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Reviews of OneNote vs. other outliners

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jul 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM


I like OneNote in general (with the exception of a few frustrating aspects). But I’m not high on it as an outliner.

When I finish this iteration of reviews, I may, should I still have steam in the boilers, try a comparison with the antique outliners. That could be interesting.

And thanks for the compliment—I think most of the people on this forum are at least as knowledgeable as I am. Heck most of what I have learned about outliners came from this forum and Ted Goranson’s great articles at the now defunct ATPM.



Posted by Cassius
Jul 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM


Hugh wrote:
I’d also be interested in how NoteMap and EccoPro match up (assuming, that is, that you’d be willing to turn your series from a sprint into more of a marathon - to mix metaphors).
Use NoteMap at your own risk.  I once recommended it highly…until it permanently lost a large amount of text I had written.  When it came out with a second version, even the easiest-to-fix bug in Version 1 had not been fixed.  Its development has ceased.

Personally, I use Inspiration when I need a single-pane outliner.  Some of the operations seem a bit clunky at first, and search is simplistic, but I’ve never found a bug—it is stable.  Also, as it is sold to school systems, it should have a long term viability.  Finally, it can be used to create diagrams that are “connected” to an outline, although the diagrams can be more complex than can be completely converted to an outline.


Posted by Cassius
Jul 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM


Steve Z,

You left out of your list of criteria “import power.”  For example, Inspiration can do a very good job of importing .rtf documents, including preserving the outline structure if the outline structure of the .rtf document uses tabs for outline levels.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jul 21, 2012 at 12:00 AM


The ‘series’ has started as a veritable tour de force and holds great promise for future installments! Bravo Steve, I hope that your posts will be for Windows what ATPO was for the Mac world.

A couple of comments / suggestions:

- My first idea was to propose that you include Sense, which I believe is currently the most powerful Windows outliner. I must say that the learning curve can be considerable, so maybe this rules it out.

- It might also make sense to include Microsoft’s own Powerpoint; I know that at least one contributor in this forum recommends it for brainstorming and I must say that I have often used it with good results when there has been nothing else around.

- Re features, I will agree with Cassius; I find importing important (pun not intended). Most significantly however, for your own criteria, export should include tab indented text in addition to OPML. I am under the impression that UV outliner’s text export maintains the hierarchy. Unfortunately, I am unable to test it, as I am out of office and working on a Linux notebook these days.


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jul 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM


Cassius and Alexander,

I hadn’t originally thought of rating these applications on their import ability because I view them as places to create information, not suck it in from elsewhere. However, I respect your opinions on this and will likely add a separate article at the end which reviews how well they do on import.

Cassius, I just posted my review of Inspiration. You’ll be glad to see it scores very well, a surprise for me. Being surprised by applications is one of the reasons I started this exercise, so I was pleased by this.

Alexander, I’ll take a look at Sense. I am also considering adding MaxThink to the queue, but I’m not sure I can consider it a living application at this point, as it has been almost three years since its last update.

Steve Z.


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