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Outliner for redacting?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 22, 2011 at 01:31 PM


Does anyone know which outliner would be the most suitable for redacting a text (making a text shorter)? I’d like the ability to import a large text, let’s say 20,000 words, and reduce it to 10,000 words, without losing the essential argument. So it would be nice if I could
1. import original Word or RTF;
2. turn it into an outline based on the topic sentences (main idea) in each paragraph;
3. rearrange that outline by merging items, dragging and dropping etc.;
4. delete text easily;
5. restructure the style (hierarchy of headings);
6. export as Word or RTF with revised style.

I took as quick look at Sense Editor which seems to be promising but it wasn’t the most intuitive, so there might be a learning curve issue. Does anyone have any experience doing this with Sense or any other editor (easier learning curve the better)? Many thanks in advance.


Posted by Lucas
Sep 22, 2011 at 01:40 PM


Although it may not meet all your criteria, Tinderbox has a great “explode” feature that makes it easy to break up a text so that each sentence or paragraph gets its own note. In Outline View, one can then work with the text somewhat as you describe. Lots of possibilities, but it would be of course require some time investment.


Posted by Franz Grieser
Sep 22, 2011 at 01:56 PM


Hi Dr. Andus.

I would use Scrivener for Windows for that job.

The only point it may not fit your requirements is (2): You’d have to break the original text up into slices - Scrivener does not do that for you.
Just move the cursor to the position where a new section begins and press CTRL+K or select “Documents -> Split -> at Selection” or highlight a heading and select “Documents -> Split -> With Selection as Title” (CTRL+SHIFT+K). This creates a new note in the binder that you can rearrange as you please.

You would not even need to delete sections from the original text - simply use the “Compile” command to select the notes/sections which you want to export and have them written in a RTF file.

The current beta (0.29) is stable enough to use it for serious work.

Best regards, Franz


Posted by JBfrom
Sep 22, 2011 at 02:28 PM


For rapidly rewriting text Emacs and Vim are best because they give hotkeys for rapid navigation through text. Vim is actually better at this, but I prefer Emacs for the superior outlining capabilities of Org-Mode.

For heavy rearrangement I would break it into individual lines in Emacs and then import to BrainStormWFO for sorting, then back to Emacs for rewriting.

This isn’t really the answer you’re looking for but it is the fastest way I’ve found.


Posted by Lucas
Sep 22, 2011 at 02:29 PM


You might also be able to import into ConnectedText, which has the ability to divide up what is imported into separate notes according to a user-defined delimiter. You could even then go from CT to Scrivener for Windows via OPML. But that’s just off the top of my head—- surely there are other options (IQ, etc).


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