This is the second entry in the OneNote Smack Down extravaganza. I’ve chosen UV Outliner for the next target of review because it is a wonderful contrast to OneNote. Where OneNote is a powerful information management application, UV Outliner is, as its name implies, an outliner first and foremost. But just how good is it? Let’s find out.
UV Outliner – Contender or Pretender?
UV Outliner is an unassuming little program. It runs under the .NET framework (I don’t know exactly what that means, except that you have to have .NET on your computer). It is free of charge, and you can download it here.
Ease of use (40%) = 85 (34 points)
UV Outliner is very easy to use. Just click and start typing. Create a new entry when you press ENTER. Indent the entry with the tab key, or outdent with the shift-tab keys. Unlike with OneNote, which doesn’t have keyboard navigation of topics, you can move your topics around in UV Outliner using the CONTROL key plus the directional arrows. It is very easy and intuitive. The program editor supports extended selection of words, which I greatly appreciate.
Outlining features (15%) = 85 (12.75 points)
UV Outliner includes several valuable outlining functions. It has reveal arrows, so that you can hide and show sub-topics. You can focus on one topic and its sub-topics by using the hoist function. Hoist is a very useful feature especially when building longer outlines.
Missing, however, is any ability to add, let alone customize, labels for each topic.
Export power (25%) = 60 (15 points)
Perhaps UV Outliner’s weakest feature is its export functionality. You can get text out as plain text, RFT or HTML, but the results are poor as demonstrated in the screenshots below.
Bonus features (10%) = 80 (8 points)
There are two nice surprises with UV Outliner. First is the ability to include inline notes. This implementation isn’t the strongest I’ve seen, but it is so rare in Windows outliners that it is, nevertheless, a treat. Second is the ability to add columns to include meta data. Again, this isn’t a very powerful feature — you can’t define the type of data (i.e. note, date, numbers, etc…), but as the screen shot
below at the start of this review demonstrates, you can make it useful for visualizing information.
Another handy feature is that you can choose to display check boxes for each topic. This is nice when brainstorming a task list. The only issue I have with it is that you have to have the check boxes showing for all topics in your outline, or none.
Overall feel and functionality (10%) = 75 (7.5 points)
Generally, I like the feel of UV Outliner. It is hampered a little by being a .NET Framework application, which causes it to feel more ponderous than it should.
Total score = 77.25
In a close shave, UV Outliner has already elbowed OneNote aside.
Stay tuned for additional challengers!