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Tom Briant

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

OmniOutliner 3: A Quadrille Paper Pad for the 21st Century

I have to thank one of my consulting clients for turning me on to OmniOutliner 3.x. He needs to advance from the marvelous MORE 3.1 app, which is strictly for Classic. So I got tasked with finding a 21st Century replacement for MORE.

After typing the search into Google, I came up with OmniOutliner, which will import MORE 3.1 files. I already had OmniOutliner, which Apple included on my MacBook purchase in November 2006. I hadn’t put it to use, though.

How I use OmniOutliner 3

I started putting OmniOutliner 3 to use when I discovered I needed notebook paper to complete exercises in a paper workbook. I didn’t want to clutter my cramped workspace with pieces of paper. I wanted to stay computerized!

Well, OmniOutliner 3 fit the bill. A lot of the exercises fit into an outline format. You want a parent topic with indented child topics. You also want to sort your topics. You could literally cut and paste pieces of paper; but it’s a lot more convenient to drag and drop within OmniOutliner 3.

What OmniOutliner 3 is and isn’t

If I had to choose a phrase to describe OmniOutliner 3.x, it’s “A Quadrille Paper Pad for the 21st Century.” Quadrille paper, sheets of paper with a preprinted grid of blue squares, has enabled millions of users to put their ideas on paper. OmniOutliner 3 can supplement or replace quadrille paper. If you make a mistake, you can just delete it and not worry about wasting a sheet of paper.

It is not a replacement for Excel. Oh, it’s very handy for listing my grocery purchases, as I can set up various columns for food categories. It won’t do the math that Excel can do. Don’t do a depreciation schedule on OmniOutliner. It only does simple addition.

It’s Expandable!

You can use AppleScript and Automator to expand upon OmniOutliner. If you go into the Support section and drill down to Extras,

  • you will find a host of useful extras. I particularly recommend the Useful Scripts to add capabilities to your installation of OmniOutliner 3. I particularly like the
  • Which Version Should I Get?
  • You can download both the Standard and Professional version from the Omnigroup’s Web site here. They will run as fully functional trials for 14 days. You only need to run OS X 10.4.8 at a minimum, too.
  • You can upgrade from the Standard version to the Professional version for $49.99.
  • Summary
  • This is one of the best products I have found for the Mac. I suggest you download a copy of Standard and try it out for 14 days. If you want to add the capability to quickly transform your unnumbered outline into Harvard format, go to the Extras section of support, download the Useful Scripts, and install them.
  • Tom Briant
  • Editor, MacValley Blog

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