Switching to Joplin from OneNote

OneNote works great for the most part. I use(d) it on Linux through the browser and on Android. But, I just can’t rely on it:

Sometimes, I’ll get this message:

I can refresh the browser page, and it’ll go away, but it seems to just get worse and worse. It’s frustrating. I’ve finally reached the point that it is time to look for something else.

Joplin

I ran across Joplin. It has an Android app that will synchronize, and it also allows pasting screenshots. Those were my two big feature requests in a note-taking app.

I installed simply from the software center. It’s a snap package:

Then, I installed the Android App from the Play Store.

To get it to sync, I went to tools > options. Then, I picked One Drive as my target.

When I clicked Synchronize, it asked me to open this link in the browser:

The page in the browser takes me to live.com where it asks me if I want to “Let this app access your info?” I just answered Yes. Then, it goes back to Localhost and says, “The application has been authorized – you may now close this browser tab.”

Android

Next, I went to my phone. I installed the app from the play store. From the hamburger menu, I could access the configuration.

I just changed it to OneDrive here as well. Make sure to hit the save button on the top for it to save the change.

After saving the setting, I clicked Synchronize on the menu. It asked me to log into OneDrive. After that, my notes from my computer began to show up.

Issues

I’m not 100% happy with the results. Most of the time it works great. I did have it loose information twice. Once seemed like a synchronization issue between my laptop and Android. Another time, it sort of crashed. When I closed and opened the app on my laptop, I realized it hadn’t saved any of my meeting notes.

Also, I like to share my screen during meetings so people can see my notes as I take them. They have more trouble reading the markdown. I learned that I can hide the markdown with Ctrl+L, but if I want to edit it, I really need the Markdown showing.

Mark Down Tips

In One Note, I would create an agenda for meetings as a bullet point list. Then, I would add detail/discussion bullet points as we talked. To distinguish, I would color them blue.

Joplin doesn’t support font colors. So, I had to find another way. I decided on using the quote formatting. I add the “>” sign at the beginning. For example:

# Meeting Date
## Agenda
- Planned topic 1
   - sub point 1
   > - discussion detail
   > - discussion detail 2
   - sub point 2
- Planned topic 2
  > - detail

Note: The “>” has to be indented. In the example below, sub point 2 doesn’t work.

- Point 1
  - sub point 1
>   - detail 1
  - sub point 2

Conclusion

So, I’m liking it for the most part. I’m concerned about the couple of times that I lost data, but it hasn’t happened in a while. It also takes a while to synchronize on Android.

Other than that, I am enjoying using the app. I’m getting used to the Markdown.

I’m not completely sold on using this long term, but I haven’t found anything better for the moment.

Resources

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