Last updated: 20 Mar 2021 | Reading time: 4 minutes | Watching time: 5 minutes
OneNote and Notion may have the same purpose, but they are different in many ways. OneNote has grown a lot, and Notion is new in the market. What makes them different? The article explores both and covers OneNote vs. Notion (2021).
Table of contents
- Quick comparison
- Which one is for you?
- Wrap up
|Platforms||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Windows Phone, PWA, and Web||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and Web|
|Text editing||Rich editing on desktop and some rich editing tools on mobile||Rich editing tools on all the platforms|
|Handwriting||✔ (on content)||❌|
|Search||Title and text||Title and text|
Both offer desktop software to access on Windows and macOS devices easily.
The web version is offered if you don’t want to install the software. You can visit https://onenote.com to access the web version of OneNote and https://www.notion.so to access the web version of Notion.
Both apps can also be installed as Progress Web App, also called PWA on Microsoft Edge.
Both use an easy to navigate design. You get notebooks and pages on the left on OneNote, while the opened page in on the right. The tools are categorised on the top.
Being considered to be a part of the Office family, it takes some of its look from other Office apps.
Notion also comes with notes on the right and opened note on the left. You get options such as share, print, and other note options right above the note. The software comes with the basic Windows-style top navigation menu.
Along with the rich editing tools, the OneNote desktop comes with the dictate, assistant, and drawing tools. The dictate tool records your voice to save on the cloud, and the assistant tool can do the basic tasks such as insert a table, paste text, create a to-do list etc.
Take a look at the comparison table below—the text in green suggests that the competitor does not support that feature.
|Heading 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6|
Table (desktop only)
Text colour (desktop only)
Printout from PDF
Embed pictures (desktop only)
Embed videos (desktop only)
Meeting details (desktop only)
Math equations (desktop only)
Add shapes (desktop only)
Translate the text (desktop only)
Auto calculations (desktop only)
Document scanning (Office Lens | mobile only)
Restore deleted pages (desktop only)
Add code (desktop only)
Add quotes (desktop only)
Password protect notes
Dictate (desktop only)
Assistant (desktop only)
|Heading 1, 2, and 3|
Change text colour
Link to page
Date or reminder
Full page table
Full page board
Full page gallery
Full page list
Full page calendar
Embed Google Drive files
Embed Google Maps and seven other services
Table of contents
Restore deleted pages
Dark theme (mobile only)
Other than above, the OneNote desktop supports password protection for sections. Both offer the necessary editing tools such as bold, italics, strikethrough, etc.
Understanding Notion is difficult at first because the service is a multi-level tool. For example, adding a calendar allows you to add notes for each day.
The video below covers both the services on the Windows platform, and you get to see both in action.
Editing and tools
Notion gets the cake in terms of tools. Regarding the functionality, it offers all the block options which are available on the desktop.
OneNote isn’t fully reliable on mobile. The app offers to:
- bold text
- indent left/right
- add checkmarks
- add a photo from the phone
- record sound
- attach file
- add ordered/unordered list
- italicise text
- strikethrough text
- and add links
The rest of the tools (mentioned in the desktop part) are not available on mobile. The app also offers sticky notes, which are only limited to the mobile app.
Still not sure? Watch the OneNote vs Notion (iOS and Android) video blow to see both in action.
OneNote desktop offers to add people with the view and edit permissions, while you can also send a copy of the note via email or Skype.
Like tools, OneNote mobile lacks some of the sharing options. It only supports sharing the note in plain text or PDF. The mobile app does not offer to collaborate and set permissions.
Notion mobile app allows sharing documents publicly, add members, manage permissions, and copy the material and send in an email or any other form. You can also export in PDF, HTML, and Markdown sheet formats.
OneNote is entirely free, and you can you the app on multiple platforms. On the other hand, Notion comes in three paid subscriptions, including personal, team, and enterprise.
The below 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 in an easy way possible, then OneNote is for you. If you have complex ideas in mind and want to save those ideas, Notion is the way to go.
Notion can help you create complex structured pages and manage projects, whereas OneNote is used for saving text and other forms of data in a simple way possible.
Thanks for reading OneNote vs. Notion. I hope the information on the page was helpful. Please let us know what you think and which one you will use, so other visitors can quickly decide.