OneNote and Notion are note-taking services, but both are used for different purposes. OneNote is just a note-taking app, whereas Notion has many use cases.
What else makes them different? The article explores both and covers OneNote vs. Notion.
- OneNote is an ample note-taking app with lots of options.
- Notion is more than OneNote as it can be used for multiple reasons.
- Notion has the power of AI, whereas OneNote has yet to implement AI features.
- OneNote lets you draw.
- Both have templates, but Notion has many excellent templates.
What are both
OneNote is a basic note-taking app with rich text editing features. It supports drawing, adding images, online videos, tables, and more.
Notion is a block-based note-taking app for many things, including notes, wiki, documentation, project tracking, calendar events, and more.
Interface and note structure
OneNote allows you to create multiple notebooks. The notebook can be divided into several sections. Each section contains notes.
Notion is extensive as it supports backlinking pages, Markdown, page views, reminders, commenting on each block, and adding blocks inside of blocks.
This makes Notion a complex but fully-featured productivity app.
Notion page views
Notion has views; you can see pages in different layouts depending on the project type.
For example, you can convert a list into a calendar view to see pages on dates. Some of the views in Notions are the following:
One of the strange things in the OneNote universe is that we find two OneNote apps on Windows. One is called OneNote for Windows 10, and the other comes with the Microsoft 365 setup.
Also, the Android version has more limited features than the iOS version. This makes it hard for users on different platforms to collaborate.
Notion does not limit any features on any device. Users can log in at https://www.notion.so to access the web version.
OneNote vs. Notion: Tools
Both offer several options, including headings, lists, and images.
The table below compares the features—the green text shows that the competitor does not support that tool.
OneNote desktop has Dictate text and Assistant tools on desktop PCs.
The Dictate tool records your voice to save on the cloud, and the Assistant can do the basic tasks such as inserting a table, pasting text, creating a to-do list, etc.
Moreover, it supports password protection for sections.
Notion offers all the blocks available on the desktop. OneNote mobile, however, has limited support for:
- Adding audio and video
- Password protection
- File attachments
- Meeting details
It only has some rich text editing tools.
Sketch and draw
You can draw anywhere on the page using various pens and brushes in OneNote.
This function transforms a note page into a drawing surface. You can draw attention to important points or explain things.
The feature is unavailable in Notion, but embedding Figma and Sketch sketches is possible.
Only the desktop OneNote app has templates. Those 80 templates are divided into academic, business, decorative, and planner categories.
Notion has over 700 templates. Most templates are free, but you occasionally see some paid ones.
If you want to see the true power of Notion, templates are the best place to start.
Notion also has widgets. You can populate your page from weather to timer to progress widgets. Check out the best free Notion widgets guide if interested.
Use of AI
Notion AI is an add-on that lets you write, summarize, and translate documents. It can help create emails, notes, meetings, and more.
Microsoft is implementing Microsoft 365 Copilot AI that can do many of the same things. However, it’s not released to the public as of April 28.
I have tested Notion AI against ChatGPT, and there are many similarities, leading to the conclusion that Notion uses ChatGPT’s API.
OneNote desktop, iPad, and iPhone support collaboration. Notes can also be shared via email and Skype.
OneNote Android has no collaboration features. You can, however, share a copy of the note.
Notion allows sharing documents publicly and through email invitations. You can allow invited users to view, comment, edit content and database or have complete access.
OneNote’s print function allows you to print or export notes in PDF format. The desktop app also supports exporting as XPS and single web page files.
Notion supports exporting notes as PDF, HTML, and Markdown sheets.
OneNote does not support many apps, but with Zapier, you can integrate it with other apps.
Notion can work with many apps, and it supports Zapier to connect with others. You can also access its API to develop your integrations.
While you are here: Differences between Microsoft OneNote and Word
OneNote is free, and you can use the app on multiple platforms. Notion comes with a free plan and a few premium plans.
The free plan supports the following:
- Unlimited pages and blocks
- Up to 10 guests
- 7-day page history
- 5 MB maximum upload file limit
The Plus package will cost $10 per user monthly ($8 if paid yearly) and offer the following benefits:
- No limits on file upload
- Up to 100 guests
- 20 version history
The Business plan is the upper-hand package for teams. Notion will charge $18 per user monthly ($15 if annually), increase the guest limit to 250, and allow bulk export of notes in PDF.
Notion AI add-on is available on all the plans and costs $10 monthly.
OneNote is for individuals who want to save notes on the go. Notion is for individuals and teams working on projects.
Notion can be used as a basic note-taking app and a vast productivity app that can replace Excel, Word, and calendar apps.
Tuesday 24th of August 2021
Very nice explanation of both applications. One thing, OneNote does support "Link to Page". Using [[Page Name]] will link the page in blue underlined text. If the page doesn't exist it will create a blank page with the name you used.
Tuesday 24th of August 2021
Thanks, Xaria. I did not know that. I'll try it out by myself and update the article.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Great tools But how these knowledge base management tools do not have reference management?
Thursday 3rd of June 2021
What do you mean by 'reference management' exactly?
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Yes, both do not offer any reference management options. It would be nice to have.