When I was a full-time journalist in the 1980s, I became very successful
using a dedicated outliner called PCOutline. When all the major Word
Processers came along--MS Word, Word Perfect, etc, the lack of outliner
functionality kept me with my archaic outliner until MS Word beat the
functionality of PCOutline.
I used outlining as my main method of work when a full-time technical writer
in the 90s (e.g., Fujitsu Software in San Jose). While working for a java
house, I was so influenced by the negative developer reactions to MS, that
I've been wishing to move to OpenOffice or LibraOffice ever since they came
along. But you don't have the functionality that I need, and furthermore,
the discussions of outlining on this forum seem to miss the whole point,
from my point of view.
I'm a very motivated wannabe LibraOffice user who currently can't make the
switch, because although I'm retired and writing fiction, the power of an
outliner for writing in all genres is something I can't live without.
So my reasons are complex--sorry about that--but tl:dr will not allow you to
understand them. Please take the time. I really want to quit Microsoft
Office forever and ever and ever. Thanx.
The first functionality I need might seem mickey mouse, but it's the
foundation for everything else. This is that in Word's outliner view,
there's a button in front of every paragraph that I can drag and drop up and
down. It's like cut and paste, but a lot faster. Combined with other
features, it's extremely powerful.
The second functionality I need is to be able to collapse things. In an
article of 25 paragraphs, I can hide every line except the first line of the
paragraph, thus allowing me to see the entire article of 25 paragraphs on
the screen at the same time. This allows me to completely rearrange the
entire article by drop and drag.
For editing a single sentence or paragraph, I insert a return between
sentences, phrases, and even words, drop and drag these elements into a new
order, and delete the returns. Voila! A much better constructed paragraph or
sentence in a snap.
The third functionality is to collapse things within headers. For instance,
if I've interviewed a dozen people for an article or if I've brainstormed 5
pages of random ideas for a blog or a chapter in a novel, I create headers
for different topics and then drag and drop paragraphs, quotes, ideas, etc
into the headers or buckets I've created. When one header becomes too full
and fills too much of the screen, I collapse it, so that it hides all the
paragraphs already there, which cleans up the screen. When I'm done with
this step, I have half a dozen headers, under which are many different
ideas, all of which are completely hidden.
So I drag and drop my half a dozen headers into the correct order. Then I
open the first main header and create a bunch of subheaders. Once this is
done, I reorganize all of the points in this first section into subsections
or sub-buckets, collapsing them all as needed until everything is organized
into a number of different subheaders. At this point, I can rearrange all of
these subheaders into the best order that they belong in. I can even drag a
subheader into a different main heading if I choose, where it will remain as
a separate section.
I can repeat this process as many levels as I wish. This feature in MS Word
is fractal to nine levels. From a chaotic mixture of confusion emerges
order, insight, and wisdom--in one single step.
As a technical writer, I used to sit in a brainstorming meetings, write down
every developer idea as fast as I could (including those I didn't understand
at all), type it all sequentially, and then very quickly organize all of the
ideas into a coherent whole. The developers thought I actually knew how to
I could never have done that with LibreOffice as it's now configured or
OpenOffice, either. Without my Word outliner, I would have been a shitty
technical writer, and I would never have been able to write the developer
guides I wrote.
As a creative writer today, I currently have a dozen projects that are
percolating, as well as one major project that I'm focusing on. I just
brainstorm for anything that comes up, drag the ideas into the proper
buckets, and I never lose anything of value. (Yes, the word "never" is
It's like having a Super Power that's available to everyone, but no one
knows how to get it. Currently, this Super Power is only available in MS
Word. Please make it possible for me to migrate to LibreOffice without
losing my Super Powers. And please make these Super Powers available to the
world. Doing so could cause the entire planet to evolve into better writers.
You can help eliminate crappy writing!
Until you do this, LibreOffice is like Kryptonite to me. I can't come near
it, even though I truly want to.
I beg of you: Please help poor little Cougar quit his addiction to
Micro$oft! (Yeah, I know. Outliners do not eliminate the scourge of mixed
For those of you who made it this far, thanx for listening.
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