I’ve been such a happy camper with Evernote that I’ve used up my monthly upload limit (60MB), and Evernote kindly asked me if wanted to go premium. I think I will, but not just yet. The main reason I want the premium service is not so much to raise the monthly upload limit from the measly 60MB to 1GB but more importantly to allow me to have offline folders, which means I’ll be able to see the contents of my notes on my iPad2 even when I’m not connected to the Internet, which is most of the time, as I only got the Wifi version, not the 3G one. Not being able to see note content is a real pain as I increasingly use the iPad2 as my portable computer.

So. I’ve reached my Evernote limit (can’t upload any more notes, tho you can edit existing notes as long as you don’t change the notebook the note is in), but I still have stuff to clip and note (believe it or not), so, what on earth can I do? Well, obviously, the answer is to try out OneNote which was so interestingly written about over here.

(Aside: I watched Daniel Gold’s youtube video, and when I saw a screenshot of his Evernote setup, I realized for the first time the importance of the visual layout. Daniel uses the 3-column layout -1)  notebooks + tags, 2) thumbnail list of notes in notebook or with the searched-for tag, and 3) the note pane with the topmost note from column 2 open. With this layout, you can search on a particular project and see right before your eyes the next actionable ToDo items for that project. Obvious, innit? Using this layout can perhaps save you the trouble of creating a master project note with all the actionable steps listed, an extra administrative step which is frankly a pain in the butt and which I’d therefore cleverly avoided. But I really do need that project overview, and this layout provides it. Neato. And this is just one more proof that a picture can be worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to “howto” posts.)

So here it is: the OneNote vs Evernote match of the Day, the grand finale after a whopping, ooh, 2 hours (that’s 120 freakin minutes!!) of fumbling around use. At least.

  1. OneNote: has greater flexibility than Evernote in terms of levels – you have notebooks which can be divided into sections, which can be further subdivided into pages.
  2. OneNote: has the same web-clipping function as Evernote (is built-in with IE and there’s a Firefox plugin). As with Evernote, you can designate a default notebook/section for your web-clippings.
  3. OneNote assigns pretty colours to the different sections of a notebook.
  4. In OneNote it’s easy to move a page so as to be a sub-sub-section of another page – you just grab the title in the vertical list and move it slightly to the right and it stays there so you can clearly see that page is a subsection of the page above.
  5. OneNote also syncs with “the cloud” (i.e. Windows’ SkyDrive),  but there are a couple of extra steps involved. However, these are very well explained by HowtoGeek and once you’ve got it setup, syncing is as easy and hands-off as in Evernote.
  6. Well, not quite as straightforward, apparently. I just opened up OneNote on my pc and discovered I have TWONotes! Two sets of all my notebooks. What the ….?  One of them must be the online set.
  7. At the top of my OneNote screen I notice a message, telling me that to sync, I need to type in my password. But where do I do that? Not obvious. Click the file menu and in the first window that opens you should see the sync icon (I’m running Japanese Windows as you can see but the icon should be the same, click the thumbnail on the right here). Click it and in the window that pops up hit the top right button which says Sync Now! or similar.
  8. Using SkyDrive, you can create, edit and share OneNote notebooks, even if you don’t have OneNote installed on your computer, something which I found very useful when the only computer I could use was a web-book.
  9. You can now import your Evernotes into OneNote (and vice-versa).
  10. SkyDrive is free storage, and includes an online Microsoft Office. Don’t know what the storage limit is, if any. (Update: It’s 25GB) Evernote offers 60MB of free uploads/month, then it cuts you off and offers you to go premium.
  11. On the Evernote side, it’s very easy to email notes to your Evernote account, including audio files recorded on your cell-phone, for example. Haven’t yet found out if OneNote can do this, or if it can, how.

Once you’ve got your “buckets” setup for collection of info – your notebooks, sections, pages, whatever – you come to the next, most important, stage: workflows. I’ll write about that in a later post. Workflows are crucial to a happy and successful pc existence.