Joplin vs. OneNote: Which app should you use? [2024]

The digital note-taking industry is booming!

Reports project it to reach a worth of over $19.46 billion by 2028. These apps aren’t just about ditching paper – they help students learn with multimedia notes, researchers can collect and connect ideas on the fly, and professionals streamline complex projects across devices.

Here’s the difference between Joplin and OneNote:

The main difference is that Joplin prioritizes end-to-end encryption for user data, ensuring enhanced privacy and security, while OneNote offers extensive collaboration features, facilitating real-time co-authoring and integration with Microsoft Office Suite for seamless teamwork and project management.

Joplin vs. OneNote: Key Features at a Glance

Here’s an overview of the key features of both Joplin and OneNote:

Key FeaturesJoplinOneNote
Cross-PlatformYesYes
EncryptionEnd-to-End EncryptionLimited Encryption
OrganizationNotebooks, Tags, and SearchNotebooks, Sections, and Pages
SyncingSynchronization Across DevicesSynchronization Across Devices
Markdown SupportExtensiveLimited
CollaborationLimitedRobust
Pricing ModelFreeFreemium

What is Joplin and how does it work?

Joplin is an open-source note-taking application that offers cross-platform compatibility, allowing users to access their notes on various devices. It prioritizes privacy and security by providing end-to-end encryption for user data. Joplin’s organization features include notebooks, tags, and search functionality, enabling users to efficiently organize and retrieve their notes.

Joplin Pros:

  • Cross-platform compatibility.
  • End-to-end encryption for enhanced privacy.
  • Extensive markdown support for flexible note formatting.
  • Free to use with no subscription fees.
  • Synchronization across devices for seamless access to notes.

Joplin Cons:

  • Limited collaboration features.
  • User interface may be less intuitive for some users.
  • Lack of integration with other software/services.

What is OneNote and how does it work?

OneNote is a note-taking application developed by Microsoft, offering extensive organization features such as notebooks, sections, and pages.

It provides synchronization across devices, enabling users to access their notes on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

While it offers robust collaboration features and integration with Microsoft Office Suite, its encryption options are limited compared to Joplin.

OneNote Pros:

  • Cross-platform compatibility.
  • Robust collaboration features for team projects.
  • Integration with Microsoft Office Suite for enhanced productivity.
  • Synchronization across devices for seamless access to notes.
  • Free version available with basic features.

OneNote Cons:

  • Limited encryption options compared to Joplin.
  • Freemium model may require subscription for advanced features.
  • User interface may be overwhelming for some users.

Joplin vs. OneNote: Complete Feature Comparison Guide

Let’s dive in and compare the key features to see how they stack up against each other:

1. Cross-Platform Compatibility:

Joplin offers robust cross-platform compatibility, allowing users to access their notes seamlessly across various devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

OneNote also provides cross-platform support, enabling users to access their notes on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices. Both applications ensure flexibility and accessibility for users who work across multiple devices and operating systems.

Verdict: Tie – Both Joplin and OneNote offer extensive cross-platform compatibility, providing users with flexibility in accessing their notes across different devices and operating systems.

2. Encryption:

Joplin prioritizes user privacy and security by offering end-to-end encryption for user data, ensuring that notes remain secure and protected from unauthorized access.

In contrast, OneNote provides limited encryption options, with data encryption mainly applied during data transmission. While both applications offer some level of encryption, Joplin’s comprehensive approach to end-to-end encryption gives it an edge in ensuring user privacy and data security.

Verdict: Joplin – Joplin wins for its comprehensive end-to-end encryption, providing users with enhanced privacy and security for their notes.

3. Organization:

Joplin provides robust organization features, including notebooks, tags, and search functionality, allowing users to efficiently organize and retrieve their notes.

Similarly, OneNote offers extensive organization capabilities with its notebooks, sections, and pages structure, supplemented by powerful search functionality. Both applications excel in providing users with effective tools for organizing their notes, ensuring ease of navigation and retrieval.

Verdict: Tie – Both Joplin and OneNote offer comprehensive organization features, enabling users to structure and manage their notes effectively.

4. Syncing:

Both Joplin and OneNote offer synchronization capabilities, allowing users to sync their notes across multiple devices and platforms. Joplin synchronizes data through various cloud services, including Dropbox, Nextcloud, and OneDrive, while OneNote utilizes Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure for seamless synchronization.

Both applications ensure that users have access to their latest notes regardless of the device they are using, providing a consistent note-taking experience.

Verdict: Tie – Both Joplin and OneNote offer reliable syncing capabilities, ensuring that users can access their notes across different devices without any hassle.

5. Markdown Support:

Joplin provides extensive markdown support, allowing users to format their notes with precision and flexibility using markdown syntax.

On the other hand, OneNote offers limited markdown support, with basic formatting options available for users.

Joplin’s comprehensive markdown support gives users more control over the formatting and presentation of their notes, making it a preferred choice for users who prioritize advanced formatting capabilities.

Verdict: Joplin – Joplin wins for its extensive markdown support, providing users with greater flexibility in formatting their notes.

6. Collaboration:

OneNote offers robust collaboration features, including real-time co-authoring and integration with Microsoft Office Suite, making it ideal for team projects and group work. In contrast, Joplin provides limited collaboration capabilities, with basic sharing options available for users.

OneNote’s comprehensive collaboration features give it an edge in facilitating teamwork and collaboration among users, ensuring seamless collaboration on note-taking projects.

Verdict: OneNote – OneNote wins for its extensive collaboration features, providing users with powerful tools for team collaboration and project management.

7. Pricing Model:

Joplin is free to use with no subscription fees, making it accessible to users of all budgets. On the other hand, OneNote follows a freemium model, offering basic features for free and advanced features with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Joplin’s free pricing model makes it an attractive option for users looking for a cost-effective note-taking solution without compromising on features and functionality.

Verdict: Joplin – Joplin wins for its free pricing model, offering users a fully-featured note-taking application at no cost.

Use Cases for Joplin:

  1. Personal Note-Taking: Joplin is ideal for individuals who prioritize privacy and security in their note-taking, with its end-to-end encryption ensuring that user data remains secure.
  2. Research and Documentation: Joplin’s extensive organization features, including tagging and search functionality, make it suitable for research projects and document organization.

Use Cases for OneNote:

  1. Team Collaboration: OneNote’s robust collaboration features, including real-time co-authoring and integration with Microsoft Office Suite, make it ideal for team projects and group work.
  2. Work Productivity: OneNote’s integration with Microsoft Office Suite enhances productivity for users who rely on Microsoft’s ecosystem for their work-related tasks.

Pricing at a Glance: Joplin vs. OneNote

Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for both Joplin and OneNote:

PricingJoplinOneNote
One-time PurchaseFreeFree (Basic Version)
SubscriptionNot applicableMicrosoft 365 Subscription (Premium Features)
Free TrialNot applicableNot applicable
UpdatesIncludedIncluded
SupportCommunity SupportMicrosoft Support

Summary:

Joplin is available for free, with no subscription fees or hidden costs. Users can enjoy all features without any additional charges.

OneNote offers a basic version for free, but premium features are available with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Users can access advanced functionalities by subscribing to Microsoft 365, which includes additional benefits such as cloud storage and Microsoft Office Suite integration.

Both Joplin and OneNote provide regular updates and support options, ensuring a smooth user experience.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Joplin and OneNote

Here’s a more detailed look at the 5 factors to weigh carefully when deciding between Joplin and OneNote:

  1. Price: Paying vs. Owning Your Work

Joplin is completely free and open-source, forever. OneNote has a decent free tier, but advanced tools and more storage capacity will push you towards an Office 365 subscription. If every penny counts, or you’re philosophically opposed to subscription models, Joplin wins.

  1. Privacy: It’s Your Data vs. Convenience

Joplin lets you choose where your notes live: your cloud, your device, etc. You have complete control, ideal for sensitive work. OneNote stores everything on Microsoft servers. For ease of use, it’s the winner, but comes with that trust factor in Microsoft’s data handling.

  1. Markdown: To Love or Not to Love

Joplin is built on Markdown, a formatting language loved by coders and plain-text lovers. If you know it, it becomes a superpower. However, if you’re used to standard note formatting tools, expect a learning curve. OneNote is point-and-click, with no complex text codes required.

  1. Organization: Simple vs. Structured

Both organize into notebooks, but OneNote adds further ‘section’ and ‘page’ layers. If you have extensive notes to manage with hierarchy, OneNote is well-suited. Joplin uses flexible tagging to find content quickly, though this feels less structured than OneNote’s approach.

  1. Ecosystem: Microsoft or Independent?

OneNote is part of the Microsoft family, playing nicely with Word, Outlook, etc. If you live in that world, it streamlines tasks. Joplin stands alone, requiring extra effort to integrate into other workflows. However, this autonomy also means it fits neatly into existing non-Microsoft setups.

FAQs

Common questions about Joplin and OneNote answered:

Is Joplin/OneNote compatible with my devices?

Both Joplin and OneNote offer cross-platform compatibility, allowing users to access their notes on various devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Users can seamlessly sync their notes across different devices, ensuring accessibility and flexibility.

How secure are my notes with Joplin/OneNote?

Joplin prioritizes user privacy and security by offering end-to-end encryption for user data, ensuring that notes remain secure and protected from unauthorized access.

On the other hand, while OneNote provides encryption options, they are limited compared to Joplin. Users concerned about data security may prefer Joplin’s comprehensive encryption features.

Can I organize my notes effectively with Joplin/OneNote?

Both Joplin and OneNote offer robust organization features, including notebooks, tags, and search functionality, allowing users to efficiently organize and retrieve their notes. Users can create custom notebooks, categorize notes with tags, and easily search for specific content, ensuring effective organization.

Does Joplin/OneNote support collaboration?

OneNote offers extensive collaboration features, including real-time co-authoring and integration with Microsoft Office Suite, making it ideal for team projects and group work. However, Joplin provides limited collaboration capabilities compared to OneNote, with basic sharing options available for users.

What is the pricing model for Joplin/OneNote?

Joplin is free to use with no subscription fees, making it accessible to users of all budgets. On the other hand, OneNote follows a freemium model, offering basic features for free and advanced features with a Microsoft 365 subscription. Users looking for a cost-effective solution may prefer Joplin’s free pricing model.

Is OneNote Better than Joplin? Takeaway

All in all, both Joplin and OneNote are powerful note-taking applications with unique features and capabilities.

Joplin excels in privacy and security, offering end-to-end encryption for user data, while OneNote offers robust collaboration features and integration with Microsoft Office Suite.

Ultimately, the choice between Joplin and OneNote depends on your specific note-taking needs, collaboration requirements, and budget constraints.

Evaluate the key features, pros and cons, and pricing models of each application to determine which tool best aligns with your preferences and workflow.

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