Moving from Evernote to Onenote - it seems like I really need to put everything in one huge Onenote

Copper Contributor

I posted this to, but haven't gotten much back:


I'm moving from Evernote to Onenote.  I organized everything on the EN side first (because moving things around is drag-and-drop in EN, and a royal-pain-in-the-**** in Onenote).


I knew once I got things over to Onenote (using the MS conversion tool), I'd have to move things around to get my organization back.  I don't see why the converter can't do this for me (it's a trivial algorithm), but, still, I knew this going in.


The ugly surprise is that it appears you have to "open" EVERY NOTEBOOK ON EVERY DEVICE to get access to it!  I have, like 50 notebooks in EN, about 40 of which I moved over.  On W7 (Onenote 2016) and Android, these have to be opened ONE-AT-A-TEDIOUS-TIME!  On every device.  The W10 version claims to be able to open many at once, but it doesn't show all my notebooks (no, this isn't a user account problem - I only have one, and I can see all my notebooks on - it just plain doesn't work for more than about 15 notebooks).


I'm not going to go through that on every device I use.  I'll be at it until Doomsday.


How do other people deal with this?  I'm wondering whether I need to throw everything into one giant Onenote monster notebook, then put the real notebooks in as "Section Groups".


But, then, I went to because I wanted to search all my notes without spending ages opening all the notebooks, only to find that the search box labeled, "Search my notebooks" does nothing of the sort - it searches only the notebook TITLES.  I found an posting on this dating from 2016, so apparently it isn't considered a bug.


But having the ability to search only the titles implies that people regularly have enough notebooks to make this non-trivial.  But, then, how do they deal with the open-one-at-a-tedious-time problem?


I'm confused.  There are millions of people using this tool, and it's been out for many years.  So, this can't just be growing pains.  How do people use this tool?  One notebook (but, then, why would you want to search the titles), or many (but, then, how do you deal with the opening problem)?


[For those not familiar with Evernote - every note and every notebook is available all the time on every device without user intervention.  I suppose the Onenote structure might be useful to save space on specific devices, but it would make a lot more sense to exclude notebooks on specific space-constrained device rather than include them everywhere else.  Give that Onenote already has user and work accounts, what purpose does this structure serve?   Why would I NOT want access to all my notebooks all the time??]

7 Replies


Microsoft has just dropped the ball on this. 

I am an Evernote Premium user, and was hoping that I could import all of my Evernote data into OneNote, so that I could stop paying for EN. But the OneNote Importer is so lousy, it loses all of the organization and structure when importing the EN data. That is no help whatsoever. 




If you're interested in reading about my experience, good and bad, I wrote a blog post:


I was an EN premium user.  I'm very happy with OneNote, but, yes, the conversion process could be much better without much effort on their part.  They have MORE hierarchical capability than EN, so they should be able to easily map EN's 4 levels.


And I LOVE dark mode...

I appreciate the feedback, thanks. I have way too many notes in EN to sort them out in OneNote.

I want to move to Onenote but I too feel that it would be a huge job with 16,000 notes. The one big attraction of Evernote is the tagging, which I can't see how I would replicate on Onenote. I've been hanging on (a very long time) with Evernote for their new version and now it has arrived I wish I hadn't waited. I lasted one day with version 10 for Windows. It mangled the note I was working on that day, and lost 33 other notes - I've no idea what has been lost, and from other posts I was lucky at only 33! The version is more like an early beta version. I've gone back to version 6.25.

If it helps, I wrote a series of blog posts about my experience making the move:


Bottom line:  I'm very happy I made the switch.  I find the essentially-unlimited hierarchy in Onenote to be a big advantage.  The search is better as well.  I never miss Evernote.


Did Evernote for Windows ever get dark mode?

@Paul_Zimmer Interesting blog. The dark mode never made my top 500 so, sorry, I never noticed as whether it was an option on EN version 10 - in my truly short and disastrous experience. I am working with EN's tech team to see if they can locate my missing notes. They asked for the log files, and after looking at the errors listed, I feel that I may have more problem than my missing 33 notes!

My problem moving to ON is what am I going to do about the EN tags - I have around 12,000 notes in a genealogy notebook with maybe 20 to 30,000 tags. Example a UK 1911 census where everyone in the family is tagged - tags of each person - maybe a dozen in a family - a tag for 1911 census.

As I typed this, I received a reply from EN technical team regarding my missing notes- in short another reason to move! 

It sounds like you're really using the tags.  Tags are more flexible than hierarchy, but most people never use the flexibility.  It sounds like you do.


I know there's been talk about Onenote getting genuine tags, but I'm not sure what the status is.


BTW, MS's workaround is to translate the tags to hash strings ("#foobar") when it imports from EN.  A bit clumsy, but you can search by the hash name like a tag.  It would be more difficult to maintain, of course (you'd probably end up maintaining a separate list-of-tags to keep track of them), but it could work for you.