The Best OneNote Alternatives to Consider for Your Company in 2024

The Best OneNote Alternatives to Consider for Your Company in 2024

Lance Lim

June 24, 2024

6/24/24

Jun 24, 2024

6/24/24

14 min read

Logos for OneNote and alternative note-taking software
Logos for OneNote and alternative note-taking software
Logos for OneNote and alternative note-taking software
Logos for OneNote and alternative note-taking software

The app you use for your note-taking is like an extension of yourself. It houses all your important information and must be the perfect tool. With many options like Microsoft OneNote, it’s hard to pick the right tool.

OneNote is a comprehensive note-taking tool, but there are many alternative options with special features that may benefit you more. From simplistic to advanced, there’s a note-taking tool for everyone.

In this article, we list ten alternatives to OneNote, highlighting how each tool benefits its users and its key features.

What is OneNote?

Introduced by Microsoft back in 2003, OneNote is the tech giant's attempt at digital note-taking. It's designed to capture, organize, and share different types of information the everyday person may use.

OneNote's standout feature allows users to create interactive notebooks—a digitized version of a physical notebook divided into sections and pages for easy navigation. The software integrates neatly with other Microsoft Office tools, enhancing its functionality:

  • Users can send emails from Outlook

  • Embed data directly from Excel

  • Sync notebooks across all devices through OneDrive

OneNote is a good choice for note-taking, particularly for those already embedded in the Microsoft Office ecosystem. However, it is not perfect for teams needing advanced collaboration tools. It lacks project management features and chat and video features, two things that Lark has built in.

Why should you consider the alternatives to OneNote

OneNote occupies a middle ground in note-taking, being too complex for basic users yet lacking advanced features for power users.

Other note-taking apps will be a better fit unless you’re a Microsoft Office fan. OneNote fits in well with the other apps in the Office suite. However, this comes at the expense of compatibility in other areas.

While OneNote has made good progress with its Android and iOS apps, Linux support falls below expectations. Linux users can access OneNote via a browser, but there’s no desktop version available.

Integrations are another area where OneNote falls short of its competitors. Native integrations are limited with OneNote unless you use a program like Zapier to achieve more integration power.

Lastly, it’s worth considering other options if you just don’t like Microsoft. If you’re a detractor, OneNote won’t be a suitable option as it’s deeply embedded in Microsoft Office design philosophy — it looks and plays like Microsoft.

How to choose the best OneNote alternative to meet your needs

If you’re moving on from OneNote, you’ll know there are a few things to look out for with any alternative you might pick.

Here are some of the things to consider when choosing what’s best for you:

  • Usability: Any note-taking app needs to work well for you. You may prioritize a clean interface with simple tagging and sorting. Alternatively, you need deep customization and collaborative features to bring your note-taking to the next level.

  • Sync across devices: Switching from desktop to mobile to tablet? Syncing across all your devices is important to keep your note-taking in one space.

  • Collaboration: If your whole team is working together co-authoring documents, you’ll need an app with great collaboration features like real-time editing, sharing, and access management.

  • Customization: Customization — whether through themes and templates or the ability to install plugins and extensions — is an essential part of any new software tool.

  • Security: If you’re dealing with personal or sensitive information, you’ll need a tool with strict security protocols. Look for tools with secure data storage, privacy control, permissions, and end-to-end encryption.

  • Integrations: If you’re using other productivity tools, you may need a note-taking app that integrates with them. Alternatively, look for an all-in-one suite that replaces all the disparate tools in your tech stack.

10 best OneNote alternatives

Take control of your note-taking in the way that makes the most difference to your workflow.

Here are 10 of the best OneNote alternatives:

1. Lark: Best overall alternative

Lark is a suite of office apps capable of replacing many tools into one unified workspace. Its note-taking capabilities make it the perfect companion for large teams. Featuring a powerful document editor with rich collaborative features for co-editing, Lark is built for global teams.


Screenshot of Lark's dashboard


Lark can translate documents and transcribe audio in seconds, so no one in the team is left out of key decision-making. With Minutes, meetings are turned into an interactive replay where users can slow down, speed up, and pause when needed. Important information can then be directly copied into your documents.

Everything is synced in real-time, so if you’re on the go and moving to mobile, all information will be ready and waiting. Lark also supports rich media. If you want to add videos, polls, graphs, mind maps, or databases, nothing is holding you back.

Key features

  • Document editing and collaboration tools

  • Live translation and transcription

  • Low-code customization features

  • Picture-in-picture while video chatting

  • Lark drive provides up to 10TB of cloud storage

  • Access to a range of supplementary tools like chat, video, sheets, minutes

  • Create group meetings and share documents ahead of time

Pros

  • All-in-one tool reducing tech stack and overall software costs

  • Automatic time-zone adjustments and live transcriptions benefiting global teams

  • Customizable UI allows teams to work the way they want

Cons

  • More expensive for teams over 50 people than OneNote (but works out cheaper if replacing additional tools like Zoom, Slack, and the rest of the Microsoft Office Suite)

Pricing

  • Free trial available for up to 50 users

  • Pro tier is $12 per user per month for up to 500 users

  • Enterprise tier offers custom pricing

Integrations

Lark maintains a range of native integrations, including:

  • Project management: Asana Connector, Jira Master, Trello Connector, Zapier

  • Agile Development: GitHub, GitLab Assistant, Splunk Connector, Lark Translator

  • Productivity: Dropbox, TodoNow, Cal.com, Zoom, DocuSign

  • Everything: Lark AnyCross is a no-code tool enabling you to create your own integrations from scratch.

Lark vs. OneNote

  • Lark replaces more than just OneNote; it takes over Microsoft Office and replaces it with a seamless experience.

  • While note-taking, Lark facilitates chat, video conferencing, live transcription, and translation.

  • OneNote primarily serves the individual, whereas Lark serves the whole team, whether five people or 500.

Customer reception

Lark scores 4.6 out of 5 on G2. Customer reviews include:

“Lark is a very useful tool for workplaces. It's filled with useful features such as video meetings, chat, email, and much more. We use it daily at my company, and it is incredibly useful. It was very easy to implement at our workplace. The customer support is good, and they are very helpful. It took us only around 2 days to set it up in full, and it made our workplace much better. I also love the beta feature AnyCross, which lets us integrate Lark with many other software tools we use.” - Cody H. on G2

2. Evernote: Best for fast setup

Evernote is available nearly everywhere, including iOS and Android. However, it stopped supporting its Linux client in 2023. Getting started is quick and simple with Evernote, as you’ll be up and running as soon as you sign up. Users can sort their notes into notebooks to create quick notes using the scratch pad for better organization.


Screenshot of Evernote's dashboard

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Key features

  • AI-powered search

  • Web clipper to save and annotate web pages and PDFs

  • Character recognition to find words in photos

  • Link notes to calendar events

Pros

  • Create a system of notebooks for organization

  • Set reminders for your to-do list

  • Internal linking to bridge between notes

Cons

  • Restrictive free version only allows for two devices

  • Slow-loading times on web app

Pricing

  • Free tier available for basic use

  • Paid plans start from $7.99 per user per month

Integrations

Evernote integrations include:

  • Slack

  • Outlook

  • Gmail

  • Google Drive

Evernote vs. OneNote

Evernote features a user-friendly design with simple but powerful note organization. Recent changes have seen it become a more costly alternative to OneNote. However, both tools support multimedia notes and third-party integrations, which boost functionality.

Customer reception

Evernote scores a 4.4 rating on G2. Customer reviews include:

“I've enjoyed using the Evernote free service for over 10 years to track all manner of notes across a couple of devices. The android app has been relatively easy to use and bug free up until 2023. - Verified User on G2

3. Notion: Best for creating databases

Notion is a versatile tool that starts as a simple note-taking application and expands into a customizable wiki with extensive database features. If your note-taking needs to extend into task management, Notion is a good option.


Screenshot of Notion's dashboard

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Key features

  • Build pages using blocks

  • Notion Web Clipper saves web pages directly into Notion

  • Publish any page to the web to share with others

  • Free and premium templates with thousands of use cases

Pros

  • Text editor with a minimalistic aesthetic

  • Customization features to turn simple pages into full wikis and databases

Cons

  • Notion doesn’t support offline mode

  • Mobile UI is hard to use

Pricing

  • Free tier available

  • Paid plans start from $8 per seat per month

Integrations

Notion integrates with a wide range of tools; some popular apps include:

  • Slack

  • Canva

  • Calendly

  • Dropbox

  • Figma

  • Google Drive

Notion vs. OneNote

Notion goes further and faster than OneNote with features like databases, kanban boards, and project management tools, but it comes with a steeper learning curve. OneNote is a more user-friendly tool with a more traditional notebook layout.

Customer reception

Notion is rated 4.7 on G2. Customer reviews include:

“Notion is incredible at giving you the flexibility you need to create whatever you need—from a simple notes library to reminders to project management.” - Jesse K on G2

4. Google Keep: Best for cloud storage

Google Keep is the tech giant's answer to OneNote and is part of the Google Workspace software suite. For users who want a free tool with more storage than OneNote, any audio or image saved in Keep doesn’t count against your Google Drive storage limit.


Screenshot of Keep's dashboard

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Key features

  • Sync reminders from Keep with your Google account

  • Color-code your backgrounds

  • Convert notes into a full document with Google Docs

Pros

  • Archive notes that aren’t needed anymore

  • Add webpages, photos, and voice recordings on the go

Cons

  • Text formatting is kept simple, so there’s less flexibility in customization

  • Keep doesn’t support note folders for organization

Pricing

  • Free for personal use

  • Google Workspace subscription starts at $6 per user per month

Integrations

Google Keep integrates with other Google Workspaces. Developers can create their own using its API or through third-party software.

Google Keep vs. OneNote

Google Keep is simple and ideal for quick, color-coded notes and reminders, with strong Google integration. OneNote offers more features for detailed notes, organization, and Microsoft Office integration, making it suitable for more extensive note-taking.

Customer reception

Google Keep earns a 4.6 rating on G2 as part of Google Workspace. Customer reviews include:

“Cost effectiveness is its shine and we only have to pay only for the number of employees using it. Perfect! affordable package.” - Annah N on G2

5. Apple Notes: Best for Mac and iPhone users

Apple Notes is built from the ground up for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. It’s one of Apple’s free apps designed for simple but powerful note-taking.


Screenshot of Notes's dashboard

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Key features

  • Compatible with the Apple Pencil for an authentic handwriting experience

  • Syncs with all devices and neatly sorts notes into folders based on origin point

  • Quick Notes allows you to create notes on iPad without opening the app

Pros

  • Lock your notes behind a password for added security

  • Supports most types of media, including photos, videos, PDFs, and scans

Cons

  • Lack of customization features

  • Only accessible on Apple devices

Pricing

  • Included free with any compatible Apple product

Integrations

Apple Notes doesn’t feature native integrations.

Apple Notes vs. OneNote

Apple Notes is a simple but powerful tool for those with Apple devices, and it is ideal for quick notes and basic organization. OneNote offers more accessibility and better organization, making it suitable for more detailed use.

Customer reception

Apple Notes receives a 4.9 rating on Apple’s own App Store. Customer reviews include:

“Between the features and the easy access/use, I love this app! Been using it since I first got an iPhone and more then often these past few years !” - App Store user

6. Obsidian: Best for markdown support

Obsidian uses markdown to introduce deep linking into your note-taking. Links are a way to connect your thoughts and create a personalized wiki that’s all your own.


Screenshot of Obsidian's dashboard

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Key features

  • Build a knowledge base with interlinking

  • Graph view to see how your notes link together

Pros

  • Clean and intuitive interface

  • Community plugins to enhance functionality

  • More secure as all files are stored locally

Cons

  • Syncing across devices is a premium feature

  • Markdown can be harder to learn

Pricing

  • Free for personal use

  • Commercial use is $50 per year

  • Add-ons include Sync and Publish, starting at $10 per month each

Integrations

Obsidian doesn’t offer integrations, but community plugins are supported.

Obsidian vs. OneNote

Obsidian is tailored exclusively for individual use, whereas OneNote has some collaboration features. If you're a power user who's only note-taking for themselves, Obsidian will be a better choice for its deep linking and graph view, feeling like a true second brain.

Customer reception

Obsidian receives a 4.9 rating on Product Hunt. Customer reviews include:

“Really excellent tool, especially for long-form note-taking. The user interface has an overall elegance that makes this tool stand-out.” - owlyph on Product Hunt

7. Goodnotes: Best for handwriting support

Goodnotes is an on-the-go note-taking app that is applauded for its superior handwriting support. Whether you want handwriting recognition or text conversion and palm rejection, Goodnotes is here for those who still love writing with a pencil.


Screenshot of Goodnotes dashboard

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Key features

  • AI-powered spellchecker

  • Practice materials for students

  • Edit and annotate PDFs

Pros

  • Unlimited notes and folders

  • Digital stickers to make your notes feel like a real notebook

  • Presentation mode turns your notes into a digital board

Cons

  • One-time payment only available for Apple users

Pricing

  • Free tier available

  • Paid plans start at $9.99 per year

  • One-time payment at $29.99

Integrations

Goodnotes doesn’t offer integrations.

Goodnotes vs. OneNote

Goodnotes excels in handwriting and drawing, which is ideal for iPad users who need realistic digital ink and organization. It's a good companion tool for students, packed with study materials.

Customer reception

Goodnotes scores a 4.8 rating on G2. Customer reviews include:

“The ability to import your documents and edit in real-time with a colleague is absolutely integral to my business. I use it to import manuscripts in order to make 'red pen' corrections.” - Ruby S. on G2

8. Nuclino: Best for minimalist interface

If you’re looking for a simple and clean interface, you might take a look at Nuclino. It’s a collaborative document editor, so the whole team can work together without distractions.


Screenshot of Nuclino's dashboard

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Key features

  • Multiple views, including list view, graph view, table view, and board view

  • Infinite canvas for whiteboards or diagrams

  • Sidekick AI to support your drafts

Pros

  • Optimized for speed, so less time spent waiting for things to load

  • Version history to view changes

Cons

  • No way to include branding or theming

  • Offline mode is not supported

Pricing

  • Free tier available

  • Paid plans start from $5 per user per month

Integrations

Nuclino integrates with many tools, including:

  • Slack

  • Teams

  • Google Calendar

  • Grammarly

  • Figma

  • Invision

Nuclino vs. OneNote

Nuclino's charm lies in its simple and minimalistic interface. It features the important collaboration tools teams need to co-edit and share notes. OneNote, however, is kinder for branding, as it allows users to choose fonts and colors.

Customer reception

Nuclino scores a 4.7 rating on G2. Customer reviews include:

“It is so out of your face and does what it is designed to do without fuss or frustration. The design is wonderful and the implementation just as good.” - Simon M. on G2

9. Joplin: Best for Linux users

Joplin is the best choice for Linux users as it’s one of the only note-taking apps that prioritizes support for Linux. It’s an open-source program with a dedicated, active community.


Screenshot of Joplin's dashboard

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Key features

  • “Offline first,” so all data is stored locally and 100% owned by the user

  • Joplin Cloud to enable syncing across devices

  • Offers Rich Text and Markdown for text editing

Pros

  • Create math expressions and diagrams within the app

  • Customize the app with plugins and themes

Cons

  • Community support only

  • Lacks features for handwriting and sketching

Pricing

  • Free to use

Integrations

Joplin doesn’t offer native integrations. Can be powered up using free and paid community plugins.

Joplin vs. OneNote

Joplin suits those who prioritize control and data privacy. Joplin emphasizes open-source flexibility, privacy, and offline access, while OneNote offers robust integration with Microsoft services and a more polished interface.

Customer reception

Joplin has received a 4.8 rating on G2. Customer reviews include:

“I love the organizational structure of the notes, where you can have notebooks and different notes within them. I also love that the notes are stored in Markdown, which allows for easy [reading], because of the preview pane…” - Jason L. on G2

10. Roam Research: Best for technical users

Roam Research is for very technical users because it's built more like a graph database than a simple note-taking app. At its core, it links notes to create a knowledge graph. It’s popular among University students.


creenshot of Roam's dashboard

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Key features

  • Find feature to help you locate a phrase on any page

  • Boolean queries to pull matching information

  • Create a system of connected thoughts with links and backlinking

Pros

  • Built for fans of the Zettelkasten method of note-taking

  • Embed blocks from one part of Roam to another

Cons

  • No offline support

  • Advanced software for specialist note-takers

Pricing

  • $15 per month

  • 5-year license available for $500

Integrations

Roam Research doesn’t currently support integrations.

Roam Research vs. OneNote

Roam Research is ideal for non-linear note-taking, offering features like bi-directional links and a visual knowledge graph. Roam's flexibility allows for a highly customizable and interconnected note-taking experience, which is ideal for researchers.

Customer reception

Roam Research scores a 4.6 on Product Hunt. Customer reviews include:

“Roam Research has revolutionized my note-taking process. With bi-directional links, daily notes, and unmatched flexibility, it's a game-changer for creative thinkers.” - Reuben N. on Product Hunt

How a Lark subscription is a better value compared to OneNote and Microsoft Office

Lark goes far beyond a note-taking app; it's a complete productivity suite designed to replace the entire Microsoft Office suite. It handles everything you need for note-taking and brings in features like chat, video conferencing, live transcription, and translation.

One of the main differences is that OneNote is geared towards individual use. While it's a good run-of-the-mill note-taking app, it lacks team collaboration. Lark provides all the tools you need for real-time collaboration, such as integrated chat and video conferencing tools.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a powerful note-taking tool for your entire team, Lark is a great choice because of its low cost and feature-rich subscription. Teams with under 50 people can get started completely for free.

Turn your note-taking into a powerful collaboration tool with features like picture-in-picture video conferencing, AI meeting minutes, live transcription, and more.