My love affair with OneNote started in 2002 when I got my hands on a beta of this amazing new product that would become part of Office 2003. It was fast, lightweight and made it easy to organize everything from meeting notes, brainstorming, todo lists and, well… my life. In a world of slow and complicated desktop software OneNote was a shining beacon of what the best desktop software could become. And as a newly anointed Getting Things Done acolyte I embraced OneNote with somewhat of a religious fervor.
And OneNote kept getting better – the team released features (yes features!) with a service pack. I can still recall the glee at finally being able to title sub pages – it’s the little things… The team listened to requests and complaints with an empathy I’ve never seen from anyone at Microsoft before, and even as my honeymoon period with OneNote ended my love for the product deepened.
Frustrations with OneNote
- No iPad app - The iPhone app was a nice gesture, but I’ve moved on to the iPad and a magnified iPhone app just doesn’t cut it.
- No Android support - Almost half of all smartphones are Android, really, what are you waiting for?
- The Ribbon - You took away what made OneNote special by making it another bland enterprise app, and ate up a good portion of my screen real estate. Your once shining feature of tags is but a shadow of it’s former self, hidden within the ribbon
- Slowing down in your old age - You’re still faster than your Office brethren, but you now have a loading splash screen when you start up
- Vertical Text for Notebooks - This was cool in the 2000s, but it’s 2011 now.
- Collaboration, where art thou? - I had my first magical collaboration experience in OneNote, but my last magical experience was in Google Docs. The new commenting system in Google Docs is light years ahead, and makes it possible to collaborate together through partially formed thoughts to a finished document. If I’m not using OneNote for collaboration, and can’t use it on my mobile devices, when should I use it?
- Blogs, what are those? - Much of my writing these days is for the eventual purpose of posting to a blog. OneNote doesn’t do a great job preserving formatting when I manually transfer it to WordPress. So much so that I’d rather write it in the WordPress editor than use OneNote
Moving to Evernote
- iPad and Android apps - Yes! Thank you.
- Sort notes by date created - This is surprisingly awesome. I’m not quite sure how I can go back to a system that doesn’t allow this
- Really simple checkboxes - The kind that are easy to use on my phone. I think this gets my todo list out of Google Docs (and all the other task services I’ve tried)
- Word count built in - Really useful. I get grumpy when I have to hunt down plugins, and then reinstall them on every new PC I use.
- Near perfect paste into WordPress – Apart from the lack of h tags, the paste was surprisingly perfect. I’ve found my blog drafting tool