The plain text editor for writers thread really got me looking at this software.
I have two similar needs.
One, as a writer, to outline, organise and write text (& some images)
Two, as an editor/re-organiser, to take someone else's text and remake it. One example of this would be taking a thesis and making a number of papers out of it.
There's quite a lot of ways of doing the first, but I hadn't found a good way of doing the second.
My idea was a two pane outliner/text editor with a hierarchical outline tree on the left and a text pane on the right. With the ability to see all the text from selected nodes together - either in the text pane or another. And the ability to re-order the tree using drag and drop. I was sure that there would be many programs that could do this - and maybe there are, but I haven't found them.
Ideally, the program would be no more complicated than this; other features aren't needed.
As far as I could see, the two pane outliners/editors all kept the notes separate and it is not possible to see bigger sections or the whole text document. Programs like Word and OneNote keep it all in one pane. I assume that it will be possible to make SQLnotes do this (but attempting that feels beyond me atm). I could make a prog like Liquid Story Blender do it - but it is a bit complex just for that (and I'm not familiar enough with it yet), and critically it does not do drag and drop.
It may well be my own ignorance of my software (let alone stuff I just downloaded to try) that has stopped me. I just installed Word2007 to go with OneNote2007, and I can see it is going to take quite a while to find my way around it; I still have 2003 on my machine, but it takes an age to load since I had 2007 too.
For the editing task, the simplest approach I have found is to open the text in something like Wordpad (Word if necessary), and then to cut and paste it into Keynote, creating the outline nodes & descriptors as necessary. Do the editing in Keynote, and use the export function to look at the whole document in Wordpad or whatever as often as I need to. Clunky, but it does seem capable of working and it is using software I know.
OneNote does give the capacity to select body text, which gives the ability to export just the text as I described above and the extra tag functionality etc might be useful. Harder to add separate node names/descriptors though because it is all within the same pane. OTOH, the body text can just be cut and pasted to another note, so no need to open a new document in another app. I may try this method first because I can see OneNote being particularly useful in document creation. Not as fast as Keynote though, but a lot more versatile; although the nodes and text are not so well linked. There is an extra 3 layer hierarchy available (notebook, section, page) which can be seen as a treeview with the plugin, but it is not much use in this context because selecting all the bodytext would be difficult.
Word (at least in its 2007 incarnation and with my limited knowledge of it) appears not to have the ability to select body text alone (would probably have to select all headings and delete them to see the text alone and then undo a bit to go back to status quo). I must admit that I am beginning to question the value of a word processor for a lot of everyday work. And I've never found them very effective for this type of task however much you use versions and subdocuments.
If anyone has better ideas of how to do this, or better software, I'd be glad to hear them.