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Outlines of outlines

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Posted by Hugh Pile
Oct 1, 2006 at 04:25 PM


As a newcomer to this forum and a novice in these fields, I’m posting with some hesitation. But I’m a little surprised that this topic hasn’t created more interest. Maybe it’s been addressed before.

IME there are a few Windows programmes that provide “outlines of outlines” - after a fashion. Most are in the writing genre.  Liquid Story Binder is one (working in an RTF environment, so that can’t pose an impossible bar - I think the chapter outline works as a subset of the book outline). Idea Mason, as has been mentioned before, is another.  In the Mac world, apart from those listed, I believe Scrivener is another possibility.

Beyond writing software, personally I’ve achieved a result by embedding MS Word in Ultra Recall and using Word’s not-too-bad outliner. I’ve heard of Brainstorm being used similarly. I’d try doing the same with Notemap if it wasn’t so expensive. I believe that you can create an outliner of sorts in Infohandler using a category tree. And of course there’s MS OneNote. But few of these are simple and none has a really top-quality, order-your-thoughts efficiently outliner.

I share the view that a good “outline of outlines” would be a holy grail of personal information software. Before computers I’d go to a library to find information. That library would be arranged according to some well-understood principle - or “outline” - which would easily allow me to extract the sub-set of information that I wanted. I’d then re-arrange the subset of information in a second outline to enable me to compose.

Why, when there are dozens and dozens of pieces of personal information software in the Windows world, do none enable me to do this cleanly and simply?