When comparing Microsoft OneNote vs Google Calendar, the Slant community recommends Microsoft OneNote for most people. In the question“What is the best cross-platform to-do list app?” Microsoft OneNote is ranked 18th while Google Calendar is ranked 37th. The most important reason people chose Microsoft OneNote is:
OneNote allows you to arrange text freely on the digital paper mimicking the way it would be done with a real pen on real paper.
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Pro Text can be added anywhere like a whiteboard
OneNote allows you to arrange text freely on the digital paper mimicking the way it would be done with a real pen on real paper.
Pro Comprehensive organization methods
Can have multiple 'tabs' at the top like in a web browser with many notes within each 'tab'.
Pro Stylus and digitizer pen support
OneNote can be used on all touch capable devices via stylus or digitizer pen making for an intuitive and easy way to take notes by hand, which can often be faster or just preferred over typing.
Pro Sharing and collaboration
You can share your notes by inviting people with an e-mail, or by giving them a direct URL. You have control over what kind of access the user has on your note (read only, edit) and can revoke it at any time.
OneNote will alert you when a chance in made on your shared note.
Pro Integrates with other Microsoft services
Integrates well with Outlook, Office, and OneDrive.
Pro Supports hierarchical organization of information / notes
OneNote is designed to allow hierarchical organization of information. This is achieved with grouping into the following categories and UI elements (Notebooks, Sections, and Pages). Both Sections and Pages allow additional groupings that can be expanded / collapsed in list view.
This can be incredibly helpful for quickly taking notes and organizing them for work or personal projects.
For example, you could have a Notebook for "Cooking Recipes", with sections for "breakfast, dinner, desserts", where individual recipes would be page entries (i.e. the "Desserts" section would have pages for brownies, chocolate cheesecake etc).
Pro Powerful table editor
Adding and resizing rows and columns is easy and flexible. This makes for an easy way to adjust a note as it grows in content size.
Pro Insert files into your notes
You can add a variety of different files into your notes including images, video, audio, and more.
Pro All indented lines under the first can be expanded and hidden
Which makes it easy to quickly look at the high level of notes, and then drill deep into each point.
Pro Very similar design for those used to Microsoft programs
If you have experience with other Microsoft programs such as Microsoft Office, you'll feel right at home with the design of OneNote thanks to the similarity of the menus.
Pro Offers flexible encryption
Unlike most other apps, you can selectively password protect, and fully encrypt, individual documents or entire folders. This is especially important to many people with data stored in the cloud. As of early this year, even the free version supports encryption. Microsoft has also enhanced their internal security methods for storing data on OneDrive (where OneNote performs sync), which makes it more secure than most of their competitors (including Evernote).
Pro Converts handwriting to text on Windows version
You can take handwritten notes on your mobile device with a stylus or digital pen and then convert the handwriting to text later on your Windows PC.
Pro Strong search features let you quickly find what you're looking for
If you don't want to search through all of your notes, you can narrow it down by specifying the page, section, group, or notebook.
You're not limited to just searching through your text either. You can search for text in images, video recordings, and audio (this is off by default).
Pro On Android, you can tap a badge to start a note
The badge on Android hovers over on your screen similar to Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads. You can tap it and instantly start jotting down your thoughts without having to flip to the app first.
Pro Large variety of themes available
You have quite a few options for themes available with illustrated backgrounds. If you want something a bit more simple while still having personality, there are also several color themes.
Pro Lots of options for customizing fonts
You can fully customize your default font (the color, type of font, and font size). You can override this styles with the same options (and more) in individual notes.
Pro Add notes through email
You can choose what notebook the notes will save to. E-mail notes to your special Onenote e-mail and it will be accessible across all devices.
Pro Article Web Clipper available on desktop and mobile
Has a web clipper extension on Chrome and Edge that can be used for clipping whole articles and images. Web clipping of articles is also available on Chrome mobile through the "Share" option.
Its available Windows Mobile, Windows Store, Android, a Desktop Version, and a Web app. Apple macOS and iOS are also supported.
Pro Browser plugins allow easy saving of web pages
The ability to quickly file away web clippings is a key part of note taking.
Pro Integrates with Google Maps for directions
The app leverages Google Maps when adding location for an event by offering suggestions as well as offers opening Maps to help get directions to an event via shortcut on a reminder notification.
Pro Comes pre-installed on most Android devices
Google Calendar is a free Android calendar app without ads that comes already installed on Android devices that have stock support for Google Services.
Pro Clean design with 5 different views including an excellent schedule view
Google Calendar has a monochrome base design that's accented with colored-coded events and image banners that separate months in schedule view.
The app has 5 different views - schedule, day, 3-day, week and month.
Day, 3-day and week views split up the days horizontally and hours vertically. Month view lays out all days in a grid and displays up to 3 events in a day.
Schedule view displays an agenda view that allows browsing all events by swiping vertically. Additionally, the way events are displayed in the agenda view is context-aware. For example, adding an event called "gym" will display the event on a background with a dumbbell.
All views except for month view can be split horizontally to display a condensed month view at the top that can be navigated by swiping horizontally.
Events can be added from any view by clicking the red plus button that's available at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Pro Integrates well with other Google services
Google Calendar is part of the Google ecosystem, it integrates with services like Google Now for creating events, Google Maps for directions and Gmail for pulling information about planned flights.
Pro Can set on-screen and e-mail reminder notifications
Google calendar allows setting how many reminders are needed with each having the ability to set how long before the event the notification should remind and if it should be done via on-screen or e-mail notification.
Pro Offers creating events from e-mail messages based on content
Google Calendar integrates with e-mail for quickly creating events from e-mails that contain the word "meeting" or dates or times, or any other information about events or plans that it can understand.
Pro Straightforward event creation with autocomplete
All views have an option of adding a new event by tapping the plus sign at the lower right corner of the screen. This opens up a form and allows the user to add a location, start/end times, guests, description, color-code as well as choosing if it's an all day event, how often it repeats, how many and what kind of reminders are needed and setting the users availability and privacy settings.
Pro Color-coding for events and calendars
The app will color-code different calendars in different colors as well as allow selecting a different color for each event.
Pro Supports non-Google calendars (requires accessing web client)
Google Calendar can be integrated with any calendar that support iCalendar format, including Exchange and iCloud, via URL, but it has to be done using the web client.
Pro Allows subscribing to public calendars through web client
Through the Google Calendar's web client, it is possible to subscribe to any public calendar. Google also maintains a list of public calendars for various sports events and holidays in different countries and for different religions.
Pro Lots of third-party widgets
Google Calendar comes with a home screen widget, and there are also many third party widgets developed for this calendar app.
Pro Awesome flairs / images view inside the agenda view / event page
Whenever you enter agenda / event title with the keywords (when available), the event will show up interesting flairs whenever the keyword inside the agenda / title you typed matches the flairs that are available inside the system, examples such as haircut, cycling, swimming, coffee, movie etc.
Pro Advanced functionality available through IFTTT
IFTTT offers over 198 channels to plug into the users Google Calendar.
Con Text editing is weird (poor UX)
When clicking in the middle of a note, it adds something like a text-box positioned in the middle. If you move that field to the bottom right, it gets weirder. You can end-up with an empty note, having an empty text-box 1km to the bottom-right of it.
Con Not available for Linux
There is no native Linux client for OneNote available, and most likely will never be created. Users can use the web based client, but a native app would be a better choice for those that use the app frequently.
Con Syncing issues
It tells you there are conflicts between a note on the PC and on the Android because of the timing of the synchronization but doesn't try to resolve itself.
Con Not open-source
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified or freely distributed.
Con Platform dependent
The newer versions for Windows and Mac are converging, using the Windows style layout (with a more more consistent and usable UI).
The original OneNote for Mac for example is very different from OneNote for Windows. Because Microsoft has a vested interest in making sure the Windows version is superior, the Mac version tends to lag behind in terms of functionality. Tutorials and other forms of documentation available online generally apply only to the Windows version, which implies non-Windows versions are undocumented.
Even worse, because the documentation rarely, if ever, indicates it only applies to Windows, it's easy to waste hours trying to make non-existent features work. As such, the documentation is "negative documentation" (i.e. worse than no documentation at all).
Con Uninspired, bland user interface
Many of OneNote's competitors use Material Design and bold colors to create a minimal, clean looking interface.
OneNote has a bit more of an outdated look and can feel over crowded at times.
Con Sync isn't stable
Many users have reported synchronization issues. While not everyone will experience this, it can be difficult to troubleshoot, with some fixes resorting to editing registry keys in Windows when using the Windows client.
Con No backup on Windows 10 free version
If you accidentally delete a section on the windows 10 free version of Onenote, there is no backup to fall back on.
Con The added flexibility means your notes may feel cluttered
Since you can place elements anywhere you'd like on your note, you have to pay attention to how you structure it. For some this added flexibility is a huge selling point, but for others it could become distracting and makes notes feel difficult to digest.
Con Requires a Microsoft account
You need to have a Microsoft email to sign up for OneNote (Outlook, Hotmail, or Windows Live).
Con You cannot use local OneNote files with the version of OneNote that is included with Windows
There is a difference between the OneNote that is included with Windows 10 and the OneNote that comes with Microsoft Office. The version included with Windows cannot use local OneNote files and requires you to be online to access your notes.
See here for this and other differences.
Con Menu/ribbon can feel crammed
OneNote offers a lot of formatting options, which results in a lot of options being crammed into the ribbon. It can feel somewhat cluttered and takes a bit of time to get used to.
Con Search function is lacking advanced features
e.g. Searching for "friend" will find "friendship" and "friendly" (because "friend" is at the beginning of the word); using this query will not find words such as "girlfriend" or "boyfriend."
Con Doesn't automatically sort (by name, size, date)
You can't choose to sort automatically. Just do it manually.
Con No weather forecast
The Android app version of Google Calendar does not show any weather forcast information, even if it is added as an extra calendar in the web application. Being that weather is tied into Google Now, the absence is surprising.
Con Privacy concerns
Google integrate all their services to connect and mine information on an individual to better profile and target advertising.
Con No natural language input support
The Android app has no natural language input support, while it's available using the web client and in a limited capacity using Google Now.
Con Google tasks do not show on Google Calendar
You can create tasks in your desktop Google Calendar but they will not sync nor show up in your android Google Calendar
Con Month view shows limited information about the event
Month view does not show how many events there are in each given day or color-code them in any way, only informs of their existence.
Con Weak default view
Even if month is set as default view, as soon as you touch a day or an event, you have to carefully select twice to get back to month view.
Con Time zone is incorrect no matter what's done
Con Timezone for Moscow is incorrect
Timezone for Moscow is 1 hour off. This makes the calendar unusable in Russia.
Con Setting up non-Google calendars requires accessing web client
There is no ability in the Android app to access other calendars. This limits the usefulness for people that use more than one calendar, such as OSX and iOS users.