Scapple and OutlineEdit
blogging about apps like it's 2009

Scapple screenshot

I know it’s terribly 2009 of me, but I wanted to write a short post about some Mac software I’ve recently started using.

First: Scapple, made by the same people who make Scrivener.

Scapple is a visual outliner and idea mapping tool. It’s incredibly lovely, and since installing it a couple of weeks ago I’ve found it really useful for clearing thoughts out of my brain, and gathering them into some sort of order.

All of those thoughts were the sort that needed some time to bubble and fester. Thoughts that couldn’t be thunked all at once, but needed several days to pop into existence and several more days to make any sort of sense. Scapple meant I could just type them into blobs, and move the blobs around into groups. You can link thoughts together, turn them into stacked lists (I do that a lot), spot your duplicates and your overlaps. It’s really useful. A bargain at £15.

OutlineEdit screenshot

Second: OutlineEdit. This is a free outliner, and beautifully made. All the essential outlining features are included, plus a few nice extras like categories which you can assign to items with a keyboard shortcut and which show up as coloured text boxes.

I’m using OutlineEdit to solve a problem I’ve had for years: remembering things I have to think about, you know, more generally. I used to keep things like this as sticky notes in Apple’s own Stickies app, but it drove me mad with its inability to keep all the notes aligned neatly on different monitors.

They’re not things I have to do. I have a todo list for things like that.

And they’re not time- or date-specific events. I have a calendar for those.

They’re the other things. Things I have to just keep in mind for a while. Things I don’t necessarily need to do anything about, but do need to remember to at least think about. You know. More generally.

So now I have an OutlineEdit document with those things in it, and I’ve set it up to automatically open when I reboot my Mac. So after I log in, the first thing I see is this list of, you know, more general things to remember.

So there you go. Two apps for you to try, if you haven’t already.

Here’s to 2010, I hear it’s going to be a great year.

Filed under: computers

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19 Apr 2018