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How to do outlining

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#1 cutcopypaste

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:54 PM

I love doing all my text work in evernote so it's with me wherever I go.. but I'm trying to make my life a little easier.

I'd like to do an outline in evernote with different levels of indentation.

There's an indent button in the toolbar which is inefficient, but can work ok... it has a keyboard shortcut though it's a bit hard to reach. It'd doable.. but unfortunately the formatting doesn't stay if pasted into another document which makes it quite limiting.

There's lists, which are more practical seeming, and appear somewhat more nicely, but they are limited to 2 levels. They can be pasted to other programs, but hierarchy is not maintined (list item or non list item).

I can use tabs, which can carry over, paste-wise, but they are frustrating because I do not start the next line at the same indendation.. I have to hit tab until it lines up.

How do you do outlining in evernote? Is there a better way that I'm missing? because this seems like a really useful capability to have

#2 gazumped

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:10 AM

Short answer: Evernote doesn't do outlining. As you note, it's possible to do some limited layouts with bulleted or numbered lists - hit ~tab and ~shift+tab to demote / promote lines; but if you're looking for headings and styles and other conveniences, you're out of luck. Of course you could use another form of dedicated local or cloud outliner (I'm boring, I use my MSWord) and then cut/paste the document into Evernote, or -if your outliner generates a supported file type- you could embed or attach a saved file.

It's pretty hard IME to make a good outline directly from a source - you need some rough notes to be working on; and the best way to use Evernote might be 1) for the rough notes stage, which then can 2) be extended by the more coherently formatted outline and 3) (if necessary) by a more fleshed-out "final version". You'll have the audit trail of previous versions of the notes, and a shiny new copy of your latest draft as the current note.

If there's not already an add-on for Evernote (see Trunk) that helps with Outline note-taking, there probably should be - but Evernote's concentration on improving their core process will likely mean any more advanced formatting of text notes is still somewhere over the horizon on their route plan.

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#3 cutcopypaste

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:31 AM

Thanks for the considered reply.

I am probably an edge case in that I use evernote pretty much just for the text capabilities.. for tagging and sorting all the text/notey type things I write up so I can get at them from anywhere and search through them easily. I haven't been in a situation where I felt it would be particularly useful to use the other features.. just hasn't ever felt necessary. So from that perspective I guess I'm not really using it for what it's meant for.. and that's why the features I specifically want are left in the dust a bit, but I haven't found any other service that has quite the same abilities with organizing text in the cloud, desktop and cross-platform.

#4 gazumped

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:54 AM

No problem at all - but in many ways Evernote's text capabilities are just icing on a very big storage and searching cake. In part I'm using Evernote like a traditional folder structure on my hard drive - files are going into Evernote as attachments or embeds (new word?) in the same way that I'd file them in a ~me ~documents ~work ~project1 type of tree layout - except I don't have to worry about exactly where I file any document, because I can Search for it easily: and those files that annoyingly could go in two or three different folders.. just get 2/3 tags instead. And they don't get hidden away in the 3rd place I think to look because I forgot exactly where I did file them.

Having said all that, I still use Word and Excel and Adobe and Outlook for their different special purposes - I just save all the files in Evernote. Along with several kazillion archive documents and press cuttings and random things of interest.

It's fine though to use Evernote just for the storing and searching - have a look around and see what outlining software you might use to generate some files to stick in there.

:D

I use Evernote constantly but don't speak for them.  Opinions here are my own based (more or less) on age,  experience,  and common business sense.  

Evernote read what's posted here,  and take it into consideration setting priorities;  they don't normally comment on individual cases,  or offer any forecasts or promises on whether or when a new feature might be released.  

 

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#5 Owyn

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:08 PM

just saw this on google alerts for evernote. PRweb. No idea if the product actually works.

Through an intuitive and innovative design, MagicalPad allows professionals and students to take notes, organize ideas, build outlines, prioritize actions and share their thoughts seamlessly.

http://www.sfgate.co... ... 808449.DTL
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#6 shawnholt

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:36 PM

Would really like a dedicated outline mode like Onenote. It is so much more intuitive and the way people think. just having a nested heiarchy would be a big step forward. the way it works now is brain dead.

#7 Metrodon

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:54 PM

Would really like a dedicated outline mode like Onenote. It is so much more intuitive and the way people think. just having a nested heiarchy would be a big step forward. the way it works now is brain dead.


It's the way you think I suppose. Doesn't necessarily mean it's the same for everyone though.

If it doesn't work for you because it is 'brain dead' then why not find a solution that does?

#8 shawnholt

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 12:37 AM

outliner tools have been around for 25+ years. Word / ppt even have an outline mode. OneNote serves most of my needs but the mobile / integration is lousy. I've been trying to work with Evernote for 2 years .... hoping they are listening to user feedback.

#9 dlu

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 07:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback!
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#10 hdave

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:44 PM

I too would love to see some improved outline capability, but I don't think we need a huge new "mode" or a plug-in or anything. The current tool is very close. In my opinion all it needs is to have a few things:

1) the tab key indent (*****-tab reverse indent) instead of instead of inserting 5 spaces.
2) when indenting a numbered item is should include the "parent" number e.g. "1.1" or "2.3.1" instead of just "1." -- the bulleted list is smart enough to pick a new kinda of bullet, so the numbered list could do that. Heck..already the numbered list is smart enough to renumber the lines the next level up!
3) The ability to select indented lines of text and cycle between bullets, numbers, and nothing. Currently it can't do that...it just gets very very confused...

I think that is all that is needed...am I wrong?

#11 jefito

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 11:08 PM

1) the tab key indent (shift-tab reverse indent) instead of instead of inserting 5 spaces.

For normal text, Windows client uses Ctrl+M to increase indent; Ctrl+Shift+M to decrease it.
For lists (bulleted and numbered), Tab indents (not by adding spaces), Shift+Tab dedents.

You can mix and match bulleted and numbered in the same list; just indent a section, then flip to the other style. You can mix normal indented textin, too, but you have to work at it a bit.
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#12 jbenson2

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 12:36 AM

I'm still waiting for Evernote to offer a standardized Roman Numeral outline format that can be reverse highlighted with colored fonts and a black background utilizing a hierarchical promotable / demotable gif-style movable italicized numbering system. Shouldn't be too difficult to code.

#13 Blue IXXI

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:27 PM

I moved most of my notes to Evernote from OneNote due to the cloud storage features and ability to access my notes from so many different devices/form factors.

However, outlinning is the one feature that really, really bugs me about Evernote. I guess it's because it is done so well on OneNote and SO poorly in Evernote.

Here is what I'd like to see.
  • Ability to create a collabsable and expandable the outline. I want to be able to hide whole areas of my outline. This makes navigating a large outline very easy.
  • Ability to indent and outdent using indents, not spaces.
  • Formating that is preserved between Evernote clients. (Ipad, Iphone, web, win/mac clients, etc) I should never loose my outline, just because I edited the outline on a different device.
  • Abiltity to choose from a wide variety of outline formats. Some people like bullets, some roman numerals, some legal numbering, etc.
  • Abiltiy to export my outline to word, outlook, ppt, mind manager, etc without loosing the fomating.

To me, it feels like the basic editing features of evernote have taken a back seat to the other features. While I LOVE the other features, I think that focusing on the basics will help keep more people in Evernote and help insure the don't stray and look for other solutions.

Any chance we can get a Evernote Product Manager to comment on plans for doing this?

Thanks!

#14 jefito

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:03 AM

Any chance we can get a Evernote Product Manager to comment on plans for doing this?

There's always a chance, but in general they do not comment on their feature roadmap.
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#15 schoonpine

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:22 AM

Honestly, this is one of the things that I would like to see most.

On the other hand, I'm easy to please in this regard - all I need are a few basic outline formats and I'd be off and running.

#16 FactMan

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:43 AM

  • Formating that is preserved between Evernote clients. (Ipad, Iphone, web, win/mac clients, etc) I should never loose my outline, just because I edited the outline on a different device.

That might actually be a lot of the reason why we cannot get outlining - so hard to maintain across all platforms. IIRC, html coding doesn't do outlines, so how would your ideas work on the web version? Other folks may have it right, that you use the right program for the right job. In which case, it may be MS-Word for outlines ...

I am not a lover of MS-Word, so if there is a better outliner that is compatible with EN, I am all for that. In the meantime, EN (Win, desktop) does allow me to do that first quick outline using just numbers. Fleshing out has to be done in Word. Of course, if any one from EN would like to prove me wrong, I will be happy to say thank you!

#17 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 12:30 PM

html coding doesn't do outlines, so how would your ideas work on the web version?


Not an outline, but certainly an outline-like list:
<ol>
<li>
<ol>
<li></li>
</ol>
</li>
</ol>

I don't use outlines a whole lot myself, and probably wouldn't use the feature if it was implemented, but I know a lot of people who really want them.

#18 Kevin L.

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:51 AM

+ 1. Like the previous poster, I switched to evernote from onenote mainly for the cloud storage features. But the lack of basic outlining features caught me a bit by surprise and is really frustrating. This needs to be improved.

#19 JMichael

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 03:54 AM

Don't have a clue about the level of difficulty of implementing in Evernote, but a quick google search on "html collapsible list" results in quite a few methods for doing this with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Several of these go back to 2007 or earlier.

Of course, doing this in an WYSIWYG editor makes it more complex.

At least one iPad app seems to have mastered this: http://www.magicalpad.com
Don't know how well it actually works since I haven't used it.
But the YouTube video looks good.

#20 jeremyr

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:02 AM

Even the forum editor has the capability to indent a list.
  • Outlining Helps Group Similar ideas
    • Indenting lets you understand parent-child relationships
    • another child
  • This is a basic feature in most editors
    • This is major oversight in evernote
    • EverNote should implement this feature - low hanging fruit






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