Does anyone use OneNote for writing? Looking for an alternative to Scrivener


Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:57 pm Post

Finished organizing my notes into Scrivener last week but the more I use it the more it feels like it'd be better suited for writing screenplays or books and less for organizing research and writing a paper. It's been better than the folders of word docs and 4 windows open to collect notes but not ideal.

I did some google searches but the articles on OneNote and Scrivener had affiliate links (ew biased).

Curious if anyone uses it for writing papers or if OneNote is a better note taker but not so much a writing tool.

I feel so silly knowing I used Word for years without looking for something better but hey never too late to try something new! Other writing suggestions are more than welcome, too.

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Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:11 pm Post

I use Scrivener for writing scientific papers. It makes it much easier.
OneNote - tried it and then deleted it on all devices. Didn’t like it at all.
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running Mojave.
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:49 pm Post

For writing? No. But I think it is a great tool for research and note storage. Since it is free, and pretty much available for every sort of computing device. (Desktops, Laptops, tablets, & phones), I find it invaluable for those wild ideas when I'm out and about and for impromptu lookups. I prefer Google Keep for every day note taking, shopping lists etc. OneNote really shines on Win10 when paired up with OneDrive, I think. Otherwise, it's merely very good.

I've heard people claim to use OneNote for their writing chores, but I simply don't see how they could do it.

As far as a Scrivener replacement goes, there are a lot of very good alternatives. However if you want a 1:1 feature replacement for Scrivener, you won't find it. As near as I can tell Scrivener's feature set is unique to them. That feature list is why people like Scrivener.

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Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:12 pm Post

What would your ideal writing software look like? We have plenty of users who are novelists and playwrights, but we also have plenty of lawyers and academic users. There are Scrivener users in pretty much every writing domain you can think of, and probably a few you haven't. So rather than saying "I don't think Scrivener can do X," why don't you describe what you'd like to do?

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Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:29 pm Post

OneNote is excellent for taking notes, managing lists, linking between items and thoughts, establishing a notebook structure, and otherwise gathering, keeping track of, and dispositioning incoming information. It is the tool I use 70% of the time to manage work in the office in my project manager role, the other 30% being Excel.

I was actively using it at home for making notes on an idea for a novel, and had even considered using it to write the book, until I stumbled across Scrivener. Eventually, for my fiction writing, I moved completely to Scrivener.

The challenge with using OneNote for actually drafting your work is that at some point you’ll need to get it out of OneNote and into whatever format is required. For me, that would be a Word document, properly formatted for submission to beta readers, agents, etc. I don’t know what your target format is, but if I were you, before getting too invested in a tool I’d figure out how to transition the work out of it to your final target. OneNote being free, that should be inexpensive to do.

ETA: As you’re on Windows, you may want to download the Windows Beta and give that a try. Windows Scrivener v3 will have many improvement over the current v1.9 version, and maybe you’ll like that better.
I’m just a customer.


Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:22 am Post

Not wishing to be too rude, but asking for an alternative to Scrivener from a group of committed Scrivener users on a forum provided by the developers of Scrivener doesn’t strike me as polite or the way to get much more than Scrivener is the best alternative to Scrivener answers.

As other users have pointed out many find Scrivener excellent for the task you say you require.

Not certain what you have against affiliate links. Many bloggers rely on such commissions to maintain their work.

I’ve tried most of the alternatives to Scrivener when I was researching which program worked best for me and while I believe one or two might have specific features that may be implemented in a way that work better in specific use scenarios, for me overall Scrivener wins hands down.

As suggested, perhaps try the V3 beta if you haven’t already.

As for one-note, having played with it for a totally unrelated task, my feedback would be less than glowing. Sure as hell would not consider it in any way suited to writing.

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Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:49 am Post

Amcmo wrote:Not wishing to be too rude, but asking for an alternative to Scrivener from a group of committed Scrivener users on a forum provided by the developers of Scrivener doesn’t strike me as polite or the way to get much more than Scrivener is the best alternative to Scrivener answers.

And yet this forum's description (Latte/Software & Development) is:

Talk about any software you want, whether it's ours or someone else's. Recommend useful programs, discuss the competition (politely, though, please) or chat about developing apps.

So this was a totally legitimate question in the right place on the forums, provided by our lovely benefactors at L&L.
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

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Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:52 am Post

I write short and medium length papers as well as technical courses on Scrivener for Windows (either under wine in Linux or on a Windows 10 box).

The facility I find most useful in Scrivener is the ability to group and rearrange as necessary my research papers, docs etc in the binder. And then being able to consult them in a split screen is very much appreciated.

The worst aspect of Scrivener ( for me is its formatting and handling of styles. This is very poor compared to LO Writer (which I find better than Word for this work - I know, it is subjective). But I find it exceptionally easy to get my completed drafts out of Scriv and into Writer for final formatting.

The formatting difficulties are well outweighed by the pleasure of the research aspects. I'm hoping the forthcoming Version 3 for Windows will have better formatting capabilities.

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Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:47 pm Post

I use Scrivener AND OneNote, which is , I feel the best way to organize informations and writings. I use OneNote to store and organize informations separatly from Scrivener which is only intended to organize my writings. Doing so is very convenient as the amount of writing informations can rapidly reach a great load which may drown your writings if you only use Scrivener. Using OneNote for writings is note a good idea as OneNote must be considered as a database, not a writing tool. Finally, It is not a good idea to compare Scrivener and OneNote as writing tools. Scrivener is the best writing tools among these two softwares (and also among other writing tools).


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Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:35 pm Post

OneNote is ... okay ... for taking notes. I am forced to use it at work. It's not bad at what it does.

Like any other application that allows you to type in text, OneNote could certainly be used for writing a book, paper, novel, whatever. I find it far from ideal. It depends too heavily on cloud storage. It's difficult, if not impossible, to get a nicely formatted document out of. Because it's free, Microsoft happily messes with its feature set on a whim, and they have announced the current version included with Office will be the last, except for the Microsoft Store version, which currently has fewer features. Let Microsoft try pulling that with Word.

It's OK that, even here, you don't like Scrivener. But there are many, many other good alternatives that aren't called "OneNote."

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Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:41 pm Post

One note is a good one. But if you're looking for something else just google it.