Saturday, December 26, 2009

ConnectedText and NoteTab

As I said before, the ability of getting information easily in and out is for me one of the most important characteristics of a program. It allows you to import existing work into other formats. Text is the most rudimentary and therefore perhaps also most important medium for this.

It's no secret to anyone reading this blog that I use ConnectedText for my information needs and Notetab as my editor of choice. I have talked earlier about the way they can be made to interact.[1] Here a new way: You can now export all of the topics of a ConnectedText project into one large text file. If you choose "H=" as the separator for topics, you can easily create a Notetab outline file (otl), in which all the topic links work just as in ConnectedText.

The steps are as follows:
  1. Change the delimiter in ConnectedText to "M="
  2. Export to a text file
  3. Open the text file in NoteTab
  4. Search and replace "M= " (the space after "=" is important) with "^P=H" (it is important that the editor in which you replace understand "^P" as a new paragraph)
    (no space)
  5. Insert "= V4 Outline MultiLine TabWidth=50" at the beginning of the file. You can change the "50" to "40" or "60". It just indicates the width of the outline pane.
  6. Save with the otl extension
  7. Open the file again in Notetab
You should now have a fully working version of a Notetab outline. I do this occasionally and use the file-names in the following way: ProjectDate.otl (example: Notes20091226.otl). This way I have dated snapshots of my projects. By the way, Notetab states that it has a limit of 5400 outline haedings. I have found that to be false. In practice, 7000 headings are no problem (*but this may have to do with the fact that my entries are usually short (between 350 and 500 words).

It is possible to transform "otl" files into "hjt" or Treepad files, and these can be transformed into "exe" files, but this takes a bit of doing. Still, it is one way to transform your ConnectedText project into a standalone program.

1. ConnectedText and Notetab Outlines. The new ability of ConnectedText to export to one large text file makes the process much easier. The Autohotkey script is no longer needed.

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