Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The outliner for Mac users who hate outliners

Remember outliners? They’re built in to many word processors and help us organize our thoughts, projects, plans in a logical, straightforward way. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen anyone using an outliner on a Mac. Why? There’s a learning curve. All those indents and options get confusing. Spend a few minutes with Tree and you’ll see an outliner that’s fun to use.

Tree for Me

I gave up on outliners years ago when I worked for an engineering company that had white boards in every office. Thinking required a white board, a marker pen, an eraser, a Post-It Note which said, ‘Do Not Erase,’ and at least one other person.

That was before the age of Mac notebooks, but I never got the outliner habit again. Until Tree.

Tree assists you in organizing your information, sketching plans and brainstorming new ideas. Tree allows you to store your ideas and keywords in segments that you can sort, re-arrange and constantly refine. Tree is designed to be a simple and lightweight application that lets you concentrate on your ideas.

Whoa. In true Mac fashion, Tree is a tool to help you think, onscreen, without a white board or marker pen, yet nearly as simple. Tree’s outline-like hierarchy lets you rearrange pieces in whatever order you want. Drag and drop.

In a very real sense, Tree is both an outliner and an organizer, mostly in that order. The Tree view displays each level from left to right, heading to detail, which can be hidden by a click.

Free Form With Form

I was once in love with a note-taking tool called Mori. Tree is to outlining and organizing as Mori is to text.

Free form with an easy on the eyes form. In other words, Tree is easy to use, but is flexible enough to be as complicated as you need in a quick and dirty utility.

For tree like structures such as outlines, a web site structure or why-why/how-how diagrams, Tree offers you an intuitive way of working with your data. Taking notes, brainstorming new ideas, sketching plans, organizing your information, listing tasks and to-dos.

Like Mori, tree expands to fit my needs without becoming cumbersome. Like a white board, it’s just there and does what you want until you erase it; storing information. But it’s better than a white board because Tree documents can be shared, saved, expanded, trimmed.

Tree doesn’t get in the way of your ideas, notes, plans, tasks, and simply records everything in whatever order you need. Tree is good but not free, and the exchange rate to US dollars probably puts a damper on sales.