So, what’s really the difference between Scrivener and OneNote?

As I look for writing tools, Scrivener is at the top of nearly ever list out there. When it comes to writing, it’s the go-to application. Hell, I think it’s becoming a standard. Of course, that made me check it out. What I discovered though is that it’s very similar to OneNote. It allows you to pull together information from all sorts of sources and store them in one place. You get the corkboard for writing down ideas you want to develop later. You get an editor for writing down ideas and you can export the whole thing to Word when you’re done. Simply put, it looks excellent. Now that there’s a Windows version out, I spent quite a bit of time trying out the features. The more I worked with it though the more I seemed to be covering familiar ground. It acts like OneNote. It has many of the same features as OneNote. It has AutoCorrect and you can store all sorts of data together. They seem very similar so I must be missing something.

I’m on the fence about buying a copy. I’ve been using OneNote 2003 and 2007 and quite frankly I love the way the apps work. If it had a grammar checker I would completely ditch Word. I’m not too impressed with OneNote 2010 though and I really don’t like the direction Office is heading. The apps are becoming more and more bloated for no apparent reason.

I know Scrivener was originally a Mac only program, which makes me think it IS the equivalent of OneNote since Microsoft never ported it over. Am I correct in thinking that or am I just not getting it?

Should I look at Scrivener as a replacement?

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2 Responses to “So, what’s really the difference between Scrivener and OneNote?”

  • Jefft:

    I use both but have not seem them as similar. I use OneNote as as project book and data collection tool, and Scrivener as a writing tool in which I collect filtered data for the piece I’m writing. Note that you can launch OneNote from within Scrivenor either via a hyper-link or by importing a OneNote section into the Scrivener research folder which gives a hyper-link to launch the relevant section.

    There’s a 30 day free trial of Scrivener so it costs nothing but time to see if it works for you.


  • I used Scrivener for six months and then switched to OneNote. At first it was only for the outlining capabilities, but the only thing I miss from Scrivener so far is the appearance of the program: I like white text on black background, but can’t do this with OneNote. This aside, Scrivener for Windows doesn’t compare well with OneNote. Granted, I was using Scrivener as a program to put all of my writing in.

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