Notes outliners as knowledge-database

This is a summary of my experience with several “outliners”. Outliners are programms that display notes in a tree-structure.

In this article I will concentrate on

  •     Lexican Professional Version 4 (2014-09: new version published)
  •     Memomaster Professional Verson 5
  •     Treepad Business Edition Version 8
  •     (2014-09: Evernote should be included here)

Many years ago I bought Treepad (Business Edition) as it was the only one I found which can export it’s data directly into a website (html-files including a navigation).
Some years ago I discovered some outlines which are compatible with Microsoft Word (2003, 2010), these are Lexican and Memomaster. I decided for Lexican as it can create a website from its content in one step.

Common features:

export to html
export selected or all articles in one run
professionel versions cost 40 to 50 Euro

some features of Treepad:

application is starting fast
all information is stored in one database-file
export to RTF
create collapsable tree for website navigation
runs as portable application
freeware version (for text only) available for general purpose

some features of Lexican:

editor is compatible to Microsoft Word (2010)
export to Microsoft Word or PDF
create website navigation
each article is stored as a docx-file
import files into the database
metadata (for example keywords) are stored in xml-files
an article can be contained in more than one parent article
literature-database
testversion is full functional, and restricted to 30 articles
quick reply from author (Germany)

some features of Memomaster

application is starting fast
all information is stored in one database-file
editor is compatible to Microsoft Word and Excel
best editor among these 3 applications
additional memo-types: calculation memo, pure text memo
export to Microsoft Word or Excel or PDF
(does not create website navigation)
(metadata are not accessible from outside and are not exported)
favourites, trash
application miminizes to tray-icon
multi-document interface
testverson is full functional, and restricted to a 30 days trial-time
quick reply from author (Germany)

Things that bother me:
Editing tables is still not satisfying (Microsoft Word or other office programmes are much better).
The generated html of Lexican and Memomaster does not indent the white spaces as given in the original articles. But a workaround is available.

Summary
What advantages could an outlines bring with? First of all it can help to structure your information. All textual information can be hold in one place and thus easier be found.
The same effect can also be gotten via the normal file system. So you don’t necessarily need an outliner.
An outliner can be helpful

  • if you want to have extra data (like keywords) to your text
  • if you want a better search function
  • if you want to generate a (simple) web-site from your contents

Treepad seems to be the simplest but fastests among the introduced applications.
Memomaster and Lexican offer more views and search-functions and are compatible to Microsoft Office.  Memomaster seems to offer a few more functions compared to Lexican. But Lexican’s data can be accessed without the application, that could be an advantage if one decides to transfer the data to another application.

My personal need are more “metadata” or attributes of the documents which should also be available in a query or report. None of these applications offers this yet.

This is not the final word (as per 2012-12), but to be continued.

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