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TreeLine: Organize Notes in Tree Structure

TreeLine is an unique information organization tool that combines the characteristics of both an outliner and a Personal Information Manager (PIM). It allows you to store just about any information that you normally keep in notes, whether that be bookmarks, text snippets, contacts, to-do list, book catalog or whatever lese you need to keep track of. A tree structure with unlimited nodes and sub-nodes makes it easy to keep the information organized. And each node in the tree is capable of containing several fields to form a mini-database.

TreeLine comes with five templates, pre-populated with sample data to help you get started. You can use these templates to get familiar with various options available in TreeLine and understand what kind of information you can store in them. You can then replace the sample data with your own, rather than starting from a scratch.

Here is a typical to-do list created using TreeLine.


The panel on the left displays the tree view with parent nodes that can be opened and closed to display child nodes. The right pane is tabbed to show three different views of the data. The "Data Output" view shows the formatted text for each node and is read-only. The "Data Editor" view shows a text edit box for each data field within a node. The "Title List" view shows a list of node titles that can be modified using typical text editor methods.

To add new data, use the Node menu to add child nodes. The position of the child nodes will depend on which parent node is selected. Once a new child node is created, enter your data from the “Data Editor” pane. You can drag child nodes within the tree structure to reposition them. You can also use the Up/Down menu items or Insert Before/After to reorganize the tree structure.

It is possible to use HTML font tags in the “Data Editor” to stylize the information that is displayed. For this, you have to change the “Data type” to HTML from the Data menu.

TreeLine is actually a very complex application that looks deceptively simple. It is easier to begin from one of the provided templates than attempting to create your own. There are so many different formatting types, field options, data types, conditional types, and node types, among others, that it will take quite an effort to understand them all, if you plan to create templates from scratch.

TreeLine is available for Windows and Linux platform, and all Treeline files are saved in the format extension TRL. This allows you to share your notes easily when you switch system.

TreeLine Features:

  • Stores almost any type of information, including plain text, HTML, numbers, dates, times, booleans, URLs, etc.
  • The tree structure helps keep things organized.
  • Each node can have several fields that form a mini-database.
  • Several node types, with different sets of fields, can be included in one file.
  • The node format, including fields, output lines and tree-view icon, can be defined for each node type.
  • Views
  • The left-hand view defaults to a tree view but can show a flat list of descendants of the current node.
  • The left flat view also shows the results of filtering operations.
  • The right-hand view can show one of three views - for showing output, editing node data and editing node titles.
  • The right-hand view is normally split to show data from the parent node and its children.
  • If multiple nodes are selected, the right-hand view shows all of their data.
  • The output view can be set to show indented output from all descendant nodes.
  • Navigation
  • There is a quick incremental search command to find a matching node title.
  • There is a find command that searches through all node data.
  • Previous and next selection commands toggle selections to quickly move between parts of the tree.
  • Formatting
  • The dialog for data type configuration has several tabs to easily set all type, field and output parameters.
  • Formatting information can be copied from another TreeLine file.
  • File Handling
  • Undo and redo commands are available for all modifying operations.
  • TreeLine files are XML by default, but there are options for automatically compressing or encrypting the files.
  • Document templates for new files are preformatted to cover basic needs.
  • The formatted output can be printed with parent/child lines and headers and footers.
  • File Import and Export
  • The data can be exported to HTML.
  • An XSLT file can be exported to work with the XML TreeLine files.
  • Tab-delimited tables and tab-indented text files can be imported and exported. Plain text files and Treepad files can be imported.
  • Mozilla and XBEL format bookmark files can be imported and exported.
  • Generic XML files can be imported and exported, allowing TreeLine to function as a crude XML editor.
  • ODF text documents can be imported and exported as outlines.
  • Batch file conversions can be done from a command line interface.
  • Linking Objects
  • Clicking on URL fields in the output view opens the link in an external web browser.
  • There are internal link fields that select another node based on a reference or a keyword.
  • An executable link can run an external program or open a file when clicked.
  • Data Manipulation
  • There are several sorting options.
  • The nodes can be filtered.
  • A node's icon and output format can be changed conditionally based on its data.
  • Text data can be spell checked (requires an external program)
  • Data can be automatically arranged using either parent references or categories from data fields.
  • There is an outline numbering feature.
  • Customization
  • There are many options for customizing both general and file-based attributes.
  • There are editors for keyboard shortcuts and toolbar commands.
  • The user interface and documentation are available in English, French and German.

Other recommended PIM (Personal Information Manager):


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