State of Outliners in 2023

OmniOutliner is one of those apps that never really “clicked” for me. I’ve wanted to like it, but every time I use it I run into weird ways of doing things that seem unnatural. For example, create a new, blank document, you can resize the document just fine and everything works. Now add a column, and try to resize the new column to the left. You wind up with something that looks like this:

I love OmniFocus, and I’ve been an ardent fan of OmniGraffle since I first searched for a Mac Visio alternative back in '04 or so. But, honestly, what the heck where they thinking here?

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I think it’s typical for the column divider to resize the column to the left of it, and to let you make the column too narrow if you want that. Numbers, for example, behaves the same way; it just doesn’t keep the table centered while resizing like OO.

I’m not saying that means you have to like OmniOutliner. I understand you probably dislike a lot more things about it.

P.S. I’ve been messing with OutlineEdit 3.0, mentioned above, and it’s a nice little app. I love that we have (IMO) at least three good options right now that are dedicated outliners, being actively developed, use local documents and each have their own perspective on outlining.


I use it as a spreadhseet for basic tables where I might want a tabular data where I’m not using fomrulas etc - purely for it’s ease of use of rearraning and moving lines up and down. I can’t state how much I use and like this feature! My day job involves a lot of prioritisation of items in tables, so being able to easily move items up and down the priority list as needed is excellent. I wish Excel or Numbers had the ability to easily move rows up or down but I can’t see this as a feature.

However, it has its quirks as stated.

Is anyone out there still using Workflowy? And, if so, what for?

In the same boat. The way I work/think/expect things to work, just never completely aligned with OO.

I would actually read the manual in the hopes of my learning how to do X/Y/Z, but since I use it periodically (albeit intensely at the time), I would always come back and find myself hitting sharp edges — and having to re-learn how it expects me to do things. And, unlike OF, I also found the syncing of documents to be less than intuitive.

It’s clearly a brilliant app — but personally, was always more of a struggle to use than I expected. Regardless, went all in on purchasing it on the Mac, and iOS — so will probably get a few more years out of it. Good to know there are other options, however.

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It looks like the price for OutlineEdit in the US Mac App Store is now $19.90 (about a $10 drop).

It definitely has a very “Apple” feel to it! I can’t seem to turn numbering on (I.A.1. etc.) but that could be me. From the Outliner & Notes App for Mac - OutlineEdit 3 website


If you need something more “simple” but gets the job done, I find Cloud Outliner Pro to be rather good

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Wanted to make sure y’all know about what, to me, seems to be the internet’s headquarters for people who like using and talking about outliner software:

A bunch of great threads in the forums there.


Thanks for the mention! Also to note, check out the latest update to OutlineEdit 3 which was just released with a bunch of nice improvements: ‎OutlineEdit 3 – Outliner Notes on the Mac App Store

What’s New

This update improves usability & accessibility. It is recommended for all users.
⋅ Ready for the newest operating system versions
⋅ Hide item indicators
⋅ Category name labels and improved display of categories
⋅ High-contrast notes option
⋅ Unfold hoisted item group automatically
⋅ Shortcuts for easy traversal and selection of item groups
⋅ Improved plaintext import and export, from apps and files
⋅ Improved OPML import from specialty apps
⋅ Further performance improvements and bug fixes

Let me know any feedback.



This looks like a great app, but it doesn’t appear to have an iPad version; am I correct? I often switch between my Mac and iPad for writing-related work, so I need applications that work on both devices.

Otherwise, it looks like a great app!

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