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Finding an Evernote Alternative

Kristen Craft | May 2, 2019

We love Evernote for many reasons. It’s a nice product with a clearly valuable use case. Their branding is awesome. Plus, many members of our team use it currently and/or have used it in the past. As you might imagine, a team like ours, building a knowledge management system, enjoys writing things down!

But even more important, the Evernote product paved the way for better documentation, generally speaking. Evernote, and its founder, Stepan Pachikov, are powerful advocates for improving human memory. They’ve been at the forefront of a movement, demonstrating the importance of having easier access to important information. As Pachikov once said:

evernote founder image

Quote source: Medium post

Pachikov had a vision of using technology to improve our faulty memories. He dreamed of a day when we could all live forever, effectively, with the help of backups for our memories. From this lofty vision, Evernote was born. Thanks to Pachikov, we’re more aware of the value of having easy access to knowledge and memories.

In short, we’re thrilled that Evernote raised our collective awareness of the fallibility of memory. Still, Evernote isn’t a perfect solution for all kinds of information, knowledge, and memories. Yes, it’s great for note-taking, but it really leaves something to be desired when it comes to team knowledge management.

Why You Might Be Ready for an Evernote Alternative

One of the biggest red flags is the risk of security issues. This might not be a big deal if you’re using Evernote to document your favorite recipes, but it could be disastrous if you’re storing more sensitive information about how you run your business. Countless reviewers on G2Crowd review have cited security concerns as the biggest shortcoming of the Evernote product.

Cost is another blocker for many teams. Evernote Business comes with a price tag of $14.99/user per month. This adds up quickly when your team is growing fast. A team of 100 people would be looking at an annual expense of about $18,000. Not cheap! (For reference, a 100-person team using Tettra would pay just under $2,300/year.)

And yet, even given the relatively high price tag, Evernote seems to fall short when it comes to supporting customers. A multitude of people who left reviews on Capterra lost important data and received little to no help. Again, this might be tolerable for low-stakes personal use. But poor customer support is harder to stomach if you’re sharing your most important data, documents, and information.

Ultimately, Evernote isn’t a perfect fit for most business documentation. Individuals seem to love Evernote for personal note-taking, but it simply falls short on some attributes that are critical for a fast-paced team. Not to worry! There are many appealing options for teams that are ready to graduate to a more robust knowledge management system.

Finding an Evernote Alternative

You have dozens of good alternatives if you’re getting ready to move off Evernote. This list is merely a segment of the options that are open to you. The “right” solution will depend on the features and integrations that are most important to you and your team.

Tettra

Naturally, we’re partial to Tettra as the best tool for documenting your knowledge and work. No surprise, but we use it on a daily basis, and it helps all of us do our best work. As our team has grown, Tettra remains our single source of truth about common processes, key information, and decisions that have been made.

leadership DRI activity

We’re not alone, though, in our regular use of Tettra. Over 30,000 other teams use Tettra to document a wide variety of knowledge. They cite the impact Tettra has had on their businesses. Wistia, a SaaS company known for a great product and an amazing culture, uses Tettra to communicate and scale that culture as the team has grown. Firmatek, a mapping and data collection firm uses Tettra to document high-stakes processes.

Here are some of the reasons teams cite for loving Tettra:

  • The interface and editor are simple and elegant. Simplicity is key if you want to get everyone involved in documenting and sharing what they know. A knowledge management system with too much complexity can feel daunting
  • Tettra is smart, handing routine work so that you don’t have to. You’ll get automatic notifications when knowledge is going stale and needs an update.
  • Tettra is connected to all the other tools you use and love. From Slack to Google Docs to GitHub, Tettra serves as a hub for all of your other resources and knowledge.

Apple Notes

Apple’s note-taking app has been a go-to solution for over a decade. And it’s only gotten better over time. You can sync notes between your phone, your laptop, and other Apple devices. People love being able to attach images and videos to notes, not to mention that you can password protect certain notes. Apple even lets you recover lost files from the last 30 days if you inadvertently deleted something.

You can invite other people on your team to view and edit iCloud notes, (provided they have an Apple ID.) Apple Notes is pretty bare bones, but that’s part of its beauty. There’s very little ramp up or learning time. And, like most things that Apple builds, it’s highly intuitive, working exactly as you expect it to.

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the most popular tools for growing businesses. They’re second only to Microsoft Office. But according to security experts at Okta, G Suite use is growing at a faster rate: 49% vs 40% growth for Microsoft’s Office 365 year-over-year.

At this point, Google Docs has most of the same features and functionality of its Microsoft counterpart, Microsoft Word. Still, if you’re building complex spreadsheets, you might find sheets limiting. And the presentation slides aren’t as malleable as PowerPoint or Keynote. But for everyday use, the tools available in G Suite are pretty robust and getting better every day.

And then there’s search. Where to start with search? In short, it’s the worst. Good luck finding a file you created, not to mention the horrors of finding a file that someone else shared with you. Especially if they shared that file a long time ago. And if you have multiple versions of a file…game over. The search function is so terrible, we published a post of some common traps, as well as strategies for keeping track of all your Google Docs and resources.

Google Docs is an amazing tool for writing, editing, note taking, and presenting. But it needs an assist when it comes to managing all those resources and pieces of knowledge. It performs best when paired with a hub like Tettra. This hub and spoke system facilitates search and version control.

Microsoft OneNote

If you’re using Office 365, you might like the simplicity and flexibility of using OneNote. It’s a solid note-taking app that lets you do pretty much everything you can do with Evernote. You can write, draw, edit, and annotate. Plus, it integrates with Microsoft’s other Office tools.

Though you can share OneNote assets with others on your team, some users find it a bit limiting. Many users on G2Crowd report that OneNote isn’t very intuitive or user-friendly. And others comment that it “does not seem to meet Enterprise-level requirements.” Still, if you use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, the integrations might be too good to pass up.

How to Migrate from Evernote if you’re already a customer

Once you’ve picked an Evernote Alternative, you’ll need to bring over your data, as well as your team. Let’s dig into each one in turn:

Migrating Your Data

Luckily, Evernote makes it relatively easy to export your content, so you can move it elsewhere. Export your content, using these steps, and choose either ENEX or HTML format. The ENEX format exports everything as a single page while HTML exports as a set of web pages.

If you’re migrating to Tettra, we suggest using HTML format, so that you can organize things exactly how you’d like. Our upload API lets you specify where you want everything to go and how you want it formatted. We’ve seen teams migrate to Tettra in a snap, even with thousands of pages of content.

Migrating Your Team

Invest the time, early on, to discuss this move with your team. Getting buy-in will help ensure that the rollout is as successful as possible, so that you get the most out of your new system. Remember, any notetaking product or knowledge management system is only as valuable as the content it contains. Its usefulness comes from the notes people take and the knowledge they can tap into. So help them feel comfortable sharing what they know and searching for the info they need.

To help people get more comfortable with your new system, explain why you’re migrating. If possible, cite some specific examples of how your needs have changed as the team has grown. Give them a look at what your new system has to offer. You can even invite them to peruse these lessons about Company Wiki Best Practices.

Getting the Most out of an Evernote Alternative

At the end of the day, what you use isn’t nearly as important as how you use it. You could choose the most perfect product in the world, but if people aren’t taking the time to write down important information, that product is useless. If members of the team don’t tap into the knowledge that team members share, the knowledge is of limited value.

No matter what alternative you choose – whether it’s Tettra, Google Docs, or something else entirely, cultivate the right mindset among your team. Lead the way in creating a culture of good documentation. This lesson, from our course on Wiki Best Practices, will equip you with the tools and know-how to build the right culture. The more everybody documents their work and thoughts, the better able your team is to function at the highest caliber.