The MindOutliner plan – for WritingOutliner users

Edwin YipMindOutliner Blog Posts52 Comments

[subtitle3]The New Plan[/subtitle3][subtitle3]Why?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]It’s too hard to take WritingOutliner (or WordOutliner) to the next level, due to the limits as a Word addin.

BTW, mind mapping is the top-rated feature in the ‘wish list’ section of the WritingOutliner website.[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]How will the plan be executed?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]In short, MindOutliner will be developed based on MindVisualizer,  with the writer-friendly features found in WritingOutliner gradually added, plus many powerful word processing features that should be enough for your to abandon MS Word.[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]The goals?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]

  • Make current MindVisualizer users happy, by letting them find MindOutliner much more powerfully than ever, all after all, after the stalled development for years 😉
  • Make current WritingOutliner users happy, by letting them find MindOutliner is much more handy then [MS Word + WritingOutliner], without  much compromisations in terms of rich text formatting (word processing).
  • Makes me (the developer) feel relieved, by being able to frequently deliver quality updates of all of my products, again; by receiving emails from my customers saying I’m listening to them, again; and by not having to fight with the limits of MS Word when developing Word addins!
[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]How can mind mapping helps me writing (a novel)?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]Mind mapping is a proven tool that helps creativity, clarify of thinking, brainstorming, and so on.

The final output of our large writing is linear, but the the process usually is not. The radiant, visual structure of a mindmap is more suitable for developing and restructuring your writing project.

And don’t forget, from the point of view of a WritingOutliner user, mind mapping is the only an additional tool in the MindOutliner writing software, you’ll still get the outlining and corkboard features!

PS, please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in this regard.[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]So you want me to replace [Word + WritingOutliner] with MindOutliner?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]Yes, if you are not satisfied with WritingOutliner . You must be worried about rich text formatting (word processing), in terms of rich text formatting, so far no software is on par with Microsoft Word.

But don’t worry, MindOutliner will provide at least the core formatting features of MS Word, I think it’ll be more than enough for most of you for writing academic documents novels, technical materials, etc. See proves below.

I can imaging you’ll be able to import a WritingOutliner project file (which is a SQLite database file with .docx stored within) into MindOutliner, without losing much of the text formats.

Note: The following screenshots are captured from the DEMO programs provided by the word processing component will be used in MindOutliner, so it’s not MindOutliner yet, but you can expect similar text formatting features will be provided by MindOutliner.[/vc_column_text]

[vc_column_text]Overview of the proposed rich text formatting feature. The user interface will be modeled after Microsoft Word, since all WritingOutliner users are familiar with it, right?[/vc_column_text]
[vc_column_text]The proposed text formatting and spelling features.[/vc_column_text]
[vc_single_image border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" image="86" img_link_large="yes" img_size="medium"]
[vc_single_image border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" image="82" img_size="medium" img_link_large="yes"]
[vc_column_text]The proposed font formatting, sounds familiar? :)[/vc_column_text]
[vc_column_text]The proposed Paragraph formatting feature.[/vc_column_text]
[vc_single_image border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" image="85" img_link_large="yes" img_size="medium"]
[vc_single_image border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" image="81" img_size="medium" img_link_large="yes"]
[vc_column_text]The proposed bullets and numbering formatting feature.[/vc_column_text]
[subtitle3]Can I export my documents written in MindOutliner to MS Word?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]Yes.[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]What will be the upgrade path?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]I don’t know the details yet, but I’ll try to make things as reasonable as possible.[/vc_column_text][subtitle3]Any questions?[/subtitle3][vc_column_text]What other concerns you might have as a WritingOutliner/WordOutliner user?

We want  your comments and suggestions – it’s the key to avoid spending time on features that nobody will use, and it’s the key to success. So feel free to leave your comments below, or send us an email:[/vc_column_text]

52 Comments on “The MindOutliner plan – for WritingOutliner users”

  1. Pingback: Outliner software and document organizer for MS Word » New plan (again) for WritingOutliner

  2. Pingback: New plan for WordOutliner | Things about outliner, doc organizer and Word add-ins

  3. Janis

    How much will this cost, or is it free? Are there clearer instructions on how to install this? I think my computer came with MS Word, if I understand this correctly, I could replace that with yours I haven’t even tried MS Word, and I’m not sure I have it either. But I am always interested in programs that can help me change the way I think, remember, and write my memories better or more efficiently, so I will explore this closer .

  4. Mark Sapp


    My greatest concern is the use of footnotes/endnotes. other programs (Scrivener) has a screwy interface and that is when I found your program after searching the web. your program allowed the full use of WORD with all of the characteristics of my writing style.
    In addition, the idea of organizing the document(s) and COMPILING into ONE document makes this the most powerful program on the market. Do not lose sight of WORD and its capacity for writing books with footnotes/endnotes/bibliography/index/table of contents/etc.. Your program improved the master document management of documents.

    as i think of more things, i will fire off an email with more suggestions

      1. Mark Sapp

        As long as the TOC code can be inserted, Word will pick it up at the end.
        Footnotes/Endnotes should not look ugly like Scrivener.

  5. Marshall Brown

    I have purchased both the WORD and stand alone versions. Does this mean I’ll have to make an additional purchase to upgrade to the “new plan”?

  6. Richard B Kalloe

    I do think that when it comes to writing the first priority is to focus on the issues_content and second on texture, composition,appearance. Text formatting is the last thing followed by layout_TOC_indexing, page numbering etc.

    So I do hope that your new software will enable me to write without any limitations that Word would put on me.

    I look forward to give it a trial.



    1. Edwin Yip

      Hi Richard,

      By ‘issues’ do you mean any software problems that might exist?
      By ‘content’, do you mean focus on implementing features for writing text content first?

      Lastly, it’ll be helpful if expand on ” limitations that Word would put on me” 🙂

  7. none

    Not sure this is a good idea. The fact that your program was built around Word was its USP. There are many other standalone compiling programs available.

  8. Alan Taylor

    Would not be interested in the upgrade. Hopefully I will not be forced to upgrade from WritingOutliner.

    1. Edwin Yip

      Hi Alan, no, you will NOT be forced to upgrade away from WritingOutliner. And you might change your mind when you see the final product 🙂 In the mean time, if you explain why you will not be interested I’ll be appreciated, though I can guess some of your reasons.

  9. John Moverley


    The concept is great. I already use mind mapping to “outline” my work flow and link to word documents.

    However unless there is a very good deal I will not be continuing with you as I already own two mind mapping programs XMind for simple (2d) mind maps and The Brain for more complex multidimensional mindmaps.

    I am not likely to purchase a third.

    John Moverley

  10. AJ

    I am just about to start a big writing project next week in outliner. Would you suggest I wait? Will the launch be in ‘near future’ or ‘distant future?’ Will I able to migrate seamlessly without loss of functionality if I start? I am looking forward to anything that can ease workflow and is more intuitive.

    Please consider multiple windows and split screen opportunities while using PC/tablets.

  11. Jarius Elliott

    Hey Edwin – I am currently a registered user of Mind Visualizer. Will this involve an upgrade to MindOutliner? Does this mean that you will be taking on the maintenance and promotion of Mind Visualizer? Do you have an ETA? I’m excited by this project!

  12. HSH

    Would it be able to have Zotero plugin for it? I gave up using Scrivener because while possible, using it with Zotero was troublesome. Zotero has a Word plugin which made citations easy peasy. I’d give your software a go it worked with Zotero. I really like the ability to jump between smaller sections easily, which is what made Scrivener so popular in the first place.

    In general, if you’re keen on taking your software to the next level, I suggest you focus on the grad school, Windows using market who just want

    1. A simple Scrivener like experience without the steep learning curve
    2. Integration with the major reference managers out there (Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote)
    3. The usual Word formatting features
    4. Ability to generate a TOC / update figure and table nos. etc.
    5. Clean export to Microsoft Word
    6. Interface is familiar – like Word

    Otherwise you’re just pitting yourself against Scrivener. Why should I choose your software over it?

    Better to focus on a niche market, do that well, then grow from there. The “niche market” of graduate students is actually pretty big.

  13. AF

    I already have Mindjet and Scrivener, so the only thing that would convince me to stay with your software would be a seamless export into Word, complete with formatted tables of contents and footnotes etc. This is the real reason I started using your software instead of Scrivener.
    Will your new software be able to support LaTex and formulas etc?

  14. Colin Tarr

    I have already invested a significant amount of time in WordOutliner projects, as the external MSWord file format suited my needs very well.

    So, I’m very disappointed to discover that version 8.3.139 has expired this morning and stopped me from working.

    Will you continue to support my investment by at least issuing a version of WordOutliner that won’t expire and allow me to continue working on these projects?

  15. Tunde A.

    I have both your Mind Visualizer and Word Outliner and have been pretty happy exploring the power they add to MS Word for me. Integrating your 2 products is an exciting idea but I’m too used to MS Word to promise I’ll easily abandon my investment of time and resources in this leading product, but we’ll see!

    If well-implemented, your proposed Mind Outliner might extend to other uses such as exporting to html or publishing to a website or blog without losing the structure from the mind map. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the new Mind Outliner. Good Luck!

  16. Lloyd Edwards

    Thanks for your quick reply. I look forward to the advent of the new product. I’m using Scrivener, but would welcome a similar program with a simpler interface. Count me in.

  17. Steven

    Greetings, genius friend.

    Talk about bait and switch.
    Last week I bought a license and have been killing myself transferring all my work from Scrivener to the Word Outliner Beta, so that I could finish my stories in Word exclusively. I even bought an upgrade to Word 2013 in salivating anticipation of the stable Word Outliner release.

    The Idea of an ADD-IN that made compiling in Word as useful as Scrivener without having to transfer buggy Scrivener files to Word then reformat 100,000 word novels was sheer brilliance, and yours was the only name in the game.
    Sadly, I’m probably one of the minority who finds Mind Mapping superfluous as I can use pencil and paper or 3×5 cards (expected in the WO release) to record my ever expanding creativity.

    I agree with Colin: Will you continue to support my investment by at least issuing a version of Word Outliner that won’t expire and allow me to continue working on these projects?

    When your new proprietary program comes with spell and grammar check e-mail me. Until then I’m going back to Scrivener and it’s cork board in the hopes that they will fix the export to Word format errors.

    If you don’t intend to finish a stable final version of Word Outliner. I expect a refund.

    Thank You For listening to my rant.

  18. Michael Logies

    I have only few reasons to leave Openoffice and Scrivener (depending on the workload) and to go back to Word 2002 (!) from time to time: Better integration between Zotero and Word than with the aforementioned programs, better compatibility with colleagues. I don`t know newer versions of word, but something like WritingOutliner may be still needed. And Word is a big market I would not forgo. So no, I don`t need another mindmapper. And as written above, the integration of WritingOutliner with Word is its unique selling point. Leaving this market will lead to commercial failure, IMHO.

    1. Edwin Yip

      Hi Michael, we’ll be sticking with MS Word, so Zotero will not be a problem, please check update 2 at the beginning of the post, for the latest news on the plan.

  19. Jan

    This is not good news. The unbeatable advantage of WritingOutliner and USP is its integration with MS Word and its features (TOC, footnotes, endnotes, etc.) as well as spelling and grammar features in German (Duden).
    WritingOutliner as a standalone solution? I see no advantage.
    And as a happy user of XMind i do not need another mind mapping software.
    I am not happy with the new plan.

  20. Pingback: The New WritingOutliner Design | InnovationGear

  21. Mark Sapp

    After reading the responses from other previously satisfied users. I ask the question of what is the technical difficultly encountered in the original program, the changes in Word that prevents the further development, and why an alternative to Word is more acceptable.

    What makes this program unique and powerful is the improvement over a Word master document, organizing on screen, laying out the Word doc(x) in a logical order and then compiling the Word documents into one file.

    I rely on the power of Word to write and the Power of your program to organize Word docs. Anything that you do should not alter or replace Word but control organizing Word. This is what made your program so powerful. Nothing else like it or I would have bought it.

    Please explain in better detail on why the original program or even the beta program cannot accomplish your fantastic idea on document project management.

    If yournew program does improve the original- my money is no object.

    More thoughts later…

    1. Edwin Yip

      Hi Mark, we’ll be sticking with MS Word, please check update 2 at the beginning of the post, for the latest news on the plan, I explained the technical problem I’m talking about, and found the solution that doesn’t force us to leave MS Word.

  22. Perplexed

    Uh, huh?? The whole reason for using WO *was* the Word integration; allowing all of the power of Word (and other add-ons) with the power of WO and (save for a few annoying and a few destructive bugs) it works quite well.

    This makes no sense and if I wanted a stand-alone program, I’d use Scrivener.

  23. Mark Sapp

    In a previous email to you, I mentioned the problem that WriOut failed to compile if the number of individual documents were plentiful. Where that break point, I do not know except that anything compiled above 100 failed. My solution or work around is to compile individual chapters for printing and editing (by pencil nonetheless).

    Basically that was my main gripe for I am writing five or more ‘books’ all with greater than 100 documents (subjects). I intended to compile each chapter into a single document then import each chapter into each book (as a single document) and then build the full book based on 10-20 documents.

    In reality, the number of instance of Word open at any given time rarely exceeded five. I never checked where the limits were on the number of word docs open at a time that would create a software error.

    Suggestion: Sorting of titles in left hand column would be handy. Improve the words/target and chars/target information. it appears to missing when I tab that par of the titles and the titles themselves.

    More as I think about this.

    Thanks for designing the best of class software for writing.

    1. Mark Sapp

      Come to think of it. I think part of the problem of compiling was due to the foreign characters in the document. I just tried a 110 document and it compiled (no foreign characters). maybe this will help in the compiling problem.

      1. Mark Sapp

        Another thing. The ability to use headers/footers/ page numbering/etc. that is carried with the original document into the compiled document.

        1. Mark Sapp

          Another thing: In the left hand column, an expand ALL within the right-click and likewise, condense all.

          Another: Adding PDFs and other viewable documents as links in the Research/Notes portion of the left hand column. Within each of the ‘Books’ I have ‘supporting documents’ folders created. this would allow me to keep track of what viewable documents are available or used.

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