When comparing Microsoft OneNote vs Wunderlist, the Slant community recommends Wunderlist for most people. In the question“What are the best cross-platform to do list apps?” Wunderlist is ranked 2nd while Microsoft OneNote is ranked 28th. The most important reason people chose Wunderlist is:
Wunderlists' UI is very fast and easy to use. The features are easy to find and everything flows together smoothly.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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. It has the best pen input out of any note taking app.
Pro Comprehensive organization methods
Can have multiple 'tabs' at the top like in a web browser with many notes within each 'tab'.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Browser plugins allow easy saving of web pages
The ability to quickly file away web clippings is a key part of note taking.
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 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 Table is sortable
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 Simple & easy to use UI
Wunderlists' UI is very fast and easy to use. The features are easy to find and everything flows together smoothly.
Pro Has a free, adless version
Wunderlist is available both as a free app without ads or heavy restrictions, and in a pro version that enables you to add larger files and take advantage of additional customization options.
Pro Group integration
Wunderlist allows you to share lists and tasks with others via email or Facebook. This allows you to set group tasks and lists. When one person completes the task, they can check it off and it is then completed for every other team member.
Pro Simple, useful task management features
Wunderlist features the standard ability to add tasks and organize them within lists, but one aspect in which it excels is the amount of detail you can add to each task. Rather than simple alerts, tasks incorporate a number of other options, including reminders, subtasks, notes, and recurring tasks. You can also star important tasks, which is simpler than the priority systems used in many other apps.
Pro Public lists
Some lists can be published in order to share them with others. Interestingly, other people can see the items of a public list, but not the notes and sub-lists of those items.
Pro Cross-platform syncing
Wunderlist features cross platform syncing which insures your tasks are always updated across iOS, Android, Windows, OS X, Kindle and browser.
Pro Can add to your list via email or Google Now
If you're on the run or away from your device, you can add items to your list by email. You can also add notes to the list item using the body of the message. Wunderlist supports Google Now, meaning you can add to your list using native voice commands on Android.
Pro Easily customized list icons
Rather than relying on standard icons, users can individually set the icons for their lists using emojis. For example, if the list is about TV shows, you can set the list icon to be the television emoji.
Pro Supports timed reminders and recurring items
Pro Easy to print tasks
Wunderlist automatically translates your tasks into a printer-friendly format when you hit print on Mac, Windows 7, iOS, and Android devices.
Pro Group members can comment on list items
Found in the detail view, comments let you to start a conversation, leave feedback, ask a question, or add extra insight to your to-dos. They are saved with a timestamp and are immediately accessible to any members of your shared list.
Pro Smartwatch compatible
The Wunderlist app supports Apple Watch and Android Wear, which allows for instant action and task viewing on these smartwatches.
Pro Beautiful backgrounds
Wunderlist comes with 20 free wallpapers and 10 paid wallpapers for users to customize the background image in the Wunderlist app. In addition, advanced users can also use their own image as background image with few tweaks, which is absent in main Wunderlist app.
Pro Keyboard shortcuts
Wunderlist comes with the Keyboard shortcuts that can allow users to perform task faster using the keyboard.
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 Requires a Microsoft account
You need to have a Microsoft email to sign up for OneNote (Outlook, Hotmail, or Windows Live).
Con Not open-source
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified or freely distributed.
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 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 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 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 Doesn't automatically sort (by name, size, date)
You can't choose to sort automatically. Just do it manually.
Con Some feature require external apps
Sort Pages, find and replace, etc need external apps called onestatics.
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 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 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 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 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 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 Subtasks hidden within task window
Wunderlist doesn't have true subtasks but rather a single task list with an entirely different user interface hidden within each task. Having separate interfaces for tasks and subtasks restricts flexibility in how one structures projects.
Con Limited customization and organization options
Wunderlist doesn't allow for much customization in list sorting or visual themes. It offers only a couple dozen background choices and has no option to add your own.
Con Acquired by Microsoft, So Future is Uncertain
Microsoft acquired Wunderlist in 2015, and therefore its future is uncertain. It's unlikely Wunderlist will continue to be an (1) independent product with (2) a free version and (3) continue to develop and innovate at a reasonable pace.
More likely, Microsoft will at least monetize Wunderlist the way it monetizes its other products. It's also likely that Microsoft will integrate it into its suite of office products and even its Windows operating systems.
To see what this is like search the Web for "Microsoft OneNote Mac OS X," and you will find a host of "standard" features only available in the Windows version, "official" documentation and tutorials that presume you have the Windows version (but never say so), etc.
One would also expect versions running on Linux to be worse or nonexistent. Also, Microsoft software in general tends to be bloated with marketable features but little concern for efficiency regarding memory usage, processing efficiency, or unobtrusive updates.
Con Doesn't have a calendar view
No calendar view, integration with GCal is ridiculous - updates every 8 hours or something, integration with Outlook is ridiculous - tasks only show as all-day event.
Con No utilization of location on mobile apps
Wunderlist doesn't have any location-based reminders, nor does it offer to include your location information as you add items.
Con Does not support postponing tasks
You cannot hide a task from a list if this task will be valuable just from some date.
Con No options for subtasks or subcontexts
Since sub-tasks are included inside a task, you do not have the full set of features for them. No ability to leave comments, for example.
Con Incomplete keyboard control
There's no clear way to mark tasks complete using the keyboard, which is frustrating since all other common tasks are keyboard controllable.
Con Will be discontinued
Wunderlist was purchased by Microsoft in 2015, and will be discontinued after the release of Microsoft To-Do.
Con Cannot sort list in the list listing
Wunderlist does not have the ability to sort the list in the list listing.
Con Sync can be unreliable on mobile devices at times
The mobile app does not always sync smoothly or quickly with the desktop program.
Con Lack of vision
At start it looks promising, but now they lost direction. Too confusing implementation of workflow details, focusing on irelevant things
Con Horrid customer support
Con Does not have a native Linux app
There is no native application available for Linux-based systems, but you can always work inside of your browser instead.
Con Cannot hide task lists which have been completed
Con Does not sync with Google Tasks
There’s no innate compatibility with Google Tasks, which makes it a no-go for users who rely on that service.
Con From time to time notes are not synchronizing
Con The pro version is very expensive
And for feature-feature comparisons, it has low value compared to other products.
Con Web version attachments are icon only
The web version allows you to attach files, but does not give preview or thumbnail of the attachment. You just see the file name and icon. Clicking it opens the file.