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vincekboise

(Archived) Outlining software integration with Evernote??

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I am new, so let me just say thank you to all who have posted and have helped educate me on Evernote capabilities and limitations.

I am writing a book and struggling with the best ways to use/not use Evernote to help. Evernote is great for capturing information, but its lousy for manipulating that information into a hierarchical structure (that is inherently needed for a book, as least as book is defined today).

I have read with interest the discussions about the existing Evernote structure of tags/notebooks/search vs. lack of hierarchical organizing. This strikes me like a false dichotomy (tastes great vs. less filling).

There is a category of software referred to as outlining software with an active forum of pioneers at www.outlinersoftware.com. There are hundreds (NOT a typo) of outlining software programs out there http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/ ... -outliners . After scanning the forum, some of the better ones appear to be MyInfo, Ultra Recall, WhizFolders, Outline 4D, Scrivener (Mac), Zost, Ecco Pro, Omni Outlines, Surfulator and others. There is no clear winner in outline organizer offerings. It is fragmented among dozens of confusingly similar and flawed offerings.

Mostly by default and lack of knowledge of alternatives, I have been a user of ActionOutline for several years. In starting to write my book, I ran into many limitations and looked to see what else is out there -- thus stumbling into the Outliner Software forum.

I feel like I am in the twilight zone. What I have been hoping to find is outliner software that has great integration with Evernote. No cigar... at least yet. Am I missing something? This strikes me like a golden opportunity for an existing software outlining offering to tap into Evernotes 10 million users.

Why aren't there outliner programs that have figured out the value of integrating with Evernote, similar to what Curio has done with mindmapping software (for Mac only). Evernote has opened its API.

My theory is that whatever outliner software develops a decent integration with Evernote will be cream that rises to the top. I would be happy with crude outlining functionality if only it integrated with the powerful capturing capabilities of Evernote.

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You can drag any file created from any outlining software into Evernote - not all that slick I know.....but at least it means your outlines go everywhere that your Evernote notes do.

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Metrodon, Thanks...but actually I am hoping for integration in the other direction -- I would like to use an outlining program that integrated with (or at least could import FROM) Evernote.

Why? I would like to use Evernote to create and capture information, but use outlining software functionality to organize notes into a hierarchical structure (i.e., a book outline and text).

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Each note in Evernote can be exported as a single or multiple HTML web page which could then be used by your outliner program.

You can also export the note's attributes you wish. Note title, created date, updated date, author, location, tags, source URL

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Why? I would like to use Evernote to create and capture information, but use outlining software functionality to organize notes into a hierarchical structure (i.e., a book outline and text).

The note organization facilities in Evernote do not allow for much hierarchy. You can organize notebooks into stacks, to a level of one deep; stacks cannot nest. Notebooks contain only notes, and may not be nested. Notes may not be nested. Notes themselves contain rudimentary outlining abilities. To wit:

"All Notebooks" : a list of containers

Container : a notebook or a stack

Stack : a list of notebooks

Notebook: a list of notes

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actually I am hoping for integration in the other direction -- I would like to use an outlining program that integrated with (or at least could import FROM) Evernote.

Why? I would like to use Evernote to create and capture information, but use outlining software functionality to organize notes into a hierarchical structure (i.e., a book outline and text).

Sounds like a decent plan.

  • 1.) Store info in Evernote
    2.) Use dedicated outliner program to develop your outline with promote / demote capabilites

Suggestion: mark or tag the notes you have copied from Evernote to the Outliner program so you know what has been copied.

.

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Just to add on to the last post - notes can be linked together so you could (forinstance) rough out a chapter in one note, then add new notes to the database filling out each bullet point in your rough draft, linking back to the "head" note so you can review the content in the correct order. Used as part of a notebook stack, links can be useful to drag research together - and of course they can be moved around within the note or copied from one note to another if details change.

If you have outline software that allows the different levels of your outline to be saved as separate files (you can do this in mind-mapping software, so I'm sure some outliners will: MSWord allows embedded documents in a "master" file..) - then (as already noted) those separate files could be saved in Evernote and the hyperlinks would still be valid even if the sub-files were edited or the outline moved around.

The fact that there are hundreds of outline options, and a good few mind-mapping options (for the record my personal mapper/ outliner of choice is currently http://mindontrack.com/), means there are hundreds of reasons why Evernote should not try to reinvent any wheels. If one of the software houses involved wants to make a connection (and yes, I suggested this to Mind on Track already) then no doubt we'll see Evernote-friendly versions coming out at some point; but most producers aren't as user-friendly and insanely (in a nice way) productive as the Evernote machine, so there might be a wait.

Meantime we already accept Operating Sytems, Browsers, Word Processors, Spreadsheets et al as separate software for their own indvidual reasons - I use Evernote purely for it's "external brain" power, and I think it should stay out of areas that have been more than adequately exploited by people with greater expertise in those fields than theirs.

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I am a fellow spirit! The following might be a bit long-winded but I have a few points to make.

I have been thinking a lot about solutions in this space partly because I'm an aspiring writer (the "aspiring" tag gets removed when my first novel is published, I don't count the technical articles I've written over the years) and a software developer, using Evernote for design and writing. I am intending to develop an Evernote solution and very eager to discuss design and requirements here :)

I use Evernote across multiple desktop and laptop Mac and Windows computers, iPhone and iPad. I've been in the habit of recording my thoughts when driving and walking for many years, through a succession of analog recorders, dedicated digital recorders, phones and now into Evernote on the iPhone.

Some of what I do is a result of reading Gerald Weinbergs "Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone method" so I want to record lots of fragments of scenes. I will then weave them into a narrative thread and also separately refer to a plot summary.

When designing software, I record audio notes of scenarios as people would use the software and odd design ideas, then transcribe them later (love the fact that I can put a summarised transcript into the same note as has the original audio attached). Experience when walking with the iPhone has taught me to record a few small audio attachments in the same note rather than one big long one, in case I fail to save it.

I'm also an intensely visual thinker. I dabble with Tinderbox on the Mac, Vue on Mac and Windows and mostly write textual forms of diagrams using Graphviz (inc the Instaviz client on iPhone). On the iPhone, I've drawn diagrams with Instaviz, exported to the Camera Roll and then added those pictures to notes in Evernote. I'd prefer something more streamlined but it at least gets diagrams of relationships in there as portable pictures.

My love of outliners for writing goes back to the wonderful MindWriter on early Mac Classic OS. I tend to draft hierarchical thoughts just using the natural tab and shift-tab indent and outdenting within a note, initially as just simple textual lists. Since the Note Link feature was added, this means I can assemble master notes which act like a wiki to link to other Evernote notes. I will often have a note link with a few other words as an entry in a master outline.

Something you have apparently missed is that, whilst Notes and Notebooks can't be assembled into a hierarchy, Tags can! You might want to play with building up a hierarchical structure with your tags and treating the note bodies as content at each level. The tags could serve the same purpose as "titles" do in some outlining packages. With the hierarchical tags display on the left, you end up with a navigable outline for each note associated with a tag. Some people may say this is abusing the tag system :shock:

So, before we can talk more about how your evernote content might map to an external outliner, I suggest you try the ideas above and see how they work out.

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Well, there are MANY features that people want. Outlining (beyond what EN os offering now) is probably not high on the list of EN priorities. Don't forget: EN is a tool for collecting and retrieving information fast, not a "can do all and everything" application. As others have already noted above: If outlining is critical to your needs, choose an outliner.

Outlining will probably not happen any time soon, if at all.

Wern

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AndyDent, Thanks for your thoughtful and helpful note. I have purchased and started reading Weinberg's ebook. Good stuff. See also http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/ ... tewriting/ .

Wern, gazumped agree... I see no evidence that creating outline functionality is high on Evernote todo list, nor do they need to do this by themselves. Opportunity still is there for an existing outlining SW vendor to integrate through Evernote API. Evernote could also choose to acquire one of these companies and incorporate functionality into their platform; questionable whether this would be a good move as the SW offerings are so highly varied.

All... I did followup posts on both this forum and the Outliner Software forum. At this point I am leaning toward using Evernote to capture research and then export .html files to Scrivener for Windows to organize and write first draft of my book. Have received a lot of helpful feedback and sugestions...

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=30838

http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/3274

http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/ ... evelopment

AndyDent -- see especially helpful comments by Alexander and Hugh. There is discussion re: your point on tags. Understand the theory but will have to play with tags to see if they are practical for a complex book.

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AndyDent, Thanks for your thoughtful and helpful note. I have purchased and started reading Weinberg's ebook. Good stuff. See also http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/ ... tewriting/ .

Wern, gazumped agree... I see no evidence that creating outline functionality is high on Evernote todo list, nor do they need to do this by themselves. Opportunity still is there for an existing outlining SW vendor to integrate through Evernote API. Evernote could also choose to acquire one of these companies and incorporate functionality into their platform; questionable whether this would be a good move as the SW offerings are so highly varied.

All... I did followup posts on both this forum and the Outliner Software forum. At this point I am leaning toward using Evernote to capture research and then export .html files to Scrivener for Windows to organize and write first draft of my book. Have received a lot of helpful feedback and sugestions...

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=30838

http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/3274

http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/ ... evelopment

AndyDent -- see especially helpful comments by Alexander and Hugh. There is discussion re: your point on tags. Understand the theory but will have to play with tags to see if they are practical for a complex book.

i cannot remember who, but someone else was trying to write a book in evernote. bad idea in my opinion. writing (in my experience) requires moving things about a lot so that the order of elements in the narrative changes. evernote sucks at ordering stuff. or, to be more precise, it can do it once, but it punishes you for trying to do it a lot.

evrnote has no connection with scrivener, so you'll have to take all of your work and move it back and forth to work on it. ugh. why do that? assuming ou are using a mobile device (otherwise, why not just use scrivener for writing all the time?) use the elements ipad for ios to write. it syncs perfectly with scrivener.

evernote is a virtual junk drawer par excellence. i gather my research there, take notes, etc. i write somewhere else, because evernote is not designed for that. push evernote to work hard for you in terms of storing stuff, but don't try and force it to help you create serious content, because it won't end well (i tried for a while).

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I'm trying to come up with a list of activities that can be mapped to the Evernote features and what people use outliners for, so a two-way mapping can be defined between Evernote and an outliner.

I don't think it's at all commercially feasible to add another outliner program to the mass out there but rather that specific interchange with the OPML standard and maybe a few directly, like Tinderbox, is the way forward. For writers, some specific features like combining a few notes into a single view might be very useful and is not part of the typical outliner functionality.

It might be that there's a need for a different Evernote client app that is optimised for this style of working, even though based firmly on the Evernote storage paradigms. This authoring need is slightly independent of the mapping to traditional outliners.

So, here are my initial candidates for activities (and possibly technologies or solutions):


  • [*:m1ec6d8p]narrative

    • [*:m1ec6d8p]creating story fragments (as notes)
      [*:m1ec6d8p]linking story fragments into a narrative flow (separate notes with note links, maybe strictly disciplined tags, presentation tool to pull them out into a readonly or editable whole)
      [*:m1ec6d8p]create outlines and particularly multiple, independent outlines (tags one per note with the note being the "body" for the outline, using multiple tags for some notes is the equivalent of "aliasing" that's used to have something show up in more than one outline)
      [*:m1ec6d8p]reorder outlines (tags in outline view are not ordered other than alphabetically so a tag-based approach relies on renaming a set of tags that are used for outline management. An approach using an "outline note" which contains only note links allows for completely arbitrary ordering and nesting.)

[*:m1ec6d8p]research and ancillary materials, including character bios


  • [*:m1ec6d8p]writing and tagging
    [*:m1ec6d8p]finding relevant material (search by tag)
    [*:m1ec6d8p]associating research notes with narrative text (maybe by tag or with another note that links to narrative chunk and one or more associated notes)

Hmmm.

What writing this made me think is that the best way is probably


  • [*:m1ec6d8p]use tags for associations
    [*:m1ec6d8p]use notes full of note links to contain the outlines

If you wanted such "outline notes" to be interchanged with an outliner program or OPML standard, a helper program would target just such notes (e.g.: identified by being tagged) and translate the nested order in the note to and from the outline.

Something I really like about the idea of maintaining the outline in a separate note is that it is independent from the content and removing anything from the outline doesn't actually lose it. It's also trivially clonable so you can play with different variations on the outline.

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scrivener does some of this well. as a writer myself, i like some of the functionality you describe. but, this is way beyond evernote's scope and already done well by others. i don't think it is necessary for evernote to be able to sync with other outlining programs.

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I nice outliner is Brainstorm from brainstormsw.com ; developed near 30 years ago, it doesn't have the beatiful interface of modern software but this turns to be an advantage as it's pretty fast and responsive.

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Maybe this is too late, but I was looking for the same thing (Evernote-->outliner integration). I always start my writing with outlines, and I find the Omnioutliner Pro product to be excellent. Pricey, but excellent. You can copy a note link and paste it into your outline in omnioutliner, so I am thrilled and wanted to share the joy.

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Has there been any progress on this in the last couple of years?

 

Unlike vincekboise I'm not even writing a book, but it seems obvious to me that anyone hoping to organise any large volume of notes or ideas systematically needs to be able to give them some hierarchical structure.

 

I'm heavily invested in Evernote now and appreciate its many features, but it's totally beyond me that it lacks even the simplest outlining functionality. Even the dreaded Microsoft Word has that!

 

The closest I've come is Cloud Outliner for Mac and iPad, but while that app claims to sync with Evernote, it really only does a one-way transfer TO Evernote, and it doesn't even sync correctly between different devices running Cloud Outliner. Is Evernote finally considering implementing some kind of rudimentary outlining functionality? It may be the only thing that saves my relationship with Evernote... 

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Seems to me it's the lack of automation with Evernote that stymies this effort. Yes, you can do stuff on Windows and DIFFERENT stuff on Mac. But there isn't CONSISTENT automation.

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Has there been any progress on this in the last couple of years?

 

Unlike vincekboise I'm not even writing a book, but it seems obvious to me that anyone hoping to organise any large volume of notes or ideas systematically needs to be able to give them some hierarchical structure.

 

I'm heavily invested in Evernote now and appreciate its many features, but it's totally beyond me that it lacks even the simplest outlining functionality. Even the dreaded Microsoft Word has that!

 

The closest I've come is Cloud Outliner for Mac and iPad, but while that app claims to sync with Evernote, it really only does a one-way transfer TO Evernote, and it doesn't even sync correctly between different devices running Cloud Outliner. Is Evernote finally considering implementing some kind of rudimentary outlining functionality? It may be the only thing that saves my relationship with Evernote...

The OP was talking about large projects. When you are dealing with sections, chapters, books, etc. you need to be able to organize notes (pages, paragraphs, or whatever unit we are talking about) hierarchically. You also need to be able to move things around freely as the project develops. In a book, you generally don't need to sort according to date updated or something like that. You need the notes to stay in the order you put them. Evernote only has this manual sorting capability in the Shortcuts area, and even there you cannot (for example) select 250 items and move them somewhere else in the book. In fact, you are limited to only 250 shortcuts (http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=169). In my opinion, Scrivener is a better option for a book project (see my post above).

It sounds like you are talking about outlining within a note, and that is an entirely different issue. Evernote does this, but it is problematic. Just yesterday I was wrestling with a bullet point on iOS and ended up giving up. I had to turn the note into plain text because the text kept leaping around. I think we all know that Evernote has had outlining bugs for many years now. In my opinion, your cloud outliner approach is a good solution. While I don't mean to sound pessimistic, when a problem like this persists for several years, I usually don't hold my breath hoping for changes. It may come! But, in the meantime, you need to find a solution that works for you. In my case, writing in plain text with markdown is the solution that works for me.

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I had to move my project info to OneNote. It's impossible to quickly work with large amounts of info in Evernote, the sections can't be collapsed, finding something quickly in a large note is a PITA. The biggest problem are screenshots (we use web collaboration software for meetings and being able to take screenshots of presenter's screen is essential), in Evernote they tend to take up the entire screen space after a while and just kill the usefulness, while in OneNote they can be collapsed into the outline and only opened up when needed.

 

I still keep personal stuff in Evernote just because I like the openness of it, but I did not buy a Premium subscription as I was planning on doing. I hate to say it  but as an application OneNote is miles above Evernote, with three major advantages being outlining with collapsible structure, seamless Outlook task integration, and ability to place bits of info anywhere on screen. As service though Evernote shines. I just wish they fixed their front end client.

 

A one approach to still have this (sort of) in Evernote would be to keep info in a Word document (used in Outline view) and upload it to Evernote whenever you edit contents. This would have to be in Word 2007 .doc format as .docx has problems rendering graphics in outline. This is however too much work when OneNote is so seamless.

 

Evernote, please listen to your customers and fix the outlining !

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Posted · Hidden by jefito, August 27, 2014 - this seems like spam to me; no evident relation to Evernote
Hidden by jefito, August 27, 2014 - this seems like spam to me; no evident relation to Evernote

Hello,

         I want to say about the Digital Books and Outlines. Today we are living in digital societies and everyone want used the softwares. We can full depend on the outlines s/w or other digital systems.Digital Books/Outlines are really helps us for todays life. I recommend all of you if u want this go to the Goldmine for your best outlines.

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