Jeff, DT Pro allows one to do simple outline structures of groups hierarchically, as one means of emulating an outliner. The Horizontal Split view was originally called the ‘Outline’ view, because one can create a group that’s to contain a structure of subgroups, open that group in its own window, and select each of the subgroups to see its contents, which may be more subgroups, or documents.
I’m not at all into the niceties of outlining, but I do rough out the structure of a writing project and refine the structure in progress.
Typically, I’ll create a new group, e.g. for an article project. I will open the Info panel of that group and check the ‘Show State’ box. Why? So that while drafting I can keep track of the ‘completeness’ of the project. Every document or subgroup created inside that project group will also contain a state box. They remain blank unless I check them. As I finish drafting a section of the project I will check its state box. If some of the documents inside a subgroup contain a check, the state of that group will show as partially completed, with a ‘-’ check. When all documents inside a subgroup are complete, the subgroup will show a ‘completed’ check status. (I also check the ‘Exclude from classification’ option on that project group, as i don’t want new content to be classified there. Each of the subgroups I create within the project group will also be excluded from classification.)
Now I’ll open that project group in its own window, usually in the Vertical Split view.
I will create a TOC rich text document in the project group. Then I will create three subgroups: Draft, References and Footnotes-Citations.
The TOC document is used to ‘outline’ the structure of the article. I will use lists or ordinary text to create a brief outline of the principle sections of the project. While I’m roughing out the ‘outline’ I may move items around, or indent or outdent list components. Comment: I don’t want to make a really complex outline at this stage. I want all of the ‘outline’ elements in this document to be visible without scrolling when I look at this document. But underneath the ‘outline’ portion of the document I may write notes to myself.
Then, for each of the major elements of the ‘outline’ in the TOC I’ll create a new rich text document in the Draft subgroup, with an appropriate title.
Next, I’ll go back to the TOC document and create a ‘Link To’ link from each outline element to its corresponding document in the Draft group. That works well for a short project, such as an article.
For a more complex project I will create Chapter TOCs (each sub-TOC linked to from my master TOC) in the Draft group, with a subgroup containing linked-to documents for the sections of each TOC ‘outline’ element.
Remember that References group? I’ll duplicate into it some of the more important references from my database. Why duplicates instead of replicants? Because I may want to mark up, make notes, rephrase or otherwise change the content of a document, and I don’t want to mess up the original document.
Here’s how the Footnotes-Citations group comes in handy. While drafting along, I may want to enter a footnote, or perhaps an endnote to a reference citation. In my draft I will type and select ‘footnote’, create a new document containing the content of the footnote, and back in my draft do a 'Link to" from the selected term ‘footnote’ to its matching document in the Footnotes-Citations group. And similarly, whenever I want to cite an endnote.
Here’s a neat trick. While reviewing my work, which may be scattered among various groups, I can publish it as a Web site. I just select my master TOC document and select Export > as Website. Now I can open that TOC document in my Web browser, click on a link to a section and read it, as well as any associated ‘footnotes’ and ‘reference citations’. Then move back to the TOC to click on the next section, and so on. I’ve done a couple of projects where that was, indeed, the final product.
When I’ve finished the project I’ll move my draft material over to a competent word processor for polishing, footnoting and so forth. When I need to insert a footnote, for example, I just jump back to the DT Pro draft, click on the link to the appropriate footnote material and copy/paste it into the footnote entry in the word processor.
I like to do draft writing in my database, as the reference material is literally at my fingertips. I can select a couple of paragraphs I’ve just written, Command-click on it and select ‘See Selected Text’ to ask DT Pro to suggest other documents that may be contextually related. Or I can Option-click on a word and a slide-out drawer will appear with a list of other documents that also contain that word. That’s often useful to give me a new perspective about the material.
When I’m finished up I’ll either discard the project files and move the finished product into my database, or move the project files out to a separate ‘projects’ database.
So, Jeff; did I respond to your question? Perhaps the process I described seems idiosyncratic or even eccentric to someone who’s used to working with outliners. But it does allow me to structure a writing project while at the same time having access to the ‘research assistant’ features of DT Pro.