneNote is a dominant player in the note-taking space, the quest for the best OneNote alternative continues for those desiring different functionalities or interfaces.

Features of OneNote

OneNote boasts a plethora of features designed to enhance the user's note-taking experience. At its core, it allows for free-form information gathering, meaning you can type, write, or draw anywhere on a page. OneNote supports multimedia additions, allowing users to embed videos, audio recordings, and images within their notes.

Its organizational structure, with notebooks, sections, and pages, ensures a systematic approach to information storage. Advanced features, such as the ability to search handwritten notes, tag specific content for easy retrieval, and integrate with Microsoft Outlook for task management, set OneNote apart.

Nevertheless, the search for a OneNote alternative persists, indicating the diverse needs and preferences of the note-taking community.

Reasons to Look for Alternatives

While Microsoft OneNote offers a plethora of features and has garnered a significant user base, the evolving needs of users in 2023 and beyond have led many to explore alternatives. Different note-taking apps cater to various preferences, whether it's in terms of interface, feature set, or platform compatibility.

For instance, a dedicated Android user might find certain apps more optimized for their device than OneNote. Additionally, users who have been accustomed to another format, like that of Evernote, may find transitioning to OneNote challenging.

By understanding the specific reasons behind the search for a Microsoft OneNote alternative, users can make informed decisions and find a note-taking app that best aligns with their requirements.

Lack of Cross-Platform Support

One of the primary criticisms of Microsoft OneNote, particularly in its earlier versions, was its limited cross-platform support. While OneNote is robust on Windows devices, users might find its performance on Android or other platforms not as intuitive or feature-rich.

This can be a significant limitation for those who use multiple devices or have shifted their primary device platform. In 2023, with device flexibility being paramount, a note-taking app's ability to function seamlessly across platforms is essential. Hence, users often turn to alternatives that offer consistent performance, interface, and features across all devices.

Limited Features in Free Version

The freemium model, where basic features are available for free while advanced features come at a cost, is common among software applications. OneNote is no exception. While the free version offers a comprehensive set of features, certain advanced functionalities might be reserved for the paid version.

For users who need these advanced features but are unwilling or unable to upgrade, this limitation can be a deal-breaker. In such cases, they might seek out alternatives like Evernote or other note-taking apps that offer a different balance of free and premium features.

Privacy and Security Concerns

In the digital age, privacy and security are at the forefront of users' concerns. While Microsoft has implemented security measures for OneNote, some users might still have reservations, especially when it comes to storing sensitive or confidential information.

Given the increasing number of cyber threats and the emphasis on data privacy in 2023, many are opting for note-taking apps that prioritize end-to-end encryption and robust security protocols. The search for a Microsoft OneNote alternative in this context is driven by the desire for enhanced data protection and privacy assurances.

Photo by Vadim Bozhko on Unsplash

Criteria for Choosing OneNote Alternatives

Compatibility with Different Operating Systems

When searching for an alternative to OneNote, compatibility with various operating systems is a paramount criterion. Users today operate across a spectrum of devices, from Windows PCs to Macs, Android smartphones to iOS tablets, and even Linux-based systems.

A note-taking tool should seamlessly integrate across these platforms to ensure smooth functionality. For instance, while OneNote might excel on Windows, a Linux user might lean towards tools like Simplenote, known for its Linux compatibility.

Similarly, iOS aficionados might look for apps that integrate effortlessly with Apple's ecosystem. In a multi-device world, cross-platform synchronization without glitches is a must-have feature, ensuring that notes and templates are consistently accessible, regardless of the device in use.

Free and Paid Options

Cost is a critical factor for many users, especially those who require advanced features but are budget-conscious. A good alternative to OneNote should offer both free and paid tiers, catering to a wide range of user needs. Apps like Google Keep and Simplenote provide robust features in their free versions.

Meanwhile, other tools might offer a free trial, allowing users to test premium features before committing. Tools like Zoho and Google Docs, while not strictly note-taking apps, provide extensive functionalities in their free versions, making them viable OneNote alternatives for those seeking comprehensive document management features.

Features Comparison

At its core, the choice of a note-taking tool hinges on its features. While OneNote boasts a myriad of capabilities, from inking to embedding multimedia, not every user requires such extensive options. Some might seek the simplicity and minimalism offered by apps like Simplenote.

Others might prioritize collaboration features, turning to platforms like Google Docs. Yet, others might want pre-designed templates for specific tasks, making tools that offer a rich template library more appealing. The ideal alternative to OneNote should cater to these diverse needs, providing a balance between simplicity for casual note-takers and comprehensive features for power users.

List of the Best OneNote Alternatives


Evernote is one of the most renowned note-taking applications and is often viewed as a direct competitor to Microsoft OneNote. With its seamless integration across various platforms, including macOS and Android, Evernote offers users a cohesive workspace for all their note-taking needs.

Unlike OneNote, Evernote emphasizes a tag-based organization, aiding in a more flexible workflow. Users can create checklists, set reminders, and even collaborate on notes, making it not only a productivity tool but also a collaboration tool. Handwriting support and the ability to clip web pages are added bonuses.

While there's a robust free version available, its paid plans unlock additional features, such as increased storage, offline access, and advanced encryption for enhanced security. For many seeking an alternative to Microsoft OneNote, Evernote stands out as a top choice, balancing personal use and professional project management capabilities.

Google Keep

Google Keep is a streamlined note-taking and reminder app integrated within the Google ecosystem. Its simplistic design is ideal for quick note-taking, creating checklists, and setting reminders. Like OneNote, it offers color-coded notes, making organization intuitive. Users can easily share notes and collaborate in real-time.

Additionally, its seamless integration with other Google services, such as Google Docs, enhances its productivity potential. While it may not have the extensive feature set of Microsoft Office tools, its free version and straightforward interface make it a favorite for those seeking a lightweight, efficient alternative to Microsoft OneNote, especially for personal use.


As its name suggests, Simplenote offers a minimalist approach to taking notes. Prioritizing simplicity and speed, it provides a clutter-free workspace for users to jot down ideas, create lists, or draft content. Available across platforms, including macOS, Simplenote ensures synchronized access to notes from any device. Unlike OneNote, it doesn't support multimedia additions but focuses on pure text.

An added advantage is its version history feature, allowing users to revert to previous versions of a note. With encryption for added security and a free version that covers its broad feature set, Simplenote is ideal for those seeking straightforward note-taking without the bells and whistles.

Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook, part of the Zoho suite, is a versatile note-taking application that rivals tools like OneNote in terms of features. Users can create text notes, checklists, and even incorporate audio and video, making it a comprehensive workspace.

Unique card-based note organization aids in visually categorizing content, enhancing productivity. The ability to collaborate, share notes, and even integrate with other Zoho apps, positions Zoho Notebook as both a personal productivity tool and a collaboration tool. While there's a compelling free version, paid plans offer advanced features catering to business and project management needs., while lesser-known than some of its counterparts, brings unique features to the table. It's not just a note-taking app but also a project management tool. Users can create notes, organize them into projects, and even collaborate with teams, streamlining the entire project management process.

Unlike OneNote, which leans heavily towards note-taking, emphasizes task management and collaboration. It integrates well with other tools, making it a versatile addition to any workflow. For those seeking more than just a note-taking app and want a comprehensive project management and collaboration tool, is a worthy contender.


The digital realm offers a myriad of tools for note-taking, each bringing its unique features and capabilities to the table. From creating quick notes, audio notes, to-do lists, and more, the right tool can significantly enhance a user's productivity and streamline their workflow.

While Microsoft OneNote remains a dominant player, offering a comprehensive environment for users to create, manage, and collaborate on content, it's evident that there are numerous alternatives catering to diverse needs. 

The evolution of the Google Suite, with tools like Google Keep, emphasizes integration and seamless synchronization across devices. Meanwhile, specialized notes apps focus on intuitive design, ensuring users have a clutter-free space for their thoughts and tasks.

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