Is there any good alternative to OneNote / Evernote with the following features:

1) Forever usability. No subscription locks as in Office 365

2) Offline. No uploading to CIA / KGB as in Evernote.

3) Omnivorous for multiple formats: images, web pages, links, audio video clips etc.

Features are:

1) WYSIWYG text editor with simple colors, formatting, tables

2) Copy paste for images, web pages (with links), videos, screenshots etc

3) Organizing in a tree or equivalent complexity, tags

4) Full text search and search by datetime

  • Do you need to sync to multiple devices, or are you just going to use it on a single windows computer?
    – holroy
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 14:27
  • 1
    Sync is a plus, but without posting to a third party server. Not needed otherwise.
    – Dims
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 17:42
  • 1
    You could always try getting an older copy of OneNote.... Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 20:18
  • For which operating system? Windows, I assume? And which basic features do you need? You should list them in your question so that even people that don’t know OneNote/Evernote can recommend software.
    – unor
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 3:01

10 Answers 10


I've started using Joplin after OneNote managed to delete all my data.

It has a rich text editor built in but I'd recommend using the Markdown editor (write in Markdown with a WYSIWYG output to see your changes in real time). One of the really nice things is you can copy and paste images directly into the Markdown editor and Joplin will handle the action and and embed the image into the Markdown for you.

One thing of particular importance to OP (and to me) was offline functionality. Within Joplin, in Tools -> Options -> Synchronisation you can change the Synchronisation Target to be on your local machine. I then backup that folder separately to BackBlaze so no CIA / KGB involved.

OP also mentioned subtrees, tags and fulltext searches which are all offered by Joplin.


Give KeepNote a try. It works on Windows, Mac, Linux. But no mobile. Since the requirement is offline and sync optional, it might work for you.

It allows file attachment, rich text formating. The notes are created as html, so no lock-in.

  • +1 for keepnotes too. you can export your notes to a cloud then view, download, edit then reupload. there are programs to do it automatically
    – FONZ
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 6:35
  • 2
    sad to say, KeepNote had not been updated since 2012 ... I'm also looking for alternative.
    – kenchew
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 8:18

Two options springs into mind when you state that you want it completely offline and still being able to handle multiple formats:

  • A personal wiki with local storage – Multiple exists, and which to choose requires more information. But just to mention a few: MdWiki, TiddlyWiki, MoinMoin could all possibly fit your requirements.
  • One or multiple mind maps – These can also be used to organise large amount of offline information, and as such replace onenote/evernote, some notable from a long list of mind mapping software: FreeMind, XMind

Do look into either one of these, as they might suite your needs, and if not, please clarify exactly what you want to have replaced in your alternative to EverNote/OneNote, as the question is actually quite broad as it stands.


No-one has mentioned so far that OneNote works offline when you purchase it. For example with Office Home & Student 2016 for PC you will get OneNote which will work completely offline.

This way, all your 3 requirements can be fulfilled.

  • 1
    One of the problems with Onenote is that it uses a cache file. This means that your notes will be available even if you keep your notes on a separate removable drive. If you remove or disconnect the drive your notes will still be accessable and that can be a nasty security issue if privacy is important for you when it comes to your notes.
    – gpwr
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 7:24

I have recently started using Typora and Dropbox for note taking. Typora is a Markdown editor, but has very good WYSIWYG capability. You get both the speed of writing in Markdown and the ease of looking at nicely presented formatting. Of course, you can switch to source code mode if you want. With Dropbox, you get local copies of your files available offline, but you also get cloud syncing so you can work across devices. Typora lets you name your files, shows them to you in a file tree, and of course since it's just Markdown you can take them with you if you ever decide to do something else with them. I wrote more about this on Medium: What if you can't use Evernote?


You don't mention if paid-for Software is ok or not but I would suggest trying out RightNote from BauerApps. There is a Freeware, a Standard and a Pro version, each with a progressive set of features. The developer's site has a detailed feature comparison.

It is not the most modern/snazzy user interface but I have been using RightNote for years now and I am always surprised at the number of capabilities in such a compact piece of software. Sometimes I try other note-taking software but then I always come back to RightNote. It is not perfect but it covers a lot of use cases for me.

Regarding your list of requirements/features:

  • Forever usability. No subscription locks as in Office 365
    Perpetual licensing - only upgrades to new (major) versions are paid-for but optional

  • Offline. No uploading to CIA / KGB as in Evernote.
    Windows installer and portable versions. Data stored locally. Sync possible but optional.

  • Omnivorous for multiple formats: images, web pages, links, audio video clips etc.
    Create different note types depending on format requirement and version. Not sure about video clips but can always link to it from a Link note.

    Freeware version:

    • Rich Text note - basic text formatting capabilities (like Wordpad)
    • Source Code note - includes highlighters for many common programming languages
    • Memo note - for plain text notes
    • Link note - access files on your hard-disk (and open in associated program)

    Standard version:

    • Rich View note - advanced text editing and formatting, WYSISWYG, images, table support
    • Spreadsheet note - supports most spreadsheet/Excel functionality (incl. import/export Excel)
    • Attachment note - attach and store any type of file in RightNote

    Pro version:

    • Webpage note - clip and save webpages to a note
    • Outline note - as the name says (behaves like a tree in a note)
    • Task List note - Same as Outline note but with check boxes
  • Copy paste for images, web pages (with links), videos, screenshots etc
    Various clipper and capture functions, incl. web page, screen shot, bookmark, highlighted text.

  • Organizing in a tree or equivalent complexity, tags
    Both, tree and tags

  • Full text search and search by datetime
    Yes to full text search, not sure about date/time as I never needed it. You can search for recent and frequently used notes. Also, there is a "Journal" feature in the Pro which puts a timestamp on notes and displays them in the tree under a date structure (if configured).

  • Sync a plus
    Sync with Evernote (integrated feature) or sync with any storage using the usual external methods.

  • This seems like a fantastic tool. Does it support image text search as well? If I capture an image and store it in my note and it has text on it, will it be able to find the text? Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 16:18
  • To be honest, I don't know - never tried it. My guess is that it doesn't support image text search. I know that OneNote does (sort of). Depending on the volume of images, maybe you could have a workflow from OneNote to RightNote using tags or similiar.
    – Bumpyride
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 7:03

I use Notepad++ for general note taking and TortoiseSVN for Windows. There is SVN for MAC too and Linux. I use SVN and Git too (but more SVN because TortoiseSVN is just a few clicks and I'm familiar with it). Both SVN and Git is, I believe, omnivorous.

You can sync with Github and set up private repositories which may work for you. There is a charge for private repositories though. $7/mth for 5 repos.

Not sure if that will work for you. OneNote/Evernote are much more fully featured though with highlighting and extra note taking features. Notepad++ has some extra features like syntax highlighting for code but it's still a relatively basic notepad.

  • 5
    Notepad++ is a very good editor, but for text only. It doesn't allow to edit files with images, for example. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 20:09

Evernote has a 'local notebook' feature. A notebook that was created as local will not be synced to the Evernote servers, nor to any other of the user's devices.

This feature is available in the free accounts, on Windows and Mac. No guarantee that it will last forever, but you get at least the 'offline' and 'omnivorous' parts!

  • 2
    Why need an account then?
    – Dims
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 8:44

You can try TagSpaces(http://tagspaces.org). It is still in heavy development, but it features support for many file types and it is completely offline. For cross device support it can be combined with google drive or dropbox.

  • 1
    This seems to differ much from OneNote. Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 12:15
  • I could have suggested TagSpaces my self, but Dims says in 2) that he wants a complete offline version, which then at least removes cross device support through Google Drive or Dropbox.
    – holroy
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 12:22

A few apps come to mind that meet most of requirements

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