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Author Topic: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)  (Read 4081 times)

superboyac

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Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« on: September 18, 2014, 05:25:08 PM »
http://www.screenpla...p-77-outline-4d.aspx

Outline 4D has a 50% sale going on right, so the price goes down from $100 to $50.  Good deal if you ask me!  Pointed out here by 40hz, it might be my preferred tool for organizing just about any multi-layered idea/outline, but it's mainly intended for screenwriting I guess.

Dormouse

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2014, 07:05:51 AM »
For some reason, I'd never come across this one before. Maybe because I'd always preferred the idea of outliners with a minimum of 2 panes. But quite intriguing with the timeline feature,and I can see how it might be a good environment for actually writing.

But a strange and unusual program compared to others which mostly look and work in ways I am familiar with. Thanks also to Dr Andus for his reviews and comments.

Limited trial though,and it seems as if it can be complex and will take longer to get properly into trialling it, even for people who are faster than me. So probably best to decide to jump in or not.  :-\

dr_andus

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 09:27:49 AM »
Outline 4D has a 50% sale going on right, so the price goes down from $100 to $50.  Good deal if you ask me!  Pointed out here by 40hz, it might be my preferred tool for organizing just about any multi-layered idea/outline, but it's mainly intended for screenwriting I guess.

Yes, that's the lowest price I've seen. Beware though that this software is no longer being developed and it's quite ancient. It's a repackaged version of StoryView, which was released in 1999, I think, and it hasn't seen many updates since then. Having said that, in many respects it's still the most full-featured single-pane outliner with inline notes out there. I don't know of another outliner that would have as many different options to visualise an outline (some examples here).

It's generally good for longer pieces of any kind of writing (5-10k words), not just screenwriting (although that's its marketing positioning).

For some reason, I'd never come across this one before. Maybe because I'd always preferred the idea of outliners with a minimum of 2 panes. But quite intriguing with the timeline feature,and I can see how it might be a good environment for actually writing.

There are some distinct advantages to single-pane outliners for certain types of writing tasks, such as being able to see the text above and below the node that you're writing, while also seeing the rest of the outline.

However, I don't think the "Timeline View" feature works too well. If you're interested in "horizontal" outlining (writing in adjacent linked columns), as opposed to "vertical" outlining, then I'd recommend Gingko App for that, or even Freeplane. Here is my Gingko review/mini tutorial, if that's of interest.

Dormouse

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 05:06:51 AM »
I've now had a closer look at O4D and played with it a bit.
I can now remember investigating it before and discounting it then on the basis of its age and abandonment. Now its quite a few years older, and longer abandoned - but much cheaper. And I have never been put of buying a program because it is no longer being developed, if it will do what I want now. Seems to use only a limited number of RTF features - no tables, no images - but it is quite a nice environment for writing and I find the timeline feature quite helpful, though I don't think I use it in the way that the writers expect. But then, I'm not a screenwriter.

My favourite writing environment remains TreeDBNotes - also largely frozen in time, but then virtually all outliners seem to be - but O4D seems to help more with keeping the mass of a really long text in the mind; or so I anticipate. But it doesn't help keep info, sources etc available in the way that Scrivener and TreeDB can. But very easy to use for the pure writing.

While I was looking around, I also found that Aeon Timeline had finally made its way to Windows, so that was an extra, and unexpected, gain. :)

However, I don't think the "Timeline View" feature works too well. If you're interested in "horizontal" outlining (writing in adjacent linked columns), as opposed to "vertical" outlining, then I'd recommend Gingko App for that, or even Freeplane. Here is my Gingko review/mini tutorial, if that's of interest.

I had a quick look at Gingko but anything that relies on web access will too often be inaccessible for me to rely on.
I have Freeplane, but never found myself using it that much. Has always felt a bit fiddly, but I've only felt I needed mindmaps every now and then and just use the program that seems to give the best presentation for what I have in mind at the time.

Also looked at the rest of your workflow and ConnectedText. But CT seems to be too much keyboard for me to cope with, and, for some reason, I've never tended to get on well with wikis. I will probably go on relying on Evernote, OneNote and TreeDB for these functions (and SearchEverything). And I can see that I will just do more and more in Evernote. It requires no thought, allows me to do virtually everything with the mouse, is easy to dump everything into it and I could organise it if I wanted to.

dr_andus

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 07:00:50 AM »
And I have never been put of buying a program because it is no longer being developed, if it will do what I want now.

Sure, it's still a very capable program, I just mentioned it as people may rightly expect it to be developed for that sort of money. Other than a couple of bugs here and there (which can crash the app), and the need to bypass UAC and run it in XP mode, it works generally fine on my Win7, 64bit PC. I make sure to save regularly, so never lost any content.

Seems to use only a limited number of RTF features - no tables, no images

Also, when you open the RTF export in MS Word, the headings are not automatically recognised. For this reason it's a good idea to set up a template with different formatting for each level of heading in O4D, and then in MS Word you can use the "find text with similar formatting" tool and apply the heading levels manually.

Dormouse

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 08:10:36 AM »
Also, when you open the RTF export in MS Word, the headings are not automatically recognised. For this reason it's a good idea to set up a template with different formatting for each level of heading in O4D, and then in MS Word you can use the "find text with similar formatting" tool and apply the heading levels manually.

Would that be true in all word processors? I might try it with a number of them to see if there is any difference. It's not a major issue for me as I would probably do headings manually at the end anyway, when I was thinking about layout.

It has also struck me, while I have been looking at these, that the constantly developing ToDoList may well be perfectly effective for organising and writing now, with custom columns, filters, gantt chart and calendar views. It would actually meet all the criteria I have been applying to the other programs; and probably more. I will probably give it a go some time.

dr_andus

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 09:56:13 AM »
Would that be true in all word processors?

I'd presume so. But the method I suggested is a very easy one (in Word at least). Just use different formatting for each heading level in O4D (here is a 10 level template I made: 10-level_template.syv (23kb)), then once exported into RTF and opened in a wordprocessor like MS Word, select one of the headings, choose "Select text with similar formatting", and then apply Heading 1, etc., and it will convert all Level 1 headings to functioning Heading 1 style.

Dormouse

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 01:41:42 PM »
Thanks for the templates. I've not tested what they do yet because of too much to do + system switching.

I've stopped trying to use iPads for for more general activities (rather than the specific use I bought them for) & switched to using the Samsung Note system, purely because it gives me very good stylus functionality and it just seems much easier to use Android as part of a multi-OS system. (Some) iPad apps very good, and I've worked hard to try to get them into a productive system, but it I've never been able to get it to work well. And I had a Damascene conversion moment when I realised the importance of the stylus after finding myself carting a pen and notebook around with me all the time because I liked writing things out and seeing them the way I wrote them. So busy system tweaking atm, but still happy with the overall feel of Outline 4D, at least for moment. Though I do have a suspicion that a stylus, keyboard & pad will be what I end up using most of the time - but that will usually be after the Outline 4D bit, and I can use O4D (maybe) when I work in Windows..

superboyac

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 05:34:40 PM »
Would that be true in all word processors?

I'd presume so. But the method I suggested is a very easy one (in Word at least). Just use different formatting for each heading level in O4D (here is a 10 level template I made: 10-level_template.syv (23kb)), then once exported into RTF and opened in a wordprocessor like MS Word, select one of the headings, choose "Select text with similar formatting", and then apply Heading 1, etc., and it will convert all Level 1 headings to functioning Heading 1 style.
Oh...this is gold!  Thanks!

cthorpe

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 04:36:26 PM »
-
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 09:55:09 AM by cthorpe »

superboyac

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2014, 04:27:15 PM »
Man, I've been able to use Outline 4D in "production" now for a bit...I am loving it, holy cow!  I'm using it as my basic project manager, and it's working out perfectly.  I'm very amazed actually...all those outliners, PM tools, etc., I've tried (and lord knows I've tried them all) and this is the one that is hyper-intuitive for me.

You know what the secret to me is?  I think it's the fact that I can print it and it basically looks just like what I'm doing on the screen.  That's been a HUGE complaint of mine over the years as I've tried project management tools.  They look great on the screen, but printing or exporting is a huge pain and the end product I ended up taking to meetings and such looked awful compared to the meticulous effort I spent organizing the items and making them look good.  And it's an excellent outliner to boot.  Fantastic tool.  This and Scapple have blown me away this year as far as actual productivity goes.  Maybe I just think like a writer or something...they're both meant for screenwriting, lol!   I've never written anything!!  Just goes to show...something, I don't know.  ;D

IainB

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2014, 07:26:03 PM »
Out of interest, I ran a quick trial of the Write Brothers software Outline 4D in March 2014, and came to the conclusion that it was a potentially very useful tool for writers.
However, as it was well-designed to focus on its purpose as a tool to aid the writing process, it was thus relatively rather constrained (by its technology) for other uses - e.g., not being able to usefully capture forms of input data other than text.
So, if one wanted to use it as a general-purpose tool for PIM or note-making, it was probably not sufficiently comprehensive (at least, not for my needs).
The timeline idea seemed pretty nifty - for writers. I was considering getting it for just that (timeline) as it had potential use as an analysis tool for mapping the actors involved and the sequence of correspondence and actions in a complex legal case, but then I discovered that that was where its technology constrained it, so I abandoned the idea and used MS OneNote instead, which latter effectively cost me next to nothing and enabled OLE and integration with MS Office, etc. (which better met my peculiar requirements).

Otherwise, it seemed well-designed for its purpose. The Write Brothers software includes what looked like some other rather good software for writing/scripting (in the sense of scripts for plays/films/TV).

40hz

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2014, 09:08:12 PM »
^I think a lot of it depends on how structured your usual thought process is. 4D is usually my first choice whenever I'm taking on a new project since I'm a list maker and schema creator by nature. If you think in terms of (for lack of a better term) outline structure (I do!) 4D can be used for many things beyond just writing. What it doesn't do well is act as a junk drawer for snippets and things you grab from other sources. Or obviously lend itself to the 'free association' or 'serendip' thought processes. Although it can. At least IMO.

Fortunately, there are other tools designed to do exactly that.

I personally don't find OneNote's paradigm or approach all that useful. Probably because I don't really 'grok' it. But that's me. ;D

IainB

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2014, 10:10:43 PM »
^^ Yes, I quite agree. 4D is a great tool, though I personally would probably not use it for a project outline as I would (usually) get stuck into MS Project (or similar) for that sort of work - i.e., a critical path analysis Gantt/PERT tool.
MS OneNote certainly wouldn't be my first choice for that sort of work (project outlining), for similar reasons as you give.
The constraints I saw in 4D:
Quote
"...relatively rather constrained (by its technology) for other uses - e.g., not being able to usefully capture forms of input data other than text. ...) ... not sufficiently comprehensive (at least, not for my needs)"
- had little bearing on its fitness-for-purpose as a rather nifty writing tool (whatever you were wanting to write, structured or unstructured).

I would wish that OneNote had such features as 4D integrated into it. I liked it so much that I nearly bought the thing last March "just in case" I might be able to make good use of it later.   :-[

dr_andus

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2014, 06:53:34 PM »
Man, I've been able to use Outline 4D in "production" now for a bit...I am loving it, holy cow!  I'm using it as my basic project manager, and it's working out perfectly.

Are you referring to the outline view or the timeline view (or both)?

superboyac

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2014, 01:13:30 PM »
Man, I've been able to use Outline 4D in "production" now for a bit...I am loving it, holy cow!  I'm using it as my basic project manager, and it's working out perfectly.

Are you referring to the outline view or the timeline view (or both)?
Good question, for this discussion I'm referring to the outline view.  I haven't used the timeline view yet for real life situations.  I toyed with it with example items, and it will eventually be useful for me also. I just didn't expect the outliner to be so effective with me.

dr_andus

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2014, 06:23:45 PM »
O4D sale is back at USD 59.00 until 2nd Dec.

bit

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Re: Outline 4D >>50% off sale<< (only $50)
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2014, 10:05:48 PM »
Tnx for the head's-up about Outline 4D.  :Thmbsup:
This and the other software mentioned all seem xlnt.
Any software, if it improves your style, is worth getting no matter how old, so long as it is compatible with your OS.
I would only add that the best method of final review I've found, is to play it all back on headphones or speakers with text-to-speech.
AFAIC, the ear just has a way of picking out typos and mistakes that the eye might miss, and it's also an xlnt way to smooth out rough passages b/c if it sounds smooth it'll read smooth.