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nested display / editing of multiple small text files as a single document

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Posted by jimspoon
Mar 20, 2015 at 08:59 PM


I would like to be able to put each note into its own small text file, but then be able to view and edit many notes (e.g. all text files in a folder) in a single continuous view.  That way I wouldn’t constantly have to be navigating from one file to the next, and I could see the small notes in the context of the other notes I’ve made.

I haven’t had much luck with this and wonder if anybody has encountered any such thing.

I googled and found “Nested Editor - Specialized editor for structured documents” - http://nestededitor.sourceforge.net/about.html .  In the feature list it says “Divide and conquer philosophy: every large document is composed of small documents.”  But I couldn’t figure out how this is supposed to be accomplished.

I am also thinking of the “Master Document” kind of function in MS Word, also I think Scriviner has some such thing.

Also I seem to recall that Grandview had something like this - an outline item could be a link to an external outline which would appear at a particular node in the outline.

Resophnotes also comes to mind - you could save each note to a txt file, but I’m not sure they could all be viewed in a single continuous stream.

But I would want it to be rather seamless - the nested outlines / text files would appear in a continuous stream along with the other outlines/text files.  And ideally, any text file added to a folder would automatically appear in the stream of all text files in the folder, in a single document/outline view.

Why would I want to do this?  You’d have an integrated view of your notes, and it would easy to add to it from any mobile device, with the aid of Dropbox or some similar solution.  And as the notes are contained in small separate files, you would minimize the problem of inconsistencies when trying to modify a large single database file from multiple devices. 

Any thoughts or pointers?



Posted by Lucas
Mar 20, 2015 at 09:20 PM


Scrivener is the only thing I’ve ever found that comes close to what’s described here, but it seems to be designed for a different sort of workflow. I’m eager to hear if anyone knows of any other alternatives.

(I recall that WhizFolders has a Combined Outline View, but, as with other similar implementations I’ve found, it’s a non-editable view.)


Posted by yosemite
Mar 20, 2015 at 11:40 PM


I would be very interested in this as well. I have searched for the same functionality and never found it.  Except maybe emacs, but I can’t use that.  I thought Sublime Text or one of the other powerful text editors might have it, but I couldn’t find it if one of them does.


Posted by steveylang
Mar 20, 2015 at 11:46 PM


Ulysses for Mac can do at least some of what you describe, if I understand correctly.

You can access external folders containing text files with the app (I added some Dropbox folders and use ResophNotes on my iPhone to access the same files).

While in Ulysses, you can select multiple files in a folder, and they will all be present in the editor window. You can select non-contiguous files within a folder, but I don’t thin you can select files located across different folders.


Posted by steveylang
Mar 20, 2015 at 11:49 PM


I use WriteMonkey on Windows, it’s my favorite all-around text editor. I just checked and this feature is not available, but there’s an active Google Groups for WriteMonkey and I’d recommend posting the feature request.


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