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Text outliner/organiser/editor

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OK, I didn’t know you didn’t want to use word… But, regarding slowness etc., I wonder what are your computer specs like because on my computers (even on my other more than 6 years old laptop) MS Word 2003 is never really slow... and I have some pretty damn big documents going well over 600 pages, with tables, pictures, etc.-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I'm not against Word; I do use it and will continue to use it (at least until I move to Linux completely in post XP Pro days). But I do find it slow compared to a simple text editor. Slow to load, slow to switch documents and with a lot of stuff on the screen that I don't want when I'm just writing or editing text. I have an Core2Duo, so it should be fast enough. I did think I might end up continuing to use Word for this task until I found TreeDBNotes. Using it means that I will probably close it if I'm not using it whereas I tend to leave Word on to avoid the loading lag.

Of all the word processors available Word 2003 (NOT 2007) is the one that handles huge documents the most gracefully. It’s not perfect, but I found others to be slower. And regarding formatting etc., I don’t care too much if Word has all kinds of options I rarely use; they’re just there and I generally don’t use them, and if I do happen to need them, I’m usually quite happy they’re there -- eg : one feature that I use A LOT in my own papers is the “comments” feature. I can’t imagine that a writer could live without some ways of inserting notes in his/her writing (and I see that this is one of the features you’re looking for).-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I'll certainly continue to use Word as a WP and would expect to put the rearranged text back into Word at the end for formatting, comments etc. I'm going to continue trying 2007. I do find it harder going atm, but that might improve. I prefer the interface generally, though the button choices may not be those I would have made - but then that can be changed (I hope). Still haven't found the Document Map view.

(BTW PageFour is a great software. But the feature set wasn’t enough for me to justify buying it.  There are also software that are better at Outlining IMO.)-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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This is pretty much what I thought, though I have found that TreeDBNotes actually seems faster as an editor. atm, I'm not sure what PageFour has over the free version of TreeDBNotes.

Yes. Like I said In MS Word, for other organizing purpose I use notes (comments) abundantly.  And I there’s one thing that I love about the way comment are managed in words and NOT in other word Processors : you can have them in the “reviewing pane” at the bottom of the window (and not in bubbles in the margin…. yuk)-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I'm not so bothered about the position of the comments, though I'd like the option of making them as obvious as a sticky - can really do that with highlighting I suppose.

The reason I want to see the bodytext alone while I am working is that is what the final copy will look like. I will just be confused by having headings appear inside paragraphs. And really this is a task I want to be able to focus my concentration on without distractions on the screen.-Dormouse (April 03, 2008, 01:02 PM)
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That’s a good point. I confess that I’ve just “learned” to live with the “should be invisible” headings in my texts! But it would certainly be more convenient to be able to make them disappear when they’re not necessary. -Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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TreeDBNotes does this fine.

I’ve tried using OneNote and I still wonder what “everybody” loves so much about it.  True : its interface is very pleasing, it works well with tablet PCs, it can be used for many other things other than just writing documents, etc.
I’ve really tried using and liking it, but I dislike the way it stores the data, and I find it way more complicated to use than Word for big document structures — all these sections, section groups, pages, etc. wow : flat view, anybody ? where’s that feature? How do you get that “unified view” of all the data in a notebook? I also find it much less powerful than other solutions for storing, structuring and filtering all kinds of data. A lot of people that I respect tremendously here in DC swear by it though… so it must be VERY good for certain people. I probably didn’t try to use it for the right stuff.-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I just like the interface, the connectivity with the Office Suite (though it does not seem to share the same understanding of outline levels as Word - at least they don't transfer correctly), and using it for gathering and structuring info for a project. I find Evernote much better for gathering unorganised snippets and info. You can get a plugin that gives you the flat, treeview you want, though only 3 levels of a hierarchy (notebooks, sections, pages).

When I tested Ultra Recall a while ago, I was interested in that feature too (Show Combined Text for Multiple Selections) and it was a big deception. Not too sexy formatting wise, and I hated the whole process of importing my documents in Ultra recall.  Also, exporting the unified view, if I recall correctly (ahem) was also not an easy task. I think I never succeeded! Other Ultra Recall longtime users could probably say more though…-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I was just going to cut and paste info in and out, and did not seem to have a problem with using the Combined Text for Multiple Selection feature. Didn't like the interface that much, though. And too big a program just for this task really. And I think I've found a better solution now anyway.

I’ll end by saying that SQLNotes will probably be what I’ll be using for the kind of task you’re describing — it could potentially do everything that Word does, but with much better Outlining, great tagging, and the possibility to indefinitely reorganize, clone, split, etc. information. I’m just waiting for the coming MS word integration

 Of course, only after trying to use SQLnotes to structure long documents in real life situations will I be able to say for sure whether it’s my preferred solution… (I already use SQLnotes for very different tasks… But for a long document, I’d currently miss the “unified view feature” — yes it’d probably be possible to export as html, but… I sometimes need that view as I work and play with the structure.

(PS … And there’s one thing that I find hard to find in any Outliner but that’s sooooo convenient when I write in Word : zoom Out/zoom in.)
-Armando (April 03, 2008, 08:04 PM)
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I do agree about the Zoom, but mostly I just want it at one level - usually quite big - and select all and change font size isn't too bad a workaround.

I do see the attraction of SQLnotes and see that if you use it for a lot of things that it will be easier to use and you amy use it for nearly everything. I will certainly go into it in more detail at some stage. My preferred programs though are very simple and very fast and designed for the job in hand and this is important for something like a text editor.


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