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Writing Outliner Beta 4 and Pre-launch Promotion

Posted in: Version History by Edwin on June 29, 2010

I haven’t blogged for a while – I’ve been extremely busy with the development of Writing Outliner Word add-on, and today, I can finally announce this final beta release!

Beta 4 of this Word-on mostly contains improvements of existing functions, so that it’s easier to understand and use.

I’d like to thank you all people who has sent  me so much useful feedbacks, comments and suggestions (I know, not all of them have been implemented, but let’s get version 1 out first, I promise I’ll keep work on it 🙂

I’ve set the release date of version 1 to be

July 8th, 2010.

And I’ve decided to sweeten the pot with a very attractive pre-sale, here is the deal – start from now till July 7th, you can pre-order Writing Outliner for only $39.50 – 50% off of the list price.

Pre-order today!

What’s New in Beta 4?

  • Complete Office 2010 (Word 2010) support. The strange problems with Word 2010 should go away now!
  • Enhanced compilation (The processing of merging separate documents into a single document).
    Now ou can set your compilation options – generate TOC (table of content), apply heading styles to chapter names, etc (see screenshot below).
    The compilation has become very easy due to the UI improvements.
    Screenshot of Writing Outliner Word Add-in
  • More friendly to academic writing:
    • Fixed: In Word 2007 and above, the ‘current list’ bibliography will be lost after reopening the project.
    • The compilation now handles footnotes/endnotes well.
    • Fixed: Word documents’ footnotes/endnotes option loses after reopened.
  • Better support for project-based writing:
    • All documents in the same top-level folder (such as the drafts folder) now shares the same style set.
    • New outline node type – folders. You’ll be switched to the multi-column outline will be shown when a folder is selected.
    • In addition setting target word/character counts for a single document, you can now also set target word character counts for folders.
  • Enhancements of the Project Manager outline and Multi-column Outliner:
    • Print the Multi-column Outline.
    • Now the visibility, width and order of the columns are remembered even you restart Microsoft Word.
  • Other usability improvements:
    • Shortcuts for toggling Project Manager Outliner, Document Properties Pane.
    • Ctrl + click to open document in new tab.
    • Use balloon hint window to show document summary when your mouse is hovered above a outline node or a document tab.
    • New ‘Keep Document Window Focused After Selecting A Document’ option.
    • Show word count (in gray color) for each document in the project outline.
  • And a lot of other bugfixes and enhancements, such as problem with International character input, installation for multiple Windows users, loss of Word documents’ page setup info (margins, columns), etc.

Why Pre-order Writing Outliner Now?

  • You’ll immediately get the license key which can be used to unlock the full version of Writing Outliner which will be released July 8th, 2010.
  • You’ll save $39.50! (Or save $99 if you buy MindVisualizer mind mapping software as well).

Don’t miss this chance, but now!

What To Expect Next?

The cork board! With the corkboard documents in a writing project can be viewed and arranged as index cards, it’ll be a powerful tool for writers.

Since I’ll increase the price of Writing Outliner as new major features being added, so I strongly recommend you to pre-order Writing Outliner now and you’ll eligible to upgrade to future version!

Thorough support for Word 2010 is coming

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on May 24, 2010

Hi folks,

Some of you might have already know that while in most cases Writing Outliner Word works with Office 2010, the current version (beta 3) of this addin still has various problems when working with Word 2010.

Now here is a good news – I have upgraded the  underlying SDK to a newer version which claims to support Word 2010 better (the SDK itself is still in beta and the final version will due in June, but the SDK vendor says that it’s quite stable and is already-for-a-product), and I’ll integrate it into the upcoming Writing Outliner beta 4, and I guess as a result beta 4 will work better with Word 2010.

The new ‘start page’ tab in Writing Outliner Word Add-in

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on May 22, 2010

I’d like to show you one of the new features for beta 4, instead of always opens the current document in the new tab,  the ‘start page’ tab now will shows up every time you open a new tab.

You can simply click any document in the Project Manager Outliner on the left to edit it in the new tab, or you have two alternative options – open  a new tab for the Multi-column Outliner or the embedded file manager (for importing or exporting documents).

I imagine you’ll start using some new future features from this new “Start Page” tab, this way the UI can be simplified. Screenshot below:

tabbed document editing in Word

Good Word tutorial about style, numbering, sections and so on.

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on May 5, 2010

Since I’m implementing functions related to styles and templates for Writing Outliner Word Add-in, I’m doing some research on the Internet, and I found this user’s guide to Microsoft Word by Charles Kyle Kenyon, it’s a very good article for Word users, especially legal users, who deal with large Word documents which contains complex numbering, styles and so on. I recommend it.

A proposal for project-level style in Writing Outliner Word addin

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on April 29, 2010

Style in Word is a good tool for formatting large documents, however, the UI design of Microsoft Word seems does not encourage the use of style.

Obviously, as a Word addin which claims its main purpose is to deal with  book-length documents in Word, Writing Outliner should take advantage of the underlying styling features of Word.  There are also several posts related to styles in the Writing Outliner Word addin beta test forum.

So this will be my next major work  for the upcoming beta version 4. And here is my proposal, and I appreciate all kinds of input.

Note: if you haven’t tried Writing Outliner Word Addin nor you have looked at the screenshots of it, you’ll find the following description a little difficult to understand, because it’s based on the UI of this Word addin.

  1. In the left project outline, there is a top-level folder called “Template Repository”.
  2. Under that “Template Repository” you can insert new Word documents, each of which defines a set of style sheets you can use in any Word documents  all across the project.
  3. In each “style template document”, you define styles in a visual “what you see is what you get way”,  look at the screenshot below, each text line in the “style template document” defines two things:
    1. The text line itself is the style name.
    2. How a line looks like is exactly how that style that’s named after that line looks like.
  4. Once a “style template document” is defined, you can select a specific “style template” for each drafts in the writing project;  If you don’t specify one, the default one will be used.
  5. You can only define styles in the “style template documents”, because the styles are global in the project. Does this make sense?

That’s all for now as a starting point. Honestly, I don’t have too much experiences of using styles in Word, so I will really appreciate your input!

defining global Word styles in Writing Outliner Word addin
BETA 3 update 1 – Slightly enhanced the interactive between the tabs and the Project Manager.

Posted in: Version History by Edwin on April 25, 2010

I have just uploaded beta 3 update 1, which includes some minor changes, especially for the newly introduced multi-column outliner which helps get a big picture of the selected portion of the project and manage it easily.

  1. Fixed the two issues reported by Taxi in this thread in the beta test forum.
  2. Fixed the second issue reported by Andrej in the beta 3 announcement thread.
  3. And slightly improved  usability of other parts of this Word add-in.

BTW, I’m going to make some demo videos for Writing Outliner .

Writing Outliner Beta 3 Is Released!

Posted in: Version History by Edwin on April 24, 2010

What’s new in BETA 3  (vversion number is 0.9.6.393)?

Full-featured multi-column outliner

With it you can focus on and plan a certain portion of the project,write synopsis, notes, target words/characters, etc, and you can quickly switch betweendocument editing mode and multi-column outliner mode.
At the bottom of the multi-column outline you can see the total words/characters  and target words/characters, so that you see the progress of any portion or the whole project.  A picture worth a thousand words:
Multi-column outliner in Microsoft Word

Search snippets preview  and auto locating

go to the exact matching places easily when searching documents. See my previous blog post for details.

full text search

Project restore (and backup, of course!)

Project restore function – now you can revert the entire project to any previous revision which was saved manually or automatically!  . See my previous blog post for details and screenshots.

New graphical visual outline style

Emphasis the hierarchical relationships – and you can switch back to the old text-based style, of course! screenshot:

graphical visual outliner

Auto document synopsis extracting

Extract synopses  from documents so that you can see the overview in the multi-column outliner.

And others improvements:
  • Customize the outliner – show/hide columns, switch between visual styles – shape-based or text-based.
    outliner customization
  • More outline structuring functions – indent, outdent, etc, with keyboard support!
  • More friendly modified/created time showing, e.g. use “Today”, “Yesterday” instead of the ordinary long datetime showing.
  • When opening a Writing Outliner project in the Welcome pane, it will be opened in a new Word window instead of asking you to close the current Word document first.
  • Other improvements and bugfixes.

Thanks for your attention, folks! And I’m looking forward to you feedback!

I’ve been extremely busy in the past month, in the upcoming days I will still have a lot of work to do – mainly preparing for the first commercial release, and it’s very late here now,  I’ve got to have a sauna and take a rest now now!

Have fun play with the new version, don’t’ forget to give me feedback via email or the online best test forum.

Instant Word document search with matching snippets preview

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on April 17, 2010

I’d like to show you my recent works with regard to the Writing Outliner Word Add-in proejct.

Check the screenshot below, now  you can instantly preview the  matching snippets when doing a full text search search,  and the best thing is that the keyword will be highlighted in Word’s6 document window once you select any of the matching snippets! And it will be available in the next release. Can’t wait to try it? Let me know then 😉

Currently, I’m working on the multi-column outliner which was discussed in the beta test forum, stay tuned!

document search in Writing Outliner Word Add-in

New visual style for the outliner

Posted in: Outliner Software by Edwin on

Hi Folks,

Take a look at the new visual style for the outlines in Writing Outliner Word Add-in below, It will be available in the next release 😉

I think the new visual style makes  the hierarchical relationships of  the documents more prominent, as a result, you get a better big picture of the whole project. What do you think? Do you like it?

Visual outliner

Auto Word document backup and restore in Writing Outliner

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on April 14, 2010

I’m working on new things, such as improving the full text word document search function in Writing Outliner Word Add-in.

In the mean time I’d like to show you the confirm restore dialog which appears right before restoring a project to a previously saved revision, it also asks you if you’d like to save a new copy of the current project before performing the actual restore action, and it’s default option – to reduce the risk of overwriting new content by mistake.

Restore options

Automatic Word documents backup

To summarize, Writing Outliner Word Add-in does not only make working on multiple related Word documents in one place easier (the so called project-centric approach), but also makes backup and restore your Word documents easily:

  • Anytime you can save a backup copy of the entire project as a revision to which you can revert at a later time (if needed);
  • If you want, Writing Outliner Word Add-in  can also automatically saves a backup copy of the entire project as a revision upon closing a modified project.
  • You can view the revision number, backup time and remarks of each backup in the revision list window, see my previous post.
  • You can restore your writing project to a previous revision in case you need to do that.

I’ll show you the new search snippet and auto locating feature soon.