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Writing Outliner for MS Word Soon on BitsDuJour

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Posted by Graham Rhind
Aug 2, 2013 at 05:46 PM


@2211 I think you’re getting confused/I’m confusing you.  Let me try to clarify below.

22111 wrote:
“Nothing is really physically moved as such when you drag things around
>except the order that WO knows the files needs to be handled in when you
>output the data into a new (full) Word file.”
> >Thank you for your clarifications, but you also say, you do not write in
>WO, which should mean you navigate in the WO tree, but then you write
>within the physical Word files that are displayed by this navigation.

Exactly right. When I wrote “write” I meant I do not “author” in them, i.e. I don’t write my books from scratch using WO.  But there’s no reason why you couldn’t - it’s just not how I use it.

>have tremendous difficulty to imagine WO leaving these physical Word
>files intact when you make some (not physically replicated) moves from
>within the tree, then moves of parts of text from your editing the
>physical files, and what when the latter are not bound to specific
>titles/subtitles ranges, but overlap with such? I’t very easy for me,
>though, to image total chaos that would quickly be created by this.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.  You should view WO as something like a set of chapter headings.  You click on the chapter you want to work with, you then work in the Word document.  You can move on to another chapter and make changes there.  Nothing you have edited is lost.  From within WO you save your project and that saves all the changes you’ve made in each “document”.  The reason I’m being careful in what I say is because each “chapter” in WO isn’t a Word document which you can access with Windows Explorer, for example - as mentioned, it’s kept in a database.  I understand databases - you don’t move records physically within them, you alter the metadata. Don’t worry if you don’t understand that - it’s not important. That’s just how the underlying program works. You should just view each section/line/chapter/whatever in the WO tree as a separate document which is part of a project, and you can edit them all separately, move them and bring them all together.  Nothing complicated or chaotic about it.

IF you need to make project-wide edits they you need to export your document from WO into a full Word document then edit that final document in Word. I do this for my 2500 page document. For example, after export I give do the page numbering and title formatting because I want them to work for the whole (big) document.

>Perhaps WO does not update the physical files but at the end of your
>work session or such, but leaving them unchanged for months, in spite of
>your perhaps total physical overhaul of most of them, by editing the
>physical files, in-between?

It does update them, you save the changes, I’ve never lost data in WO.  No problem.

>If what you say is correct, the synchronization between Word and WO
>might be less stringent than I had imagined;

There is no synchronisation. You are working directly in Word and the WO component manages the navigation and the metadata (which chapter you are editing, which order it is written, how it is output in the project etc.)

>I had of course assumed WO was the easy way to shuffle around your text
>parts within a global “project”

Yes, that’s about it. You can do this also in many other programs such as Scrivener or TreeProjects or Whizfolders.  I use WO because it gives me the same possibilities and includes all Word’s power.

I hope that makes it clear/ I think you’re over analysing the program and what it does.  But I’m not here to sell it to you ... if it doesn’t suit your working methods, it would be better to choose an alternative.