OneNote vs. Goodnotes: Which Note-App is Better?

Welcome to our in-depth comparison between OneNote and Goodnotes.

Both are popular digital note-taking applications designed to enhance productivity and streamline the note-taking process.

So what’s the difference between OneNote and Goodnotes?

The main difference is that OneNote offers cross-platform compatibility and extensive integration with Microsoft Office Suite, while Goodnotes is primarily designed for iOS devices and focuses on advanced customization options and PDF annotation features.

In this guide, we’ll explore their key features, pros and cons, pricing, and use cases to help you decide which one best suits your needs.

OneNote vs. Goodnotes Key Features at a Glance

It’s time to summarize the key features and how they compare side-by-side:

Key FeaturesOneNoteGoodnotes
Handwriting RecognitionYesYes
PDF AnnotationYesYes
Customization OptionsExtensiveExtensive
Cross-platformYesNo
CollaborationYesYes
Pricing ModelFreemiumOne-time purchase
SupportIncludedIncluded

What is OneNote and how does it work?

OneNote is a digital note-taking application developed by Microsoft. It offers extensive customization options, including customizable notebooks, sections, and pages. Users can create, edit, and organize notes using various formatting tools and collaboration features.

OneNote Pros:

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Works seamlessly across iOS, Android, and Windows devices.
  • Extensive Integration: Integrates with Microsoft Office Suite for enhanced productivity.
  • Collaboration Features: Offers robust collaboration tools for team projects and group work.
  • Handwriting Recognition: Provides accurate handwriting recognition for easy note-taking.
  • Free Version Available: Offers basic features for free, with advanced features available with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
  • Customization Options: Provides extensive customization options for personalized note-taking experience.

OneNote Cons:

  • Steeper Learning Curve: May have a learning curve for new users due to its extensive features.
  • Limited PDF Annotation: PDF annotation capabilities may be limited compared to dedicated PDF editing software.
  • Freemium Model: While basic features are free, advanced features require a subscription to Microsoft 365.

What is Goodnotes and how does it work?

Goodnotes is a digital note-taking app primarily designed for iOS devices. It offers advanced customization options, including customizable templates, digital handwriting styles, and color options.

Goodnotes also provides robust PDF annotation features, making it ideal for annotating and organizing documents.

Goodnotes Pros:

  • Extensive customization options.
  • Advanced PDF annotation features.
  • Precise drawing tools for sketching and design.
  • Seamless integration with iCloud.
  • One-time purchase model for lifetime access.

Goodnotes Cons:

  • Limited cross-platform compatibility (only available on iOS).
  • Lack of integration with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • No free trial option for users to explore features.

OneNote vs Goodnotes: Detailed Feature Comparison Guide

Here’s a more detailed comparison of the key features highlighted in the table above:

1. Handwriting Recognition:

  • OneNote offers advanced handwriting recognition technology, allowing users to convert handwritten notes into digital text accurately. The feature works seamlessly across various devices and supports multiple languages.
  • Goodnotes also provides robust handwriting recognition capabilities, enabling users to effortlessly convert handwritten notes into editable text. However, it is primarily designed for iOS devices, limiting accessibility for users of other platforms.

Verdict: Tie. Both OneNote and Goodnotes excel in handwriting recognition, offering accurate conversion of handwritten notes into digital text.

2. PDF Annotation:

  • OneNote provides basic PDF annotation features, allowing users to highlight, underline, and add comments to PDF documents. However, its capabilities are somewhat limited compared to dedicated PDF annotation tools.
  • Goodnotes offers comprehensive PDF annotation features, including highlighting, annotating, and organizing PDF documents with ease. Its precise annotation tools make it a preferred choice for annotating study materials and business documents.

Verdict: Goodnotes wins. Goodnotes provides more extensive PDF annotation capabilities, making it suitable for users who frequently work with PDF documents.

3. Customization Options:

  • OneNote offers extensive customization options, allowing users to personalize their note-taking experience with customizable notebooks, sections, and pages. Users can choose from various formatting tools, colors, and digital handwriting styles.
  • Goodnotes provides advanced customization options, including customizable templates, digital handwriting styles, and color options. Users can personalize their notebooks with different paper types, covers, and dividers.

Verdict: Goodnotes wins. Goodnotes offers more advanced customization options, allowing users to tailor their note-taking experience to their preferences.

4. Cross-Platform Compatibility:

  • OneNote boasts cross-platform compatibility, enabling users to access their notes seamlessly across iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It syncs automatically across devices, ensuring users have access to the latest updates.
  • Goodnotes is primarily designed for iOS devices and lacks cross-platform compatibility. It is not available on Android or Windows platforms, limiting accessibility for users who use multiple devices.

Verdict: OneNote wins. OneNote’s cross-platform compatibility makes it more accessible to users who use different devices and operating systems.

5. Collaboration Features:

  • OneNote offers robust collaboration features, allowing users to share notebooks and collaborate in real-time with team members or classmates. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office Suite, facilitating collaborative work on projects.
  • Goodnotes lacks built-in collaboration features, limiting its suitability for collaborative work. Users cannot share notebooks or collaborate in real-time within the app.

Verdict: OneNote wins. OneNote’s collaboration features make it more suitable for team projects and group work.

6. Pricing Model:

  • OneNote follows a freemium model, offering basic features for free and advanced features with a Microsoft 365 subscription. Users can access most features for free, but some advanced functionalities require a subscription.
  • Goodnotes operates on a one-time purchase model, requiring a one-time payment for lifetime access to all features. There are no recurring fees or subscription required.

Verdict: Tie. The preferred pricing model depends on individual preferences and budget considerations. OneNote’s freemium model offers flexibility, while Goodnotes’ one-time purchase model provides simplicity and upfront pricing.

7. Support:

  • OneNote offers customer support options, including email support, knowledge base articles, and community forums. Users can access help resources and contact support teams for assistance with any issues or inquiries.
  • Goodnotes also provides customer support options, including email support and a comprehensive knowledge base. However, it lacks community forums for user discussions and support.

Verdict: OneNote wins. OneNote’s community forums provide additional support resources and opportunities for user engagement, enhancing the overall support experience.

Use Cases for OneNote:

  1. Business Meetings: OneNote is ideal for professionals who need to take detailed notes during business meetings. Its collaboration features and cross-platform compatibility make it easy to share and access notes across devices.
  2. Project Management: OneNote is suitable for project management, allowing users to create organized notebooks with sections and pages for different projects. Its integration with Microsoft Office Suite facilitates seamless workflow management.

Use Cases for Goodnotes:

  1. Academic Note-taking: Goodnotes is perfect for students who need to take handwritten notes in lectures and seminars. Its advanced handwriting recognition features and PDF annotation capabilities make it easy to annotate study materials and organize class notes.
  2. Creative Sketching: Goodnotes is great for artists and designers who want to sketch and draw digitally. Its precise drawing tools and customizable templates provide a versatile platform for creative expression.

Pricing for OneNote vs. Goodnotes: Pricing at a Glance

See the breakdown of the pricing for both OneNote and Goodnotes:

PricingOneNoteGoodnotes
One-time PurchaseFree$7.99 (iOS)
SubscriptionFreemium (Microsoft 365)Not applicable
Free TrialAvailableNot available
UpdatesIncludedIncluded
SupportIncludedIncluded

Summary:

OneNote offers a freemium model with basic features available for free and advanced features accessible through a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Goodnotes, on the other hand, follows a one-time purchase model, requiring a one-time payment of $7.99 for iOS devices, with no recurring fees or subscription required.

Additionally, OneNote provides a free trial option for users to explore its features, while Goodnotes does not offer a free trial. Both tools include updates and support as part of their pricing packages.

What to Consider When Choosing Between OneNote and Goodnotes

Before you pick an app for note taking, you might want to consider these important factors:

1. Platform Compatibility:

Consider your device preferences and operating system. OneNote offers cross-platform compatibility, supporting iOS, Android, and Windows devices, ensuring seamless access across different platforms.

In contrast, Goodnotes is exclusive to iOS devices, limiting accessibility for users who prefer other operating systems. Assess your device ecosystem and ensure compatibility with your preferred note-taking tool to avoid potential limitations or compatibility issues.

2. Features and Functionality:

Evaluate your note-taking needs and prioritize features such as handwriting recognition, PDF annotation capabilities, and customization options.

OneNote provides extensive integration with Microsoft Office Suite, offering advanced collaboration tools and comprehensive customization options.

Goodnotes excels in precision drawing tools, digital handwriting styles, and PDF annotation features, catering to users who require precise note-taking and document organization functionalities.

Consider your specific requirements and choose the tool that best aligns with your workflow and note-taking preferences.

3. Pricing Model:

Determine your budget and preferred pricing model for note-taking apps. OneNote follows a freemium model, offering basic features for free and advanced features with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Goodnotes operates on a one-time purchase model, requiring a one-time payment for lifetime access to all features.

Assess your budget constraints and subscription preferences to make an informed decision about the most cost-effective option for your note-taking needs.

4. Integration:

Consider whether integration with other software or services is important for your workflow. OneNote seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office Suite, providing extensive collaboration features and integration with Outlook, Word, and Excel.

Goodnotes offers integration with iCloud, enabling seamless synchronization of notes across iOS devices.

Evaluate your existing software ecosystem and choose the tool that enhances your productivity and workflow through effective integration with your preferred software and services.

5. Support:

Assess the availability and quality of customer support options offered by each note-taking app.

OneNote and Goodnotes both provide customer support through email, knowledge base articles, and community forums.

Consider your preferred support channels and responsiveness to user inquiries when evaluating the overall support experience.

Additionally, explore user reviews and testimonials to gauge the reliability and effectiveness of each app’s support services in resolving technical issues and addressing user concerns promptly.

FAQs

Get answers to bugging questions you might have about these digital note-taking apps:

  1. Can I use OneNote and Goodnotes on Android devices? OneNote offers cross-platform compatibility and is available on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Goodnotes, however, is limited to iOS devices and is not available on Android.
  2. Do OneNote and Goodnotes support handwriting recognition? Yes, both OneNote and Goodnotes offer handwriting recognition features, allowing users to convert handwritten notes into digital text for easy editing and sharing.
  3. Are there any limitations on file size or storage with OneNote and Goodnotes? OneNote and Goodnotes may have limitations on file size and storage capacity, depending on the subscription plan or pricing tier. Users should review the storage options and limitations provided by each app.
  4. Do OneNote and Goodnotes offer collaboration features? Yes, both OneNote and Goodnotes provide collaboration tools for sharing notebooks and collaborating in real-time with team members or classmates.
  5. What customer support options are available for OneNote and Goodnotes? Both OneNote and Goodnotes offer customer support options, including email support, knowledge base articles, and community forums. Users can access help resources and contact support teams for assistance with any issues or inquiries.

Is OneNote Better than Goodnotes? Takeaway

Essentially, OneNote and Goodnotes are both powerful digital note-taking tools with unique features and capabilities.

OneNote excels in cross-platform compatibility and integration with Microsoft Office Suite, making it ideal for users who require seamless collaboration and workflow management.

Goodnotes stands out for its advanced customization options, PDF annotation features, and simplicity of use, catering to users who prioritize personalization and creativity in their note-taking experience.

Ultimately, the choice between OneNote and Goodnotes depends on your specific note-taking needs, device preferences, and workflow requirements.

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