Coda vs. Notion: Which productivity app is right for you? [2024 Update]

Coda vs. Notion: Which productivity app is right for you? [2024 Update]

Author Chloe
Author Chloe

Chloe Wang

April 15, 2024

4/15/24

Apr 15, 2024

4/15/24

17 min read

Coda and Notion app icons
Coda and Notion app icons
Coda and Notion app icons
Coda and Notion app icons

Spending on software is a major expense for businesses, from growth-hungry startups to multinational enterprises. 

Software is the third biggest expense behind employee and office costs. Businesses need to curtail these growing costs, and one way they can do that is by switching to an all-in-one workspace. If you do this, you can remove redundant tools from your tech stack and save on operating costs.

Products like Coda and Notion aim to replace many apps in your tech stack. According to CloudEagle’s EagleEye SaaS Spend report, companies pay as much as $1000-$3500 on software per employee. Rreplacingoftware like CRMs, note-taking apps, to-do lists, and project management tools with an all-in-one tool can unlock massive savings.

Creating a unified workspace while reducing software costs is an attractive thought. In this article, we’ll look at Coda and Notion and introduce you to Lark so you can see how it pays to bring disparate productivity into a single unified solution.

Coda vs. Notion at a glance

Coda and Notion are all-in-one productivity tools, bringing many features into single apps. You’ll likely only need one or the other, but not both. Both tools are gaining popularity for helping users to organize their work, manage projects, and create databases.

At their core, these apps share a similar purpose, built around a comprehensive document editor. Within Coda and Notion, you can combine documents, spreadsheets, calendars, and databases into one unified platform.

Coda is a Notion alternative well-suited for small teams or organizations seeking a document and work management platform. It combines documents and spreadsheets into one powerful tool, allowing for high customization. Its strength lies in creating complex databases, advanced formulas, and custom apps, catering to users who need a flexible platform to manage their workflows. 

On the other hand, Notion is increasingly becoming the go-to choice for individual users who value a clean interface for text-heavy projects. It started as a note-taking app but has evolved into a comprehensive tool for creating wikis, databases, and project management boards.

Each tool has its merits, but enterprise teams may lack the ability to scale alongside demand. Lark, however, is built for enterprise businesses, combining doc management, communication, email, and meetings into a single app. It also makes life easier for global teams with features like auto-translation, which translates text so all team members are updated at the point of entry.

How do Coda and Notion compare?

Coda and Notion are comparable in many ways. They both make a meaningful effort to revolutionize the digital experience. This is important because 80% of employees believe digital experiences are pivotal to maintaining productivity

However, there’s little incentive to adopt these platforms, so we’re here to make choosing easier. Below, we compare Coda and Notion to give you a well-rounded view of the platform that best suits your needs. 

We’ll also highlight the areas where this software may fall short of expectations and how Lark could be the better alternative.

Ease of use and setup

When adopting a new productivity, the ease of use and amount of training required are often the first considerations. Tools with a more significant learning curve can influence their effectiveness among less technical team members.

Here’s how Coda and Notion stack up.

Coda


An example of Coda's project proposal feature

Image Source


  • Learning curve: Coda's platform offers many features, from project management to document creation and everything in between. While powerful, Coda’s user base has found there to be a steeper learning curve. New users may find it takes time to become comfortable with the interface and fully utilize its features effectively.

  • User interface: Despite the initial investment in learning, Coda's user interface design is intuitive once you understand the basics. It utilizes a drag-and-drop system for building out pages.

  • Documentation and training: Coda provides extensive documentation and training resources to ease the setup process. New users can benefit from guided tutorials, community forums, and example templates to help jumpstart their experience with the platform.

Notion


An example of the page example feature from Notion

Image Source


  • Clean interface: Notion is widely regarded for its clean, straightforward interface that resembles a blank document at first glance. This simplicity makes it accessible for new users, particularly those looking for efficient note-taking and organization tools.

  • Complex features accessibility: While Notion is user-friendly and easier to navigate initially, accessing and utilizing some of its more complex features—like advanced databases or custom integrations—may require additional learning. 

  • Search functionality: Notion strongly emphasizes search functionality to navigate through documents and databases. While this is effective in many cases, users have reported occasional challenges with search performance, which can impact the ease of finding specific information.

Both programs have simple and complex applications, and the features you’ll use are based on your specific needs. If you’ve been using Microsoft Word and are looking for a simple yet powerful document editor, you’ll find Coda and Notion are equally good choices. 

Once you start needing to create databases and use custom formulas, the learning curve starts to kick into gear. However, Coda and Notion have tutorials and support to help users get into full functionality.

Ease of use is something that matters for all team members. You may have people who are less technical than others, so it’s important to use tools that can be learned by everyone rather than a select few. Both Coda and Notion require a learning curve, particularly concerning complex features.

With Lark, you’ll have access to all the necessary tools and the Lark Academy so employees can learn at their own pace. Not only does this boost team collaboration by getting everyone up to speed, but you’ll save money otherwise spent on training.

Team collaboration

If you’re working with multiple team members, you need a tool to serve collaboration needs. Individual users won’t need to worry about this, but it’s important for small, busy teams that must communicate and collaborate fluidly. You’ll also want to make sure collaborative features fit within your budget as they’re typically a premium feature.


Team collaboration at Coda and Notion


Are Coda and Notion up to the task of collaboration?

Coda

Coda stands out with its flexible billing model, which charges only for doc creators, allowing all editors to collaborate for free. This approach is particularly beneficial for smaller teams where limited members are responsible for document creation, but collaboration extends to a broader group.

Teams can leverage Coda to create databases, hubs, and project trackers, facilitating various project management and organizational tasks. Documents and databases can be shared via links or by granting access to specific folders. Document owners have full control over the access permissions, enabling secure collaboration.

Coda also includes automation features that streamline repetitive tasks, freeing time for team members to focus on more critical work.

Notion

Notion structures its collaboration features around its pricing model, which charges per user. While this setup offers a straightforward scaling mechanism, costs can quickly spiral for larger teams.

There’s good news for individual users, as Notion offers unlimited blocks with its free tier. For most single users, this means they’ll never have to pay a penny. The outlook is not so good for teams who can still enjoy the free trial but will have limits on the number of blocks they can use.

Workspace owners in Notion can invite guests and manage permissions, ensuring collaborative efforts are secure. The platform supports the creation of unlimited blocks on all its paid tiers. 

Are you in need of collaboration tools for larger teams? 

Lark’s free tier supports up to 50 users, making it easy for those leading small or medium teams to blend document editing and messaging functionality to collaborate more easily. Lark facilitates a more dynamic and interactive team collaboration experience with real-time editing, messaging, and file sharing.

Note-taking and text editing

As we’ve discussed, both Coda and Notion are powerful tools in their own right, but it’s important not to overlook the basics. Many users will need to utilize these tools' note-taking and text-editing capabilities.

So, how do Coda and Notion handle the basics of document management?

Coda

Coda's doc editor looks similar to conventional text editors like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. If you’re familiar with these tools, Coda may be just as accessible for jotting down notes.


Screenshot of Coda document


While Coda’s more advanced features require a bit of technical prowess, its interface and functionality are more than adequate for most users, offering a comfortable transition for those familiar with standard word-processing applications.

Coda also allows for including calendars, kanban boards, tables, charts, and forms directly within any document. This can be particularly useful as users may experience slower Coda performance if they constantly navigate between documents. 

Coda doesn’t restrict document size, enabling users to create extensive, detailed documents without worrying about hitting limits.

Notion

Originally designed as a note-taking app, Notion naturally excels in this area. Just like Coda, it’s reminiscent of traditional text editors like Word. Notion's roots as a note-taking app are evident in its streamlined, user-friendly interface designed for quick capture and retrieval of information.


Screenshot of Notion Document


Users build Notion pages using blocks. Users can quickly add text, headings, images, tasks, and more without leaving the document. Documents can be further enhanced with various elements such as boards, tables, galleries, and charts.

Notion bases its structure on a wiki model, facilitating the creation of interconnected pages and databases. However, some users find its search functionality less effective, occasionally challenging to locate specific notes or content.

Community support

Community support is an often underappreciated side of productivity tools. It takes shape differently, such as online forums, events, and training. Coda and Notion take a solid approach to community engagement, offering various resources and opportunities for users to connect, learn, and contribute.

Here’s how they engage with their communities:

Coda

  • Community zone: Coda maintains a vibrant community zone that includes training resources and a suggestion zone, providing a platform for users to learn, share insights, and contribute ideas for platform enhancements.

  • Community questions: Users can ask questions and engage with community members, tapping into collective knowledge and experiences to solve problems or gain new perspectives on using Coda more effectively.

  • Marketplace: Within the Coda community, there's a marketplace where members can advertise their services or post job listings, facilitating collaboration and offering opportunities for professional growth and project development.

Notion

  • Events and webinars: Notion hosts various events and webinars aimed at educating users, showcasing new features, highlighting effective use cases, and encouraging active participation and continuous learning.

  • Notion groups: Users can join Notion groups, including those hosted by universities, offering a space for shared interests, collaboration, and knowledge exchange specific to different contexts and use cases.

  • Notion certification: For those looking to deepen their expertise, Notion offers certification programs, recognizing proficient users and potentially opening up avenues for professional development and community leadership.

It’s up to you whether you get involved with the community. However, one thing’s certain: the communities of Coda and Notion are helpful, so if you ever need help — it’s there.

Templates

Templates are the best way to jumpstart a project or overcome any roadblocks you may face when designing your workspaces. There are templates for everything from project roadmaps to IT ticketing systems. However, productivity tools may take a different approach to templates. Some only offer in-house templates, while others have a deep library of user-generated ones.

What do templates look like for Coda and Notion? 

Coda


Screenshot of Coda templates


  • In-house-built templates: Coda provides templates created by their team, ensuring users can access high-quality, vetted resources for various use cases.

  • AI-Powered templates: Using artificial intelligence, Coda offers AI-powered templates that can adapt and suggest content based on user inputs, simplifying the process of document creation.

Notion


Screenshot of Notion templates


  • In-house and community templates: Notion offers a wide range of templates, from those developed in-house to innovative designs shared by community creators.

  • Free and paid options: The template marketplace includes free and paid options, catering to various needs and enabling users to find or share templates that best fit their project requirements.

Templates should save you time and money on setup. Coda’s in-house templates only cover a small portion of disciplines like engineering, marketing, and sales. You'll spend money out of pocket to get the best Notion templates.

With Lark, templates are designed for a much wider range of industries, from retail and property management to event planning and content creation. Get started with a Delegation of Authority Matrix template or Daily Sales Report template.

Lark users can discover a wide selection of pre-designed formats that can be easily adapted to their specific needs, streamlining the process of document creation and team collaboration.

Integrations

Both Coda and Notion can use integrations to enhance their functions. Their integration capabilities allow users to connect their workspaces with various external applications and services, making it easier to centralize information and automate tasks.

Coda

Coda refers to its integrations as "packs" and offers options to connect with other digital tools. These packs extend the functionality of Coda documents, enabling users to incorporate data from and interact with external platforms directly within Coda. 


Logos of software Coda can integrate with.


Key integrations include:

  • Figma

  • Jira

  • Asana

  • Slack

  • Teams

  • Google Calendar

Notion

Notion also supports integrations with a wide range of tools. 


Logos of software Notion can integrate with.


Notable integrations include:

  • Asana:

  • Box:

  • ClickUp:

  • Figma:

  • Google Drive

  • GitLab

  • IFTTT

Alongside these integrations, both Coda and Notion allow for API integration. So, teams looking to develop their own integrations can use both apps.

Use cases

Coda and Notion cater to a broad spectrum of use cases, enabling teams and individuals to manage projects, share knowledge, and organize content however they want.

Let’s take a look at the best uses for each app:

Coda

  • Project tracking: Coda's flexible structure allows teams to create custom project trackers that can adapt to the specific needs of any project, integrating tasks, timelines, and resource allocation within a single document.

  • Knowledge hubs and wikis: With Coda, organizations can build comprehensive knowledge bases that serve as central repositories for company information, policies, and procedures, facilitating easy access and collaboration.

  • Product meetings: Coda's real-time collaboration features and interactive elements like buttons and sliders make it an ideal platform for conducting productive product meetings, enabling teams to make decisions, assign actions, and track progress efficiently.

Notion

  • Project management: Notion provides teams with the tools to plan, track, and manage projects of all sizes, incorporating task assignments, deadlines, and progress tracking within a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate interface.

  • CMS (content management system): Notion can function as a lightweight CMS, allowing users to create, store, and publish content directly from the platform, supporting content teams in organizing drafts, editorial calendars, and published pieces.

  • Content calendar: With Notion, marketing and content teams can design custom content calendars that track publication schedules, deadlines, and content strategies, ensuring all team members stay informed and aligned.

For enterprise-sized businesses looking for a scalable and comprehensive solution, Lark's platform rises to meet the demands of large organizations.

Lark combines messaging, video conferencing, document editing, and task management into a unified platform, eliminating the need for multiple disjointed tools.

Its infrastructure can support the complexities and scale of enterprise operations. It provides security measures, extensive administrative controls, and many integrations to ensure a smooth and secure workflow.

Customer service and support

When things go wrong, businesses need to know there’s support available to help get them back on track. And since teams will rely heavily on software like Coda and Notion, knowing how they handle support is important.


Customer service teams at Coda and Notion


Let’s take a better look at the customer support available:

Coda

  • Chat and email support: Available to all users, regardless of the plan, ensuring that help is just a message away for any questions or issues.

  • Priority support: Exclusive to enterprise-tier customers, this feature ensures that larger organizations with more complex needs receive timely assistance.

  • Help center: A comprehensive resource for users to find guides, FAQs, and troubleshooting articles, enabling self-service problem-solving.

  • Community support: For more nuanced inquiries or shared experiences, Coda's community support offers a platform for users to seek advice and insights from fellow users.

Notion

  • Community support: Notion's community is an active space for users to exchange tips, solve problems, and share use cases, providing a valuable resource for troubleshooting.

  • Help center: Similar to Coda, Notion offers a well-structured help center filled with articles, guides, and how-tos that cover a wide range of topics.

  • Priority support: Notion extends priority support to all its paid tiers, ensuring that paying customers receive faster responses to their queries.

  • Customer success manager: Available to enterprise customers, these dedicated managers help large organizations maximize their use of Notion, from onboarding to adopting advanced features.

Lark is committed to superior customer service across all its plans, ensuring that every user has access to high-quality support regardless of their subscription tier. Whether you’re an enterprise client or an individual user on the free tier, a Lark customer service rep can help.

What users are saying

Real user information can help you decide whether Coda or Notion is your best choice. Let’s take a look at what people are saying:

Coda

Coda is rated 4.7 on G2. Its users praise Coda for its versatility and powerful integrations ("packs"), appreciating how it combines document creation with complex databases. Criticisms often relate to its learning curve and occasionally slower performance in document navigation.

Here are some of the reviews Coda has received:

“We've had to kill Coda docs that contain multiple thousands of somewhat simple entries (10 columns, one of which an image. No advanced calculations or functions), because they started to crash on load.”

I love the balance of easiness and complexity for implementing great pages that can suit any need we have had so far. It has great connectors like Google Maps help to create complex things very easily.”

Notion

Notion scores a rating of 4.7 on G2 as well. Notion users like its clean interface and exceptional flexibility, making it a favorite for note-taking, project management, and content organization. Some users express challenges with its search functionality and the performance of complex databases. Nonetheless, its ease of use and customization options receive high marks.

Here are some genuine G2 reviews of Notion:

“Sometimes it's quite hard to set up in the first place. When I was first introduced to Notion I found the platform quite overwhelming. As I've used it more and more I've become a lot more comfortable with it.”

Notion has achieved a software ideal: being flexible/ambiguous enough to have a wide range of uses yet also powerful enough in each individual use case to be a viable alternative to more dedicated tools. As a designer I mostly love Notion's carefully considered design—not merely in how UI elements are styled but in the overall product design and the philosophy behind it. It's easy to use and it just works.”

Pricing

Despite their similarities and use cases, Coda and Notion offer different pricing structures, as follows:

Coda


Coda Pricing Page


  • Charges per doc maker, not per user.

  • Free Tier: Basic functionality.

  • Pro Tier: $12/doc maker/month.

  • Team Tier: $36/doc maker/month.

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

Notion


Notion Pricing Page


  • Charges per user.

  • Free Tier: For individuals.

  • Plus Tier: $10/user/month.

  • Business Tier: $18/user/month.

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

Coda offers flexibility for teams with few doc creators, while Notion's model scales with team size. Both provide free tiers for starters and custom solutions for large enterprises.

Coda vs. Notion: Which one should you choose?

Deciding between Coda and Notion hinges on user needs and preferences. Both platforms perform admirably as an all-in-one productivity tool for individuals or small teams.

Notion is particularly appealing for individual users, largely due to its generous free tier and user-friendly design. It's evolving to include broader functionalities like enhanced calendar features and secure collaboration, as noted by its recent acquisition of Skiff.

With its charging per doc maker model, Coda is a strong candidate for small to medium teams willing to navigate its learning curve. It stands out for its depth in customization and automation, making it ideal for teams requiring intricate document and database management.

Enterprises may feel underserved by Coda and Notion. But that’s where Lark shines.

It offers up to 50 users for free, with additional users costing less than Coda and Notion. Lark's integrated approach, combining messaging, video calls, and task management, provides a broad set of tools for collaboration and communication, making it an attractive option for larger organizations seeking a unified platform.

Conclusion

All-in-one solutions are a no-brainer for teams of any size. Whether you’re running a one-person Etsy store or leading a multinational into the digital era, productivity tools are an essential part of the job.

Rather than clutter up your team's desktops with dozens of apps all doing different things, combine everything into one workspace. That’s the magic of an all-in-one solution. 

Working with a global team? Chat with us today to see how Lark breaks down communication barriers with real-time translations. Regardless of where your team is based, Lark keeps everyone connected.

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