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Outline 4D (formerly known as Storyview 2.0)

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Posted by Dr Andus
Nov 10, 2012 at 04:02 PM


I see that Outline 4D is on sale at USD75.00 on the Write Bros website:

They must have picked up on the fact that some online retailers were undercutting them for some time now.

I am still learning O4D but for now it’s my favourite single-pane outliner with inline notes. I use it to add flesh in the form of inline notes onto a pre-existing Bonsai outline, and afterwards I export it into Scrivener for final writing up.

The interface does show its age in some respects, but if you can get over that fact, there are some truly unique features under the hood, such as the ability to view items at a particular hierarchy level only (e.g. only level 4 and exclude all the other levels, from 1 to 3, and 5-6), not to mention the Timeline View, which is a very special kind of a corkboard.

I’m still working through the manual to master the Timeline View, but I can already see that it can have uses beyond just simply viewing your outline in another view. E.g. I could see it work as a qualitative analysis tool, by starting with empirical examples with “index cards” at level 5 of an outline, and then gradually develop the contents of the subsequent higher levels of the text (which are larger cards that enclose the cards at the lower level) by extracting and abstracting content from the lower levels. It’s basically a pyramidal structure, with abstraction rising through the ranks.

Finally, the third main feature is the plotting tool, the “Tracking Feature,” which allows you to track anything (story lines, characters, objects, concepts) across the index cards in the Timeline View. It can also be enabled to do that automatically, by setting a keyword.