An outline editor or electronic card catalog (English Outliner ) is a computer program that translates the principle preferred by many humanists list boxes on a digital platform. Technically speaking, there is at most electronic card boxes to a mixture of free-form database and text editor, with more or less pronounced layout capabilities by no layout options (plain text ) can reach up to the integration of graphics, tables and hyperlinks. Some editors also outline the limits of the world of document management software so far fluently than can be integrated and keywording different media types in the database.

Types of structure editors

Basically, three different types of structure editors can be distinguished, all of which realize the principle of hierarchical storage of text elements in different ways:


In particular, the Explorer-like program structure editors are characterized by a variety of uses, to be discussed in more detail below:


The use of the editors described in this article as an electronic analogue to the popular social scientists in list boxes is to be regarded as the original purpose of these programs. More or less large sections of text (eg, citations) are stored in a sorted by category and verschlagworteten file and are thus available, even if you do not have the original book at hand. In this way, you can quickly build a comprehensive archive of important passages of text that can be easily integrated by the electronic processing of the texts in their own texts and also reusable - the user once the data entry effort and can reuse the texts then arbitrarily. The same applies, for example, for the journalistic work in the form of an electronic manual archive and use as an electronic " notebook " can be stored in the structured ideas.

Free-form database

In general outline editors can be used for all purposes, in which a plurality should not be stored for long texts, examples of which are prescription or diaries.

Literary production

Structure editors are, due to their structured but flexible way of organizing text data best used to write literary products such as novels and short stories or screenplays. Chapters and scenes are written in single node, the tree structure allows the development of several storylines and additional data such as characterizations or descriptions of locations. For this each a separate branch of the tree structure is established.

Within the tree all the parts of the text or even chapter can now be rearranged in which one node moves in the tree. It is considerably simpler than in an ordinary word processor, to change the structure of a text. This also applies to journalistic or scientific works, which are divided much more usually as literary texts. For such texts, the presence of a hypertext function is advantageous, so that can be cross-references and footnotes set.

Web Links / List of structure editors

  • Emacs Org -mode ( known extension to the Emacs text editor, open source, cross-platform, since 2003)
  • KeyNote NF (Freeware / Open Source, Windows) (2009/ 2013)
  • Workflowy.com ( Web-based, freemium, cross-platform ) ( 2013)
  • Hierarchical notebook (open source, Linux ) (2003 )
  • MyInfo (commercial, Windows) (2013 )
  • OmniOutliner (commercial, Mac OS X, iOS ) (2012 )
  • OneNote (commercial, Windows) (2013 )
  • LexiCan (commercial, Windows) (2013 )
  • Synapses (commercial, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux) (2011)
  • Vimoutliner (Open Source, Linux)
  • Paper Box (Open Source, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux ) (2012 )
  • Cherrytree (Open Source, Windows, Linux) (2014)
  • Editor ( software)
  • Documentation
  • Writing technique
  • Personal Information Manager