The Ultimate Notion vs Coda Evaluation Guide in 2023

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The Ultimate Notion vs Coda Evaluation Guide in 2023

I've been using both tools for nearly six years and have interviewed thousands of users. So how do the two all-in-one digital workspaces compare?
Let’s start with a little background—my name is Noah, and I’ve been using both and
since 2017. I spent years going back and forth, falling in love with elements of both. I became so enamored that in 2020 I sought out and convinced the Coda team to hire me. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to interview thousands of Notion and Coda users. And I’ve worked with countless companies evaluating the two tools, trying to figure out what is best for their team.
Both Notion and Coda claim to be the one-stop-shop for your team to work, helping you consolidate not only knowledge, but also spend, by replacing a swath of other tools. I’ve seen how these tools can help teams run faster, more equitably, and more profitably. But with two front-runners who claim to solve many of the same problems, it’s increasingly hard to make the right choice.
When searching “Notion vs. Coda,” I found 20+ comparisons that painted the rough brushstrokes but didn’t dig deeply enough into the criteria that teams care about to actually make a decision. They seemed to miss fundamental differences that you might only encounter by using the tools extensively or seeing them deployed to actual teams. The devil is in the details, and small differences balloon as your team grows.
My goal with this doc is to provide the most comprehensive comparison I can, laying out the set of criteria I’ve seen commonly used by customers who are choosing between the two tools, so you can make a better, more informed decision for your team. I’ll start with an overview of the key differences under each criteria, but I encourage you to dig in deeper to each of the evaluation criteria. Let’s jump in!

1. Use cases: The four common ways Coda and Notion are used.

Notion and Coda are both front-runners in the all-in-one doc space. They both aim to solve the modern productivity paradox—our teams are pulled between an increasingly large combination of tools, yet end up doing most of their collaborative work in trusty workhorses, like Google Docs and Sheets.
As teams begin their comparison, the obvious first criteria is always “which use case can we use them for?” Given how broad these products are, it can be hard to find common groupings, but among the use cases I’ve seen companies test, they tend to fall into four common categories:
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Project proposals, PRDs, design docs, quarterly retrospectives, etc.
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A central home for your team to collect knowledge, take notes, make decisions, connect external data together, and more.
Keep track of ongoing projects, triage bugs, calculate budgets, etc.
OKRs, CRMs, spend analyzers, etc.
Notion primarily brands itself as solving the first three categories—their website is organized into docs, wikis, and projects—while Coda brands itself as being able to replace almost anything listed above.
In practice, this rings true with actual use. I’ve seen Notion teams regularly build wikis and collaborative docs, occasionally build simple trackers, and rarely build full fledged apps. On the other hand, I’ve often seen Coda teams run processes across all four categories, including complex trackers and impressively powerful apps that you wouldn’t be remiss to not believe are built in a doc at first glance. This difference in capabilities can become important when considering
and which tools you might be able to replace.
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Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

2. Organization & discoverability: Two different approaches to storing and finding your information.

Though they appear similar on the surface, Coda and Notion have chosen fundamentally different models for organizing your information. While both give you free flowing canvases that let you mix structured and unstructured data together, Notion works with a wiki model while Coda has a hub model.
In practice, this means that Notion operates as one large collection of pages, relying heavily on search and manually curated way-finding pages. On the other hand, Coda organizes your content into separate docs, which you can organize and access from a top-level workspace home, each acting as its own hub of pages.
The wiki model works very well for smaller teams as it removes the burden of gardening your knowledge. You can just add a page anywhere, and search to find it later. But as your team grows, so does your information, making the more structured nature of Coda’s hub model more effective. Search is absolutely vital for any modern knowledge work tool, but it tends to degrade in usefulness as the search space grows. And importantly, even if you can find something via search, having it in a logical home is almost always faster—you shouldn’t have to go looking in the first place.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

3. Features: The expansive capabilities of two all-in-one workspaces.

Both Notion and Coda are extremely feature-rich products with extensive capabilities to solve the four categories of I described above. There is a significant amount of overlap in what each offers, but there are also some key differences.
Each product surface can be generally broken into two categories:
Unstructured: Rich collaborative canvases where you can write and format text, add quotes, callouts, collapsed sections, and more.
Structured: Powerful tables that act like databases where each row is an entry and each column defines a specific property of those entries. Columns can be formatted as text, numbers, dates, select lists, references to people, and much more.
Both tools have significant capabilities in each of these categories, providing unstructured canvases and structured database like tables. Where you will find the most differences is how far the native capabilities stretch—Notion relies more heavily on third-party extensions and embedded content, while Coda is able to solve almost all problems with native features.

For example, you can visualize data in charts, collect data with forms, and gather sentiment with reactions natively in Coda. While you can do these things in Notion, they require third-party extensions (some of which cost more).
Additionally, Coda generally has more robust capabilities with your structured data. A significantly more powerful (and easy to use) formula language, native automations, and flexible buttons mean you can build powerful workflows in Coda that would require coding or a third-party automation service in Notion.
There is a lot to dig into here, but I will sum it up briefly by saying that you tend to hit a ceiling of what is possible in Notion much faster than you do in Coda.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

4. Integrations: Connecting with the rest of your tools and data.

To be your team’s home, an all-in-one tool needs to be able to bring in and take action on the data that still has to live elsewhere. Both Notion and Coda have robust public APIs as well as in-product integrations which allow you to connect to external sources.
In Notion, you can use link previews to quickly see the status of a Jira ticket or a Github PR, embeds to pull in charts from Amplitude or drawings from Miro, and in a select few cases, sync databases to bring in a list of all your Jira issues or Jira PR’s as a native table.
Coda has an integration platform called Packs which similarly provide link previews and embeds, but they also can provide custom formula functions and bi-directional synced databases. The platform makes it simple to build, test, and share new integrations in a way that is not only drastically easier than building an external API-based integration, but also removes many of the security concerns we typically hear, since all integrations are run in a secure sandbox that curtails nefarious behavior.
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Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

5. Ease of use: The niceties and annoyances of everyday use.

When you live in a tool day after day, the little things matter. I’ve often heard that Notion is a simple and beautiful tool, while Coda is powerful but clunkier and harder to use. But having used these tools for half a decade, and watched thousands of others do the same, I think this characterization almost entirely misses the mark.
I think a lot of the “Coda is hard” sentiment comes from its higher ceiling of capability. Because Coda is capable of much more powerful workflows, with things like formulas, automations, and Packs, it’s very easy to come across powerful but complex docs, which can create an impression of Coda being hard. But those powerful docs are rarely the experience of a new user and are not reflective of the tool’s learning curve. So I think the most helpful way to evaluate ease of use is to compare the average daily experience of using each tool rather than looking at the extremes.
In my experience, Notion is beautiful to look at, and appears quite simple when you’re getting started, but when you begin to use it day in and day out, there is a laundry list of oversights and paper cuts that can make it cumbersome and frustrating to use. The pile-of-pages wiki style organization makes it hard to find where you currently are. The lack of keyboard navigation in databases makes quick entry impossible. Want to re-use the same custom icon? You have to re-upload it every time. Want to share a PRD template with your team to maintain consistency? You’re out of luck.
It’s worth challenging the assumption that simple = easy and complex = hard. I think this is an often misleading trope. For example, if you look at a relatively common example of building a in both Notion and Coda, you might be surprised to see how much easier things are in Coda. Because Coda has a broader set of built-in features, and a more robust formula language, it means that you don’t need workarounds to make this use case shine. It’s a great example of where being simple is actually a hindrance and causes a great deal of difficulty in something that should be dead easy.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

6. Scalability: Maintaining security, performance, and usability as your team grows.

As your team grows, so too may your list of criteria. And while both products now target larger teams and enterprises, Coda has been focused on this segment for longer, so tends to be ahead. I’ll break it into four of the most commonly considered criteria for larger teams.
: Ensure your data is protected and let your IT team manage and monitor access and usage.
Both offer table stakes security features, but Coda is a step ahead in enterprise requirements.
: Every tool has its limits, and you want to be sure that you won’t hit the limits of the tool you choose.
Both are generally fast and responsive with unstructured data, but Coda can handle large structured datasets significantly better.
: Your data should be available when needed and function as expected.
Both have great histories of uptime, but Notion has an unfortunate history of unexpected and unfixed behaviors.
: Everyone gets stuck at some point, but the question is how easily you can find help to get unstuck.
Notion has a rich online following and many thriving communities but lacks in human support, while Coda has only one active community but offers fast and personal support from a human team.
It’s worth noting that some of these criteria are still important for individuals or small teams. But in general, Notion works fantastically for individuals and small teams, and Coda excels more for medium to large teams.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

7. Cost: How much will an all-in-one workspace cost, or save, your team.

Considering any new tool, understanding cost is a key point of comparison. In today’s macroeconomic climate, most teams I talk to are looking to save money wherever possible. That means that not only are they looking for cheaper options, but they are also looking for ways to consolidate into fewer tools to reduce on the ever common SaaS habit of tool sprawl.
The very short comparative conclusion is roughly that Notion is usually cheaper for individuals and very small teams. Coda is almost always cheaper for medium to large teams because of its ability to replace other tools, reduce expensive licenses to other tools, and because of its unique billing model.
Ready to learn more? Check out the

Those are the criteria, now it’s time to dig in.

If you’ve made it this far, it should be pretty clear that choosing between Notion and Coda is not always simple—one is not objectively better across all metrics. Much of the decision depends on the size and priorities of your team. I’ve done my best to convey the criteria I’ve heard from customers making this decision, and to give an overview of the differences. To recap quickly, if you don’t read any further, here are the high level takeaways:
: Both can cover a wide range of use cases, but Coda’s powerful structured data features means it can handle more complex tracker and app-like use cases that Notion cannot.
: Each takes a fundamentally different approach—Notion’s wiki model works well for individuals and small teams, but Coda’s hub works better as your team grows.
: Both have extensive feature lists, but Notion relies more heavily on third-party extensions, which can add to total cost, while Coda has a variety of additional native features.
: Both offer public APIs and native integrations, but Coda’s integration ecosystem is larger, more robust in its features, and easier to add to yourself.
: Both work well for simple tasks, but Notion has a track record of small paper cuts that can make it frustrating to use day in and day out. And while Notion is simple, it’s not always easy.
: Both market themselves as working for teams, but Coda’s earlier focus on enterprise means it tends to be ahead in security, performance, reliability, and support.
: Both can help replace other tools, but Notion tends to be cheaper for individuals and small teams, while Coda is almost always cheaper for medium to large teams.
I highly encourage you to dig into the categories outlined above, or work through them one by one by clicking the link below. I sincerely hope you’ve found this helpful, and if you’d like to talk directly or provide feedback on something I’ve missed, you can reach me at .

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