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OneNote vs GoodNotes for iPad: Which is better for Note-taking, digital planning, and School

OneNote vs GoodNotes for iPad: Which is better for Note-taking, digital planning, and School

OneNote vs GoodNotes: Which is better for School, note-taking, and digital planning has been a popular question among students, professionals, and digital planners.

In this blog post, we will explore the features, performance, and user experience of both OneNote and GoodNotes to determine which app is better suited for various tasks, such as schoolwork, note-taking, and digital planning.

We also reviewed OneNote and GoodNotes separately in full detail:

If you’re an individuals who relies on digital note-taking apps for their daily needs, you’ll enjoy how we tested both GoodNotes and OneNote and compare them side bye side. Throughout this post, we’ll review, compare, give the pros and cons, and much more.

We also compared GoodNotes to other note-taking apps:

Key Takeaways

6 Detailed Comparison of OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad

GoodNotes is often regarded as the better option for note-taking, particularly for users within the Apple ecosystem.

GoodNotes excels in organized notes, printing, handwritten note-taking, PDF markup, and journaling. Many users value GoodNotes for its handwriting and search functionality, as well as ease in importing PDFs.

Planners have different Tabs goodnotes

On the other hand, OneNote is the preferred choice for users who require seamless syncing between iPad and Windows devices.

Despite the advantages of both GoodNotes and OneNote, some users prefer alternative options like Notability, Noteshelf, Nebo, Noteful, and other top note taking apps for iPad (we reviewed 25 of them).

One Note is also favored for typing, easy image import, and organization. OneNote is also chosen for its running notes and scratchpad functionality.

We have some advanced techniques for you: 7 Ways to Take Better Notes on iPad 

Note-taking on iPad with Notability is considered by some to be superior to both GoodNotes and OneNote (official site). Some users view OneNote as counterproductive and poorly designed, opting for alternative apps instead.

In summary, the ideal note-taking app varies depending on the specific needs and preferences of each user, with GoodNotes, OneNote, and other alternatives all offering different strengths and weaknesses.

  • OneNote is available for free and works seamlessly across various platforms, making it ideal for those who need to sync their planner between devices and integrating with other microsoft products (primary benefit)
  • GoodNotes wins as far as audio recording with note-taking on iPad. While OneNotes has this features, it’s kind of limited – it doesn’t work simultaneously with typing as it records audio like GoodNotes does on iPad.
  • OneNote for iPad has limitations compared to its desktop counterpart, such as advanced PDF handling and multimedia file support.
  • GoodNotes offers a unique hyperlink system for easy navigation when using digital planners and is ideal for digital sketching and making diagrams
  • Both OneNote and GoodNotes provide impressive note-taking experiences, with GoodNotes being favored for its handwriting recognition capabilities.
  • When deciding between the two, it is essential to consider factors such as device compatibility, feature requirements, and personal preferences.

Personal Experience: Using OneNote and GoodNotes on an iPad

As a tech author, I have had the opportunity to extensively test both OneNote and GoodNotes on my iPad for various note-taking, planning, and writing purposes.

I personally found OneNote excellent for organizing and structuring my thoughts, particularly as the app’s structure resembles a virtual binder with multiple sections. Its compatibility with Microsoft Office programs also made it easier to stay productive when switching between devices or platforms

On the other hand, GoodNotes appealed to me when I needed a more artistic and creative approach to my notes.

I also really liked that Goodnotes has templates for almost anything you need.

The app’s smooth handwriting experience, coupled with a wide variety of writing tools and customization options, made my notes visually pleasing and easy to digest. I also appreciated the advanced search feature in GoodNotes that made locating my handwritten notes quick and straightforward.

Why we are comparing OneNote vs GoodNotes for iPad?

In this digital age, efficient note-taking is essential for students, professionals, and digital planners. OneNote and GoodNotes are two of the leading note-taking apps for iPad users, offering unique features and tools that cater to various needs.

Both apps are highly rated for their performance and overall user experience, but they possess distinct differences in terms of design, functionality, and core features.

As we dive into this comparison, we will uncover the optimal choice for your specific circumstances, helping you make an informed decision for your digital note-taking endeavors.

Similarities and Differences between OneNote and GoodNotes

2 OneNote and GoodNotes Similarities and Differences

While both OneNote and GoodNotes share a common goal of facilitating digital note-taking, there are several crucial differences between them. OneNote, being a Microsoft product, works across multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This cross-platform compatibility allows for easy synchronization and access to your notes from various devices.

On the other hand, GoodNotes is specifically designed for iPads and iOS devices (and it does work for Mac), thus appealing to users within the Apple ecosystem. The app excels in areas like handwriting recognition and smooth navigation.

Both apps incorporate features, such as text formatting, multimedia integration, and exporting options. However, OneNote offers a more extensive array of tools, making it a powerful option for diverse user requirements.

GoodNotes is preferred by users looking for a straightforward app that excels in handwritten note-taking and intuitive organization.

Related: 15 Best GoodNotes alternatives for Note-Taking (Free & Paid)

Long-Term Use: The Durability of Notes in OneNote vs GoodNotes

3 Longevity in OneNote and GoodNotes Note Preservation

In terms of long-term use and the durability of notes, both apps are reliable in storing and managing your data. OneNote uses Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage, ensuring that your notes are synced and backed up across all devices.

This gives you peace of mind knowing that your notes will always be accessible, even if you switch devices or platforms. However, the free version of OneDrive provides 5GB of storage, which may prove insufficient for heavy users.

GoodNotes, on the other hand, stores your notes locally on your iPad, ensuring that they remain secure and accessible even without an internet connection.

The app also supports cloud storage through integration with iCloud and other third-party services like Google Drive and Dropbox. This enables you to keep multiple backup copies of your notes and access them from different devices if needed.

Also see: 26 Best Note Taking Apps for iPad (Free & Paid)

How smooth does OneNote work on iPad?

4 OneNote Performance on iPad as a Microsoft Product

OneNote is a Microsoft product, which tends to work more smoothly on Windows-based devices, so it raises the question of how well does OneNote work on an Apple product like the iPad Pro, Air or Mini?

Surprisingly, OneNote performs relatively well on iPads despite being a Microsoft product. iPad users can expect a smooth and enjoyable note-taking experience, as the app benefits from Apple’s hardware capabilities and optimized software performance.

As iPads are known for their responsive touchscreens and powerful processors, OneNote runs efficiently and effectively on these devices.

One advantage of using OneNote on iPad is the seamless integration with other Microsoft Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You can also enjoy robust synchronization capabilities, ensuring that your notes are accessible across various platforms and devices.

Pros and Cons of OneNote vs GoodNotes for iPad

5 Weighing Pros and Cons of OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad

When evaluating the pros and cons of OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad, consider the features, user needs, and overall app experience.

OneNote Pros:

  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office apps (primary benefit)
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Extensive organizational and formatting options
  • Continuous synchronization across devices

OneNote Cons:

  • Limited handwriting recognition on iPad
  • Requires Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage (limited free storage)

GoodNotes Pros:

  • Superior handwriting recognition on iPad (see How to Use GoodNotes Handwriting to Text Feature)
  • Superior for sketching, and drawing graphs or diagrams for notes
  • Streamlined organization and navigation
  • Cloud storage flexibility (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox)
  • Designed for optimal performance on iPads

GoodNotes Cons:

  • Available on Apple devices (though, GoodNotes has expanded it’s compatibility)
  • Lacks advanced features compared to OneNote

This comparison aims to empower you with a comprehensive understanding of each app’s pros and cons, ultimately helping you choose the most suitable note-taking solution for your specific needs and preferences.

Detailed Comparison: OneNote vs GoodNotes for iPad

6 Detailed Comparison of OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad

In this comprehensive comparison, we aim to assess OneNote and GoodNotes, two popular note-taking applications designed for iPad users. Our focus will be on determining which app is better suited for school, note-taking, and digital planning purposes.

Note Organization: OneNote vs GoodNotes

7 Note Organization in OneNote and GoodNotes

OneNote is designed to be highly organized, allowing users to create multiple notebooks with separate sections containing individual pages. This hierarchical structure is efficient in categorizing and keeping your notes organized. OneNote’s organization systems enable users to locate specific information quickly and easily. Moreover, OneNote supports not only text input but also the inclusion of multimedia elements such as images, videos, and voice recordings.

GoodNotes, on the other hand, offers a more streamlined note organization experience. Organizing your notes in GoodNotes is similar to using multiple physical notebooks, making it an intuitively organized digital substitute.

Related: 15 Best e-ink Tablets for Reading, Note Taking, and Annotation

While it lacks the extensive subfolder organization found in OneNote, GoodNotes excels in providing a polished and user-friendly navigation experience through hyperlinks and bookmarks.

Document Management & Creation

8 Document Management and Creation

Document creation and management are critical aspects of note-taking apps. Both OneNote and GoodNotes support file imports from various sources, including cloud storage services.

OneNote allows users to import files, both images and PDFs, as separate worksheets or attachments. Moreover, OneNote’s feature-rich PDF annotation capabilities make it a powerful tool for working with complex documents.

GoodNotes, on the other hand, excels when it comes to importing, annotating, and exporting organized notes in various file formats.

Side Note: Can an iPad Replace a Laptop for a College Student?

While importing PDFs in GoodNotes resembles working with physical documents, it lacks some of OneNote’s additional PDF handling features. However, GoodNotes supports multiple file formats, providing users with a versatile platform for managing their documents.

Writing Tools: Comparing OneNote and GoodNotes

9 Comparing Writing Tools in OneNote and GoodNotes

When it comes to writing tools in both apps, there are some key differences to consider. OneNote offers an array of writing instruments, including pens, highlighters, and customizable color, size, and style options. The app supports both handwriting and typed text input, giving users the flexibility to choose their preferred method.

GoodNotes is often praised for its superior handwriting recognition, making it a popular choice for users accustomed to handwritten note-taking. GoodNotes includes various pen and highlighter tools, along with numerous color choices and customizable pen sizes.

However, while GoodNotes delivers a fluid writing experience, it may not provide as many customization options as OneNote.

Assessing Digital Planning Capabilities

10 Digital Planning Capabilities Assessment

Effective digital planning requires seamless integration with calendars, task lists, and reminders. OneNote and GoodNotes both offer varying levels of digital planning capabilities.

OneNote is well-suited for digital planning through its integration with Outlook and other Microsoft applications. This integration allows users to manage their calendars, appointments, and tasks in one centralized platform, fostering efficient organization and time management.

GoodNotes is primarily designed for note-taking rather than comprehensive digital planning. However, it does excel in organizing your notes and promoting productivity by providing a visually pleasing user interface. While GoodNotes may not have in-built digital planning capabilities, users can employ specialized templates or hyperlinked digital planners to create a more structured workflow and planning system.

In summary, both OneNote and GoodNotes offer a range of features and capabilities suited for different user preferences, making the decision between the two dependent on individual requirements and priorities.

Pricing: Affordability and Value

11 Pricing Affordability and Value

When it comes to pricing, both OneNote and GoodNotes offer different pricing models for users. OneNote is a free application available across various platforms, making it accessible to a wide range of individuals without any associated cost.

The free app offers a comprehensive range of features that cater to most note-taking tasks, and storing notes in OneDrive comes with 5GB of free storage. For those who require additional cloud storage, OneDrive plans are available at various price points. Side note: If you’re a student, you may have access to a free Office 365 Education plan, which includes 1TB of storage.

On the other hand, GoodNotes requires a one-time purchase which grants access to all of the app’s features, including future updates. It’s worth mentioning that the price point is not too expensive and offers value for money, especially for those who invest heavily in digital planning and note-taking.

However, keep in mind that GoodNotes is available exclusively within the Apple ecosystem and may necessitate additional costs for iCloud storage if more space is required.

User Interface (Ease of Use and Learning Curve)

12 User Interface Evaluation

The OneNote user interface is organized in a very intuitive manner, letting users quickly sort their notes into notebooks, sections, and pages. The toolbar is designed to be easily accessible and transparent, grouping together categories like drawing tools, pens, highlighters, and more. Navigation through notebooks is seamless, making it possible for users to jump between sections efficiently.

GoodNotes, in contrast, adopts a more visual approach, allowing users to scroll through their pages and organize notes into folders and various subfolders. This interface permits even quicker navigation through your digital planner or notebook. The user experience within GoodNotes is further enhanced by its hyperlink integration when operating in viewing mode.

Handwriting Recognition Capabilities

13 Handwriting Recognition Accuracy and Flexibility

In terms of handwriting recognition, there are notable differences between OneNote and GoodNotes. While OneNote’s handwriting recognition has evolved significantly over the years, it still lacks the same level of accuracy achieved by GoodNotes. One advantage of GoodNotes is that it uses advanced algorithms to distinguish between writing and other random marks, ensuring a more precise recognition outcome.

Both applications allow for effortless switching between handwriting, typing, and stylus input, catering to a variety of user preferences and styles. However, when it comes to natural handwriting recognition, GoodNotes emerges as the superior product.

See: 7 Best Stylus for iPad Air (Drawing, Writing, Notes)

Collaboration – Integration with Other Apps and Devices

OneNote offers extensive collaboration capabilities by integrating with other Microsoft apps and services, making it a preferred choice by many users worldwide. The synchronization between devices like iPads, desktops, tablets, and even mobile phones is seamless and promotes productivity by giving users access to their notes from anywhere. Collaboration is made easier as OneNote works on various operating systems.

Also see: 13 Best Tablets for Note-Taking

However, GoodNotes is not far behind. While it doesn’t offer the same range of integration options that OneNote possesses, it still allows users to import and export documents and notes in different formats that can be used with other platforms. The limitation arises from being available exclusively within the Apple ecosystem, which may restrict broader collaboration possibilities.

Cloud and Backup Options (Safety and Accessibility)

Backup and cloud storage options are crucial components to consider when choosing a digital note-taking app. OneNote, by default, backs up notes to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, which offers users 5GB of free storage. One advantage of this integration is the ability to access notes from various devices, promoting productivity and efficiency.

GoodNotes primarily relies on iCloud storage for backup purposes. The basic iCloud storage plan provides 5GB of free space, though paid upgrades are available for additional storage.

GoodNotes users who work extensively within the Apple ecosystem can take solace in knowing their notes are securely backed up, easily accessible, and synchronized across their devices.

To summarize, both OneNote and GoodNotes provide solid backup solutions for their users, ensuring that crucial notes are safe and accessible when needed.

User Experiences

User Testimonials and Case Studies

Many users have shared their experiences with both OneNote and GoodNotes, highlighting the apps’ strengths and weaknesses.

Some students prefer OneNote’s seamless integration with other Microsoft applications, allowing them to access and edit notes across different devices. For example, they could start taking notes on their iPad during lectures and later access them on their laptops for more in-depth revisions.

Professionals also appreciate OneNote’s infinite canvas and ease of collaboration for brainstorming, mind mapping and sharing notes with colleagues.

On the other hand, GoodNotes has become a favorite for those who prioritize handwriting recognition and drawing capabilities.

Users mention how the app’s intuitive interface encourages creativity and makes their notes look visually appealing. The app’s user-friendly organization also simplifies finding and recalling information when needed.

Also see: 12 Best Digital Bullet Journal Apps on iPad (and How to Use Them)

Beyond the Comparison: Further Exploration

Exploring Advanced Features of OneNote

When diving deeper into OneNote’s capabilities, we uncover several advanced features that elevate the app’s note-taking potential, making it a powerful tool for students and professionals. One such feature is the integration with Microsoft Lens, which allows users to capture documents, whiteboards, or images and import them directly into the app.

This feature is particularly helpful when taking pictures of lecture slides or handouts, as the OCR functionality extracts text from the image, making it searchable and editable.

Another useful feature is OneNote’s ability to record audio and sync it with your written notes. This is incredibly beneficial for those attending meetings or lectures, as they can later listen to the audio recording and identify any gaps or uncertainties in their notes. Additionally, users can take advantage of OneNote’s comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts to accelerate their note-taking process and increase efficiency.

Exploring Advanced Features of GoodNotes

Similarly, GoodNotes offers a range of advanced features that make it a valuable addition to a digital note-taker’s arsenal. A standout feature of GoodNotes is its built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, which effectively converts handwritten notes into searchable text. This significantly eases information retrieval when reviewing notes or searching for specific topics within the app.

Another advantage of GoodNotes is the ease of exporting and sharing notes. Users can export notes in various formats, such as PDF or image files, and share them with others through email or cloud services. This flexibility simplifies collaboration and information exchange with classmates or colleagues.

Lastly, GoodNotes offers robust annotation tools, allowing users to mark up PDFs, images, and other file formats seamlessly. This feature is particularly beneficial for students or professionals working with complex documents that require detailed annotations for enhanced comprehension.

Determining Which App Has Better Note-Taking Features

Choosing the right note-taking app for school, digital planning, and general use can be challenging. To determine which application—OneNote or GoodNotes—has better note-taking features, it’s essential to consider handwriting tools, organizational capabilities, and platform availability.

OneNote shines in providing an infinite canvas for note-taking, compatibility across multiple platforms (Windows, Android, and iOS), and seamless integration with other Microsoft applications such as Word and PowerPoint.

On the other hand, GoodNotes offers the advantage of superior handwriting recognition skills, user-friendly organization features, and tailored compatibility with the Apple ecosystem, making it a favorite among Apple users. When comparing these two apps, it’s vital to weigh their advantages, bearing in mind the specific use cases and personal preferences.

How to Download and Get Started with OneNote/GoodNotes

To get started with OneNote or GoodNotes, visit the respective app stores for your device. OneNote is available across Windows, Android, and iOS devices, while GoodNotes is exclusive to Apple products. Once downloaded, sign in to OneNote with your Microsoft account or create a new one if necessary.

In contrast, a one-time purchase of $8.99 is required for GoodNotes, ensuring access to all its features. After installation, explore and familiarize yourself with each app’s tools, such as creating notebooks, sections, or pages, and customizing page styles, pen types, and highlighters. As you experiment with each app, consider your note-taking habits and comfort level when working with them to aid your decision-making process.

Final Thoughts on OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad

Deciding between OneNote and GoodNotes for iPad depends on individual requirements, personal preferences, and the devices in use. If you work concurrently with an iPad and a Windows computer, OneNote offers seamless compatibility and synchronization between devices.

However, if you are exclusively within the Apple ecosystem, GoodNotes proves to be an excellent choice for its user-friendly interface and superior handwriting recognition.

Ultimately, both applications have various features and capabilities, catering to different user needs. The decision lies in evaluating which app best caters to your specific needs and preferences.

You can also see: 11 Best Digital NotePads.

Other Note-Taking Apps, Next to Notability and Others

Besides OneNote and GoodNotes, other viable note-taking alternatives include Notability, Apple Notes, and Evernote.

These apps each provide a distinct set of features to fulfill different user requirements. Notability, for example, is well-regarded for its clean interface and easy-to-use collaboration features.

Apple Notes integrates seamlessly with other Apple applications and offers a basic yet efficient note-taking experience.

…Evernote is renowned for its universal compatibility across multiple platforms and powerful search capabilities – As with OneNote and GoodNotes, the choice comes down to which app best supports your specific needs, preferences, and devices.

Similarities and Differences between OneNote and GoodNotes

While both OneNote and GoodNotes facilitate the creation of digital notes, their specific attributes and capabilities differ. One major similarity is their expansive toolsets offering options for handwriting, typing, drawing, highlighting, and annotating text.

However, OneNote provides seamless multi-device synchronization, suitable for Windows and Apple users, and an array of advanced features like password-protected sections, templates, and recording capabilities.

In contrast, GoodNotes offers superior handwriting recognition, better suited for Apple device users, and practical organization features that simplify exporting and printing notes.

Differences in platform compatibility, user interface, and specific features form the crux of the decision between these two robust and powerful note-taking applications.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ