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best outliner you use? (2018)

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Posted by doablesoftware
Apr 7, 2018 at 12:19 AM


on http://www.organizingcreativity.com/2018/02/what-makes-a-good-outliner/

someone says what are the main features that makes a good outliner

what’s the best outliner you use? please include your main use that sets the outliner apart from all the other software/outliners

would it be workflowy at the current point in time? http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/8021/0/workflowy-roadmap


i’d need an outliner of each that

1) had a tree view/structure of the folders/files/notes at all time (yes dynalist has this but it’s incredibly limited in so many ways)

2) or one that had significantly better search like being able to search ‘title only’ (because with too much info/notes, you’d have to have way way better search)


Posted by jaslar
Apr 7, 2018 at 03:42 PM


As noted elsewhere, I think the two “best” I use are Notecase Pro - a two pane outliner that really does everything and more that I need it to - except let me work with it on a Chromebook or iPad (there is a Mac version). I mostly do writing, and it provides an encrypted solution. But it doesn’t do outlines at the paragraph level.

Dynalist does - a sort of rapid-development version of Workflowy. Cloud based. Auto-backups to Dropbox and Chrome. Usable on anything.

I do like Checkvist - another fine writers tools with terrific export functions. I never bit on it, though - as I recall, I just found the text screen too wide. But it seemed like, in the end, it might be the most powerful. Great calendar integration, and really keyboard friendly. I’d have to see what they’re doing with mobile now.


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Apr 7, 2018 at 04:57 PM


The outliner I use daily is Dynalist, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it is overall the best outliner. It’s just that it has features that work for me:

- quick and easy entry and structuring of information
- inline notes
- availability for use on Windows, MacOS and iOS
- hoisting and folding
- favoriting (so I can winnow all my many outlines down to the ones I need access to regularly)
- color-coding of entries so I can separate variabilities (for example, I keep a bullet journal in Dynalist and the color-coding allows me to separate work related entries from others)
- exporting in useful formats
- folders that can be nested for organizing my outlines
- applying checkboxes on an entry by entry basis

Some other, but not crucial, features I like:

- tagging
- the ability to add due dates
- off-line, desktop versions

Steve Z.


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Apr 7, 2018 at 05:01 PM


On the other hand, I still think the best outliner remains Tinderbox. I wrote about the reasons here:


And the app has only gotten more powerful in version 7. I don’t use it every day because it is only available for MacOS.

Steve Z.


Posted by jaslar
Apr 7, 2018 at 06:12 PM


Excellent piece, Steve, thanks for posting. “Banging out an outline” in ways that are obvious is a big piece of what I need, too. What I like about Dynalist (and Outlinely) as opposed to Checkvist (as good as it is), is the plain text editing feel. Modeless editing is easy. On the other hand, there’s power in two modes (so much simpler to manipulate structure with a few keystrokes), but there’s also that little jolt as you move from just editing to waiting for the little software toggle switch to flip. I suspect that Tinderbox is just more firepower than I need. But then I continue to be drawn to Emacs, which is a rabbit hole that runs to Pelucidar. At any rate, I appreciate your writing.


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