A Guide to the Best Notion Alternatives

Note-taking tools like Notion are increasingly important in an online world. While there are plenty of Notion alternatives out there, are they really any good? When you take notes, manage documentation or collaborate with your team every single day, your tool has to be absolutely perfect for you. In this post, we’ll look at Notion in more detail, as well as some popular alternatives to Notion, so that you can choose the software that’s designed for you.

A Guide to the Best Notion Alternatives

Choosing a tool for note taking and collaborative documentation can be tough. That’s why it’s important to examine the benefits of several comparable tools, each with unique advantages and disadvantages for individual users, teams and entire companies. We’ll look for the best alternatives to Notion by covering the following key points:

  • What is Notion?
  • Why do you need an online documentation tool?
  • What should you be looking for in a documentation software?
  • Evernote as an alternative to Notion.
  • Confluence as an alternative to Notion.
  • Craft as an alternative to Notion.
  • MeisterNote as an alternative to Notion.

What Is Notion?

Notion is a tool for collaborative note taking. People can make digital notes with the tool, replacing traditional pen and paper methods and word processing software. Notion targets teams and their workplace problems, especially regarding communication. Online note-taking tools drive transparency: everybody can work together on one document, simultaneously or at different times. This takes teamwork to a whole new level, and is particularly relevant with rising remote work contracts.

Notion has a lot of strengths: it’s easy to use, it’s customizable, and you can choose which information you want to share. But it’s not perfect. If you’re using the desktop version, you can’t work offline which is limiting if you’re somebody who commutes a lot. Some users have complained about glitches causing data loss: with a tool that stores all of your important information, you really don’t want to risk any system failures. Similarly, Notion’s data is stored in the US, making it less attractive to European companies, which mostly prefer having their information stored more locally.

Read about Meister’s security standards on our website.

With Notion, you’re sure to get a lot of cool features. For instance, it offers thousands of pre-built templates so you can make your notes better, quicker. You can also enhance collaboration with comments and mentions, and track your tasks so you never forget to do anything. However, some users feel it goes overboard. This leaves customers to look for Notion alternatives which do fewer things, in a more powerful way. Let’s dive into the world of online documentation and find you a stronger solution.

Why Do You Need an Online Documentation Tool?

Recording Information

However much some people try to resist admitting it, we do live in a technological world. Most of us have our phones on us all day, every day. And if we don’t, we’re probably sitting in front of a laptop. We’re far more likely to have our phone at hand than a pen and paper. So when we suddenly think of a brilliant idea, we need a digital way to record it. Cue, online documentation tools (especially ones that work offline too).

Storing Information 

The universal attraction of online note-taking tools is that you can’t lose your notes. How many times have you made a shopping list and lost or forgotten it? How many times did the dog eat your homework as a child? Now imagine a similar situation but in a business environment. The consequence isn’t that you forget bananas, or get detention, but that you forget an important meeting, or lose the information you really had to pass on to a colleague. 

A good online documentation software will:

  • Help you create clear, coherent documents and lists.
  • Have secure storage standards.
  • Let you edit notes offline.
  • Be unlimited.
  • Have a share function. 

Centralizing Information

Organize and structure information clearly in workspaces

Online note-taking tools centralize scattered information. Instead of having a desk covered in folders and sheets of paper, you can digitalize everything and place it in one tidy online note. Any changes to it are instantly updated and accessible via other devices. This also helps other people find information that is relevant to them without them having to ask you. You’d be surprised by how much time this can save you. 

Interested in recording, storing and centralizing information? Take a look at our website to find out how MeisterNote can help you!

Improving Communication

Mention colleagues in comments and they’ll be notified immediately

Note-taking tools can be applied differently to solve more specific problems. They can help centralize corporate communication, or enhance logical collaboration all within one interface. Ultimately, online documentation tools clarify internal processes and save you valuable time, increasing efficiency and productivity. For example, important information can be written within the software and the relevant colleagues notified using mentions. With apps that include comments features, colleagues can discuss ideas or expand on notes. As a result, communication is clearer and more effective.

Did you know that large businesses lose an average of $47 million in productivity each year as a direct result of inefficient knowledge sharing?

Finding Alternatives to Notion: What Should You Be Looking for in a Documentation Software?

As one of the most popular tools around, Notion is a good starting point to compare the various documentation tools on the market. However, even if you know you want a different tool, finding a suitable Notion alternative is a choice that needs careful consideration. With so many options, not everyone knows exactly what they want, which is why we’ve tried to break things down into two important categories. 

A Pretty Tool 

Though it might sound obvious, you should look for a documentation tool that makes you want to write. This probably means a tool with a clean and sleek interface and lots of customization options, so that you can make beautiful and readable documents. Although most providers start with noble intentions, many online note-taking tools have tried to impress users by incorporating too many features over time. As a result, they’ve sacrificed the user experience and created an overloaded software.   

Add icons and change their color to make your notes prettier

A Functional Tool 

Style needs substance, and there are some features you simply can’t do without. Here you should really consider which features would make your life easier, and which would simply clutter a potentially already overcrowded interface. If you’ll take digital notes often, automatic versioning might be an important feature as it’s easy to remove bits of information by mistake. If you’re striving for a more collaborative note-taking experience, an important feature might be comments and mentions. Take a little time to think about what you need, then select your new documentation software accordingly.  

Look at past versions to see what was changed, by who, and when

The Best Notion Alternatives: What Are Your Options?

The great thing about realizing the note-taking app you’re using isn’t meeting your needs is that you can begin your journey with a better one. To make your decision easier, we’ve compiled the most important information about four key alternatives to Notion. With this in mind, you can choose which tool best meets the needs of you and your team. 

When deciding which tool you will implement, you should consider: 

  • How will you use the tool? What will be its primary purpose? Which problems should it solve
  • Who will be using it? Will it be your entire company or just a certain department or team? Do users need to work collaboratively or take notes solo

If you keep these questions in mind, it will be easier to narrow down your search and focus on introducing a tool that improves your processes.

The Tried and Tested-Evernote

Evernote is the Original Gangster in the market of documentation tools, helping users solve the problem of ever amounting information and data. By offering a way to restructure information it aims to improve organization and reduce knowledge loss. We’re going to consider three of its key use cases: connecting teams, organizing company documents and supporting workflows. 

Connecting Teams 

One of Evernote’s primary use cases, like that of many collaborative documentation tools, is in connecting teams. This is critical considering 60% of respondents in a US survey stated they found it difficult, very difficult, or nearly impossible to obtain information vital to their job from their colleagues. Evernote provides a clean interface in which team members can write collaboratively, and feel more connected. It offers a fully functional web application, and works on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices: smartphone compatibility means you can feel connected to your team, from wherever. 

Despite this, while with some note-taking apps you can connect teams for free due to a fairly extensive unpaid plan, with Evernote this is less feasible. If you want to work with teams in Evernote, you have to pay at least$8.22 per month to overcome the restrictive storage limitations the company has placed on the free plan. This is far more expensive than Notion’s cheapest plan.

Organizing Company Documents

Most companies would benefit from the better organization of company documents. Online documentation tools offer you a way of creating extensive but attractive company documents. An online solution means more information can be stored, and such tools are more easily accessible than analog or standalone counterparts. 

Evernote provides a strong solution for company documentation. It is praised for its clean and minimalist design which enhances the user experience. While the color scheme and overall layout are not the most striking or beautiful, we can’t argue that it’s untidy. 

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Additionally, although we don’t find Evernote to be the simplest online documentation software to use, it’s definitely more straightforward to set up than Notion, and more usable generally, making it a far more efficient alternative to Notion for documenting information. Finally, Evernote works in offline mode, so it’s possible for you to edit documents on the go.

That said, Evernote is less friendly to new users due to its storage limitation. You can only upload 60 MB monthly, and there’s a 25 MB maximum note size in the free plan. If you want more uploads and longer notes, you have to purchase a paid plan. This is infuriating for those who simply wish to note lots of information primarily for personal use. But it’s also restricting for teams wanting to test a note-taking app before subscribing to one. Ultimately, Evernote is a note-taking app which limits note-taking. 

Supporting Workflows

To support workflows, Evernote offers integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier and Gmail, so you can access your favorite tools without much disruption. It also integrates with project management tools like Asana, improving workflow directly. 

Although Evernote offers the Asana integration, this is less smooth than documentation tools which offer in-app integrations. Using integrations with third-party apps can be clumsy and distract focus. And when you’re in the middle of a writing flow, you don’t really want to be switching software.

Is Evernote a Good Notion Alternative?

Evernote is a good documentation tool for teams that are committed to investing in a paid subscription. For $10.30 per month you can set reminders, link to multiple Google Calendar accounts and create to-do lists (and much more). But be careful, paid plans with other documentation tools may offer a more comprehensive feature set at a lower price.

Check out the Confluence pricing plans to compare which features are included in the cheapest plan.

The Hardcore Software Documentation Tool-Confluence

Confluence is an online platform for collaborative team workspaces. It is an incredibly powerful tool for hardcore development projects. While it works exceptionally for a specific group of people, it lends itself less naturally to use cases involving non-technical users. Documentation tools boasting simplicity and ease of use are more attractive to a wider range of users. 

Technical Documentation

It’s very straightforward to create technical documentation in Confluence since there is a dedicated ‘Documentation Space’ to get you started. On top of this, features like page templates, the Table of Contents macro and link addition options enhance your technical documentation and help you add depth. 

However, some users find Confluence has a less intuitive interface than other documentation software. As a result, while the features enhance work processes, you might lose time and money in onboarding teams to the tool, making its implementation counterproductive

Simple documentation tools can actually be used to improve the onboarding process, take a look at the sim cargo success story on our blog to find out more!

Knowledge Bases

Knowledge bases are very important for company organization. With them, you can organize crucial information about your company structure, processes and even values. Currently, over 9.3 hours is lost searching for information every single week, and workers spend 5.3 hours per week waiting for information from their colleagues. But with knowledge bases, you’ll save time handing out information and improve team alignment.

In Confluence, it’s possible to make knowledge bases using a load of tailored templates. Confluence also includes customization options, and Watch and Comments features to make knowledge bases more personal to your company, and more collaborative.

Did you know you can also integrate MindMeister with Confluence and embed mind maps directly in your Confluence pages!

Despite this, in the process of creating a knowledge base with Confluence, you need various permissions. This makes the tool less user-friendly. For example, to create a knowledge base space, you need the Create Space global permission, and to customize your knowledge base space, you need Space Admin permissions. 

Software Teams

Confluence is a strong tool for developers because it integrates seamlessly with Jira: you can link a Jira Software project and your Confluence workspace, giving you the best of both worlds. This is especially appealing to software teams that track issues in Jira, because with Confluence they can do it from within their documentation tool, saving time. Software teams also have to manage vast amounts of information, and Confluence facilitates this.

Though the Jira integration strengthens Confluence as a documentation tool for developers, it doesn’t benefit users more widely and instead just adds complexity to the interface

Is Confluence a Good Notion Alternative?

Confluence is a powerful documentation tool for developers: it’ll let you document massive projects and it integrates well with Jira. However, for personal note-taking or smaller-scale collaboration it has less utility, and permissions make it less friendly

Clean and Creative-Craft

Craft promotes itself as a fresh take on collaborative documentation tools. It focuses less on features, and more on simply helping you create pretty notes. As a result, it’s optimal for creative use, but has fewer strengths in the business world. 

For Creatives

Craft was built by creatives, for creatives. It successfully offers a place for all your notes and writing within a modern word editor, and it’s not hard to make your documents attractive. Use the different styling blocks to express yourself, and work in either dark or light mode, whichever you prefer. You can also add images, videos and files to enhance your notes. 

Craft works on Apple devices on and offline so that your creative flow won’t be hindered by the absence of wifi, which we find valuable. However, considering visual content was primary in the creation of Craft, there could definitely be more extensive styling options without them overwhelming the user. 

For Teams

Though Craft is not ideal for business use, it has a collaborative capacity so it would be possible to implement it in the office. Additionally, Craft is currently developing a specific paid team plan which will include administrative tools. So far, you can share notes using a link with just one click, which simplifies teamwork. 

Despite this, Craft lacks features which would really enhance team note taking and improve workplace processes. Other tools have easy sharing functions, while also incorporating a feature set designed to improve your working day. So if you’re looking for a strong tool for office-based documentation, Craft might not be the one. Similarly, if some of your team members work on Windows devices, they won’t be able to collaborate with those working on Apple devices. 

For Personal Use 

With Craft, you can easily create a database for notes and tasks you have to complete on a personal level. It’s a great place to store things you need to remember for tomorrow or next week. You can also edit your notes on your mobile, so if you think of something while you’re out, it’s easy to quickly add it to your document. 

However, if you make a lot of notes for personal use, you’ll find you’re limited by Craft’s free plan. The free Personal plan allows sync across all devices but you can only use 1000 blocks, which won’t last forever. After this, you have to commit to the Professional plan which is paid annually, and costs$44.99. This might seem quite excessive for a documentation tool you simply use at home.  

Is Craft a Good Notion Alternative?

Craft is nice. It’s slightly different from most other online note-taking tools in that it’s built around creativity. But with this in mind, we feel its creative aspects are quite limited. Additionally, it lacks the various functionalities other documentation tools include. However, fear not, for we still have one more tool to look at. 

Sleek and Integrated-MeisterNote

This year, we released our very own online documentation tool, MeisterNote. In developing it, we hoped to solve some of the problems we saw occurring in other similar tools. We’re happy to say that we’ve created an app that is beautiful, intuitive and incredibly customizable, so it truly supports your writing flow. 

Interested in the MeisterNote story? Have a look at this post on how it all started.

Our tool has its use cases at the forefront, making it a well-tailored answer to issues faced in the workplace. Let’s take a look at knowledge bases, internal communication, project documentation and meeting management. 

Knowledge Bases 

Over $31.5 billion is lost annually due to failures in sharing knowledge. Knowledge loss is therefore a crucial issue faced by companies worldwide. The solution? Knowledge bases. Knowledge bases provide employees with a single source of truth which is easily updated, shared and maintained. 

MeisterNote is ideal for creating team knowledge bases because it has different workspaces in which you can gather and store information relating to particular teams. This logical organization means it’s even easier to find the information you are looking for, saving you more time. Furthermore, the intuitive search tool in MeisterNote means you can find whatever you want, wherever it may be. 

Read how the Diocese of Essen used MeisterNote to create a team knowledge base.

In MeisterNote, there are 16 content blocks which allow you to format information in various ways, making it both more interesting to read, and clearer. Convey warnings, tips or quotes easily.

Choose from 16 content blocks to make your notes exactly what you want

Despite this, it’s not possible to copy paste more numerical data like tables and spreadsheets directly into MeisterNote. So if you’re transferring all your old documentation, you’ll probably want to use the embed function. This is slightly less convenient for non-cloud files as it requires upkeep within other programs. It won’t pose a problem for the majority of users though, and the important thing is that information can still be transferred. 

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Internal Communication 

Without an effective internal communication process, companies lose a lot of time (and therefore money) in updating employees about changes and news. Currently, over 43% of organizations are using three or more internal systems. This means some information is passed on a number of times, while other information is accidentally neglected. Use MeisterNote to avoid information silos and unnecessary employee stress.

MeisterNote enables companies to centralize their internal communication and improve the efficiency of messaging. With the seamless MeisterTask integration, notes can quickly be turned into tasks and assigned all from within MeisterNote. As a result, you save time by not having to switch between tools, and you can work without disturbance. Instant sync means everybody can view changes and tasks immediately.

Find out more about MeisterNote features for internal communication.

You’ve also got different sharing options so that you can share certain notes only with the employees they’re relevant to. Notifications, comments and note watching options ensure your collaboration and information sharing is even more beneficial. Finally, with several people working on a note at once, version history is a really useful feature that further prevents information loss. 

Though we really see the value in MeisterNote for improved internal communication, it’s not the best for sharing very short bits of information. A tool like Slack is better for this sort of exchange. Equally, if you have a very large team, and have given everybody edit access, what one person changes, changes for everybody. This could potentially be problematic but issues can be avoided by simply using the various sharing restriction options. 

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Project Documentation 

Team leads and project managers often need to create, collect and share project documentation with their teams in an organized and accessible way. Over 60% of organizations report content growing at a rate of at least 100% per year. This means that companies increasingly have to deal with vast amounts of information. MeisterNote helps you organize project information in a single, centralized area, increasing alignment. 

With file attachments and external media embed options, you can easily add depth to notes. Using the MindMeister integration, you can generate project ideas in a mind map and later transfer this to linear notes. The in-app integration with MeisterTask also supports project workflow. 

MeisterNote integrates with important third-party apps. It works with dev tools such as Airtable, Cawemo and Codepen, tools for creatives such as Figma, Framer and Miro, loads of Google tools, and a range of multimedia. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll feel the need for any external tools in project documentation.

Turn your notes into tasks without changing tool

While the MeisterTask integration is seamless and enhances your workflow by allowing you to assign tasks from within notes effortlessly, MeisterTask is not built for hardcore project management. In this sense, project documentation using MeisterNote is slightly limited. Comparatively, for agile management and project documentation relating to this, MeisterNote is ideal. 

See the full list of MeisterNote integrations here.

Meeting Management

Over 30% of work time is spent in meetings, and these meetings often aren’t productive. So we made a tool that would solve this. MeisterNote helps team leads, CEOs and individual contributors plan and organize their meetings, making them shorter, more relevant and more valuable.

Respond to colleagues within notes

With MeisterNote, you can set clear and attractive meeting agendas, take beautiful meeting minutes, create comprehensive follow-up material and improve team productivity. Notifications keep you alerted if you’re mentioned in a discussion so you’ll never miss anything important. If you’re searching for something highlighted in the meeting, you can use the exceptional search function. Ultimately, you’ll save time both within meetings and after them, thanks to MeisterNote.

Despite this, MeisterNote supports linear note-taking, so if you want to plan ideas for meetings in a more creative way, you have to use the MindMeister integration. Some people simply work better in a different way, and for those, MeisterNote might not be the answer. 

Interested in more concerning meeting statistics? Have a look at this.

Is MeisterNote a Good Notion Alternative?

In short: yes. MeisterNote has a really clean, intuitive interface which makes it so easy-to-use you can introduce it with no onboarding. It is high-functioning without sacrificing its appearance: you can create beautiful and readable notes with ease. MeisterNote has fewer features than Notion, but the ones it has are carefully chosen and wonderfully designed to give you the optimum user experience. MeisterNote won’t overwhelm you with options, it’ll just support you to do better. 

MeisterNote has fewer storage limitations than Evernote, and is useful to a wider range of people than Confluence. It’s also more applicable to a business environment than Craft.  Everybody is different though, and we can’t claim that MeisterNote is the perfect fit for each and every one of you. We hope that our fair consideration of both the strengths and weaknesses of our tool will help you make the right decision for yourself. 

Notion Alternatives: A Summary

The good news is that there are a lot of options. The bad news is that this can make it harder to decide. But if you take some time to think about the positives and negatives of the different documentation tools, and consider their use cases and the uses you have for one, you’ll be able to make a really good decision for your team.

If you’re really not sure where to start, why not give MeisterNote a go? Our free plan is fair and extensive, and will give you a good idea of what more there is to come. We’re sure you’re going to love it, and if you don’t, please let us know how we can do better: just click the feedback button in the bottom right corner of MeisterNote. 

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