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Writing Outliner for MS Word Soon on BitsDuJour

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Posted by 22111
Aug 2, 2013 at 05:14 PM

 

“Nothing is really physically moved as such when you drag things around except the order that WO knows the files needs to be handled in when you output the data into a new (full) Word file.”

Thank you for your clarifications, but you also say, you do not write in WO, which should mean you navigate in the WO tree, but then you write within the physical Word files that are displayed by this navigation. I have tremendous difficulty to imagine WO leaving these physical Word files intact when you make some (not physically replicated) moves from within the tree, then moves of parts of text from your editing the physical files, and what when the latter are not bound to specific titles/subtitles ranges, but overlap with such? I’t very easy for me, though, to image total chaos that would quickly be created by this.

Perhaps WO does not update the physical files but at the end of your work session or such, but leaving them unchanged for months, in spite of your perhaps total physical overhaul of most of them, by editing the physical files, in-between?

If what you say is correct, the synchronization between Word and WO might be less stringent than I had imagined; I could also devise a rather light system in which it’s just the title/subtitle structure (and their possible renames) that is constantly processed / synched, but well, is this really enough?

Perhaps yes; this is a totally new concept for the execution of such a task; perhaps I thought about this in too traditional a way. Highly interesting subject to reflect upon.

But if I understand well, this deliberate abstention from implementing “real programming power” then implies the “destructive” running of sort of a macro which once and for all will put “everything” into a global physical file, but from which point on cannot be split up, except for doing it again, manually, with new files, into its original component files.

From what I read there, WO preserves footnotes; the technically much more complicated cross-references not being mentioned an rather improbable that WO could manage them this way, even once and for all then.

I had of course assumed WO was the easy way to shuffle around your text parts within a global “project” (which, when done manually, is a lot of work, but would not technically interfere with rebuilding a global outline for all these, then, each time, but the way you describe it.

I understand much better now why WO has not yet been sold to every Word user, but there is a certain probability the developer is transferring his tool to a file system based tool exactly for this reason, in order to shift the physical parts together with your tree moves, a thing the Word outline, for a single file, does, of course, so at any moment, your things are in a “proper state”.

Anyway, this is very intriguing software, but which I’ll not buy yet, this time, knowing this very strange detail.

 


Posted by Graham Rhind
Aug 2, 2013 at 05:46 PM

 

@2211 I think you’re getting confused/I’m confusing you.  Let me try to clarify below.

22111 wrote:
“Nothing is really physically moved as such when you drag things around
>except the order that WO knows the files needs to be handled in when you
>output the data into a new (full) Word file.”
> >Thank you for your clarifications, but you also say, you do not write in
>WO, which should mean you navigate in the WO tree, but then you write
>within the physical Word files that are displayed by this navigation.

Exactly right. When I wrote “write” I meant I do not “author” in them, i.e. I don’t write my books from scratch using WO.  But there’s no reason why you couldn’t - it’s just not how I use it.

>I
>have tremendous difficulty to imagine WO leaving these physical Word
>files intact when you make some (not physically replicated) moves from
>within the tree, then moves of parts of text from your editing the
>physical files, and what when the latter are not bound to specific
>titles/subtitles ranges, but overlap with such? I’t very easy for me,
>though, to image total chaos that would quickly be created by this.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.  You should view WO as something like a set of chapter headings.  You click on the chapter you want to work with, you then work in the Word document.  You can move on to another chapter and make changes there.  Nothing you have edited is lost.  From within WO you save your project and that saves all the changes you’ve made in each “document”.  The reason I’m being careful in what I say is because each “chapter” in WO isn’t a Word document which you can access with Windows Explorer, for example - as mentioned, it’s kept in a database.  I understand databases - you don’t move records physically within them, you alter the metadata. Don’t worry if you don’t understand that - it’s not important. That’s just how the underlying program works. You should just view each section/line/chapter/whatever in the WO tree as a separate document which is part of a project, and you can edit them all separately, move them and bring them all together.  Nothing complicated or chaotic about it.

IF you need to make project-wide edits they you need to export your document from WO into a full Word document then edit that final document in Word. I do this for my 2500 page document. For example, after export I give do the page numbering and title formatting because I want them to work for the whole (big) document.

>Perhaps WO does not update the physical files but at the end of your
>work session or such, but leaving them unchanged for months, in spite of
>your perhaps total physical overhaul of most of them, by editing the
>physical files, in-between?

It does update them, you save the changes, I’ve never lost data in WO.  No problem.

>If what you say is correct, the synchronization between Word and WO
>might be less stringent than I had imagined;

There is no synchronisation. You are working directly in Word and the WO component manages the navigation and the metadata (which chapter you are editing, which order it is written, how it is output in the project etc.)

>I had of course assumed WO was the easy way to shuffle around your text
>parts within a global “project”

Yes, that’s about it. You can do this also in many other programs such as Scrivener or TreeProjects or Whizfolders.  I use WO because it gives me the same possibilities and includes all Word’s power.

I hope that makes it clear/ I think you’re over analysing the program and what it does.  But I’m not here to sell it to you ... if it doesn’t suit your working methods, it would be better to choose an alternative.

Graham

 


Posted by 22111
Aug 4, 2013 at 07:26 PM

 

Thank you very much for these explanations. I let pass this occasion, but no need to “sell” this tool to me, I continue, all the more so after your final post, to consider it as highly intriguing and well worth a deeper look.

I suppose I’ve made the mistake to not abstract enough from the physical Word files, replicated within the MO database; I mean by this I have always those physical Word files that must / should / perhaps do not exist besides these database bits, and which are, from what we now know, must be completely out of synch with their ordered counterparts within the database - or perhaps those physical files don’t even exist anymore, in the meantime, and are literally replaced by those database bits, and any “work” on those files is then done by this tool presenting you a (one only) dummy Word file, into which it puts the text part from the database that is needed at that given moment?

Anyway, the developer’s switching back his tool to files in the file system seems to indicate that on the technical level he is concerned with, he encounters some problems in the line of those I imagine here, and your relating this tool works faultlessly, even in its current form, with a 2,500 page document, proves he is doing brilliant work even now. I am much eager to discover the new version of his tool, even if I do not work with 4-digit page number Word files.

Also, there have been some similar add-ons for Word - I should have a look into my notes to better remember, but this one seems to be the one of those that is in active, and real smart, development. Thumbs up, decidedly!

 


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