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Comparison of Outliners

Wikipedia recently cleaned up its list of Outliners, so here's as comprehensive a list as I could put together.


Outliners are great bits of software that help you keep & organize (or keep disorganized, but at least all in one file) bits of text (and other) data. You can read more about them on Wikipedia.

My Faves
Software OS License Panes Text
Format
Install? Notes
Treepad Free Windows Freeware 2 Pane Plaintext Optional Install My favorite outliner, Treepad is like the "notepad" of outliners. Stores files in an XML like structure. Has been rock solid & lightning fast for me for years, despite storing tons of information.
Tranglos Keynote Windows Open Source (Mozilla) 2 pane Rich Text Install I like it because it can store files in an encrypted format. Development discontinued in 2005. (see also Keynote NF)
Action Outliner Windows Shareware 2 pane Rich Text Install This outliner allows you to add colored flags to node. I use it to indicate the status of various "to do items.
Treeline Linux, Windows Open Source (GPL) 2 Pane Database Install Can almost be thought of as a portable database more than as an outliner. It enforces a high level of structure, which you may or may not like. Saves files in an XML format, exports nicely to HTML.
Have not (or do not) use
Software OS License Panes Text
Format
Install? Notes
2DO Windows Open Source (GPL) 2 pane Plaintext Install Appears to be very light weight.
Buzz Linux, OSX, Windows (With Python/ Cygwin) Open Source (GPL) 1 Pane Plaintext Install Browser-based XML/OPML format single-pane outliner. Technical proficiency recommended.
Dynamic List Browser Based (.NET source available) Freeware 2 Pane HTML Online / Install Browser-based, seem sort of Wiki like.
Ecco_Pro Windows Freeware 1 Pane     A very old, abandoned fully-featured PIM which has a lot of ongoing support & is now available as freeware.
Exstora Windows Freeware /
Shareware
2 pane Richtext Optional Install This is really more of a fully-featured PIM than an outliner.
fishCode Library .NET Windows Freeware 2 pane Richtext   A two pane outliner with a stong emphasis on richtext editing.
Freemind Windows Open Source n/a Plaintext Install Actually a mind-mapper, not an outliner at all, but outliners are just multi-dimensional outliners...
InfoHesive Windows Shareware 2 pane Richtext Install Seems to be a rather fully featured outliner/PIM
InfoQube Windows Shareware/ Freeware 1 or 2 Pane Richtext Optional Install Appears to be a flexible and richly-featured outliner/PIM/Project Management tool with
HNB Outliner Linux, Windows Open Source 1 Pane Plaintext   A command line outiner that seems useful for edting HTML/XML documents.
Jreepad Linux, OSX, Windows (Java) Open Source (GNU) 2 pane Plaintext No Install Open source, cross platform outliner that's compatible with Treepad Free.
KeepNote Linux, OSX, Windows Open Source (GPL) 3 Pane Richtext Install 3-Pane ("Outlook style) outliner, can include images in articles.
Keynote NF Windows Open Source (Mozilla) 2 Pane Rich Text   Someone picked up Keynote development and created the NF (New Features) version.
KnowIt Linux     Richtext   HTML Export
Software OS License Panes Text
Format
Install? Notes
Leo Linux, OSX, Windows Open Source (MIT) 2 Pane Plaintext Install Quirky outliner that supports "literate programming" (whatever that is) and stores files in an XML format.
Maple Windows Shareware 2 Pane Richtext Optional Install Wide variety of import/export formats.
MemPad Windows Freeware 2 Pane Plaintext Portable Very simple & lightweight outliner that stores files in a text format, with a few nifty features like auto-save and encryption.
Microsoft Word OSX, Windows Shareware 1 or 2 Pane Richtext Install MS Word has outlining features (which are oddly missing from Open Office Writer).
My Yellow Notepad Windows Shareware 2 Pane Richtext   Can export to a standalone (executable) reader format.
MyInfo Windows Shareware 2 Pane Richtext Optional Install Appears to have tight windows/browser integration.
NeoMem Windows Open Source (MIT) 2 Pane Richtext/ Database Optional Install Very interesting outliner that also adds some database functionality.
NoteCase Linux, OSX, Windows, Nokia Open Source (BSD) 2 Pane Richtext   Features encryption & compression, "Pro" version available.
OmniOutliner OSX Shareware 2 Pane Richtext   Can add spreadsheet-like tables with checkboxes, etc., lots of export options, supports Applescript.
Software OS License Panes Text
Format
Install? Notes
Personal Project Planner Windows Freeware 1 Pane Richtext Install Interesting one-pane outliner that actually uses our file structure to store the outline (each node is a separate folder or file).
SEONOTE Windows Freeware 2 pane Richtext Install Lots of icon options for nodes, appears to have a "checkbox" option too.
Springnote Browser Based Freeware 2 Pane Richtext n/a Online, collaborative outliner.
The Guide Windows   2 pane Richtext   Rich text editing, export to RTF
TkOutline Linux, Windows Open Source (GPL) 1 Pane Semi- Richtext No Install Very simple 1-pane outliner. Export to HTML
TOMBO Windows, Windows CE Open Source (GPL) 2 Pane Plaintext   Developed in Japan, it's an outliner that runs on Windows and Windows and CE
Tuxcards Linux   2 Pane Plaintext/ Richtext   MD5 and Blowfish Encryption.
Userland Frontier OSX, Windows Shareware 1 Pane     Also rather old, Userland/Manilla was one of the first blogging platforms. I never really could wrap my head around the complexities.
UV Outliner Windows Shareware 1 Pane Plaintext/ Richtext   A one pane outliner that supports rich text, automatic styling of nodes, checkboxes, "hoisting" (which allows you to work with a subset of nodes only), and strong keyboard navigation.
Whizfolders Windows Shareware 2 Pane Richtext Install Seems to have very tight Windows integration (shortcuts to the web, files, OLE, etc.). Nodes can have checkboxes, Deluxe version has single-pane editing.
WikiPad Linux, OSX, Windows Open Source 2 Pane Wikitext Install An outliner that lets you cross-link documents Wiki style.

Page created March 20, 2009
Page updated February 29, 2010


© Mark Wieczorek