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WritingOutliner vs DocxManager

Posted in: Word, Word addin by Edwin on October 28, 2022

Both WritingOutliner and DocxManager have been developed for the same goal – outliner-organized, project-based writing with Microsoft Word. But the implementations are different.

User Interface
– WritingOutliner is a Word add-in, which is embedded into Word window.
– DocxManager is the other way around – Word is embedded into the DocxManager main window.

I was trying to replace WritingOutliner with DocxManager, but it turned out that the way DocxManager controls Word makes it impossible to achieve good speed and smoothness when switching from a document to another.

Data storage
– With WritingOutliner the Word documents in a project are stored in a SQLite database file.
– With DocxManager the Word documents are stored in the file system.

Each storage has its own advantages and disadvantages. Storing documents in a database in WritingOutliner makes it difficult to share and co-edit documents, and Iā€™m planning a new feature that solves this problem – by storing the working documents in the file system so you can edit the documents externally, and WritingOutliner takes care of auto syncing back the changes to the database. That’s the initial idea.


  1. Al

    Hello Dear Edwin,
    Hope you are well

    The revival of writing outliner (WO) is a great idea and provides more alternatives for anyone seeking more structured writing experience using MS Word besides DOCX Manager. Although I was not very enthusiast for DOCX Manager and preferred WO, I now believe that both have their merits.
    =I find that DOCX Manager is not lagy at all in handling many documents.
    -Having the ability to store the file docx format provides more stability and safety as well as provide more potentials to use some external processes on files (Searching for files and file contents using different programs, attaching specific files to specific programs, etc..).
    -The ability to export the documents as a website is another major bonus for DOCX Manager .

    =Writing Outliner still has its merits for organizing documents within word:
    -It is more compact and still has better and more attractive user interface.
    -It has simpler and much more direct ability to combine and export branches or whole project in one document.
    -WO solves some compatibility issues with other software and Word add-ins that do exist in docx manager (There are not many but the major one I faced and could not solve was having docmanager work with Citavi add-in.. Citavi add-in works flawlessly with Writing outliner but in doxmanager I had to turn to Zotero which actually became much better..

    As I said, the existence of both WO and DOCX Manager provide versatile and robust alternatives for writers using MS Word and I really thank dear Edwin for all his great software.

    Comment by Al on November 5, 2022 at 6:47 pm

  2. Peter Odehnal

    Hello Edwin,

    I now have both (and latest) versions of Writing Outliner (“WO”) and DocxManager (“DM”) and will be doing a comparison. I used the older version of WO before DM was available. I was very happy with the design and implementation of DM because it helped me to manage folders and document for projects, research topics and documentation for many topics. The design of DM is very good, and the feature list is ideal. DM is a big improvement over the older version of WO.

    I am a marketing consultant and have many years of experience with software development. WO currently has it’s Word document stored in a database (not as a .docx file on the file system). Edwin, your idea of storing the WO documents in both the file system AND the database break several rules related to database persistence. You WILL HAVE sync issues. You should have only ONE master location for data (documents). Data caches or copies of documents are ok for read-only purposes, but Word documents are read/write capable persistent data — so updating two copies of the same data will be problematic.

    Today, my preference is to have DocxManager polished and updated to be the best tool on the market for writers and management of project information via Word documents and file system folders. As a best-of-breed tool, the marketing of DM will be easier and ROI (Return-on-Investment) for Edwin will be optimized.

    At this point, in November of 2022, I don’t believe WO can surpass DM due to implementation limits and feature sets. But I will evaluate both with a fresh mind, then I’ll update this post (or add a new post) with my findings.

    Comment by Peter Odehnal on November 29, 2022 at 3:41 am

  3. @Peter,
    Thanks for your insightful comments!

    Comment by Edwin on November 29, 2022 at 6:53 pm