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OneNote vs. Notion

OneNote vs. Notion

OneNote and Notion are two note-taking apps, but both are used for different purposes. OneNote is more for individuals, while Notion offers note-taking and task-management tools.

What else makes them different? The article explores both and covers OneNote vs. Notion.

What are both

OneNote for Windows 10 Overview

OneNote is a basic note-taking app with rich text editing features. It supports drawing, images, online videos, tables, and more.

Notion, on the other hand, is a block-based note-keeping app that can be used for managing projects. Along with note-taking features, it has to-do lists, reminders, calendars, databases, and other options.

Interface

Both offer an easy-to-navigate design. You get notebooks and pages on the left of OneNote, while the opened page is on the right.

Being considered a part of the Office family, it takes some of its look from other Office apps.

Notion also comes with notes on the left and opened notes on the right. You get options such as share, print, and others right above the note.

The software comes with the primary Windows-style top navigation menu.

Notes structure

How Does Notion Work

OneNote allows you to create multiple notebooks. The notebook can be divided into several sections. Each section contains a collection of notes.

Notion contrarily has two workspaces. The first is called “Teamspace,” with pages that can be shared with others.

The second one is “Private Space” for personal pages. The notes are created with different blocks, like headings, tables, media files, databases, code blocks, etc.

Installing apps

OneNote Desktop Apps
OneNote Desktop Apps

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 Office setup.

The fun part is that both have different features. For example, templates are only offered in the Office OneNote app.

Lastly, the mobile app of OneNote has fewer features than both desktop apps. Anyway, you can visit https://onenote.com to access the app’s web version.

Notion does not limit any features on any device. Users can log in at https://www.notion.so to access the web version.

Both apps can also be installed as Progress Web App, also called PWA, on the Microsoft Edge browser.

Tools

Desktop

Both offer several options, including headings, lists, and images. OneNote offers platform-specific options, which means you find fewer features on mobile than on desktop.

Here is a table comparing the features of both—the green features show that the competitor does not support that tool.

OneNote vs Notion
OneNote vs. Notion – Supported Tools

OneNote desktop comes with: a dictate tool, assistant, drawing, and rich editing tools.

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. Those sections can be opened on mobile, but you can’t edit or remove the password.

Notion, on the contrary, is challenging to understand at first. It’s a block-based tool where some blocks support adding new pages and blocks. In the right hands, Notion can produce significant wiki-type pages.

It also supports commenting on each block, which is missing in OneNote.

Mobile

Notion offers all the blocks available on the desktop. As mentioned, OneNote isn’t fully developed on mobile. The app offers to:

  • Bold text
  • Indent left/right
  • Underline text
  • Highlight
  • Add checkmarks
  • Add a photo from the phone
  • Record sound
  • Attach file
  • Add ordered/unordered list
  • Italicize text
  • Strikethrough text
  • Draw
  • Add hyperlinks

Templates

Templates in OneNote
Templates in OneNote

Only the desktop app for OneNote offers some templates. We have 82 templates divided into academic, business, decorative, and planner categories.

On the other hand, Notion has over 700 templates. Most templates are free, but you occasionally see some paid ones.

Notion also supports adding widgets to pages. Widgets are third-party embeddable blocks.

You can populate your page from weather to timer to progress widgets. Check out the best free Notion widgets guide if interested.

Sketch and draw

Drawing in OneNote

One of OneNote’s best features is the ability to draw on notes. You can begin drawing anywhere on the page using various-sized pens and brushes.

This function transforms a note page into a drawing surface. You can draw attention to important points or explain things that are hard to understand with just words.

On the other hand, this feature is not available in Notion. However, you can embed sketches and designs from third-party apps such as Figma and Sketch.

Related: Slite vs. Notion

Sharing

OneNote vs Notion
Sharing Tools

OneNote on the desktop supports sharing of notebooks. You can set the view and edit permissions. You can also send a copy of the note via email or Skype. Sharing of public URLs is also supported.

Like editing tools, OneNote Android has no collaboration features. You can, however, share a copy of the note in other apps.

On the iPhone, you can set permissions and share notebooks to collaborate in real time.

Notion mobile app allows sharing documents publicly and through email invitations. You can allow invited users to view, comment, edit content and database, or have complete access.

Exporting options

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.

Integrations

Embedding Charts in Notion using the Notion Charts Widget

OneNote supports integration with 29 apps. Some of them are Chegg, Docs.com, Feedly, and WordPress. You can find these apps at this link.

Furthermore, by connecting OneNote with Zapier, you can integrate the app with hundreds of apps.

Notion, on the other hand, can work with 30 apps. With Zapier and automate.io, you can also connect to over a thousand other apps. It also offers its API to create your integrations.

People also consider: Microsoft OneNote vs. Word

Pricing

Notion Pricing and Plans
Notion Pricing

OneNote is free, and you can use the app on multiple platforms. On the other hand, Notion comes in three paid subscriptions: Personal, Team, and Enterprise.

The above image compares the free and personal plans. For educators and students, the personal plan is free.

Which one is for you?

Both are good for basic note-taking. Notion takes note-taking to another level, but those benefits come at the cost of learning to use the app.

If you are not tech-savvy and want to get things done the easiest way possible, OneNote is for you. If you have complex ideas in mind and want to save those ideas, Notion is the way to go.

OneNote vs. Notion: Links

Wrap up

Notion can help you create complex structured pages and manage projects, whereas OneNote is for saving text and other data forms in the simplest way.

Thanks for reading OneNote vs. Notion. I hope the information on the page was helpful. Please let me know what you think and which one you will use, so others can quickly decide.

Xaria

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.

Madhsudhan

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Thanks, Xaria. I did not know that. I'll try it out by myself and update the article.

BND

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Great tools But how these knowledge base management tools do not have reference management?

Tom J.

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

What do you mean by 'reference management' exactly?

Madhsudhan

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Yes, both do not offer any reference management options. It would be nice to have.