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Guide: Dropbox Paper vs OneNote: Comparison and Review
OneNote is one of the oldest note-taking apps on the web. Microsoft kept its users happy with this notebook-like app before other robust solutions like Evernote and to-do list apps like Google Tasks or Microsoft To Do exist. Dropbox Paper is the latest in a long line of apps that have been in this niche and only boosted competition.
OneNote is known as a digital notebook that deeply integrates with Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of apps. It can handle almost any file type, can do simple math calculations in notes (no one else does), and comes with some of the best OCR technology in the category.
Dropbox Paper has decided to take a different approach. Without desktop apps for Windows and Mac, it wants to win hearts with a minimalist design with a robust set features
We decided to compare these apps to find out how they stack up against each other.back to menu ↑
1. Write it down
Get started with the most basic feature of a note taking app, OneNote lets you create notebooks. Within each notebook there are sections to create text, audio, and image notes. These notes are also searchable and you can add links and videos to the notes as well.
Fan of using the stylus or just your finger? You can get creative and your heart from. Finally, you can add tags to group similar notes in notebooks. Handy if you have hundreds of notes.
Dropbox Paper is not ideal as a digital notebook. It pulls a sheet from Google Drive and creates folders in which you can create subfolders and notes (documents in Dropbox language). Not the best way to take notes as it takes more time to go back and forth. Also, there is no way to get a bird’s eye view of the hierarchy, resulting in losing sight of what is being noticed and what is not. No tags either.
Dropbox Paper also supports text, images, audio and video, but there is no way to draw. Maybe in a future update? OneNote can also create voice notes that are not available in Paper.back to menu ↑
2. Format options
OneNote takes the lead when it comes to formatting options. The ribbon-style interface is packed with options such as bold italics and underlined. There are many fonts and colors to choose from and quickly highlight important parts. Other options include bullets, numbers and checklists, indentation, and font styles.
Explore the Insert tab if you want to create tables, audio / video notes, add emojis or various file types such as audio and images.
Finally, there is the Draw tab which reminds me of the simplicity of Paint. Limited but sufficient for a note taking app where you can choose colors, pen width, highlights and use marquee.
Dropbox, following its minimalist strategy, is doing away with the ribbon-style menu altogether. A small menu will appear with limited options.up only if you select a piece of text. Why? To keep the user interface clear and simpler. Why show it if you don’t need it?
A limited number of formatting options are available, such as bold, header, highlights, bullets, and checklists and links. A few others, such as underline and italics, can be enabled with keyboard shortcuts.
Where Dropbox differs is its ability to handle file types. It’s astonishing. You can add and play live videos, audios, and even image galleries from almost any site you can think of, right in the document without leaving the interface.
For example, you can enjoy YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Imgur, code snippets with syntax, Spotify and so on. This makes Dropbox suitable for the creative folks who need to work with different file types and create rich media documents using multiple services.back to menu ↑
3. Work, Share and collaborate
After you are done taking notes and formatting the way you want, you may need to share them with your colleagues for further input. You can share entire notebooks or individual notes in OneNote by clicking it Share button in the upper right corner.
Just enter the recipient’s email ID and they can edit the note in their copy of OneNote. The permission option includes whether the recipient can only view or edit and whether he / she needs a Microsoft account to do this.
OneNote allows you to share notes, but it lacks advanced options such as permissions. Paper lets you share documents with colleagues, deciding whether they can only view, comment and share the document or edit it as well. If it is an open document, anyone with a link can access it. But if not, only those with an invite link can do this.
To do this, you must first install the Share settings and then send an invitation as shown above.
Paper, like Dropbox’s cloud storage platform, keeps a history of all the edits you made to the document. Version history can be especially useful when you are collaborating on one document and someone accidentally makes an edit or an edit that isn’t required.
OneNote also keeps a history of all edits made to a note, so you know what happened while you were away.back to menu ↑
4. Unusual Features
OneNote can perform simple math calculations, such as addition, multiplication, and division, right within the notes. Good for those who use it for budgeting or tracking travel expenses.
Paper comes with some sample meeting and presentation templates, but if you’re creative you can create custom templates for repeated use.
OneNote has advanced OCR functionality that allows you to scan images and turn them into notes. Possible user case includes business cards, board and notice boards, and class or meeting boards. Also useful when traveling.
OneNote also comes with a built-in thesaurus and language translation tools for those who can use it to write.
OneNote integrates closely with Office Suite, which is why you can convert and send notes in PDF and Word format as well. The PDF format is useful for sharing notes.
Finally, where OneNote is available on all platforms, including Android and iOS, popular browser add-ons / extensions, for Windows and Mac. On the other hand, Paper is only available for browsers and there are no browser extensions, which means you cannot cut web pages.
Note that Paper is not part of the Dropbox cloud platform and is completely free with unlimited storage. OneNote, if not part of Office 365 Suite, offers up only up to 5 GB of storage.back to menu ↑
Note the differences
Let me make this simple for you. If you need a digital notebook that integrates deeply with the Microsoft Office Suite of apps, with formatting options and tags, OneNote is pretty cool. Also useful if you need voice and video notes.
If collaborating with colleagues, think business and business solutions, is your priority and you need a little less flashy with third-party app support, then go for Dropbox Paper.
The next up: Wants to know how OneNote is stacked up against Google Keep? Find out by clicking the link below.back to menu ↑
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