Outline Edit Edit Done — From Start to Finish with KeyNote Outlining Software

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10 Responses

  1. Fritz says:

    Hey, the KeyNote link is no good. :-(

  2. Lisa Hendrix says:

    First, your link is wrong. Try:


    Second, there are similar programs out there for Mac users, most notably Scrivener, from Literature and Latte, which actually has more features, including a 3x5 card view that you can move around (it translates directly into the tree outline).


    Another program a lot of Mac users like is SuperNotecard


    Windows folks should at Writers Café (also available for Mac)

    and yWriter4

    Or if you really *love* Microsoft, you could try OneNote (pricey!)


    Or you can give MS Word some very basic but clumsy heirarchal functionality by combining the outline and Document Mapping functions. Here are some helpful links:



  3. Dustin says:

    Sorry! The link was right, I just missed the closing tag on the Buzzword link earlier in the paragraph so WOrdpress treated the Keynote link as part of the Buzznote link — and that’s no good for everyone.

    There are a ton of outlining applications out there for PC, but I keep coming back to KeyNote. Scrivener seems to be the Holy Grail of writing apps, if you’re on a Mac and can afford it; Liquid Story Binder is about the closest thing on a PC. But LSB is often too much for me — I like the simplicity of KeyNote and the workflow I’ve worked out with it. I suppose as I get more used to LSB’s quirks and features, I’ll work out a similarly natural-feeling workflow — but maybe not. And then, back to KeyNote.

  4. Dustin says:

    Oh, and WOrd’s outlining, while it looks great in theory, I find horribly ugly, clumsy, and unelegant in practice. Others may have a different opinion, of course. (They’d be wrong, but who am I to judge :-)

  5. Lisa Hendrix says:

    Here’s another terrific one for Mac I forgot to mention: OmniOutliner, which is half-database, half outliner, half word-processor. Available in Standard ($39.95) and Professional ($69.95). You can get a trial license to see if it’s for you. There are good tutorials on the site, plus a full downloadable manual.


  6. Tom Colvin says:

    Dustin, I couldn’t agree with you more about KeyNote. Aside from regular word processor, it’s the writing tool I use the most. Absolutely love it! I have a couple of posts about it on my blog. [For KeyNote on steriods, look at WhizFolders —  I use it too, but more for organizing a mass or research notes — it’s main strength is linking capability internally and to external files and websites.]

    Also agree re Word’s outline/document-map feature. I tried that in early days of writing a book — and vowed never to try it again. HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE when used on long works.

    SuperNoteCard is available for Windows as well.

    Following your advice, I’ve pre-posted 5 weeks of material on my blog, as I depart this afternoon on major research trip to Europe. Among those items is the best annotated list of outliners I’ve come across any where. Just follow upcoming posts on http://www.becoming-a-writer-seriously.com

    Re Scrivener: I’ve heard so much about it, that I’m actually coinsidering making my computer a Mac.

  7. Dustin says:

    Tom: I’ve had the same thought about Mac and Scrivener — if Mac’s weren’t so much more than PCs (even with my $100 educator’s discount through my university) I’d be writing this on one right now! I’ve even thought about buying a used PowerPC MacBook just to join the club (although in a year or two maybe there’ll be some good deals on used Intel Macs).

  8. Patrick says:

    Thanks for the blog post on this. I’ve been looking for some good outlining software, but like you, I’m on a PC and just can’t afford the Mac prices (the problem with writing stage plays and novels). I’m definitely going to give Keynote a try – it’s nice to know people are still using it, even though it’s been out for so long.

  9. Benneh says:

    Since 13.11.2007 the development has been resumed in Delphi 2006 by Daniel Prado with the Open Source project KeyNote — New Features, initially in SourceForge, and actually in Google Code. Current version of KeyNote NF is (2009-feb-01). For more news see keynote-nf project in Google Code and Daniel Prado’s blog (Spanish).

    KeyNote NF version

  10. moi meme says:

    You’re so right about MS Word outlining. It’s the worst. I am planning to dust off a copy of Amipro from 1994, which had a better outlining feature than Word. I will also try Keynote for heavier-duty projects.