One Note vs Word – Are They Similar?
Microsoft Office has all the tools you’ll ever need for productivity work. Microsoft Word doesn’t need an introduction but his younger brother – OneNote, is not so popular. They’re both included in the MS Office family but are pretty different from each other. If you’re limiting yourself to only MS Word, there are many features you’re missing out on. In this article, you’ll learn how OneNote differentiates from Word and which to use where.
Table of Contents
What is OneOne?
As the name suggests, Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking application. OneNote lets you organize your notes into separate notebooks and create individual sections. It’s also compatible with multimedia documents, meaning you can add file attachments like audio files.
The biggest difference between Word and OneNote is that OneNote should only be used for note keeping. Meanwhile, Word is a powerful word processor with extensive capabilities for writing, storing, and printing documents. However, both are very valuable when used together.
Both programs have plenty of useful features that are exclusive to them. Here’s a list of unique features for both programs.
- Drawing. You can draw anything and convert it to text. OneNote will recognize handwritten notes. You have pens, highlighters, pens, and other tools.
- File attachments. You can attach many documents to a page, unlike Word.
- Record audio. You can record and attach audio to notes.
- Meeting details. You can connect OneNote and Outlook to store meeting details and get reminders.
- Shapes. You can add many shapes to your notes.
- Password-protection. You can protect your notes with passwords on desktop computers. That password is also required if you’re using OneNote mobile app.
- Send a copy. Send a text copy of your note to anyone.
- Templates. Word has plenty of templates for cover letters, resumes, planners, etc.
- Extended page layout. You can adjust the page’s layout to your liking.
- Comments. You can add comments to every word and paragraph.
- Headers and Footers. Document headers and footers are fully supported.
- Text styles. Word offers many paragraphs and heading text styles.
- Export to PDF and PowerPoint. You can export your documents to PDF and PowerPoint formats, unlike OneNote.
- Immersive reader. It’s a text-to-speech program that listens to words. It also offers grammar and reading preferences.
- Reading view. A tool that makes it easier to read text.
- Table of contents. Word can create a table of contents automatically.
- Downloading. Unlike OneNote, you can store your documents on a PC or OneDrive. You can then use these files in other programs like Google Docs.
- References. Word can be used in referencing content.
- Dictate. This tool can be used to convert speech to text.
Comparing OneNote and Word
In this section, we’ll compare particular features of both programs. This will help you decide which one is the most suitable for your needs. Each program was made for entirely different tasks, so you must determine whether you’re looking for simple or advanced solutions.
Both OneNote and Word have access to collaboration features. There are some differences, though. You can send an invitation to edit your document through email. Sadly, there’s no copy link feature.
Word, on the other hand, supports both. You can send email invites as well as links. Other users don’t need to sign up or do anything beforehand. All non-signed participants will be shown as guests and can easily collaborate with your document.
Winner: Microsoft Word
Spell check is a very important feature both in note taking and editing important documents. Whether you’re sending important office documents or sending a personal note to a friend, you don't want to embarrass yourself with bad spelling. Microsoft Word alone offers a very advanced spelling check program. Also, you can improve it even further by adding grammar assistants like Grammarly. Word supports add-ins, which means it can become part of the program.
OneNote is disappointing in this regard, offering only minimal support for finding spelling issues. It will find and suggest one or two issues, and that’s pretty much it. However, do you need anything more advanced for writing sticky notes or quick reminders? It should not bother you much if it’s for personal use only, but a better spelling solution would come in handy if you send it to someone else.
Winner: Microsoft Word
Being in the same boat, Word and OneNote use a very similar interface. Let’s start with OneNote. You’ll find OneNote very intuitive if you use a spiral notebook or a binder for your notes. The three main parts of OneNote are notebooks, sections, and pages.
With Notebooks, you can collect essential data in one central place, just like a paper notebook. You can have separate notebooks for school, work, or personal use.
Sections help you group information in each notebook with colorful tabs at the top. If you have a notebook for a specific project, you can create sections for each phase or other criteria.
Pages are located in the right-hand navigation panel. With this, you can drag content around anywhere on the page. With this freeform layout, you can create versatile notes with any content positioned however you like.
Microsoft Word hasn’t changed its design throughout the years, so anyone familiar with older iterations won’t have any problem switching to the newer one. Word uses a tabbed Ribbon system with multiple tabs, which you can find at the top of the Word window. Each tab contains several groups of related commands. Some groups also have a small arrow in the bottom right corner that you can click for even more options.
Interface-wise, both programs are easy and intuitive to use. In this category, I’d say it’s a tie.
It’s time to compare mobile apps. Both programs have their mobile counterparts, but their functionality is far from their desktop counterparts. They’re meant to do basic things on the go, and in this regard, they perform flawlessly. They’re available both on Android and Apple devices.
With Microsoft Word mobile app, you have all the essential features like fonts, size, and text decoration. You can easily share your document, highlight text, add a location to save docs, etc. Everything you’ll ever need for basic, mobile document editing.
OneNote app also provides the basic features you’ll find in its desktop counterpart. However, it’s even more stripped than the Word one. You can't add videos, tables, equations, etc. It’s also lacking any password protection, so your notes can be accessed by anyone from your device.
Winner: Microsoft Word
Microsoft Office suite costs a pretty penny, while OneNote is completely free. However, the mobile and web versions of Word are also free but with limited functionality. To use a desktop application, you must buy MS Word separately or the entire Office package. Luckily, we offer Microsoft Office 2021 Pro Plus Key Retail Global for only a fraction of the retail price. And you’re getting a full package, not only MS Word.
While our offer is quite attractive, OneNote wins here simply because it's free.
In our OneNote vs Word battle, Word wins 2:4.
Which One Should I Choose?
Depending on your use case, OneNote is a note-taking application, whereas Word was made for advanced document editing. Because of it, it wins with OneNote in most use cases. In MS Word, you can create and freely edit text documents of any length, whereas OneNote is mainly used for collaborating ideas. With OneNote, you can make notes and add videos, articles, images, and music.
In our opinion, the best middle ground is to obtain both. They perfectly complement each other, and you can get an entire Office package on our site for a low price. Not to mention that everything OneNote can do is also available in MS Word.