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ziggy (25)

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Journal of ziggy (25)

Monday December 27, 2004
11:10 PM

Who needs MSWord when you have vim?

[ #22476 ]
I've been bit by the gtd bug. At some point, any scheme to get organized is going to require an outliner of some sort. It could be MS Word. It could be Omni Outliner.

But geeks work best with simple formats like text files. And it's easy enough to construct an outline by successive levels of indentation in your favorite text editor. But how to edit an outline, where you want to expand and collapse whole levels, and promote or demote at will?

More importantly, how do you do that in vi? [*]

The answer is The Vim Outliner, courtesy of the indefatigable Ned Konz.

Thanks, Ned. ;-)


*: I'm sure there's some ESC-C-M-X-outliner-and-kitchen-sink major mode in emacs. Don't ask me what it is though....

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  • FWIW:

    ESC-x outline-mode


    * item one

    item one body

    ** item two

    item two body
    • Actually, the above example shows one top-level item with a second-level item nested inside it. A simple two item list would look like:


      And if you don't want to have to do a M-x ouTABoTAB every time you load your TODO list, just add this at the tail of the file:

      ### Local Variables: ###
      ### mode: Outline ###
      ### End: ###

      ...or define a mode hook for files named TODO (etc., etc., etc., TMTOWTDI) :D

  • Actually, the outline view in Word is really good. I find it indispensible when taking notes or planning the structure of a larger piece of text.

    The trick is to figure out the keyboard shortcuts for promoting/demoting text and moving things around.

    Alt-Shift left/right and up/down is the trick. But I had to create a macro to get back to the Normal style. These shortcuts work in the other view modes as well.