OneNote vs. TEO

There are times when I’ve wondered if I really need OneNote or if Tablet Enhancements for Outlook (TEO) would satisfy my needs all by itself.

I take lots of notes but most of them are tied back to a contact or an appointment and TEO does a great job with that, even on a non-tablet PC. After all, Outlook is almost always open. It’s also automatically backed up because of it’s connection to Exchange and easily available on any PC where I’ve installed Outlook and connected to Exchange so I get instant replication among several PC to go with that off site backup.

There is a lot of overlap between the two apps since really, note taking is note taking on some level. I think the reasons that I’ve stuck with OneNote are:

  • OneNotes ability to organize stuff together. My sermon notes are all in one place rather than on a calendar item each Sunday. My project note are all together, not scattered with the meeting time. Outlook 2007’s category and search functions should easily overcome this but it would require a little discipline. Currently I use the link that opens OneNote for notes instead of Outlook notes for calendar items.
  • Selective opening. I use a USB key as my primary OneNote store. This makes it easy to sync between devices. Not as automatic as Outlook but easy. And, if on some machines I only need certain notebooks, I don’t open the other notebooks so they don’t get cached on those machines and that saves space on the mobile devices that are tight on space.
  • Some notes don’t easily lend themselves to dates or contacts. Sure, I could create a contact just for those notes but then it starts to be a hack. I use OneNote as storage for things I don’t want to lose and yes, I periodically clean it out but usually it’s not too bad.
  • The Print to OneNote option is really cool and the only real alternative for TEO is one of the various print screen apps or a print to PDF app.
  • I might crush my storage limit on Exchange if I put everything in TEO and then I’m back to an archive file and some other syncing mechanism.

If I had never used OneNote and didn’t want to spend the money, I bet that I could be pretty happy with just TEO. I guess I just feel guilty that I’m not using TEO to it’s fullest but I’m not sure how to fix that. I paid for TEO back before it was free and have no regrets. The app is so good that I’ve installed it on non-tablet PC’s just so that all my TEO notes from the UMPC would show up.

For now, I’m sticking with my current setup, a mix of OneNote and TEO with OneNote primary.

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