Evernote To Notion

Notion currently doesn’t have scanning abilities like Evernote and email forwarding is non-existent. But the way Notion could help is with the project management side of things, it really does perform well with databases allowing you to switch between board view and calendar view, great for planning checklists and crafting client projects. In an older post someone suggested that it will stop importing when it gets to a note created with the Evernote web clipper. Though a lot of my notes were created with the web clipper and a lot of them imported into notion Someone else suggested evernotes with tables, or larger notes are the cause.

You’ve probably already started the new decade hearing about Notion from somewhere. Whether it was on Product Hunt, your Twitter-sphere, or just people nattering about it at work, Notion is gaining attention all round the web as the new shiny productivity tool in town.

With much anticipation, across the last two years, people have flooded to the application with a desire to become organized and productive. From total newbies to veterans of the productivity software ecosystem, millions have embraced Notion.

Notion claims to be the “all-in-one workspace” to solve your growing need for more tools. What does that even mean? Essentially, they’d like to combine all your productivity tools into one application with the ultime goal being total freedom for your productivity with no coding skills needed.

Evernote Vs Notion 2020

Other “all-in-one workspaces” like Coda, Taskade, and Airtable are on the hunt for market share in this brand new space too.

Evernote is another well-known and popular productivity tool that solved many of these problems for many years. Over-shadowed in recent years due to development progress, Notion has been capitalizing on their lack of momentum. In that fashion, Notion does remind me of Evernote in the early days in how they are positioned in the market and are poised for mass market appeal in 2020.

What is Notion?

First off, what the heck is Notion?

You may have heard about it, and been tempted by people’s well-crafted “dashboards,” but what is Notion and what can it actually do for my productivity?

Notion is a productivity tool that allows you to replace tools like Evernote, Trello, Google Docs, Asana, Quip, Todoist, and others, and bring them all into one application.

How does it do that? Notion uses databases, which allows you to build a structure that meets your needs. So, looking to create an editorial calendar for your team? Build that from the Board Database. Or maybe want to see your habit tracking progress. In that case try the Table Database.

The real magic with Notion is in the unlimited uses for the application giving many users a playground for creative expression with their own productivity needs.

A few weeks ago, Matt Ragland explained Notion perfectly in a round-up here on The Sweet Setup, and we recommend giving this a read too!

What Do People Use Evernote For?

Evernote is commonly used as the best filing cabinet tool. It’s a great way to store documents, handy notes, important files, project notes, and even tend to your daily reminders.

A wide use case has been to store everything in Evernote as a “second brain” if you like — a concept coined by productivity guru Tiago Forte. This storage base means easy access for Evernote users to get things on the go and upload things that matter to them that they never want to forget or lose.

Here are a few of the most common Evernote use cases:

Document Capture

Move evernote to notion

Scanning things into Evernote makes referring back to it extremely easy. The built-in scanner feature allows you to upload documents with just your phone camera, and the quality is marvelous. This allows you to upload all your important files and reduces your need to keep and store paper.

Another bonus is that the documents are searchable using Evernote’s powerful OCR search capabilities.

Evernote

Web Clipper

There’s a lot of demand for Evernote’s Web Clipper feature that allows users to clip articles, PDFs and documents within the Chrome browser. A much-loved feature for users, the web clipper goes above and beyond by also allowing you to snap screenshots, annotate, and even organize them all from the browser.

It’s one of the many abilities that people appreciate in Evernote.

Anchor Notes

Clipping documents and web articles are very powerful, but one thing people love is being able to save notes forever. Anchor notes is something that Steve Dotto calls a must for Evernote users, allowing them to store anything from your husband’s shirt neck size, to your boiler serial numbers. These useful anchor notes can be saved into Evernote and accessed anytime, so when you’re out and about, Evernote works for you like no other tool — the ultimate filing cabinet.

All in all, Evernote is loved by many. But if you were consider Notion instead, what would that look like?

What would Evernote use cases look like in Notion?

Notion allows you to build pages that are the equivalent of notebooks in Evernote.

Pages allow you to craft whatever you like, be it a database for your recipes, a photo gallery, or even a content calendar for your team’s blog — it’s entirely up to you.

Here’s a basic way to start managing your notes within Notion:

  1. Start out with a blank page. This is where all pages are made, a way for you to choose the format.
  2. Select a Gallery on the Database. By selecting Gallery, you’ll have a database perfect for adding notes into. Give the page an emoji and a title to spruce it up a little.
  3. Set up your Properties. This is important for your notes as they are added. This allows you to add areas for tags and useful display settings.
  4. Add your Notes. Once you’ve chosen your properties and settings, you can now add notes. Here’s one that I use for “Project Workshop Meeting” notes each week.

The note-taking in Notion is highly attractive and very tempting, but does come with a few flaws that you may want to be aware of before jumping right in, so make sure to read all the Q&A below if you’re considering a move to Notion.

Stop losing your ideas and notes to multiple apps…

An online course to help you save time, organize your notes, and master the best writing app for Mac and iOS: Ulysses.

Some Useful Q&A

Question 1: I’m currently using Evernote. Would Notion suit my needs?

Let’s determine your existing use cases for Evernote and how you go about using it and whether it translates to Notion with a few examples. This will help to establish a good framework for whether your needs match up with Notion’s features.

Example 1: I’m currently using Evernote to scan in documents, log emails, and also to manage checklists with external clients.

Evernote To Notion

In this case, Evernote might be best to stick with. Notion currently doesn’t have scanning abilities like Evernote and email forwarding is non-existent. But the way Notion could help is with the project management side of things, it really does perform well with databases allowing you to switch between board view and calendar view, great for planning checklists and crafting client projects.

Example 2: I take regular notes on podcasts, manage my weekly agenda, and even clip articles to read for later via a web browser.***

These are all things that Notion can do even better than Evernote. Although it doesn’t have a fantastic web clipper, it works well enough to clip articles, and taking notes and producing weekly agendas is a breeze.

Example 3: I love storing and managing PDFs that are important to my house and finances. I also like to curate in-depth research articles that I annotate and read later.

Evernote notion bear

Evernote is probably more suitable for you. Moving to Notion would only hinder you. The PDF abilities in Notion are limited to upload-only and they aren’t stored locally like Evernote. Finding them becomes even harder with the limited search feature. The web clipper for Notion also doesn’t meet Evernote standards, as only images and links can be saved, which limits you in case you want to take a screenshot, annotate, add tags for your research, etc.

This isn’t to put you off Notion, but more to ensure the switch is viable from a productivity standpoint.

Question 2: How would you plan on using Notion in your daily life?

This is to help drill down into what you’d be using Notion for, and why. You don’t want to use it for the sake of it, or just because it is the “App of the Day” — you need to have a genuine use case for the tool.

Onenote

Let’s examine whether the actual features match your needs moving forward, per category.

Scenario 1: Storing and Filing Information

If you’re looking for a hub to file and manage your documents, Evernote might still be better. Notion currently allows you to upload files (up to 5MB in free plan) and doesn’t have dedicated local storage, so all files are uploaded to AWS (Amazon’s web server) and aren’t accessible offline.

If your sole use of the tool is to manage files, it’s good for lighter use, but until they introduce better search for documents, local document management, and maybe some editing/annotation abilities — with PDFs — Evernote is still the better option.

Scenario 2: Managing Tasks

Planning and managing tasks inside Notion is relatively easy and if we compare it to the likes of Evernote, Notion wins. With the databases, Notion’s main feature, you can manage, plot, and even change the view of how you see and co-ordinate tasks.

Although it lacks the pre-built and natural experience of a list tool like Things, Notion still allows you to add tags, dates (as many as you like), view tasks in a calendar view, add checklists, filter tasks, and plan using boards too. In this scenario, Notion is the better tool for the job.

Scenario 3: Taking Notes

This is where it becomes trickier as each tool does a good job at note-taking. Evernote has a more traditional setup that allows you to add media, annotate images, and log within a notebook.

Notion offers a richer experience that allows you to add databases to organize your notes, and it also comes with great interactive abilities like being able to view videos and embed Google Maps and other files like Google Drive (something Evernote can do too).

It depends on what type of note-taker you are, but Notion’s flexible nature does allow you to create more attractive notes.

For many, this will be the most important factor. Can you take good enough notes with Notion? The answer is yes. You can create more interactive and rich notes in Notion than you can with Evernote, but there is the question of offline needs.

A few months ago, I was travelling and in need of my travel plan. I was in a new country at customs, and they asked “where will you be staying, exactly?” Luckily, I saved it inside Evernote because the Notion offline version didn’t work. I was able to extract the address, so if you are a frequent traveller or have any other reason that offline access matters to you, Evernote could still be your base for notes.

Scenario 4: Coordinating Projects

Many people use Evernote to manage their projects. There are many benefits including having all your notes inside one notebook, and even for teams the Evernote spaces feature to see a dashboard of your team’s work.

But Notion does allow you to do a lot more, challenging the likes of Trello, Asana, and even monday.com — allowing you to do so much more — including manage projects in board view, connect up databases (relational databases), create formulas, and even manage database templates, helping you to reduce your workload.

Scenario 5: Research

If you’re a student, academic, or researcher, Notion lacks a powerful web clipper when you place it next to the likes of Evernote. Evernote allows you to clip titles, links, tags, remarks, and even screenshots, save and annotate PDFs, and much more, which brings it into classic notes. Even emails can be saved into Evernote with just a forward or click of a button.

Notion lacks the advanced research functionality as its own web clipper only allows you to clip articles and images off your iPhone/Android for on the go.

Stop losing your ideas and notes to multiple apps…

An online course to help you save time, organize your notes, and master the best writing app for Mac and iOS: Ulysses.

When note-taking app Evernote launched back in 2004, it was a bold, innovative software product that promised to help us remember… well, everything.

In 2004, Evernote was in the enviable position of being first-to-market. Evernote was among the very first software products to offer native apps for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS. It was one of the first tools to offer cloud syncing as a baseline feature. The earliest versions of Evernote were incredibly generous in terms of how much storage users were given for free.

Fast-forward to today. Evernote is still around, but it’s a shadow of its former self. It’s much more expensive than it used to be. Keyboard macro keys. Some legacy bugs and stability issues still haven’t been fixed. Even Evernote’s Business plan offers very little value for teams.

Now there are dozens of note-taking apps and organizational tools we can use to keep our digital lives in order. But which Evernote alternatives are worth looking at and which should you avoid?

That’s exactly what we’ll be looking at in this post.

Below, we explore three Evernote alternatives and offer a rundown of each. We’ve examined each tool’s strengths and weaknesses relative to Evernote. By the end of this post, you’ll have a much better idea of how these tools stack up and how they can help you organize your digital life.

Evernote Alternative #1: Bear

The first alternative to Evernote we’ll be looking at is Bear by app development studio Shiny Frog. Of the three Evernote alternatives we’ve reviewed, Bear is the “purest” note-taking app of them all.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Bear is that it looks a lot like a mash-up of Slack and a generic email client. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the simplicity of Bear’s sleek, minimal UI––and its simplicity as a whole––is one of the app’s major selling points.

One of the biggest problems with Evernote in recent years is bloat. Bear was seemingly designed with this in mind. Bear might not have as many features as Evernote. But it runs a lot faster––so much faster that most long-time Evernote users will probably feel the difference immediately.

This is especially true on mobile. Bear’s mobile app, which is only available for iOS, feels a lot faster than Evernote. Its mobile UI is similarly quick, utilizing familiar slide-and-swipe gestures to sort, delete, and pin notes. The icons used throughout the app are intuitive and the app does a decent job of walking new users through its features.

One of the biggest differences between Bear and Evernote is Bear’s organizational structure. Unlike Evernote, which relies on the Notes/Notebooks schema, Bear favors a Slack-like hashtag system that organizes relevant items by hashtag. One of the most immediate benefits of hashtag organization is that one note can be saved across multiple relevant hashtags. Notes in Bear can also be assigned an unlimited number of tags.

Another of Bear’s handiest features is the ability to link between notes. This might not sound that impressive but it’s amazing how few tools offer this functionality. (Google Docs still doesn’t do this after fourteen years!) Bear’s linking works similarly to adding a hyperlink to a text document. Best of all, there’s no limit on how many links you can add between notes.

In terms of pricing, Bear’s free version is solid. Almost all of Bear’s core functionality is available without purchasing a Pro subscription. The one feature you may be tempted to pay for is the ability to sync Bear across multiple devices. This feature is not available in Bear’s free version, nor are Bear’s custom themes and export options. Generally, though, Bear’s free version will probably be enough for casual users.

Now that we’ve taken a look at Bear, let’s summarize the pros and cons.

Bear: Pros

Bear is a quick, lightweight note-taking app that looks and feels great. Here’s what we really liked about it:

  • Clean, elegant UI
  • Great mobile functionality
  • Flexible hashtag organization
  • Fast, responsive search function
  • Linking between notes

Bear: Cons

No software product is without its faults. Here’s where we thought Bear fell short:

  • Only available for iOS/OS X; no Android or Windows versions available
  • No sharing/collaboration features
  • No password protection/encryption options
  • No notifications or reminders for timely tasks

If you’re an Apple user, Bear is a lightweight, capable note-taking tool that offers much of the functionality of Evernote without the bloat. But it’s a shame that Android and Windows users have been left out in the cold.

Evernote Alternative #2: Notion

Some people might argue that comparing Evernote to Notion isn’t really fair. After all, Evernote is primarily a note-taking app aimed at individuals, whereas Notion is an all-in-one workspace designed for teams.

Although this is true, it’s also fair to say that––for better or worse––Evernote has become much more than a note-taking app since it launched in 2004. It’s also fair to say that Notion has become one of Evernote’s greatest competitors.

Notion is built on the idea of Blocks. Everything in a Notion workspace is a Block. Paragraphs of text, images, embedded spreadsheets or calendars, to-do lists––all of these elements can be added to a single Notion “page” as individual Blocks that make up a workspace. This concept of Blocks is what makes Notion so powerful. A Notion workspace can be whatever you need it to be.

The biggest difference between Evernote and Notion is that Notion was built for teams from the outset. Evernote tried––and largely failed––to make the leap from a personal tool aimed at consumers to a collaborative tool aimed at teams. Notion, however, was designed with teams in mind. Notion’s collaboration features are very strong. Items can be shared with and assigned to team members. Notifications can be set to alert multiple users of pending meetings, deadlines, or urgent tasks. Changes made to one Block can cascade throughout workspaces. In this way, Notion is closer to tools like Airtable that utilize relational databases than a mere note-taking application.

For all its strengths, Notion has two fundamental weaknesses. The first is its flexibility. Although Notion can do pretty much whatever you want it to, that flexibility can make Notion intimidating to newcomers. Even creating a simple note brings up half a dozen potential templates to choose from. This makes Notion less than ideal for taking quick notes in a hurry. The second drawback is Notion’s speed. Notion is a very powerful tool. Unfortunately, this means that the tool as a whole can feel sluggish at times. This can feel especially painful on mobile.

Pricing-wise, Notion is reasonable. Notion’s free version is decent, but has a 1,000-block limit and an upload restriction of just 5MB. Notion is also available on Personal and Team plans, priced at $4 and $8 per month respectively. Notion also offers an Enterprise tier aimed at larger teams priced at $20 per user per month with a dedicated support manager.

Now let’s talk pros and cons.

Notion: Pros

We like Notion a lot. What does it get right?

  • Very reasonable pricing
  • Flexible, diverse toolset with broad functionality
  • Clean, minimal UI
  • Strong collaborative features

Notion: Cons

Notion is a capable tool but it isn’t perfect. Where could Notion improve?

  • Not ideal for taking quick notes on the fly
  • Learning curve can be steeper than that of comparable tools
  • Can feel sluggish at times, particularly on mobile

Evernote Alternative #3: OneNote

The third Evernote competitor we’ll be looking at is Microsoft’s OneNote, a deceptively capable note-taking app that can do a lot more besides.

OneNote is unique in that it looks like a classically Microsoft product but feels like a blend of Evernote and Notion. Open OneNote and you’re presented with an unmistakably Microsoft interface that looks very similar to Outlook and Office. However, that’s where the similarities end.

Once you get past the familiar toolbar navigation at the top of the screen, you’ll notice that OneNote uses a blended notebook/tab system as its primary organizational scheme. First you have Notebooks, which are listed in the left-most column. Each Notebook can be broken down into distinct Sections. Finally, each Section can have multiple Pages, which function similarly to Notion’s freeform workspaces.

This is a little more complex than OneNote’s old tab system, but it’s still easy enough to see where you are in your OneNote file system at a quick glance. You can also add tags to individual elements within OneNote to keep track of your stuff.

Once you drill down into OneNote’s workspaces, you’ll find they’re as flexible and powerful as Notion’s workspaces. Similarly to Notion, OneNote allows you to add many different elements to a workspace. You can add images (including handwritten notes), checklists, media files, and file attachments to OneNote’s spaces. In this regard, OneNote feels much closer to a real notebook than Notion does. OneNote also supports simultaneous editing by multiple users. There’s a little lag between user input and edits displaying in real time, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker.

Like Evernote’s popular Web Clipper, OneNote allows you to save content from virtually any page and store it in OneNote. You can clip a single image or entire webpage, including PDFs. Clipped items can be categorized, tagged, and stored like any other item. This makes OneNote a very capable tool for researchers and users working across a wide range of source material.

Import From Onenote To Notion

In terms of pricing, OneNote is unique in that the product itself is completely free. It doesn’t even have a premium or pro tier. Instead, storage in OneNote is connected directly to a user’s OneDrive account. This is a blessing and a curse. If you’re already using OneDrive, you’re probably already using OneNote, too. If you aren’t using OneDrive, though, switching to another cloud storage provider is quite an ask. OneNote allows you to export notes to virtually every major productivity tool including G Suite, but the connection to OneDrive is its biggest weakness.

Now, let’s see what OneNote gets right and where it could use some improvement.

OneNote: Pros

OneNote looks like a Microsoft product but doesn’t feel like one. Here’s what we liked about OneNote:

  • Smart, intuitive organizational structure
  • Powerful, flexible workspaces
  • Great for casual/quick note-taking
  • Solid collaboration and sharing functionality
  • Integrations with most major products and services
  • Completely free to use

OneNote: Cons

OneNote is a strong Evernote alternative, but it isn’t perfect. Here’s what disappointed us about OneNote:

  • No longer any dedicated desktop app; OneNote for Windows 10 is now the default OneNote experience in both Office 365 and Office 2019
  • Microsoft OneDrive account required
  • No advanced security options/two-factor authentication

Making the Switch from Evernote

Even ten years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine not just one, but several, software products threatening Evernote’s dominance. Evernote isn’t a bad product––it’s just not nearly as good as it used to be.

Fortunately for users, Evernote’s loss is their gain. There’s never been a better time to make the switch from Evernote to a competing tool. That said, there are some users who would probably benefit from sticking with Evernote. All three of the tools above make it easy to import notebooks and notes from Evernote. However, unless you urgently need any of the functionality Evernote lacks, it might be worth sticking with Evernote.