Tree Outliner Helps You Think Laterally With Its Sideways View [Review]

Tree outliner for OS X

Tree is an outliner with a difference – it offers an unusual horizontal view of your document alongside a host of useful outlining features.

Most outliners are designed to work like most electronic documents, as electronic equivalents of a piece of paper held in portrait position. But Tree is tailor-made for your computer’s wide screen, and re-orientates everything sideways.

So your outline document will show headings in a series of columns. Top level headings are in the left-most column, followed by second level headings in the next column, and so on moving right. It’s a layout that only takes a moment to get used to, but works particularly well in Lion’s full screen mode, making full use of the screen space available.

As a result you can get a clear overview of your work, even of quite complicated documents, while saving yourself a lot of the up-and-down scrolling you’d normally have to do in a traditional outliner.

All the commands and controls you’d expect to find in an outliner are included, including sensible shortcuts for creating new items at different levels, and for moving items between levels.

What it lacks is some of the presentation polish you might have seen in other outliners. There’s no support for document styles, so your formatting options are limited to bold, italic, and underline. Dragging in images or other files simply copies the file’s path into the document, not the image itself.

Despite a few shortcomings, Tree’s horizontal view is very appealing. As long as your outlining is mainly text-only, it might be just the thing you need to help make sense of particularly complicated pieces of work. If you’re unsure about spending $25 on it in the Mac App Store, you can download a free trial version can be downloaded from the Tree website first.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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