Writing A Book Has Never Been Easier!

Blog Posts

Categories

  • No categories

RSS Feed Feeds

SEARCH

Auto project backup and more – Writing Outliner Word Add-in BETA 2

Posted in: Version History by Edwin on March 31, 2010

Hi Folks,

I’m getting a great amount of valuable feedbacks from emails and the beta test forum since the first beta of Writing Outliner Word Add-in was release 15th this month, thank you all, guys!

Of course in such a short time I couldn’t get all suggestions and problems fixed, but here is the list of the new stuff in this second beta release of Writing Outliner Word Add-in – the all-on-one writing tool for writers.

And I’ll be working on the rest, please don’t hesitate to give me more feedbacks through:

  1. The beta test forum, or
  2. Email me directly.

Download

Download the new release (BETA 2) here.

Manual or automatic project backup

You write/edit Word documents a lot, you have to backup your documents frequently.

Word document backup with Writing Outliner has become easy now, it allows you backup your whole Writing Outliner project anytime as you wish, or simple let Writing Outliner takes care of it for you – automatically backup the modified writing project upon closing. See the screenshots below:

Project backup menu in Writing Outliner Word Add-inProject backup optionsProject revisions list

Quick Word document import, a great time-saver!

Quickly (with two clicks) import currently opened Word document to a specified Writing Outliner project.

It’s very easy, just click the ‘Import Current Document’ link in the Welcome pane and then select the target project you want to import to. Once it’s done, you open the target project and you’ll find the imported Words documents under the newly introduced INBOX folder. Screenshots:

Import Current Word DocumentProject INBOX - import word documents into a WO project

Other improvements

  • Move a document up or down in the Project Manager Outliner with keyboard <Ctrl + Up/Down>;
  • Added the ‘address bar‘ to the embedded File Explorer tab, so that when doing document importing or exporting you can quickly navigate to a folder;
    File Explorer Address Bar
  • Now ignorable notification messages are shown with the small notification window that appears at the lower right part of your screen, so that your workflow will not be interrupted (Like what Outlook, MSN/Live Messenger do).
    Word document backup notification window

Bugfixes:

  • Project notes are missing after re-opening the project several times;
  • In a rare case the document synopsis, tags or notes sub-pane in the Document Properties Pane (only the UI itself, not your data) will disappear until you reopened Microsoft Word.
  • Temporary Word documents that are used internally by Writing Outlinier Add-in are no longer be added to Word’s ‘Recent Document List’, so you’ll not be seeing strange document names like 1AE63565B5E04ACB8674659621A9AA89.docx;
  • Avoid moving the special ‘Compiled Output’ document node with drag and drop.

Download

Download the new release (BETA 2) here.

Enjoy the new beta release!

Let’s start the BETA test of Writing Outliner Word Add-in!

Posted in: Book writing software, Version History by Edwin on March 15, 2010

Hi Folks,

Finally, I can start the beta test of Writing Outliner Word Add-in today!

What you can do with this version?

  • Project-centric writing, keep all files together;
  • Use the Project Manager Outliner to outline book-length documents, each outline item is associated with a Word document.
  • Tabbed document editing – edit multiple Word document at the same time;
  • Instant, Google-alike full text search, find any documents in the project, you can search by text, title, status, label, tags, notes, synopsis, or match all these fields!
  • Document tagging and search by document tags, for example, search by “tag:MyTagA or tag:MyTagB
  • Attach icons (status and label) to documents and search by the icons, for example,  you can specify the status icon of certain documents as “Needs Review”, and when you want to see only those documents, all you need to do is to  input “status:needs review” in the search box.
  • Import existing documents (supports doc, docx, RTF, text, wri, all file formats that supported by MS Word).
  • Embedded File Explorer tab for viewing and importing files in your harddisk, or  exporting files from a Writing Outliner project to disk.
  • Drafts compilation and branch compilation, the Drafts folder or a specific document branch will be merged for output.
  • And so on…

You can see some screenshots in my previous blog post.

And I hope you think this is a good start!

Download and feedback

Please download the beta version here.

Please report bugs, make suggestions and post comments in the beta test online forum.

Thank you!

Update 1

I have just uploaded a new version which solves the following two problems:

  1. Error message is displayed when opening the sample project: “Wrong Project Property: Modified (Last Modified Time)”;
  2. The error report technical information does not contain the most important info for locating the source of the problem.

Sorry for the problem, please download it again!

Update 2

If you couldn’t download the software with the above link, please DO let me know, and try this download link.

Writing Outliner Word addin will not get in your way when you don’t need it

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on March 10, 2010

Just now I received an email from someone,  he concerned once Writing Outliner Word add-in is installed, will it get in his way when he is not working on documents that need Writing Outliner Word addin.

His original question:

Your outliner looks very promising, but I’m wondering if after installation Word will always start with it or is it possible to have the options for a clean startup and a startup with the outliner? I’m new to Word addins.

The answeris: No, Writing Outliner will not get in  your way when you don’t need it.

Look the screenshot below, it only shows a small vertical strip on the left of your Microsoft Word main window.

Word addin - Writing Outliner is disabled

Why this UI design instead of using a Ribbon item (or a toolbar/menu item in pre-2007 versions of Microsoft Word)?

Because you can recall it with just one-click!

Don’t like my idea? Tell me please, my mind is always open, you know, I’m not a writer and I am trying to write an all-in-one writing tool for writers, so my mind needs to be wide open to get ideas from you 😉

Turning Word into an outliner software, more new screenshots!

Posted in: Book writing software, Outliner Software by Edwin on March 8, 2010

Hi Folks,

I’m finalizing the preparation for the beta test of Writing Outliner Word addin, just now, I have setup a forum for discussion of the beta test process, it will be ready before the 15th of this month, there are some other things to do before that though. In the mean time, please have a look at the new screenshots of this Word addin.

Using  Microsoft Word™ as an outliner software

The main screenshot of Window 2003 with a Writing Outliner project opened, doesn’t it look a outliner software 😉

Search your word documents like Google!

Yes! The search function in Writing Outliner is almost as powerful as Google 😉 With it you can instantly find any Word documents. An example search string (search documents that contains phrase  ‘New York tims’ and doesn’t contain ‘dontIncludeThisWord’ and have two tags: mytag1 and mytag2 ):

“New York Tims” tag:mytag1 OR tag:mytag2 -dontIncludeThisWord

full text search Word documents


Browsing Disk Files Inside Word

One of the important idea behind Writing Outliner for Word is: Do all things related to writing in Word with tabs without even leaving Word. And this embedded File Explorer is an example, with it you can easily drag and drop files to import them into the project, or the other way around, drag documents from a Writing Outliner project to export it to the disk. And your can smoothly view your research files on the disk without switching to other windows! The embedded File Explorer is full featured like Windows Explorer!

Easily word document tagging

The document tagging function is very usable,  I learnt a lot UI design ideas from Gmail, Actually, I’m a lazy man, I hate unwanted mouse clicks 😉

document tagging in Wordedit word document tags

The blank-project wizard tab

wizard tab in Word

Stay turned, the beta testing starts soon!

Word Tabbed Editing, etc – Writing Outliner New screenshots

Posted in: Word addin by Edwin on February 23, 2010

Hi Folks,

I know you have been long waiting for Writing Outliner Word addin, and I’m sorry for not being able to release it that early as you  might have been expected, but here are some screenshots and I hope you’ll find it ‘s worthwhile to be awaited 😉

Tabbed Word Document Editing

Tabbed document editing in Word

So with Writing Outliner you’ll be able to editing multiple documents in Word without switching programs with tabs (the popular modern UI design concept, especially  in the Web browser world).

Icon markers for Word document

Document status iconWord document labels

In the outliner there are two built-in columns: document status and document lables, both are represented by an icon and a name. I’m a “visual” guy, I believe that human brain processes graph better than processing text, so I believe these two visual clues will help you better manage your writing projects.

Tagging Word documents

Word document tags

Tagging such a popular tool for organizing information nowadays, especially in the Internet world, why not adopt it to manage Word Documents?  It’s another tool in Writing Outliner for your to manage your documents right inside Microsoft Wor!

Another secrete about Writing Outliner Word addon I want to unveil: The Project Manager in Writing Outliner Word addin is almost a full-featured file manager like the Windows Explorer 😉

But I’m kind of perfectionistic (?) so I’m still adding some more features before I release it as a beta version 😉

Questions? Please!

Adding FrameMaker’s book file feature to Microsoft Word

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on January 14, 2010

FrameMaker vs Word

I recently started a ‘What are the missing features in Word as a technical writing software?‘ discussion in the ‘Technical Writer Forum‘ linkedin group, surprisingly, many respondents mentioned Adobe FrameMaker which I don’t know about before, and that made me wanted to learn more about it, so I started to read the online help manual of that technical writing software, one of my findings that interests me is that the concept of ‘writing projects in Writing Outliner Word addin’ is exactly the same as the ‘book files’ concept in FrameMaker.

A writing project in Writing Outliner is similar to a book file in Framemaker

In FrameMaker, a book file contains multiple documents that make up books, so you can have a file for the cover, for the front matter, for each chapter, for the appendices, for the index and for the glossary, a book can be organized into a hierarchical structure using folders, and finally you can merge the documents into one for publishing. The ‘book  files’ concept in FrameMaker making managing a long, complex document much more manageable, and this is exactly the idea behind the Writing Outliner Word addin! See this screenshot of Writing Outliner Word addin below, on the left it’s the project manager and it’s similar to the book window in FrameMaker:

I did not use FrameMaker before, and am now reading their online help, but I assume in FrameMaker you can find and replace strings through all files in a book file, and this is what you can do with Writing Outliner Word addin.

Make Microsoft Word more stable!

I thin it’ll make Microsoft Word more stable by introducing the ‘writing project’ into it, because Microsoft Word is known for it’s unstability when handling long documents, but with Writing Outliner for Word each chapter, sections and sections of your large documents are written in much smaller and separated files.

New Screenshots of Writing Outliner Word addin

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on December 31, 2009

Well, I’m moving into a new home this week and the development of Writing Outliner is a little behind the schedule, so I thought I should postpone posting the new Screenshots of Writing Outliner Add-in for Microsoft Word™, but as you can see in the Comments section of my previous post MuppetGate has been keen on this software project, so I think I’d keep my promise 😉  So I post two new quick screenshots of Writing Outliner Word addin here, more details will come next month or so.

Screenshot 1

Just created a new writing project in Microsoft Word™ 2003 with Writing Outliner installed.

Read more…

I’m working really hard for this Word addin for writers

Posted in: Book writing software, Word addin by Edwin on November 13, 2009

Well, I haven’t been adding new blog posts recently,  but I’m working really hard on my Writing Outliner Word addin development these days, and  I’ll be shortly posting new screenshots which will show how in the current stage this Word addin for writer will look like when working on a writing project  😉

And I’d like to thank you all guys who have signed up for the newsletter, and those who have emailed me your suggestions and comments, you are actually giving me more motivation (which I have a lot already, but you know,  the more, the better ;), and you are enriching my ‘field knowledge’ during  our communication which will help the Word addin developer a lot.

Background (for new visitors):

Writing Outliner is an addin for Word which is aiming at turning Microsoft Word™ (all versions of it, from Word 2000 to 2007 and the upcoming 2010) into an all-in-one book-length document writing tool, it allows you managing you whole writing projects easily, to view and search research files right inside Word, in one place with your drafts, to outline long documents and write in pieces, and so on, you can check the details on home page of Writing Outliner Word addin.

People want Scrivener for Windows

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on October 22, 2009

Background: What’s Scrivener?

Scrivener is a Mac writing software developed by keith. Scrivener is an all-in-one book writing software that helps you to manage your writing projects, outline your book-length documents, view and search research files, take notes and so on.

Note, I am mentioning Scrivener here is to tell how Writing Outliner Word addin is going to look like, I have nothing to do with Scrivener which is owned by Keith.

People want ‘Scrivener for Windows’

It seems that there are a lot of people who use PC is wanting a Scrivener-like writing software for Windows,  for example, take a look at the outliner software forum,  Scrivener has been mentioned many times here and there.

The Goal of Writing Outliner Word addin is a versatile writing software like Scrivener, and more

I’m now developing Writing Outliner Word addin which will turn Microsoft Word™ onto an  all-in-one writing software, Like Scrivener, you’ll be able to manage your drafts and research materials in one place, on a task pane inside Word, you’ll be able to drag-and-drop to organize your drafts and research files, full-text search through your Word documents, view PDF’s, images, webapges, etc, in one place…

Stay turned !

A great article about writing a book in Word

Posted in: Word by Edwin on October 20, 2009

For people who want to write a book, be it a novel or a technical manual, this article contains  very helpful information, including using styles to simplify the format tasks, navigating your book, generating table of contents, and so on.

On the other hand, this informative tutorial shows the weaknesses of Word as a book writing software, and those weaknesses are exactly what Writing Outliner Word addin is trying to solve. For example, that article tells you how to navigate your long document, how to generate the table of contents, how to format the section names and chapter names of your book, how to edit  each part as a separated file and combine them at the end, and so on, you’ll find these tasks are still involves  quite a few hassles, and the good news is, these tasks will be  extremely easy with Writing Outliner Word addin, I promise 😉