Evernote, Google Keep, and OneNote: Which is the Best Tool?

Note Taking Apps Simplify To-Do Lists

The three major note-taking apps by Google, Evernote, and Microsoft are loaded with helpful features to keep you organized, whether you are writing down text notes, clipping web articles, saving photos, or making audio recordings. All three are terrific for day-to-day task management and storing rich media. So, which one should you choose for your research and note taking needs? note taking A good first step is to decide which platform, or platforms upon which you will use the app. This alone can be a deciding factor since most people need a note-making tool available on whatever device they are using at the moment, whether it is their smartphone, laptop, or in the cloud. Google Keep is still limited to use only on Android and the web, so it may not fit your needs. Microsoft OneNote is available for Windows Phone and iOS, as well as on the web. OneNote 2013 is offered as part of Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Office 2013 at an extra charge. All of other versions of OneNote are free. If you are a Microsoft Office buff, OneNote is a great choice because it integrates with all other MS office products, including Outlook. Evernote also has web access but offers apps for Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and Blackberry. With dedicated software running on Mac OS X and Windows, Evernote is by far the most flexible of the three if you are looking to use the app on a variety of different platforms. Here is a quick overview of the features of each product to help you focus in on what you really need and which product fits your needs best:

Google Keep

google keep logo
    • Easy user interface
  • Good coordination with Google Drive
  • Integrates easily with other Google products
  • Easy to create “to-do” lists
  • You can color code notes
  • Smartphone Access: only Android 4.0 and later
  • Web browser access
  • Free

Microsoft OneNote

microsoft one note logo
  • Integrates with Outlook and all other Office applications
  • Updates in real time
  • Syncs your “to-do” lists for Outlook and OneNote
  • Notebooks can store office files, audio, video, scanned images, and screen clippings
  • You can annotate anything
  • Smartphone Access: Android, iOS, Windows phone, and Windows RT
  • Desktop version
  • Mobile browser web app
  • Supports management features (for a fee) through Sharepoint or Skydrive Pro.
  • Businesses can share notebooks with the entire company of select groups
  • Individuals can access personal OneNote notebooks on Skydrive


evernote logo
  • Tags make locating notes a breeze
  • Stores text, photos, scanned images, web clippings and Tweets
  • Mobile apps collect audio and video files.
  • A web clipping browser extension can send entire web pages or selected excerpts from a web page or article into Evernote
  • Multishot camera allows the capture of a series of photos in a single note
  • Integrates with Skitch screen capture app for photo annotations
  • Evernote trunk provides a wealth of apps that allow a lot of rich media possibilities. You can scan receipts into Evernote, convert your handwriting, and even manage your iPhone contacts.
  • US users can save handwritten notes using Livescribe Sky pens.
  • Evernote business (for a fee) allows companies to manage notes and data for their business, while letting individual users create and maintain personal notes outside of IT admin.
Of these three note-taking services, Evernote is by far the most versatile. The note-taking capability of Evernote can be customized and expanded through the addition of apps and add-ons. Even the business version is easy to use and affordable. Of course, if you are an MSOffice user, Microsoft OneNote is a highly versatile application, especially with its integration across the MS product line it may be a more useful tool. Of all three, Google Keep is the most limited. Google often introduces and then takes away products. If you can live with that uncertainty and you use Google products a lot, Google Keep may be a reasonable solution as long as you do not need a heavy-duty, feature-rich note taking application.