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News about the succeed product of Writing Outliner – ProjectFolders

Posted in: Outliner Software by Edwin on October 31, 2012

It’s a quite a long time  since I announced the plan to revamp Writing Outliner, I finally got some news for you:

  • The software is being completely rewritten, and the name will be changed to ProjectFolders, to reflect its ‘project-based writing’.
  • Your documents will not be stored in SQLITE database anymore, but in a folder in your computer. This is for data security and avoid vendor-locking.
  • For simplicity, all documents will be stored in a centralized folder. This approach has been proven by the famous Dropbox software.
  • ProjectFolders add-in will greatly utilize a tagging system for file management, this approach has been proven by Gmail, EverNote, etc.
  • The metadata (synopses, notes, tags, etc) will still be stored in a SQLITE database, so that these data will be for search-able.
The new design will address the major problems (such as performance and data security) appeared in the current version of Writing Outliner, and suggestions made by current users.

First screenshot below, any comments are welcomed.

PS, I’d like to take this chance to ask my fellow Writing Outliner users, do you think the full text search and index cards in the current version of Writing Outliner very important and must have?

Update 1: Thanks for all the great feedbacks! Answering questions here:

  • ProjectFolders will be able to improve Writing Outliner project files (.woprj).
  • ProjectFolders will fully support unicode .
  • ProjectFolders will be much more stable and more compatible with other Word addins such as Zetero, etc, all after all, this is one of the major issue of Writing Outliner ProjectFolders wants to address.
  • Re. release dates, I’d say beta will be out in less than half of a year, you know, everything is being rebuilt from from ground up. Once the beta is ready, I’ll send email notifications to current users and newsletter subscribers.
  • There will be a version for 64bit MS Word.
  • Re the naming changing, I want it to be more understandable and shows that it’s not only for writers but also for managing project documents.



  1. Yves Ros


    Thanks for the good news!

    Yes, as far as I am concerned, I think that the full text search and index cards, in the current version of Writing Outliner, are very important and must have.

    Could you, please, give us more information about the release date of ProjectFolders and about the price of the upgrade?

    Thanks in advance for your kind reply.

    Best regards,

    Yves Ros

    Comment by Yves Ros on October 31, 2012 at 2:19 am

  2. So, the basic mission of the software has changed?

    Comment by Stephen R. Diamond on October 31, 2012 at 2:22 am

  3. Ime

    Good to hear this. I had abandoned using writing outliner 2 weeks after I purchased it because it kept crashing. I went instead for scrivener. So, I’m excited to hear about this development, as I’ll prefer to do all my writing in word. Looking forward to reviewing it , and hopefully I’m not charged for ProjectFolders 🙂
    The full text search is a must! 🙂

    Comment by Ime on October 31, 2012 at 2:35 am

  4. Amar

    Hi Edwin,

    This is very good news. I have been waiting for an uodate eagerly and am sure that many ither WO users have been too.

    The index cards do make writing easier and more managanle by allowing on to outline and reorder the text much easily. Full text search is definitely welcome for large text, though I jave not used it during the time I was using WO. But I am sure that I will use it once I start using the updated version.

    Is there a possibility to Beta test the new version?

    Best wishes, and nice to see the development.

    Comment by Amar on October 31, 2012 at 2:36 am

  5. Peter

    Thanks for continuing work on the Writingoutliner. It is now currently good’; any improvement is surely a bonus. How about writting outliner for Open Office or LIbre Office. I don’ know how difficult it is to port it but since there are a great number of people who use Libre Office, It might be worth the effort.

    You basically have the idea, the implementation to a different software is only required, You are probably half way through if you decide to do this.

    Comment by Peter on October 31, 2012 at 2:38 am

  6. terje

    Welcome back Edwin! For me they are important. Full text search is especially important. I wouldn’t upgrade without it.

    Comment by terje on October 31, 2012 at 3:35 am

  7. I still remember talking to Edwin and you saying in the future that you wanted to some way combine your mind mapping software MV into WO which will now be called PF. The Text Search and Index Cards, YES !!
    But……for me the mind mapping is the best way to organize and lay it out and see it in a way that lets me put it all together in text.
    A word processor with MM capabilities that the two go together.
    It would be the only one out there.
    The world is waiting for this !!

    Comment by Kenny Schuble on October 31, 2012 at 4:43 am

  8. Andrej

    Good to hear from you again, Edwin. Yes, index cards are an absolute must-have and would actually need upgrading. Another must-have is a 64-bit version: I have in the meantime switched to Scrivener because of that (and actually enjoy its several goodies over Writing Outliner), but I absolutely want to switch back to your program as soon as the 64-bit version is there because I feel most comfortable in Word. And of course, full search as a basic thing one would expect.

    Comment by Andrej on October 31, 2012 at 5:18 am

  9. David Thompson


    It is great news that you are working on a update to Writing Outliner! As I mentioned to you in an email some time ago, I gave Scrivener a try on both the Mac and the PC and Writing Outliner is sooo much better!

    Scrivener works pretty good until you try to export a compiled document to Word, then you find out that there is no way to have heading levels converted the heading styles in Word. So there is no way to expand and close heading levels in the Document Window or do an automatic conversion to a PDF document with expand/collapse table of contents in the PDF. With WO this is a non-issue. That turned out to be a show stopper for me in Scrivener, and sent me running back to WO. I see others Scrivener users are complaining about this and have worked on cumbersome workarounds. Not…me I’m outta there.

    Regarding index cards and search, In my opinion they are very important features.

    Regarding the name change. I prefer Writing Outliner to ProjectFolders. I don’t think the title ProjectFolders describes a writing tool. Writing Outliner even discredits the product somewhat. To me WO is more like a Writer’s Edge program. It not only helps you to brainstorm and outline writing, it allows you to experiment with different ideas and reorganize them at will. And at the same time you can plan your writing in the Cork Board and put notes about ideas and things to do in the Notes area. And metadata is key. That allows filtering in all kinds of ways. For example, I can filter on a idea tag or a todo tag, or a whatever tag.

    Edwin, I know you have had some setbacks recently…but you are an extremely talented developer and I wish you the best on this new endeavor.

    Dave Thompson

    Comment by David Thompson on October 31, 2012 at 5:43 am

  10. Eduardo

    Good news. About your PS quetions, I think they deserve a YES for both. I consider your software as a serious competitor of scriverner, so full text search, index cards, even “timelines” should be a must.

    Comment by Eduardo on October 31, 2012 at 5:49 am

  11. Fibo

    Edwin, in a forum of last year you said that Unicode will be fixed in a future version. How about PF?

    Comment by Fibo on October 31, 2012 at 6:27 am

  12. Nicky

    Hi Edwin,

    That’s great news! Thanks. Yes, the full text is very important. Please keep this function. Regarding the upgrade… will it be easy yo migrate ongoing project data?

    Comment by Nicky on October 31, 2012 at 11:06 am

  13. Terje

    Edwin, I want to say that I think Dave is right about the name change. Project folders sounds like a business software. Writing Outliner is much better, because it is very descriptive. People who want WO are looking for an outliner, not something for managing projects if you get what I mean. I had never heard about project based writing until you mentioned it and yet I do it all the time, so I think the name change is a mistake. What is wrong with WritingOutliner as a name anyway?

    BTW WO is working fine with me and I use it daily. As long as I keep the file out of dropbox it works very, very well. Maybe it is keeping it in dropbox that makes trouble for some people.

    Comment by Terje on October 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  14. David

    Edwin for me (writer of fictions) the full text search is a must have (when you revise a text you regularly look at description of items or place to be consistent, but you cannot remember all the scence that use them, or you can change the name of a character or a place so search and replace in all the scenes) and the index card a nice to have (current index card are too larges, I need to display plenty of them without scrolling to have a global view of my story board).

    Comment by David on October 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  15. Thanks for all you guys for the comments. For answers to your questions please check the “Update 1” section at the bottom of the blog post.

    Comment by Edwin on November 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

  16. Peter Martin

    Forgot to say this but to me search ability is critical

    Comment by Peter Martin on November 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

  17. Mary

    Yes index cards a must. Search also. Looking for the “Update 1” at bottom of blog post but do not see – link?

    Comment by Mary on November 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

  18. Mark

    This update sounds great to me. I can’t really visualize what you mean by the tagging system for file management, but I’m sure it will work out fine.
    about searching: to me it’s vital, so please keep it!
    about the name: I like writing outliner, Project Folders sounds more like a file management system to me. But I would use it anyway. Good luck on programming, and I’m looking forward to hearing on the progress.

    Comment by Mark on November 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm

  19. @Stephen R. Diamond, no, just some fundamental design and the UI will change.
    @Mary, for “Update 1” I mean the original blog content above.

    Comment by Edwin on November 5, 2012 at 2:13 am

  20. You might not be able to visit this blog in the past days – there was a big problem with the web server hosting company, now I’ve migrated the entire Writing Outliner website to a new server.

    Comment by Edwin on November 5, 2012 at 2:14 am

  21. Derek

    Good to hear from you, Edwin. I thought Writing Outliner was a great idea and I am very glad to hear that you are working on a revised program. If possible it is always best not remove features (like index cards and full search) once users have got used to having them, so I hope the new program will be able to incorporate them.

    I, too, like the idea of a program that works properly with Word. For better or worse MS-Word is what most writers use, or ultimately have to use at the end stage of a project, and most writing or outlining programs fall at the last hurdle: that of getting their final draft into Word’s outliner format for polishing and distribution. That is why WO was such a good idea. (Incidentally, the original name also seems to express its purpose better than your new one.)

    Best of luck!

    Comment by Derek on November 15, 2012 at 2:13 am

  22. @Derek,

    Thanks for your input, so I’ll sure will not remove existing features based on the feedback from you all.

    Comment by Edwin on November 16, 2012 at 11:44 am