The life and growth of UV Outliner

Blog about development of UV Outliner

Rich Text Format is broken

with 8 comments

I ofter work on some outline just to send the result to someone by email. Most of the time that person doesn’t use outliner software, and I want the outline still be available to him right away. My documents usually very simple, just some list of items.

There are two obvious ways to send such documents:

  • Send document as attachment in .rtf format
  • Embed document in email letter, as most of email clients support rich text

Unfortunately no of these methods will work all the time and here is why – there is no standard way in rich text format to represent a list of items.

If you save document in .rtf – will it opens correctly in WordPad, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice? Will you be able to open the document and modify it in any primitive way? What will happen if you open the document with a list and copy-paste it from one app to another?

The answer to all these questions – you can’t predict. All these apps (WordPad, Word, OpenOffice, etc) store lists differently. Your email client stores lists differently, and there is no way outliner could show you a document you can copy and paste in any application hoping it will appear the same.

That is very sad. So I plan to add support for ODF format or Docx, but i’m not sure.

Could you please comment – what you do if you want to send the outline to someone else? Is there some ways you can overcome troubles?

Thank you!

Actually, I improved import to HTML. I think this will solve this trouble with rich text format for a while.


Written by Fedir Nepyivoda

February 18, 2011 at 12:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. I tend to get round this by printing it to a PDF using something like NitroPDF or PrimoPDF so maybe adding an ‘export to PDF’ option would get you round this issue?

    I believe Evernote uses the NitroPDF API so it might be worth looking at that

    Love your app BTW


    February 18, 2011 at 10:18 am

    • Thanks Mick!

      PDF format is great for that. Currently UV Outliner can export to PDF using any PDF printer (such as PrimoPDF).

      I don’t think I will add “native” support for .pdf export soon as you can already do this by using PDF printer.

      Fedir Nepyivoda

      February 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm

  2. I like to avoid attachments whenever possible, because it’s extra work for both the creator and the recipient. I guess one way of embedding in an e-mail message could be to use HTML, which does use standard tags for lists. I do not use HTML mail and so copy the outline as plain text and then paste it into my e-mail message. This works, but I wish I did not have to go through so many steps in UV Outliner, like selecting Export, then waiting for a rich text output, then changing to plain text, and then copying to clipboard. It would be nice to be able to set a default method for copying, then just select all and copy in one or two steps.


    February 19, 2011 at 2:07 am

    • I think I can make copy/paste-to-other-software work without the need to “export” document. It is easy to copy to clipboard in multiple formats, so you can paste it in text or in html, for example.

      The main problem here is that you cannot select multiple rows of text in uv outliner now. I will try to make it possible in the near future.

      Fedir Nepyivoda

      February 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm

  3. […] I already told in the previous post – rich text format is broken, because exported outline can be used nowhere. But that is not the case with […]

  4. OPML is a sort of standard for handling outlines.


    February 21, 2011 at 12:23 am

    • Yes, you are right, but currently I’m talking about exporting outline to a non-outline app.

      Fedir Nepyivoda

      February 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

      • Fedir — not sure if this still an open question…

        Would you consider assigning heading-level attributes to each item, consistent with MS Word (I use MSWord2003), or other select wordprocessors?

        1. Doing so would address your desire (for many or perhaps most users) allowing non-UV-Outliner-users could view the outlines with their word processor. Logical choices to interface with seem to be MSWord (like it or not, the lingua-franca for many companies, etc) and Open Office (free and available to anyone), but maybe there are other thoughts here.

        2. This would be *very* powerful, as the outline levels would be more than indentation — they would actually be transferable back and forth between word-processing tools. Outline levels could be manipulated in either platform (UV Outliner or MSWord).

        3. Also, since most writing involves “finishing” work in a word processor anyway, this would make UV Outliner a natural part of my workflow. I could use UV Outliner to do the real work of creation — capturing thoughts, organizing, editing. Then I could transfer to a word processor like MSWord for additional formatting and finalization.



        March 5, 2012 at 7:48 am

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