Notion Alternative guide

Kahana
9 min readJun 21, 2022

This Notion Alternative guide condenses a shortlist of 8 options and breaks down features, advantages, pricing, and more for comparison.

‘Distracted boyfriend’ meme and Notion logo
When it comes to Notion vs Notion alternatives, is the grass really greener? Let’s break it down 🧐

First off, before diving into this guide, we felt that it was important to explain that for the longest time, our team held off on jumping on the Notion bandwagon as it become popular, however, we eventually stumbled upon a new use case that caused us to play around a bit more and now… our team uses Notion (you’ll see why at the end of this article).

In a nutshell, Notion is an interesting platform that holds a lot of potential if you are willing to learn how to use it, and as a result there are few alternatives. However, there are some…

Since people are searching for Notion Alternatives, it made sense to create a guide and share information on the topic. As a part of this breakdown and to facilitate the process of comparing and contrasting, we’ve compiled 2 lists:

  1. A list of 5 legit Notion alternatives
  2. A list of 3 “sort of” Notion alternatives

Now, here’s a brief reminder of the top things you need to know about Notion, to help you compare and contrast it with its alternatives.

Notion

What is Notion exactly? Well, according to Wikipedia

“Notion is a project management and note-taking software. Notion is software designed to help members of a company or organization coordinate deadlines, objectives, and assignments for the sake of efficiency and productivity.”

Screenshot of a Notion workspace created by Kahana
This is a workspace we are building with Notion.

Instead of looking for a pinpoint definition of what Notion is, it is actually more effective to define Notion according to what it can provide as a tool, its capabilities as a software, and its use cases.

Tool

Simply put, Notion is a tool (but a multi-faceted one, at that)

As a collaborative tool, Notion is versatile and can fit your needs whether you want to simplify group note-taking, take control of all of your team’s tasks, or handle databases efficiently.

While it’s not as expansive as other more niche communication tools, Notion lets you comment and have an open dialogue across its flexible canvas.

Integrations

Notion can keep information flowing and give you a better overview of all your tools. Automatically update other apps, take actions on data and collaborate with others — without leaving Notion.

Notion integrations connect tools like Jira and Slack to Notion, so you can streamline your workflow.

Management

Notion can help make complicated use cases like cross-functional project management and roadmapping easier. With Notion, you can slice up data in many different ways — whether it’s a shared company roadmap or list of project tasks.

Screenshot of a design system in Notion.
Source Image: Notion Template Gallery

Design agency work is just one example of how Notion can be used for management. Design projects are big or small, from a logo tweak to an entire design system overhaul. Notion brings all the tools and teams together so designers can focus on work at hand — instead of project management overhead.

Notion can be your agency’s hub, both for internal project management and all client-facing work. It helps to ensure information is accessible, and projects stay on track.

Here’s a quick video (from Notion) that explains how it can be used for the management of comments and discussions.

Management of comments & discussions in Notion

Online documentation tools

Documenting your processes is improtant. Notion can help you create a system for both capturing and organizing information through collaborative documents. Whether it’s product launches, design specs, or user research — your processes need to run smoothly. In Notion, documentation wikis are essential for setting up your team for success.

Here’s another video (also from Notion) about building a team notes and docs database.

Build a team notes & docs database in Notion

Productivity tools

Notion has long been one of the most popular productivity tools on the market. With respect to basic features, it can function as a writing repository or workout calendar. More advanced applications would be a database or hybrid knowledge management system—it’s just an all-around flexible organizational tool.

Many “How I use Notion” YouTube videos have been created and posted over the years. If you’re curious about Notion’s role in the productivity tools market, here’s one of the most famous YouTube breakdowns (from Thomas Frank) to provide another perspective:

Source: Thomas Frank on YouTube

Writing

Tired of plain old writing? While it doesn’t have the most beautiful interface among writing apps, Notion lets you format your text in many ways, and whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced writer, it can help you build a portfolio.

Writing & editing basics in Notion

Alternatives to Notion

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “that's enough about Notion already!” Let’s dive into the legit alternatives to Notion. No single platform is perfect — each have their own unique merits, pricing models, as well as their own weaknesses to boot.

1. Coda

Coda user interface
Source Image: G2

Coda is a powerful tool for creating websites, blogs, and other web-based projects. It has a variety of templates that can help you create your own projects faster. And if you need additional elements to add to your work, you can make them yourself.

You can put all your information in one place. It is easy to format all the pages so that they look good and are simple to use.

As far as collaboration is concerned, it seems to be up to the task: you’re free to join a helpful community where you can share tips with other like-minded users and learn new tricks for enhancing your productivity. Coda also works with several popular apps like Slack and Google Calendar; this way you can get your work done more comfortably.

Coda pricing

Coda pricing comparison chart
Image Source: Coda pricing

2. Quip

Quip user interface
Image Source: Quip blog

Owned by Salesforce, Quip is an app you should consider as a Notion alternative. It’s combination of chats, documents, slides, and spreadsheets help to stay in sync with your teammates and work together.

Though it lacks the powerful customization tools that Notion offers, it can potentially meet many of your basic requirements. It is integrated with Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox. There are also functionalities that help you upload documentation from other services like Google Docs.

Quip pricing

Quip pricing comparison chart
Image source: Quip pricing

3. Confluence

Confluence user interface
Image Source: Atlassian blog

Confluence is useful for documenting and phrasing requirements, especially in remote work cultures when there is a very high probability of information getting misinterpreted. It helps us arrange one on ones with team members, and maintain a record of progress, blockers, feedback, and goals.

Confluence pricing

Confluence pricing comparison chart
Image Source: Confluence pricing

4. Tettra

Tettra user interface
Image Source: The Fresh Van Root Newsletter

Tettra is a knowledge management system that can replace Notion for any team — small or large. Because it makes it easy to find what you need it can function as a way to onboard team members. Adaptable to various tech stacks, Tettra also integrates with various third-party services, like Dropbox and GitHub. Like many of these alternatives, Tettra offers the ability to keep your files will be in one place, so you can spend less time switching between different apps.

Tettra pricing

Tettra pricing comparison chart
Image source: Tettra pricing

5. Slite

Slite user interface
Image Source: PCMag

If you’re looking for a collaborative writing environment that can also accommodate spreadsheets and databases, Slite is worth a try. The app supports real-time collaboration, comments, activity tracking, and version history.

Slite integrates with Slack, Trello, Figma, Asana, Airtable, plus more. Like Slack, all your documents are sorted into channels; you can make these channels public or private and keep as many files inside each channel as you want. Slite also offers a simpler note-taking experience.

Slite pricing

Slite pricing comparison chart
Image Source: Slite pricing

Other Notion alternatives

The following Notion alternatives are not as legit as the previous ones on the list. They are what we like to call “sort of” Notion alternatives. Mainly, they either lack the degree of robustness that Notion offers, or they simply are designed for a different use case.

6. Slab

Slab makes the list as a light alternative to Notion. It lacks the same robustness and key features, but it is less overwhelming. The layout is very user-friendly in general, as well as navigation. Teams can get completely set up within a day, porting over posts and content from multiple previous sources. The activity feed is useful for a quick glance at what has changed recently and the ability to have multiple users editing a document at once is helpful for group meetings.

7. OneNote

OneNote makes the list because many people think about it as a Notion alternative when in reality, it isn’t. When it comes to functioning as a note-taking tool both OneNote and Notion do the job. However, Notion’s key features and overall value proposition are starkly different from OneNote’s. While they are both collaborative, the style of collaboration and overall ability to scale is night and day.

If you’re considering OneNote as a Notion alternative, we also made a OneNote alternatives “dating” guide with other options.

8. Evernote

While Evernote can function as a Notion alternative, it is more of a note-taking app that also offers task management basic features. You can create notes, add tags, and set reminders for them. Evernote’s web clipper allows you to clip any web page into your Evernote account automatically; this is useful for keeping track of information for task listson a daily basis that may be relevant to you later on down the road.

If you’re curious about the Evernote and Notion comparison in particular, here’s an article dedicated to just Evernote vs Notion.

Kahana — honorable mention ✨

Kahana user interface

Kahana definitely isn’t a Notion alternative, it makes this list as an honorable mention for 3 reasons:

  1. Cost —When you copy-and-paste Kahana hub links within Notion’s flexible canvas (you can do this for free), you are able to build a hybrid, file-rich knowledge and project management system at zero cost.
  2. Value — Kahana’s intuitive interface (imagine a matrix) is complimentary to Notion’s flexible canvas, providing a simple framework for doing deep work (especially for first-time Notion users).
  3. Savings — Kahana’s free plan offers: unlimited bulk file uploads, file uploads up to 100 MB in size, unlimited draft creation, unlimited collaborators, plus more. When combined with Notion, you can save a lot compared to other options.

Here’s a less than 3-minute YouTube video that briefly shows how we use Notion in tandem with Kahana:

Source: Kahana YouTube

Conclusion

That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve found this article to be useful.

We’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts? Is there a legit Notion alternative that got snubbed? Did we get something wrong? Drop a comment and let us know what you think!

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Kahana

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