Noob wants to impose order

I want to use DevonThink like an outliner, i.e., I want to gather some text objects I wrote (paragraphs), create some headings, and organize all this into a nice strict hierarchy, so I can then print the whole thing out as a text document

  1. top
    …a. sub A
    …b sub B
  2. middle
    …a. mid sub A
    …b. mid sub B
  3. end
    …a. beginning of the end
    …b. etc.

I’d also like the ability to drag any part of the tree to another location, and have it renumber/relabel the levels.

I see there are “Outline” objects but I really don’t see how they are different from Group objects. I can’t figure out how to put my text in the order I want it in underneath each heading (without manually pre-pending a number on the object name).

Am I missing something?

I like a lot of stuff about DT, and I’d like to use it as I describe here. But I can’t figure out how I do that. Maybe DT is the wrong tool for this job.

In the Vertical Split or Horizontal Split views one can click in the Name column, choose View > Sort > Unsorted, and then drag groups into any desired order.

Likewise, you can set the contents of groups – the documents – to Unsorted and arrange them manually, sort them by name, kind, creation date or even word count.

And within a group you can select all of the documents and choose Data > Merge so that a new text document is created, pasting together all of the individual text documents in the order in which they had been sorted.

DT is wonderful for gathering research material and providing analysis of same, but you are describing a writing tool. You might take a look at Scrivener, which lets you outline and also view documents as cards on a corkboard, for moving around and rearranging.

I agree with Howarth. The purpose and real value of DT Pro isn’t to do outlining. It can be done, and I often do use very simple outlines, either of groups/files or in the text of rich text documents. But I’m not heavily into detailed outlining of my writing projects. If I were, it would drive me nuts to lay out such an outline in DT Pro.

DT Pro is all about information management and analysis. There’s nothing else in the Mac world that can do that as well as DT/DT Pro/DT Office. If you don’t need to do that, you don’t need DT. :slight_smile:

Computers and applications are tools to help one accomplish tasks and objectives. My DT Pro databases contain many thousands of references, snippets, notes and the like. DT Pro lets me find data and mine the heck out of the information available.

Unlike many users, I do most of my writing at the draft stage inside my databases, because my information resources are at my fingertips. But for final polishing and output of a writing project I then move my draft material out to a competent word processor for final polishing and layout.

Like a good craftsman, assemble a set of tools that work well to get a job done. I spend most of my working hours inside DT Pro, but I use other tools as well.