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OneNote vs Outline: What are the differences?

Key Differences Between OneNote and Outline

1. Interface and User Experience:

OneNote offers a more visually appealing and user-friendly interface with a ribbon-style toolbar that integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office applications. On the other hand, Outline provides a simpler and less cluttered interface, allowing for a more efficient and distraction-free note-taking experience.

2. Platforms and Integration:

While OneNote is available on various platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, Outline only supports iOS and macOS. Additionally, OneNote is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office suite and offers better compatibility and collaboration features with other Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

3. Syncing and Cloud Storage:

OneNote relies on Microsoft's own cloud storage service, OneDrive, for seamless syncing and access to notes across devices. In contrast, Outline supports various cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, enabling users to choose their preferred storage solution for syncing and backup.

4. Advanced Formatting and Organization:

OneNote provides a robust set of formatting tools, including the ability to insert tables, equations, and files directly into notes. It also offers more advanced organization features like creating multiple notebooks and sections. Outline, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity and ease of use, prioritizing streamlined note-taking rather than extensive formatting and organizational options.

5. Cross-platform Availability and Sharing Options:

OneNote's availability across multiple platforms makes it easier for users to access and share their notes with others, regardless of the devices they use. In comparison, Outline's limited platform support may restrict collaboration opportunities, especially when working with individuals or teams that use different operating systems.

6. Cost and Pricing:

OneNote is free to use and comes pre-installed on Windows systems, making it a cost-effective option for many users. Conversely, Outline is a paid application available on the App Store, requiring users to purchase the app separately for each device, which may be a deciding factor for budget-conscious individuals or organizations.

In summary, OneNote offers a visually appealing interface, extensive compatibility, and advanced organizational features, while Outline focuses on simplicity, cross-platform availability, and support for various cloud storage providers. The choice between the two largely depends on individual preferences, platform requirements, and desired functionalities.

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Pros of OneNote
Pros of Outline
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    Works great with OneDrive
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    Syncs quickly
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    Dark mode
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    Search text in images (OCR)
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    What is OneNote?

    Get organized in notebooks you can divide into sections and pages. With easy navigation and search, you’ll always find your notes right where you left them. It gathers users' notes, drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network.

    What is Outline?

    It is the fastest wiki and knowledge base for growing teams. Beautiful, feature rich, markdown compatible and open source. Team wiki, documentation, meeting notes, playbooks, onboarding, work logs, brainstorming, & more.

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    What companies use OneNote?
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    What tools integrate with OneNote?
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    What are some alternatives to OneNote and Outline?
    Take notes to a new level with Evernote, the productivity app that keeps your projects, ideas, and inspiration handy across all your digital devices. It helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.
    Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work. From tasks and projects to conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish--and get results. Available at and on iOS & Android.
    Google Keep
    It is a note-taking service developed by Google. It is available on the web, and has mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Keep offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.
    OneDrive is a free, personal email service from Microsoft. Keep your inbox clutter-free with powerful organizational tools, and collaborate easily with OneDrive and Office Online integration.
    Google Docs
    It is a word processor included as part of a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google. It brings your documents to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs.
    See all alternatives