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Guide: Dropbox Paper vs Evernote: Comparison and Review
There are quite a few note taking apps available in the market. Each app comes with its own set featuresDepends on your specific needs, and it becomes important that you choose the one that meets your requirements rather than the popular option.
Take Evernote for example. It’s the sweet kid of Silicon Valley, or at least was it, and for the longest time the favorite note-taking app for most people. With the number of platforms and browsers it supports, people have been using it as a filing cabinet for centuries, cutting web pages, and taking text and audio notes.
A recent turnaround has called the future into question. That’s where Dropbox Paper comes into the picture. A new player in the market that promises to change things by offering a superior user experience, better API integration and a collaborative environment.
Let’s see how they differ and what they have to offer.back to menu ↑
1. Take notes
As the name suggests, Evernote is built for note-taking – a safe place for your brain dump. Whatever comes to mind, be it thoughts or ideas or a web page you just discovered, put it away and you can find it later. You start by creating a new note that you can then save under Notebooks. You can also add tags to any note to further categorize it.
You can do things differently with paper. You create a document (note) and archive it under folders. That works very much like Google Docs or your Windows folder system. It doesn’t give you a bird’s eye view of all the documents you have in different folders like Evernote. On the plus side, unlike Evernote, which only allows you to go two levels deep, you can create as many folders within folders as you want.
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2. Edit and format
Evernote supports standard text formatting such as bold, italics, bullets, checklists, and indentation. There is a healthy choice of fonts to choose from.
Paper also lets you create text and image notes, but there is no way to record audio notes. Paper focuses more on easy collaboration, so formatting options were never a priority. You’ll be the pop-up toolbar only when you select a piece of text. The options are limited, but cover the basics like bold, heading, link, highlight, and lists. It’s a good thing that the usual formatting shortcuts work in a less cluttered user interface.
In addition to text, you can also edit images. As a blogger I work all day with screenshots and images. That includes annotation, cropping, resizing, and more. Evernote supports image editing with Skitch – a popular image editor and favorite of the GT team.
Paper also doesn’t support image editing, meaning you’ll have to rely on third-party apps or online image editors to get the job done.
Images and audio files aren’t the only file types that users need to work with. There are snippets of codes, music files, YouTube videos, Spotify songs, SoundCloud melodies and so on. Paper is intelligent and instantly recognizes almost any file from any service provider. You can play / view / view / access these files in the Paper interface itself. Evernote allows you to attach Google Drive app files, but that’s about it.
You have to listen to the song mentioned in the screenshot above. I bet you will love it.
Paper allows you to work with many file types directly in the document without leaving it. Evernote lacks that.
Finally, Paper also supports markdown and LaTex, which are very popular with bloggers and technical writers. Paper allows you to create a table of contents, which is a godsend for writers and bloggers like me who are constantly working with them.
Let’s take a moment to discuss document scanning and OCR. Evernote is famous for that. You scan a document to make an image of it and it appears as a note in your Evernote account. Not only that, but Evernote will also use OCR to scan the note and turn it into a searchable PDF document. I used that to scan all my medical documents and bills. My mom uses it to store recipes, while my brother uses it to scan business cards.
Dropbox Paper does not have OCR or image scanning in the app, but the native Dropbox app does. That means you have to use the Dropbox app to scan documents and convert them into PDF files and import them into Paper. Not the best way to go about things, but it still works fine.back to menu ↑
3. Sharing and collaboration
Sharing notes on Evernote and documents on the Paper function in the same way. In Evernote you have to click on the Share button to create a unique link that can then be shared via email or other media. You can control whether the recipient can also access the notebook or just view the note, edit it, or view it only.
Paper works in a similar way when you click on the invitation button to send an email invitation. You can manage the permissions just like in Evernote.
You can use the viewing permission in the case of comments on which you are only looking for opinions and not necessarily input. You can use the editing rights if you need help finishing the document / note or if you are working on the same project.
Sharing notes and documents is one thing, but collaborating on them is another. That’s where Dropbox Paper shines. Let’s say you want to highlight a particular file or paragraph. Just use the @ mention command (@name) to notify him / her. I can now create a to-do list and assign the individual task to different members of the team. Team members can then comment on it to raise concerns or ask questions.
Paper is also intelligent enough to remember all the edits you’ve made to the document so far. You can access old versions of the document at any time. That’s useful if the app makes automatic changes without your approval, and you want things back to the way they were.
Then there is the option to comment and attribute different sections and elements of the document. A feature that we’ve come to use and love in Google Docs and other Drive apps.
Evernote, on the other hand, has a work chat feature which can be used to send messages to team members. More along the lines of Hangouts. It works fine, but outside of the note you are contributing to.back to menu ↑
4. Pricing and Availability
Dropbox Paper is free to use for now and is not part of the Dropbox cloud storage system. That may change in the future. Paper is designed as a web-based app, but it is also available on the Android and iOS platform. There are no browser extensions or desktop clients available, which I found limiting.
Evernote offers three different pricing plans to choose from, and each one provides you with extra features such as OCR and image / PDF search, version history, present notes, share notes in business solution, Google Suite and Office 365 Suite connectivity and so on.
Where Evernote really shines is the number of platforms it supports. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and there is also a web clipper for Chrome and Firefox. So you can work with your notes or create new ones almost anywhere with the click of one buttonback to menu ↑
Dropbox Paper vs Evernote
Evernote is a note-taking app like no other. Sharing and collaboration seems an afterthought here. It is designed to help you capture thoughts and web pages on any platform, app and browser. That makes it more versatile.
Dropbox designed Paper as a collaborative document editor where you can embed anything and collaborate with anyone in real time. You don’t have to leave the app every time you want to communicate or interact with someone.
In this way, both Evernote and Paper are different, with both sharing common ground with each other. You can choose to use both or one of them depending on your needs.
The next up: With Evernote’s future in the wind, you might want to check out this in-depth comparison between Google Keep and Evernote to see if you can replace the latter with the former.back to menu ↑
Dropbox Paper vs Evernote: Comparison and Review: benefits
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