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Outlining with FoldingText

by Kerry Dawson

Outlining is a very powerful tool to form or structure your document. There are numerous tools in the Mac app store that will provide you with the ability to Outline your document.

In a previous article I on Circus Ponie’s Notebook I highlighted how powerful this tool is for outlining. In fact, there are numerous outliners, far too many to mention but some which stand out for certain characteristics that make them rather unique.

FoldingText is a Markdown Editor

Markdown is a proliferating defacto standard for focused writing. Initially intended for the web and its strong suit remains that, Markdown is being used in a number of other tools to provide it’s unique function.

It is a superb tool for focused writing in that it puts superfluous editing tools out of the way. With Markdown, you are just writing with plain text and marking it up so that it can be interpreted into HTML and then presented on the web (primarily).

FoldingText is of particular interest as it allows you to outline your text and then outline the text beautifully. With FoldingText, you might write your article in Ulysses but want to prepare or outline your document in FoldingText. Once you have the structure of your document in hand, you could either continue to write your document in FoldingText or easily continue writing it in your editor of choice.

The odd time when I’ve gotten stuck with a document, I’ll open it in FoldingText, just show the headings that I have and determine what’s wrong and what I need to continue. The process initially seems confusing but in the end it proves very easy. It’s also intuitive too as it makes sense to sometimes just look at your headers before proceeding.

FoldingText and Markdown’s Portability

Markdown can be considered one of the most portable of tools to write with. As more and more tools support Markdown you’ll simply be able to take your text, move it to a specific tool and determine what seems off.

FoldingText is one such tool. First, you structure your document in FoldingText, then move it to your editor of choice if you so choose to continue writing and if you need to you can easily move it back to FoldingText for enhancements to your document.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting this is at all necessary with Markdown. To the contrary, Markdown gives you the luxury of being able to do this to improve the outcome of your writing.

Outlining is FoldingText’s Forte

As I’ve discussed, outlining can play a valuable role in the development of a document. If you use Markdown, FoldingText is an ideal tool to use to outline your project. One very valuable function that FoldingText does is it can collapse all text below the titles. Then you can look at the flow of each title to see if the article flows well.

FoldingText will allow you to do things in an outlining fashion that other tools are not as good at. You can collapse all text below just one title or vice-a-versa and just open the text at a certain title. This approach allows you to develop articles in a different fashion than you could if you just outline the structure of a document.

New Approach

Outlining is still an important tool. Although there are many outliners, FoldingText with its Markdown capability works better than many of the other tools that limit themselves to the structure outside of the document. You can easily make your document part of FoldingText and now have a completely new view of the document.

Markdown is an new, important approach for writers. This is leading to new tools to write with and in fact ways to do it. FoldingText is one of those tools and it certainly brings a new approach to the writing process.

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