Notion vs OneNote: Deep Dive Into Note-Taking

Are you tired of sifting through endless note-taking apps, hoping to find one that will revolutionize your productivity? Look no further!

Notion and OneNote are two powerhouses in the digital organization world, each with its own unique features and capabilities. But which one will reign supreme in your quest for ultimate productivity?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the core functionalities of both Notion and OneNote, exploring their note-taking abilities, database structures, and collaboration options.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision on which app is the perfect fit for your work style. So, are you ready to take the plunge into the exciting world of modern note-taking?

Let’s get started!

Notion Unpacked: Sneak Peek Into Your Ultimate Productivity Hub

In this section, we’ll explore Notion, a powerful note-taking app designed to help you streamline your workflow. You’ll discover its key features, user interface, and how it excels at keeping your notes and ideas organized.

Notion, in its simplest form, is an all-in-one workspace. Think of it like your own personal mission control center. It’s where you can write, plan, collaborate, and organize… well, basically everything!

Key Features

Notion offers a wide range of features that cater to your note-taking needs:

  • Templates – Customize your notes with checklists, calendars, boards, and galleries. This level of personalization ensures your workflow remains smooth and efficient
  • Pages within Pages – Easily nest one page within another for better organization and quicker access to relevant information. Notion’s seamless hierarchy simplifies your workspace
  • Writing Tool Compatibility – You’ll love that Notion behaves like your favorite writing tools, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Write, arrange, and edit content with ease

The best part is that it’s all in one place. Say goodbye to app-switching and hello to productivity!

User Interface

As you explore Notion, you’ll notice its clean, intuitive user interface:

  • Minimalistic Design – Notion’s simple, clutter-free layout allows you to focus on what matters most – your notes and tasks
  • Drag-and-Drop Functionality – Easily rearrange content to suit your preferences, making it a breeze to keep your workspace neat and organized
  • Customization – Personalize the look and feel of Notion by choosing from various typography options, themes, and color schemes – a fun, personalized touch to your everyday note-taking. Check out this post on Notion aesthetics for more ideas on how to customise your pages
Notion interface - Excel Me dashboard


Notion shines when it comes to organizing your notes:

  • Structured Databases – Upgrade your notes with structured databases, giving you the freedom to build your productivity system on top of them. Check out the PARA framework if you need an idea to get started
  • Subpages – Add as many subpages as you want within one page, making it simple to locate and understand your content hierarchy

Notion provides a very unique and adaptable platform that integrates various productivity tools into one place. However, the price of flexibility and customization is a steeper learning curve for new users.

That being said, I would whole-heartedly recommend you spend the time learning how to use Notion as it has been a complete game changer for my productivity!

Meet OneNote – The Future Of Seamless Note-Taking?

Next up we have OneNote. Let’s dive into OneNote’s details, exploring its key features, user interface, and organization.

Key Features

OneNote, developed by Microsoft, offers various features for note-taking, such as:

  • Rich text formatting
  • Ink-to-text conversion (handwriting recognition)
  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
  • Audio recording
  • Collaborative editing

The ink-to-text conversion comes in handy when you prefer writing by hand. Similarly, the OCR feature lets you extract text from images. With collaborative editing, it’s easy to work with your team on shared notes.

User Interface

OneNote’s UI is straightforward and user-friendly. The simple layout may remind you of a traditional notebook, offering a comfortable and familiar experience.

Customization options include changing font styles, sizes, and colors to make your notes look as pleasing as possible.

OneNote example


Managing your notes in OneNote follows a hierarchical structure:

  • Notebooks – Main categories (e.g. work, personal, recipe book)
  • Sections – Subcategories within notebooks (e.g. meetings, ideas, Italian food)
  • Pages – Individual notes within sections (e.g. minutes, brainstorming, Hawaiian pizza)

Using this hierarchical structure, you can keep your notes organized and find them quickly. This organization approach helps you manage various topics without getting lost in the abundance of notes!

Notion vs OneNote: Note-Taking Features

You’ve searched high and low for the perfect note-taking app. Now you’ve got the highlights about Notion and OneNote both apps. It’s down to their key note-taking features. Let’s dive in!


Notion shines with its multitude of templates designed to optimize your notes. You can choose from different views, integrations and custom made templates to suit your needs.

OneNote, on the other hand, has fewer options. It emphasizes simplicity, perfect for jotting down quick notes or lists.


In Notion, you have the freedom to create pages within pages (Inception anyone?), giving a well-structured hierarchy. This makes it easy to locate content and avoid cluttered workspaces.

OneNote allows you to create notebooks and sections, providing a more traditional note-taking app layout.

Collaboration And Sharing

Working with others? Both apps don’t disappoint here.

Notion’s collaboration capabilities let you share tasks, notes, and databases with your teammates.

Similarly, OneNote lets you share notebooks and even co-edit in real-time.

Integration With Other Apps

When it comes to integrations, Notion works with many popular productivity and project management apps like Trello and Asana.

On the other hand, OneNote, as part of the Microsoft suite, had strong integration with other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office, Teams, and Outlook.

Embedding Media

Both Notion and OneNote support rich media embedding. You can add images, videos, and audio files to your notes in both apps.

Notion takes it a step further, allowing you to embed their databases and calendars within your notes.

Just a note on Notion, their free plan allows only 5mb attachments so if you want anything larger, you’ll need to pay for a subscription.

Pricing and Plans

Speaking of costs, here are the current plans available for both.

Notion Pricing

At the time of writing, Notion offers a free plan and three premium plans for you to choose from:

  • Free Plan – This plan is excellent for personal use, enabling unlimited blocks and access to all basic features. However, it has some limitations, such as a cap on file uploads (5 MB) and a 7 day page history.
  • Plus Plan ($10/month or $96/year) – This plan includes everything in the Free Plan, plus unlimited blocks for teams and file uploads, 30 day page history and ability to invite 100 guests.
  • Business Plan ($18/user/month or $180/user/year): Designed for companies to connect several teams and tools. This plan adds collaborative features like private teamspaces.
  • Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing based on your organization’s needs, featuring advanced security and custom contract options.

OneNote Pricing

Unlike Notion, OneNote is primarily free for personal use, with no additional plans or tiers. OneNote comes pre-installed with Windows 10 and is accessible on various devices, including Mac, Android, and iOS. 

However, to fully utilize OneNote’s features, such as syncing and collaboration, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal ($6.99/month or $69.99/year) – This plan is suitable for individuals, offering access to premium OneNote features, along with other Microsoft apps
  • Microsoft 365 Family ($9.99/month or $99.99/year) – This plan can be shared with up to 6 people in your household, granting access to premium OneNote features and additional Microsoft apps. The 1TB of cloud storage per person is quite nice too

Notion vs OneNote – Which One Should You Choose?

It all boils down to this – which app should you choose? We’ll briefly discuss the target audience, use cases, and provide a summary to help you make an informed decision.

Target Audience

For those who appreciate a more structured approach and want an all-in-one productivity system, Notion will be your best bet. Notion is suitable for individuals who want customization abilities and organization/collaboration features.

On the other hand, OneNote is perfect for users who favor a digital notebook with a flexible canvas for organizing notes. It caters primarily to those who prefer a more traditional note-taking experience.

Use Cases

Notion shines when it comes to:

  • Creating and managing databases
  • Incorporating calendars and to-do lists
  • Building repeatable and custom templates
  • Using Kanban boards
  • Collaborating with others

OneNote excels in:

  • Audio and image note formats
  • Handwriting support (on compatible devices)
  • Free-form note organization
  • Quick capture using web clipper (Notion also has a similar Google Chrome extension)
  • Offline access

Notion vs OneNote: Summary

Remember that both Notion and OneNote offer unique strengths. Explore each tool to discover which best matches your needs and workflow preferences.

I suggest you trial run both apps for a couple weeks before you commit to one. Both are free anyway!

FeatureNotionOneNoteAdditional Comments
User InterfaceMinimalist and cleanMore traditional, similar to WordNotion’s simplicity may reduce distraction, while OneNote’s familiar interface might be more intuitive for some.
TemplatesOffers various note-taking templatesLimited built-in templates, but can create custom onesTemplates can speed up the process of creating structured notes. Think standard template for lecture notes or meeting minutes
Organization StructureHierarchical with databases and pagesNotebooks > Sections > Pages hierarchy
CollaborationReal-time collaboration with commentsReal-time collaboration
Search FunctionalityFull-text search across all notesFull-text search across all notes
Multimedia InclusionSupports images, videos, and web content embeddingSupports images, videos, handwriting, and audio notesMultimedia inclusion caters to different learning and note-taking styles.
IntegrationsLimited third-party integrations, but strong with databases and APIsStrong integration with Microsoft Office appsThis will heavily depend on your workflow and requirements
Mobile UseMobile app available but with less functionality than desktopFull-featured mobile appMobile apps allow note-taking on the go, with OneNote offering a more complete experience.
Offline AccessLimited offline access, mostly onlineFull offline accessOneNote’s offline capabilities may be preferable for those without consistent internet access.
PriceFree tier available, premium tiers for more featuresFree with Microsoft accountBoth offer free versions, but Notion’s free tier has some limitations that can be lifted with premium plans.

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