Evernote is one of the oldest and most popular note-taking platforms on the market, with features that allow users to create notes like blog posts, to-do lists, lecture notes, and more customizable options.
But if Evernote is not the right tool for you, there are other options out there - options with different capabilities and different features that enable users to create visual maps and plan as well as execute their projects.
In this guide I will introduce Scrintal, doing a side-by-side comparison of Scrintal with Evernote and showing the pros and cons of each. It should be able to help you decide which personal knowledge management system will work best for you.
Evernote Alternative: Scrintal’s Best Features
Personal Knowledge Management
A personal knowledge management system enables users to create and collect information for future use to improve the efficacy of their project work. PKM can seem intimidating when one considers just how much possibly relevant information is out there that may be needed at some point, but Scrintal makes it easy - it is a platform on which to organize ideas and make linked connections with a customizable visual representation of this information that can be clustered, sorted, dismissed, and displayed with only a few clicks.
Scrintal’s spatial canvas is a critically important feature for mind-mapping, but it is far more than flashcards on a corkboard: there is no word limit for any card, and they can also include images, videos, and PDFs to expand the potential for connections. Backlinks to other cards make related information easily accessible when needed.
Connected Note Taking
In Scrintal, one can create a system of bi-directional connections between notes and view and edit multiple at a time. Information does not exist in a vacuum, and being able to recognize different notes as disparate in subject but related in content inspires creativity for users. This is also true for PDFs and videos, which can be opened as a floating tab within the Scrintal ecosystem alongside a note so that users can absorb information and take notes simultaneously.
Evernote also has internal note linking, but the ability to compare notes side-by-side and edit them in parallel is unique to Scrintal.
Multimedia Detailed Notes
Evernote has almost twenty years of development behind it, while Scrintal is going to be launched in 2022. Despite this, the Scrintal team, with both innovation and community feedback, has created a platform with capabilities on par with Evernote.
Evernote does allow for embedding videos and PDFs into notes, allowing you to type while watching and reading; you can even annotate PDFs. But given that it can only display one note at a time, the size of a PDF display can make it difficult to write notes while reading, a problem that isn’t present with Scrintal given its floating tab and floating notes feature.
This is also true for backlinks, which in Evernote take a user to a completely new note while in Scrintal, take them to a new floating note alongside the previous one. These notes can also be dragged around the page as required.
Intuitive User Experience
Both Evernote and Scrintal contain useful (and different) features. For those that find Evernote bloated with too many options and cumbersome to navigate, Scrintal may be a better solution. The platform is intuitive, navigable with a few clicks or a quick parsing of the shortcut menu, the latter of which is composed of commands that are commonly used in the same way on other platforms. This makes Scrintal an intuitive choice with no steep learning curve.
Instead of notebooks, there are boards, and within a board there can be many graphs of connected cards and even many solitary cards as required. Backlinks allow each note to function as a section that can be summed up in a table of contents that describe a project and can direct to a particular section with ease. Side-by-side comparison and editing of notes means that the flow of ideas does not have to stop in order for the user to navigate to the proper note to write down information.
In fact, it’s so intuitive that I’m writing this guide on Scrintal right now.
Evernote Alternative: The Pros and Cons Comparison
Evernote is an established brand with recognition in the note-taking space and many employees to bring any user-friendly changes to the application as soon as possible. Because they have had over a decade of product development, there are many features and integrations that make it useful for work, education, and personal life if the user is looking for all-encompassing functionality.
Evernote has offline mode, enabling users to edit notes on the go and have access to information even without a steady wifi connection. They also have a mobile application that increases ease of use and has gone through many updates to make it seamless and purposeful. Other helpful features in Evernote include an application-specific web clipper and the ability to annotate pages of a PDF within the Evernote ecosystem, making changes easily identifiable.
The structure and flow of Scrintal lends itself to an intuitive process from beginning to end: plan, brainstorm, execute, and share. This method of work makes the journey from ideation to presentation smooth and prevents interruptions to the creative thought process.
Empowering your first brain
Scrintal’s virtual canvas dissuades the creative flow of ideas from being interrupted. Connections rise to the surface more easily in a visual format and are not at risk of being forgotten or overlooked. The Scrintal ecosystem can host videos and PDFs on the same screen as an editable note, avoiding the need to scroll up and down or switch back and forth between tabs or windows.
As needed, notes can appear as cards, full-screen text editors (for focusing), or titles only (for a holistic view of the network). This is a tool for the mind to more effectively engage with information and produce new ideas.
Networked note taking
Cards can be linked together or tagged, and these are two of Scrintal’s most important features. Our minds work similarly, forming connections between ideas and using these connections to create a knowledge base that not only consists of information, but also a network that inspires innovation and enables problem-solving. Creating a visual representation of this network is more efficient than holding it in your mind, where only one connection can be considered at a time and new ideas may be lost or forgotten.
These connections hold significance, whether they are hierarchical (as with links) or flexible (as with tags)
In Evernote, the connections between notes can be solidified through links and tags, but the visual representation of the network does not exist.
Publicly shareable boards
Either individual cards or entire boards can be shared with users to view or edit as needed. This feature is paramount to the process of collaboration in an even better way than the shareability of a Google Doc: others can not only see your ideas and information, but can see the network of connections and more easily understand the main ideas and key takeaways.
Active PKM expert community
The Scrintal community is growing fast, and users are excited about the platform and eager to share ideas, use-cases, templates, and feedback for improvement. The establishment and size of Evernote somewhat precludes it from having such an active and engaged community; instead, user support can be more easily found in online tutorials and virtual help desks.
In Evernote, connections and links are not represented visually the way they are in Scrintal, which does not make it intuitive for visual thinkers and people whose projects and notes are not disparate in subject. The network of connections cannot be viewed, making it difficult to notice missing information or creative links between topics.
Evernote feels like an all-purpose tool for many different kinds of users, and so for some, it can feel like there are too many different features and a steep learning curve to even decide if the tool is right for you. Furthermore, support is mainly driven by tutorials and help desks rather than community support (as with Scrintal, which has a robust and active community on Slack), limiting the spread of new and creative uses of existing tools.
The Evernote ecosystem, due to its one-note-at-a-time structure, is not always compatible with viewing embedded videos or PDFs while taking notes; often, the user must scroll up and down to take notes on a particular topic.
The fact that Scrintal is an early stage product slated to be launched in 2022 makes it more likely that the application’s areas for improvement will be addressed by the famously receptive Scrintal team.
For example, the ability to annotate PDFs is a hugely important feature for research and note-taking purposes, and this functionality is not yet available in Scrintal. Integrations with a wide range of other apps like calendars, meeting platforms, and others that are used by knowledge workers on a daily basis are still being developed. Offline support and a mobile app are in the works; this is definitely a big focus for the development team in order to provide a competitive experience with other note-taking apps and be a more commensurate alternative to Evernote.
Evernote Alternative Use Cases
Consulting projects are almost always unique, composed of a specific set of deliverables to meet the needs of each client. It involves collecting loads of information, most of which will end up being irrelevant. For a client to execute recommendations requires careful planning and thorough explaining on the part of the consultant.
Scrintal has exactly the kind of features to enable and improve this process. Parsing through information to find the significant data points is made easier with a hierarchical structure. A visual network of connections that was created during the long research phase is valuable in explaining the reasons for recommendations, and the linking and tagging system makes it simple for a client to navigate between different facets of a recommendation. The ability to share a board is the perfect medium: a simpler, cleaner, and more easily navigated version of a Prezi presentation.
Scrintal is very useful for knowledge work like writing journalistic articles, scholastic papers in the arts and sciences, and reports for corporate use. Ideating and planning is made easy with the hierarchical and flexible structuring that the platform offers, and the abilities to fold, unfold, display, and dismiss cards as needed enables holistic awareness and focused work.
For example, a journalist can use Scrintal to record the different facets of a story, including interview notes and critical images, documents, and videos, see how they connect, and have a bird’s-eye view of how an article can come together.
Also, scientists can plan their papers within Scrintal, utilizing the whole ecosystem to keep their sources, notes, data, and original ideas together in a single place.
In a corporate setting, the platform can be used to construct business reports from the ground up by consolidating information; connections may reveal new areas of exploration and new data to collect.
Visual representations of a network of knowledge are particularly important to students and researchers because in order to study material effectively or write a convincing essay or thesis, information must be organized, holistic, relevant, and cited. Within Scrintal, one could store notes on lectures or research papers, a list of sources as a bibliography, ideas for an essay topic, or a table of contents outlining a scholarly article.
The hierarchical structure of a network on the platform can help cultivate a thesis; this feature is not present in Evernote. An important future feature would be the ability to annotate documents like scholarly papers, as Evernote does have.
Evernote Alternative: The Final Verdict
Scrintal is the best Evernote alternative
Different tools suit different tastes and serve different purposes. As a visual learner and thinker who moves quickly through different ideas and needs to hold on to them before I forget, Scrintal is the best tool for me.
Evernote is a note-taking app with myriad features and many different kinds of integrations, allowing users to keep their ideas, references, reminders, and events in one place. The notes can be linked, tagged, and searched; PDFs can be annotated within the app to prevent switching back and forth between applications.
But the structure and layout of Evernote is not much different than any kind of document. The notes are read top to bottom and cannot be displayed simultaneously. If you’d prefer not to scroll or click back and forth between links to the same few notes, Scrintal may be a good alternative.
Scrintal’s flexible mind map means you can structure your thoughts exactly in the way you think them in your head, saving brainpower and facilitating understanding and creativity. They have many of the same features as Evernote and even more in the pipeline. If you are a visual thinker who prefers the holistic view from flashcards to the top-down approach of a document of notes, give Scrintal a try!