My day job has me slaving over a hot keyboard supporting hundreds and hundreds of teachers, students, faculty, and hundreds more Macs, PCs, iPads, and now Chromebooks. One of the tools I use each is a text editor (actually a handful of text editors).
One of the tools the teachers use each day and wish their students would use each is an outliner. Yes, that kind of outliner. The kind of outliner that bored us to death as students but the same outliner we found valuable to use as near adults seeking a higher education. Here’s a Mac app which brings together a text editor and an outliner.
Outlines may not be fun to use but they are useful even though an outline requires overcoming a learning curve and being disciplined to write down what’s important in a task or project and where the elements fit.
Mac users have a number of decent digital outliner apps from which to choose, but only Outlinely seems to work as both a text editor and an outliner. How does that work exactly? Well, it’s easier than you think because an outline is just a bunch of text with organizational rules.
Outlinely comes in two flavors for Mac OS X Yosemite and El Capitan. Light and dark themes. As is the case with most outliners, Outlinely can be used to create a standard outline for a project, story, research paper, or even a list of procedures. Use it to create lists and lists inside lists because it expands and collapses, you know, like an outliner.
The app can be used as a standard text editor, good for writing and notes but not coding or programming. Think TextEdit with an outline function built in.
Outlinely has word processor features built in, too, including options to add links, change fonts and styles, and even a Focus mode so you can write with less distraction. It’s a good outliner citizen and imports and exports standard OPML files but also exports to PDF and Word as well as RTF, HTML and Markdown (about as close to coding as you’ll get here).
Outlines can be tagged, which makes it easier to search for specific information within a larger document. And no writing tool is complete without an option to change the theme color to match your mood. Overall, Outlinely is nicely done, useful, and the blend of text editing and outline features makes it different enough to try. And try you can. The developer published Outlinely on the Mac App Store but there’s a trial version available, too.