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lightweight 2-pane outliner for breaking up text quickly

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Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 22, 2013 at 03:08 PM


Is there a small footprint dual-pane outliner (preferably free) that can start up quickly or run in the background and has some functions for breaking up (and rearranging) large text quickly?

I’m thinking of an alternative to Scrivener for Window’s “Split with selection as title (Ctrl+Shift+K). On my system Scrivener takes rather long to start up, which disrupts my workflow. I’d prefer to use something more nimble for this.

For now I’ve resorted to WhizFolders, but it’s not much lighter/quicker and it doesn’t seem to have a “split with title” functionality.


Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 22, 2013 at 03:21 PM


An additional purpose would be for managing and storing fragments of text that get taken out of a draft I’m writing in O4D.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jan 22, 2013 at 05:30 PM


I would use Brainstorm; it’s lightweight, very swift and is the best tool I know for rearranging text.

The shortcuts to remember:
- Ctrl-Enter within an entry to split it
- Del at the end of an entry to join it with the next
- Alt-Up/Down arrow to move entries up/down
- Home to make an entry the title to enter subsidiary text
- End
- Ctrl-F4 and Alt-V to split your windows and arrange them vertically.
- Ctrl-M to Mark a point to use as a repository; Ctrl-T to ‘throw’ any text there (Ctrl-Shit-T to throw copies)
- Ctrl-N to turn off namesaking, so that you can edit an entry while maintaining any copies intact.

That’s just about all you need. You can also use numbered ‘buckets’ in addition to the main Mark if you want.

Downsides (depending on the point of view):
- It’s not free
- It is not two-pane, though you can have a window with the non-editable “balloon view” which will update in real time as you make changes to the content
- It makes no distinction between title and detail; they are all just ‘entries’
- There’s a 65,535 character limitation for entries. Then again, an entry would correspond to a paragraph, so you wouldn’t want to have such great paragraphs in the first place.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jan 22, 2013 at 05:31 PM


Ah, and you can turn on Magic Paste to gather stuff from Outline4D without shifting focus.


Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM


Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
I would use Brainstorm; it’s lightweight, very swift and is the best
>tool I know for rearranging text.

Alexander, thanks for the suggestion, that didn’t occur to me. I’ve been looking for more ways to fit Brainstorm into my suit of tools, so I’ll give this a try.


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