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Posted by Lucas
May 16, 2011 at 09:05 PM


DaXiong wrote:
> >If you know of anything, I’d love to hear. If I’ve made you feel good
>about yourself, cause there’s someone crazier than you out there - great! 

Well, I’m right there with you in the crazy camp—-I’ve wanted for a long time to do something like what describe, but each attempt eventually ran out of steam. Currently I’m using Tinderbox on a Mac, but as for XP software:

—InfoQube would be the most flexible and powerful option, I think, although as you said, it does involve a learning curve (similar to Tinderbox). You will have to decide whether to write paragraphs directly in the outliner or in the separate HTML pane. If you write directly in the outliner, this gives you the ability to “hoist” to specific paragraphs or mash up combinations of tagged paragraphs however you want. I tried this once and it basically worked, although it required a lot of tweaking. On the other hand, if you write in the HTML pane, it will have more of the feel of a word processor, a more flexible and powerful writing space, but you will thereby forfeit, as far as I know, a “combined view” whereby you could edit multiple paragraphs at once (unless you export them).

—ConnectedText is also very powerful, but again you will be limited in terms of a combined view. There are very powerful export options, but I never found a good way to move back and forth between editing in a combined view and editing a granular (paragraph-specific) view.

—Scrivener seems like it might hit the sweet spot, because the bar is significantly lower for getting started, and it’s one of the only pieces of software that allows editing in both combined view and granual view. But the tagging and sorting features are far more limited than in either InfoQube of ConnectedText.

—Microsoft Word: I once came up with a highly complicated scheme using columns, margin notes, Outline View, and so forth, but it turned into a big mess. But it could be worth exploring.

—Excel is also a good option, especially given that it has rudimentary outlining. When I tried it out for this purpose, however, I became frustrated with the lack of power features like smart folders and so forth, and I abandoned it at the time for InfoQube.

—OneNote also comes close in certain ways, but falls short in others. When you want to view notes that have a certain tag, for instance, it copies the notes into the new view, such that any editing you do in that view will not affect the original copies of the notes. This is a major limitation, although in other respects it’s excellent software.

—Whizfolders allows basic tagging, but also lacks editing in combined view (although a read-only combined view does exist).

—Emacs Org-Mode could also work very well, but the learning curve is a bit high.

—Finally, for what it’s worth, I would mention Sense Editor from SilvaElm, although I don’t think it offers tagging. But it might be worth encouraging the developer to add that feature, because what it does offer is a very powerful way to do outlining of individual paragraphs, while also offering, at the same time, a normal word processor view of the document.

Well, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but I hope that’s helpful.


Lucas D


Posted by DaXiong
May 16, 2011 at 09:30 PM


Lucas ... thank you (well, until you said Emacs *L*)

That’s a great survey, and some programs I hadn’t considered. Appreciate the timely feedback, Daxiong


Posted by Dave Ewins
May 17, 2011 at 02:55 PM


Lucas Wrote:
>Finally, for what it?s worth, I would mention Sense Editor from SilvaElm, although I don?t think it offers tagging. But it might be worth >encouraging the developer to add that feature, because what it does offer is a very powerful way to do outlining of individual paragraphs, while >also offering, at the same time, a normal word processor view of the document.

As the developer of Sense, I’m currently working towards implementing a ViewPoints feature that will enable “fast view”  referencing to any Sense document content, both the current working document, and external - the existing Preview feature implemented for cross-document hyperlinking should possibly yield some idea of performance. However,  Viewpoints will be provided as a separate selectable view within Sense Professional’s lower screen. I’m not sure if this will exactly meet the “tagging” requirement but may be a step towards it - I’m very open to suggestions to how the tagging might work?

The intention is for this to be available in the 1.13.0 release along with other new features such as a ScratchPad and an Outline view—- this latter view will be a stripped down version of the Content Browser showing just the headings (tree) hierarchy as a tab page-  although structural editing and navigation is provided via the existing Content Browser, its deep paragraph level tree hierarchy can make simple heading-level navigation cumbersome. I’m also considering implementing a Hoist feature for this same release.  I’m afraid I cannot offer a release date yet.

Dave Ewins



Posted by MadaboutDana
May 17, 2011 at 03:49 PM


I’ve just discovered Sense as a result of this thread, Dave - aha, looks interesting! Could it represent a first step to a genuinely semantic info manager (i.e. one that doesn’t need tags, because it puts them in for you)? One of the nicest implementations of that is the MultiDex in Circus Ponies Notebook, but I’m sure there are more flexible ways of doing the same thing, perhaps in a separate view that allows you to combine/separate (computer-identified) tags and view the results immediately?

I look forward to evaluating Sense, in any case.



Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
May 17, 2011 at 07:48 PM


DaXiong wrote:
>I’m having the people I’m helping write in a spreadsheet.
>Each row is a paragraph of text, with the 1st column of
>the raw its topic tags, and the second column the actual paragraph.

I would expect some of the writer oriented tools to be able to provide such a functionality; then again, I don’t expect them to handle collaborative writing very well.

Here’s my take; I believe that some information management software discussed here is more suitable for providing alternative views of textual content. However, information management software is usually not particularly suited for writing.

- Surfulater has two alternative trees for organising information: a usual folder organisation and a tag tree view. Note: it is basically a single-user program; I don’t know how well it fares when a knowledge base is shared among several users.

- Evernote relies much more on tagging, as otherwise information can be filed only in notebooks and stacks of notebooks (two levels and that’s it). The Windows version now allows shared notebooks which is a great feature. The basic version, which should be good enough, is free.

- Working with Excel, you might want to take a look at the XL Notes plugin http://xlnotes.com/ which allows for long rich text notes in Excel

- Citavi is, as far as I know, the only software that will show you “stacked up, scrolling previews of whichever items you multiselect”; see this discussion for more: http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/2414/5

By the way, how do you share the spreadsheet among your collaborators? Have you tried Google Cloud Connect?


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