This post is third in a series (started last month) comparing OneNote and Evernote, the two most useful digital notebooks. Both programs support web clippers: pieces of software you can install in your web browser, designed to help you select web info and import it into either OneNote or Evernote (or both). Although they both do their basic task well, the two diverge greatly after that. Let’s take a close look.
The OneNote Web Clipper – Short and Sweet
The OneNote Web Clipper is a useful tool for clipping anything from short text bits, photos and artwork, and almost anything else you can find on the web.
To clip an article or page or any part of a page, click (or tap) the OneNote Clipping Tool icon:
Then you will see the OneNote Clipping Tool environment, including a preview of the clipping. The contents of the preview depend on which of the four clipping types you select.
The four types of clips are:
- Full Page, which includes the entire web screen, including sidebars, ads, menus and almost everything you see on the page.
- Region, which allows you to select which part of the page you want to clip. (This is called a Screenshot in Evernote.)
- Article, which selects the entire article you are reading, without sidebars, ads and such.
- Bookmark, which saves the title, a short excerpt, a link and a thumbnail of the main article graphic. If you like to collect links instead of entire articles, use this or the Region command.
The Preview Screen
One of the nice features of the OneNote Clipping Tool is its preview screen, which (usually) lets you view how your clipping will look in OneNote. You can adjust the size of the body text of the clipping, choose either a san-serif or serif text, and use the highlighter to mark text.
Click on the Add a note… button in the preview window and you can add your own personal note to the clipping before you send it to OneNote.
If you select the Region option in the OneNote Web Clipper, the preview panel disappears, temporarily, to allow you to select which part of the screen you want to clip. Unfortunately, you cannot scroll a screen clip to extend beyond the size of the current screen, but you can add as many screen clips as you want using the Add another region tool that pops up after you make your first clip. (Evernote does not allow combining different clips in one swoop like OneNote does.)
Once you’ve chosen what you want to clip, there is a drop-down Location button to choose which notebook and which tab you want to save the clipping to.
Once you have finished selecting your clipping, you click on the (surprise) Clip button to save it to OneNote. Usually, after a couple of seconds, you get a “Clip Successful” notification with a button that allows you view the clip in your online copy of OneNote in another browser tab. Or you can open up your desktop (or any other version) of OneNote, manually sync with the online OneNote if necessary, and view your clipping there.
If you don’t want to view your clipping right now, simply close the box and go on exploring the Internet.
And that’s it. OneNote’s Clipping Tool is elegant and seamless in its simplicity. The options are all clearly marked and work mostly as expected. There have been a couple of times when the Preview Screen did not work for me, but I’ve not been able to reproduce that problem.
It’s not a web clipper feature, but if you have the desktop version of OneNote installed in Windows, Microsoft also installs a send-to-OneNote feature into the print dialogue box. This can work on the web or with any other printable document in Windows.
The Evernote Web Clipper
The Evernote Web Clipper does just about everything that the OneNote Clipper does, which is what you should expect. But on top of that, the Evernote Web Clipper allows you to add tags before you clip (making the most of a key Evernote advantage), draw and annotate on screen clippings, share clips with your social media, and (if you use the services) easily save your online Gmail and Outlook.com email in Evernote!
OneNote’s clipper is easy to master, but I’m still finding new things about Evernote’s web clipper. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Basic Web Clipping
When you open Evernote’s Web Clipper you see that it offers the same options seen in OneNote’s. Note that these screen shots were taken using Google’s Chrome web browser in Windows, so there might be variations between browsers and operating systems.
First, the Evernote Web Clipper clips similarly to OneNote with options for clipping a web article, the full page, a bookmark and a screenshot (a “Region” in OneNote-speak).
But Evernote’s clipper adds one more type of clipping called a Simplified article which alters the layout of the web page with an emphasis on readability, removing much of the CSS formatting, sidebars, ads and the like. If you are more interested in storing the actual text of an article or post and not the website’s formatting, you may love this option.
When you go to save a web clipping, you have the option of saving to a specific notebook, as in OneNote’s clipper, but you also have the option of adding one or more tags to help you find the clipping later in Evernote. (You also, in Evernote, have the option to filter your search to find info in just your web clippings. There’s no way to do that in OneNote.)
You can also add a remark before saving your clip to Evernote (much like you can in OneNote).
Evernote Web Clipper Options
Press the Options button to customize your web clipping environment. Here you can select a specific notebook to save your clips, or use “smart filing” to help you find the right notebook. There is also an option to pre-select which tags you want to use (helpful if you are saving a lot of clippings on the same topic).
But, there’s more! You can select your default clipping type. (You can still change it with a single click.) You can choose to have the Evernote Web Clipper automatically close when you click save, or show a successful clip dialogue (with or without showing some of your previous related notes).
The clipper also has an option to include a “Save to Evernote” button when viewing a PDF file in your browser.
Another option is not so much for clipping but for web search. When you use a search engine (such as Google or Bing) to do a search, Evernote will also show you any matches for the search terms in your Evernote collection, too! (There’s nothing similar to this in OneNote.) If this annoys you instead of inspires you, you can turn this off in the Options page.
Finally, if you are a super-clipper who prefers to keep your hands on the keyboard instead of on the mouse, you can use and edit 36 different keyboard shortcuts just for the Evernote Web Browser (including setting a key for opening the web clipper). At first I thought this was efficiency overkill. But in practice, just creating a shortcut to open the clipper and memorizing a couple of other shortcuts really does speed things up.
The Evernote Web Clipper Options panel also has a “Legal” tab that gives credits to the various open-source and other tools used by the Clipper, if you like to read that kind of thing.
Saving and Annotating Screenshots
Something unique happens when you use the Evernote Web Clipper to create a Screenshot. When you select a portion of the screen (as opposed to an article or a page) you find a pop-up suite of annotation tools for marking up the clipping for your own use, or to share the clipping with others. There are a variety of highlighting and drawing tools, a marker tool, a cropping tool (to make a post-markup crop), magnification tools, a stamp tool, a text tool to add commentary, a pixelator tool designed to obscure selected areas (say an email address or password) and a choice of black, white and six colors for your markings.
A feature I found out, purely by accident, is that if you use a drawing tool outside the current clipping, it extends the white space around the clipping to include your drawing. If you like drawing boxes and adding annotations, this is a great feature. (See the example, below.) It’s a shame you can’t use any of the annotation tools with Evernote’s other clipping modes.
As in the OneNote Web Clipper, you cannot extend a screen clip beyond the limits of the current screen.
Click on Save to keep all your changes in Evernote.
More Tools After You Save the Clip
Once you save your clipping, however small or large, annotated or not, that isn’t all that the Evernote Web Clipper offers. Depending on those options you set (that we discussed above), you can still do more.
Evernote’s web clipper can be a social sharing tool with many options. After saving your clipping to Evernote, a popup window shows:
- A confirmation that the clipping was saved in Evernote;
- Reminds you which notebook it was saved in;
- Gives you the option to share the clipping with a URL;
- Allows you to copy and share the clipping with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+; and
- Gives you the option of including the clip in a new email message;
In addition, you can invite somebody else (or several people) to:
- view your new note in Evernote, or
- view and edit your note, or
- view, edit and also invite others to view your notebook page.
Plus, even as you save the clipping, Evernote can show you links to other clippings you already have from that particular web page.
By clicking on the sometimes hard-to-see clock icon, you can also send yourself a reminder about the clip, adding a date and time for a reminder to show up on your computer. So if you want to share a clip with your friends or work team at a future date or time, you can set a reminder to do so.
In other words, the Evernote Web Clipper is also a social media clipper and allows you to share your notebook page with others, and lets you email the clipping – all from the web clipper. But that’s not all!
Email Clipping and Saving, too
If you view your emails using the online versions of Gmail or (surprise) Microsoft’s Outlook.com, the Evernote Web Clipper also has special tools for saving individual emails to Evernote already built in. You can test this in the free version of Evernote, but you will need to subscribe to Evernote Plus or Evernote Premium to use this feature.
In Gmail, all you have to do is click on the Evernote Web Clipper icon (as usual) and you have the option to save the email message into an Evernote notebook, plus all the sharing tools listed above.
But, as you can see from the screen clipping below, Evernote’s web clipper can also be incorporated into Outlook.com with a special icon in your email message to clip the message to Evernote. So you can save your Outlook.com emails to either OneNote or Evernote, which is unusually cooperative for a Microsoft service!
Comparing the Web Clippers
The Evernote Web Clipper is actually a suite of tools for annotating and sharing your clippings (with social sharing, too), as well as sorting your clips into notebooks and adding tags.
Whereas OneNote’s tool is elegant and simple, Evernote’s clipping tool offers additional tools to save, share, tag, organize, create reminders and find related clippings you’ve already saved. If you do this regularly, you can even customize your keyboard shortcuts to make saving clips even more efficient.
The one thing that OneNote’s clipping tool does that Evernote’s can’t is to combine multiple screen clips together into one clipping.
It would be unfair to call the OneNote Web Clipper a one-trick pony, but compared with the Evernote Web Clipper, OneNote is entirely out-gunned by the extra services offered by Evernote.
Which Clipper Should You Use?
If you regularly want to annotate your web clippings before saving them, Evernote’s web clipper is the only choice. Also, if you use Evernote’s tagging system to find your clippings later, there’s no equivalent in OneNote. Evernote also allows you to filter a search to just your web clippings, if you like.
But, if your clipping needs are simpler and you don’t need keyboard shortcuts or tags, OneNote’s web clipper may be fine.
If you want to save and archive important email messages from Gmail or Outlook.com, Evernote is the better choice, especially since you can add tags while you save. (Another option for either program would be to use an automation tool, such as IFTTT, but that involves learning another program.)
If, however, you use Office 365 or the Microsoft Office Suite on your computer, the integration with OneNote might be the better choice, especially with the ability to integrate tasks and email with the desktop version of Outlook (as opposed to the online version).
OneNote users who only occasionally need to annotate a web clip as a graphic, may find a separate screenshot tool (such as GreenShot, my favorite) is an option. (I used GreenShot to make the shots of the various clipping tools shown above.) You can then manually add the clipping to OneNote or Evernote.
Or you can install and use both clippers. For example, you could use the Evernote web clipper to annotate your screen clipping, save it into Evernote, and then, with the Evernote clipper, also forward it via email to your OneNote account. Or you could divide your clips between them, possibly keeping all your recipes in Evernote (with tags for the type of cuisine or ingredients) and use OneNote for your business correspondence. Or vice versa. Whichever fits your workflow better.
To Install the Evernote Web Clipper
To install the Evernote Web Clipper, go to https://evernote.com/webclipper/ and download the version for your browser: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 7+; Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge for Windows 10+.
To Install the OneNote Web Clipper:
Using Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, or Safari, go to https://www.onenote.com/clipper in your browser and there should be the option to “Get OneNote Web Clipper” for your web browser.
You can also explore the web app store for your particular device for either clipper.
Next: Our recommendations on whether OneNote or Evernote is the best fit for you. Also, many resources to learn more.
Title photo is by the author, Andrew Brandt.
Screen clips are by the author. Web sites clipped include Frugal Guidance 2 (this site) and Brandt’s Woodwind Quintet Site (our sister site). The definition clips are from thefreedictionary.com.
The OneNote logo and related designs are property of Microsoft. The Evernote logo and related designs are property of the Evernote Corporation.