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Google Keep vs. OneNote

Google Keep vs. OneNote

Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote are two popular note-taking apps. Google Keep can be called the Google version of OneNote, and OneNote can be called just OneNote.

The purpose of both is the same, but many tools make them different. How do both compare? The article covers Google Keep vs. OneNote.

What are both

Google Keep
Google Keep Interface

Google Keep is a simple note-keeping app offering text, checklists, images, voice, and drawing notes.

Microsoft OneNote is an extensive note-taking program supporting rich text editing, drawing, tables, passwords, etc., to create simple to complex notes.


Google Keep does not come as a desktop application, but we have multiple options to access it.

Users can access notes on its website and in the right sidebar of Gmail, Google Sheets, Slides, and Calendar websites.

Check out my Google Calendar versus Outlook Calendar article if interested.

The tool offers a simple interface with a dark mode option. All the notes are on the main screen with an input field and a search bar. Along with text, users can add images and drawings.

OneNote is a multi-level app that offers notebooks, sections, and pages where pages are notes.

The program has two desktop apps; one is pre-installed, and one comes with the Office apps. Check out the difference to learn more.

The app has a unique feature of putting text, images, and drawings in components, letting you draw over text, photos, and other content.

Note-taking tools

OneNote Overview

The most prominent part of Google Keep vs. OneNote is the editing tools. Google Keep desktop supports:

  • Text
  • Pictures (from computer only)
  • Draw
  • Link previews
  • Checkboxes
  • Reminders
  • Note labels (tags)
  • Shopping list (suggests items as you type – example)
  • background-color change

One great thing about Keep is extracting text from an image. Also, the app lets you mark all checkboxes within a note with one click.

We find labels to sort out notes. Those searchable labels take a separate section.

Google Keep does not offer rich text editing tools. Even if you copy something from the web, the app will paste it in simple language.

The desktop version of OneNote has many options, including rich text editing, tables, embedding pictures and videos, quotes, math equations, audio, etc.

The app offers a Bing image search in the sidebar to search documents, websites, and images from Bing.

Sections can be password protected on the desktop and iPhone.

Which one will win: Microsoft OneNote vs. Word


Google Keep vs OneNote
Google Keep and OneNote Mobile

On mobile, I favor Google Keep. OneNote is crowded and confusing to use. The layout is not consistent.

Scrolling down and up sometimes moves the layout to the right or left, making it difficult to adjust it again. The app also has some other issues, as shown in the video.

Google Keep is simple that does its job. The app offers a dark theme enabled in the settings menu. OneNote also has a dark theme. On the iPhone, you can add storage accounts as well.

Note-taking tools

This is where both are different. Google Keep offers additional options on mobile, whereas OneNote has fewer.

Google Keep has an audio recording option that also transcribes audio to text.

OneNote mobile lacks many rich text editing tools. However, you will find the sticky notes (unique to the mobile app).

Note sharing options

Sharing Notebooks on OneNote iPhone

Google Keep is constant regarding sharing and collaboration. It lets you add users to collaborate and send a copy of the note via other apps.

The OneNote desktop and iOS offer to share notebooks with view and edit permissions.

The Android app does not have any collaboration features. You can send a copy of a note, but that’s it.

Google Keep vs. OneNote: Reminders

OneNote does not have a reminder feature, whereas Google Keep supports reminders. You can create one reminder per note at a time.

The app also has default times for morning, afternoon, evening, and night to set reminders at specific times.

You can also set location-based reminders to open up notes when you reach the location—for example, a grocery reminder at a grocery store.

Another battle: Google Keep v/s Google Tasks

Extra features

Google Keep

Save to Keep in Google Docs
Save to Keep in Google Docs

Background change: You can change the note’s background to one of the provided images.

Save to Keep: Like the convert option, you can save text and images from a Google Docs document to Google Keep by highlighting and right-clicking.

Last edited date: Down the bottom, you see the last note’s last edited date. If the date is today, you will see the edited time. If you hover over the date on the desktop, it shows the created date.

Supports Google Calendar: Your Google Keep reminders also display in Google Calendar.


Ink mode: Offers an ink mode and enables the drawing mode when the stylus is out on Note devices.

Disable sync: OneNote provides an option to control the synchronization by disabling the file and image sync.

OneNote badge: The badge, exclusive to Android, is a floating icon that is always visible to create a note quickly. The icon can be moved and removed.

Spell check: The desktop version of OneNote has a basic spell checker.

Note date and time: When creating a new note, the app adds the note’s date and time.

Web page import: In OneNote iPhone, you can import the webpage from your browser directly to OneNote.

Recommendation and wrap up

Google Keep is great for simple tasks and personal lists. It’s easier to use and will speed up things. However, it lacks options for rich text, tables, advanced lists, and media.

For that, OneNote is the one you need. OneNote is a powerful app supporting multiple format notes, media, and drawing over text.

If you want more than a simple note-keeping program, OneNote is your prime target. The only problem with OneNote for Android users is that they can’t collaborate on notes.


Saturday 21st of January 2023

cherrytree is the answer if you are looking for an awesome note taking application and you don't need to share the notes with people not using cherrytree.


Tuesday 9th of August 2022

Keep offers less than 1% of the possibilities that One Note does. I can use One note to take meeting notes, One note gets the information of the meetings you have in the calendar to distribute the meeting notes amongst the participants. Also, you can organize your work files in books and share them for editing or reading with who you want. I used one note also at the university to take appointments from the classes instead of using paper. you can format thins using a variety of tools, create tables, attach files, etc.


Saturday 25th of February 2023


but OneNote is a hopeless mess for private use In business it gains advantages too, only if the whole team CAN to understand the workings of this "monster"


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

I am a big fan of One Note specially for work related notes. I build it from the day 1 with every minute details and its so easy to keep it organized under different pages and sub pages.

Recently, I lost an entire One note book (around 70 pages of it!!) when I moved to a new laptop even though I had logged in from my email. Reason: might be dumb! My organization uses Google suite and One note is from Microsoft and so, all the while it was just a local copy on the local system! I lost all of it! I assumed, One note stores data on Cloud if I have logged in but since the main package is Google, it never stored..


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

That's bad to know. 70 pages are all gone. It must be difficult for you to manage everything now. I hope others will read this and use the service with caution.


Friday 28th of January 2022

For those people having comprehensive workloads with nested tasks in their daily lives, OneNote can have an easy handling of these data in an organized manner, which Google Keep can't. Until now, I am still hoping the Google keep would at least create a separate version for this type of people.

P.S. I have both OneNote and G. Keep account which I am using, but for simple task in the classroom, I just get the G.Keep up in my phone


Wednesday 18th of August 2021

Reminds me why I (with a cloud backup) used my 5GB ext HD with X1 search. Talk about old school. But it worked. Then cloud storage came along, Dropbox, Drive and various note taking tools.... ugh.

Thanks for the information. So given that OneNote is going downhill, I guess it means we live with what we have until somebody figures it out or OneNote improves.

Very much appreciated this dialogue. Thank you guys!


Thursday 19th of August 2021

OneNote is indeed going downhill. It is a good app, but while using it, I feel there is something missing. Hope Microsoft will look into improving it.