Outliner Software Forum RSS Feed Forum Posts Feed

Subscribe by Email

CRIMP Defined


Tip Jar

Viewers? eBook Creators?

< Next Topic | Back to topic list | Previous Topic >

Pages:  1 2 > 

Posted by 22111
Oct 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM


This is a typical Ultra Recall feature request:


It’s from 2005, and the developers say they are not interested; it’s now 8 years later.

The request states that (even then!) myBase creates eBooks from its databases, meaning executable files that don’t need you to install a “viewer” beforehand; in fact, most customers/prospects would not want some “viewer” to be installed within their system, in order to view your eBook (advertisement, technical things, reference material) on their pc; perhaps some will be willing to do that if they have become your customer already, but in order to show your expertize, you would have some interest in showing prospects a range of technical things, and here, having to install a “viewer” first would be considered unprofessional.

Now some outliners have viewers, among them, Maple and ActionOutline. For AO, the viewer is free, while the Maple viewer will cost you 10 dollars for every prospect, since their viewer license says every installation of the viewer will cost that, even if you don’t sell your content but only hope the content will then sell your services or whatever - this is the most ridiculous thing I have encountered in a long time, so it’s worth mentioning: Not only your prospects will have to install the viewer first, but you will have to pay 10 dollars for every prospect (if in the end he installs your viewer or not).

Now for AO: As unprofessional as for Maple, but free at least… But here comes the good news: While their program costs 40 dollars, they also sell an eBook maker for two times that price. This might appear “overpriced” on first sight, but then, for 80 dollars, you’ll have a professional product, meaning an .exe file with your content, meaning, a self-installing viewer together with your content, and which is exactly what you need, so in the end, these 80 dollars are quite a bargain.

Of course, AO is abysmal in (lacking) functionality, especially for searching, so this .exe file will be the same as the running program, no search functionality worth mentioning - but the idea, creating an .exe file for your prospects/customers, is certainly 100 times better than these “viewer” offerings.

Now Ultra Recall: In 2013, it doesn’t create such .exe files, and it will probably not in 2023. myBase does, as we know from the 2005 UR post, and even TreeDBNotes is mentioned in 2005 for being able to do this.

I now searched for some other outliner names, together with “electronic book creation” and so on, but it seems that in the end, there are not so many of them being able to to this; also, the visual aspect is important, meaning those “ebooks”, in the end, will probably (as is the case for AO and Maple) recreate the layout of the original program, just without no editing (either in the tree or in the content pane), and some such outliners are not really extremely sober in their layout (but then, I did not trial myBase’s eBook functionality, so perhaps this is a real good program for such things). As for AO, judging from their screenshot, this eBook Creator is even able to create eBooks with several tabs, meaning you don’t only have one tree structure to the left, but you also could cut up your material into several “books” or “parts” or “super chapters”, whatever, by this holding the respective trees straight, instead of overcomplicating just one single tree that would have to contain it all - this “tab functionality” might also apply to competing outliners and their “eBooks”.

Since in this forum, a lot of small business people are writing, I both think this subject is of interest here, and that some of yours could be able to share some experience and/or mention other outliners for creating such “eBooks”.

Some things are “understood” with this: We are speaking of “eBooks” that are visual replicas of what you do within the outliner, meaning a functional tree structure as in the outliner, and search functionality as in the outliner, for pc use, and NOT “eBooks” diverting from this original format but translated into Nook, Apple, Amazon reader formats; and it’s also understood that it would be possible to continue to “write” what later on becomes an “eBook” this way, in the outliner of your choice, but then, why not, export it into that outliner that will create the best eBook for your prospects/customers, visually and/or by functionality (and be this creational functionality in-built, or, as with AO, from an additional program you’d have to buy separately; btw, askSam, years ago, also sold such an extra program, a “database builder” or something like that, and it was 1,500 dollar if I remember well… or was it 1,200 dollars?); also, if you have content to sell, this would be an alternative format, beyond Amazon, Apple, etc., to sell your content, especially if it’s for office use - but I think the main use will be for promotional material, for prospects, and then, for reference material for customers if your business allows or even asks for such material; it goes without saying that creation of such material could give you some advantage over your competition.

So, any further experience/information about this subject to share here?

And then, if somebody knows a real excellent viewer (visuals, searching), why not distribute it, together with your database, together with a third-party installer that just is an .exe file, installing the whole thing in one stroke?


Posted by 22111
Oct 13, 2013 at 11:50 AM


I should have mentioned the alternative to create a pdf together with an outline to the left which seems to have become possible today (but perhaps only with the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat Prof. or other expensive software), but then you will probably have compatibility problems with the respective pdf viewer your prospect/customer uses, let alone one page vs. double page and all this. With a viewer/executable viewer just replicating an outliner, it all would be without problems if you stay aware of the fact that you should cut up your content into pieces/items tiny enough to not ask for scrolling even on rather tiny screens: This way, the reader can hold focus within the tree, and navigate freely there, without switching focus problems.


Posted by 22111
Oct 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM


I also should mention one big problem with every outliner / outliner viewer: You won’t get a two-column layout with them, when with pdf this is possible, and large, “full-screen” pdf with two columns has certainly its advantages over just one column that shouldn’t get too broad in an outliner viewer window, which thus would have to be artificially restricted in width, on today’s large screens.

So, in the end, perhaps, realizing real good pdf’s is not that bad an idea, over experimenting with outliner viewers, executable-file or not, but both ways are certainly worth discussing.

And then, there also are “flip-book makers” and such, but I don’t think those will enhance your image in any way, since we are speaking of content you make highly navigationable, which is the strength of the outlining paradigma, when “flip-books” invite to to the browsing doubl-page by double-page, not by jumping freely around, so their tree navigation function, if they have any, would not be “first choice”, then?

And a last aspect: I spoke of the 80 dollar AO eBook maker version (when in fact they also have a 40 dollar version for this), since there, you’ll be able to have your own caption and so on (name of your corporation, not something like “ActionOutliner Viewer” or such), and I think for professional image creation, such details are important, and you would not want to have your content under the caption “myBase Viewer: Your content - your corporation name” or such (but as said, I did not trial, so cannot say what you’ll get with the myBase thing).


Posted by 22111
Oct 13, 2013 at 02:26 PM


It seems that the modern versions of the usual text processors can do pdf’s, with headings becoming “bookmarks” = entries in the pdf navigation pane. Some outliners export to pdf. And it seems that rtf format plus some markdown (Pandoc style, etc.) will produce “bookmarks” of several indentation levels within a later pdf, so it seems this could be automatted from within any outliner, by putting the right number of special characters before each heading/item, depending on its indentation level. Also, there are Acrobat add-ins and such, but such tools seem often to be necessary just as a replacement for markdown codes, they don’t do much but live from your not knowing how to process the details by yourself (macros, again).

Another aspect, it should be possible to do the navigation as in your original outliner, meaning by keyboard.

And another aspect, it seems (?) you can use your own icons (corporate identity!) for the tree in your outliner viewer (in original Maple yes, in Maple viewer: don’t know), but not (?) in the pdf “bookmarks” tree; the same applies to any formatting within that pdf navigation tree, it seems: Everything is just standard there, I’m afraid, icons and entries (text), when in most outliners, you can use the icons and the formatting of your choice.

So, in the end, a good (and executable) viewer, replicating your outliner, would be best, except for the fact that pdf only (?) would get you a two-column layout if you don’t want to replace your displayed text with pictures of a two-column layout in Word or such and then re-imported into the outliner, which would be totally insane.

So, as always, there does not seem to exist a real good solution to this “publish for your customers’ screens” task.


Posted by Achim
Oct 13, 2013 at 03:29 PM


Hi 22111,

MyNotesKeeper can create standalone exe-e-books, incl. tab-display.

It also offers a free viewer.

additional it can create (though they don’t match the criteria above):

CHM-Files (which even keep the file attachments)


best regards



Pages:  1 2 > 

Back to topic list