OneNote alternative

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by OceanFrog, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Hi folks

    Can anyone recommend a good alternative to OneNote for osx? It needs to have similar functionality.

    Or should I just be using OneNote for Mac???

    Thanks in advance
  2. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    There is no OneNote for Mac.

    I really like Curio 8, which is much of the functionality of OneNote and a very Mac-like UI.

    The other alternative you may want to consider is Circus Ponies Notebook.
  3. macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I consider Evernote to be the only real valid multi platform solution.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Western Europe
    Evernote is the answer

    As a former OneNote User I can really recommend Evernote. It has all the functionallity of OneNote, works on different plattforms (Mac, Windows, iPad, ...) and syncs all the different installations via a cloud.

  5. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  6. macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I used OneNote on the Windows system at work, but have abandoned it for Circus Ponies Notebook I run on my personally owned MBP I haul to work everyday! I use multiple notebooks to keep things separated by projects. I haven't seen any slowdown with large notebooks -- my largest is over 300MB and 111 pages. The sizes get large because of attached PDFs and images (you can link to these, but I prefer having the notebook all inclusive. Very nice clipping service feature.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    Olympic Hills GC
    Another vote for Evernote.

    I didn't really understand all the fuss behind it but started using it instead of post-it notes everywhere, my whiteboard, my Reminder app, etc. I've started to really like it and have barely scratched the surface. I plan to buy a Pen for my iPad so I can utilize Penultimate as well.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    By "similar functionality," what do you mean?

    If you need to import PDF's or notes to OCR, then you will need Evernote.

    If you just need a system of storing notes and clips and files, etc., I use the free Growly Notes.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I use Circus Ponies Notebooks and Evernote, which I've written more about here, here, here and here.

    However, if you'd like to stick to OneNote, Outline+ has an iPad app that connects to OneNote, and they are promising a mac version soon.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States

    I would strongly recommend Evernote. Actually, I used to be opposed to it. I was migrating from Windows (using Onenote) to Mac. I didn't want to dish out any money, and Evernote was the most popular free alternative out there. I decided to give it a chance. I was able to export my Onenote notebooks and import them into Evernote. I've also started liking Evernote as it seems to be very simple, yet powerful and organized. I'm a student so I use it on a daily basis.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2009
    Another vote for evernote. I'd be interested to see what you liked most about onenote, it never really stuck to me.
  12. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth

    These guys have a great iOS app and will be bringing Outline+ to the Mac soon.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2009
    The Evildrome Boozerama
    I was resistant to Evernote, as it did not have the freedom of layout that some other notebook apps did. But after getting an iOS device, I realized that having my notebooks in the cloud and available to my iPhone was an advantage too big to ignore.
  14. macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    I have read a lot of your posts about Circus Ponies Notebook. I have purchased so many notetaking and PDF filing/annotation apps in my quest for the perfect app. I am looking for a single app to replace my current combination of Notability, Goodreader, and Appigo ToDo. They are all very good apps, but I really would love to find one app to keep all my reference PDFs and files that I need to review for information or to provide feedback (thus my current use of Goodreader with links to Appigo ToDo to remind me when I need to finish reviewing a file) with an app that alllows me to take good meeting notes and then create ToDos attached to the meeting notes and keep everything organized and easy to find/retrieve (sorry for the runon sentence). Circus Ponies Notebook for the iPad sounds like it might come close. What do you think? By the way, I have well over a 1000 PDFs in Goodreader.
  15. svenr, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

    macrumors regular

    May 6, 2003
    I'm not a big fan of subscriptions. That includes Evernote. The basic version is free, but to make full use of it (e.g. offline notebooks and PDF search) you're on the hook for $5.00 a month. To me that means:
    • Poor economics. Even if you pay yearly, if you use the product for 2-3 years, you have spent much more on it than even the most expensive note-taking apps you could buy outright.
    • Paying every month whether I use the product or not.
    • Not knowing what happens to my data when I ever stop paying.
    • Having a third-party without SLA or NDA getting access to sensitive business info.
    Thanks, but no, thanks.

    I take all my notes in DevonThink which is really better described as an information management solution. It has a bit of a learning curve, but is very powerful in retrieving relevant info from large collections of notes, PDFs, Word docs, PowerPoint decks, etc. For those who don't need all the bells and whistles, they also have a scaled down (and cheaper) dedicated note-taking app: DevonNote.

    Speaking of OneNote, which ties into Outlook: Look into MailTags, which allows you to attach notes to emails and also integrates nicely with DevonThink and OmniFocus (my to-do app).
  16. macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2011
    Evernote is now the best Mac solution for me, as of their latest upgrade. Almost as good as OneNote on Windows. Nice how I can access my EN stuff from desktop, iPad and iPhone. I Don't use it enough though to justify the cost of Premium.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Yes, I have been on the hunt for the 'perfect multi app' for some time (and have bought way too many apps in the process), but have now given up on finding the hidden treasure and have diversified over a few apps.

    For note taking purposes, I am increasingly switching to Evernote, for the following reaons:

    - Cross platform app, which matters to me because I work in a windows environment

    - better than CPN if you want to import pdf files into a note. Evernote makes them searchable (at least with the premium version, but think that also applies to free alternative), and displays them neatly at the bottom of your note - in contrast, CPN creates a separate page for every page in the PDF file, which I really don't want. I also deal with several thousand PDF files in my library, so I need pdf management to be smooth.

    - so many apps offer Evernote integration, and it's really easy to add and categories notes by email.

    I still think CPN is an excellent app, though, but I don't think their iPad version is their strongest side. But it has a lot of features, great outlining, to do lists, great multidex, ability to tag text (as opposed to files/notes/pages) which are all very good for getting organised.

    I've settled on a combo of apps, at the moment it looks like this:

    • Sente for pdf management (hub for all my research literature)
    • iAnnotate for marking up pdfs and other docs
    • CPN or Evernote (kind of in the process of switching from the former to the latter I think, but haven't fully decided) as a hub for all my academic note taking.
    • OmniFocus for organising to do-s and project management.
    • Curio for managing writing projects.

    In my work flow, I distinguish between 'hubs', where information should end up, and 'intermediaries', where I may edit, create and mark up docs, which is then forward to a hub where it 'lives' permanently. I use of bunch of other intermediaries depending on need (e.g. Notability, 7NotesHD, Drafts, ByWord, etc), but stuff doesn't stay there, it's forwarded to a 'hub'.
  18. macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida

    Thanks for the input. Do you use Evernote with a monthly subscription or just the premium version of the app? I am hesitant to get into the monthly subscription model even though I could pay for a lot of months with the many apps I keep purchasing looking for the perfect app or more realistically, the perfect combo of hopefully no more than a 2 or 3 apps for my workflow. I finally decided to go the keyboard route with my iPad so I hardly ever do handwriting input anymore which helps a little with looking for the perfect app.
  19. macrumors regular

    May 6, 2003
    Seems basic, right? And other apps you can purchase (as opposed to rent) have PDF search. But for Evernote, it's listed as a "premium feature", so five bucks a month for eternity it is.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida

    I thought Devonthink looks interesting, but I did not purchase it because it has a fair number of negative reviews and it looks like it hasn't been updated since July 2012? I would only be using it on my iPad - is it worth it and reliable enough even though the developer does not appear to be regularly updating it? Do you also have CP Notebook? It looks very interesting, but $30 and a lot of reviews indicating that the performance is perhaps not acceptable on an iPad 3?
  21. macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Devon Technologies is currently hard at work on implementing a completely revamped sync technology across the Mac and iPad line according to their president's blog on their website. I have both CPN and DTPO for Mac and iPad. I don't know if I would have either on the iPad if I didn't have the Mac versions and want access on the go. My main content work is on my iMac (and now also my Air).
  22. slu
    macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I haven't used Evernote in a while, so maybe it is different now, but I thought it took too many "clicks" to edit a note on the mobile apps. Have they improved the UI at all recently?

    I really like OneNote on my work PC and the OneNote iPhone and iPad apps. So for on my Mac, I use the free online version of OneNote. This allows me to store my notebooks in the cloud and access from all my devices. The online version of OneNote is limited, but it meets my needs.
  23. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    DevonThink is a great program but if Devon Techonologies is smart they will have hired a strong designer to bring their design language up to modern day standards. Their biggest complain is their user interface. Their functionality is incredible but the learning curve is steep.
  24. macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    I don't know anything about them as a software developer. Have they been around for a while? Are they likely to get more active in the development of their iPad app. I don't mind spending $15 on the app if they can reasonably be expected to timely address the existing issues. But I get worried when they haven't even had a bug fix in about 7 months.
  25. macrumors regular

    May 6, 2003
    They have been around for a very long time, long before iPad and iPhone. I seem to remember DevonThink even running on Mac OS Classic (OS 9), but I may be wrong. Anyway, they go back more than 10 years easily.

    Which may also explain their update cycle. They grew their business when software was distributed on physical disks and annual updates were normal. Personally, I don't find a most recent version of July 2012 alarming at all, but maybe that's just me. I do realize their user interface is somewhat dated, update cycles have become shorter and businesses have to adapt to stay competitive.

    I don't have an iPad, so can't speak to that. I do all my work, incl. note-taking on a laptop and their full version, once you get the hang of it, is very powerful esp. with large data and note collections and does everything I could ask for.

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