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NoodleTools How to Guide: Create & Use an Outline

Tutorials that show you how to create a personal ID, work with projects, create citations, and do other tasks in NoodleTools

How to Create and Use an Outline

The right panel of the Notecards screen is reserved for your outline. The outline panel can be minimized if you aren’t using or working on an outline and you would like additional space to manipulate your notecards on the tabletop. Click the small arrow button in the top-right corner to minimize the panel or to show it again.

Outline screen

Alternatively, if you need more space for the outline, there is a gray “handle” between the tabletop and outline panels that can be dragged left and right to devote more or less horizontal space to the outline. This can be useful if you are writing longer phrases as your outline topic titles, rather than just keywords. 

How to create items in the outline

When you begin a new outline, you’ll find a sample topic and subtopic already in place.

Adding a new item to an outline

You can delete these default items if you wish. Or, to edit these existing items, simply double-click on the title (Topic or Subtopic) in the outline (or on an iPad, long-press the title and select the option to edit the title from the menu). When you finish editing, either press Enter or click outside of the edit box to save the changes.

As you are creating your outline, you will be creating both “siblings” and “children” of existing outline items. Siblings of item “A” would be “B”, “C, “D”, etc. -- they are at the same indentation level and are subtopics of the same “parent” topic in the outline. Children of item “A” would be “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, etc. – they are subtopics of item “A”, indented right.

How to add a new topic or subtopic to the outline

To add a subtopic under an existing topic (e.g., add subtopic “1” under topic “A”), select the topic and then do one of the following:

  1. Click the green +Add.
  2. Right-click (or long-press on an iPad) on the topic and select Add subtopic... from the menu.

Adding a new topic to an outline

To add a topic at the same level as an existing topic (e.g., add topic “B” under topic “A”), select the existing topic and do one of the following:

  1. Press “Enter” (this is a keyboard shortcut).
  2. Right-click (or long-press on an iPad) on the topic and select Add topic (sibling) from the menu.

NOTE: Clicking Add with no outline item selected will add a top-level (I, II, III, etc.) item.

How to reorder outline topics

Any topic (along with its subtopics) can be dragged to another location in the outline. Try the following ways to move a topic:

  1. Drag a topic onto another topic to make the first a subtopic of the second.
  2. Drag a topic and release it below an existing topic (you will see a blue line representing where the topic is about to be dropped). The first topic will become a sibling topic to the second. You can use this method to reorder subtopics under a single parent topic.

How to delete a topic from the outline

To remove a topic from the outline, select it and click Delete or right-click on the item (long-press on an iPad) and choose Delete from the menu. 

Deleting a topic in your outline will delete all of the subtopics under that topic, so do this carefully!

How to link notecards to topics in the outline

A powerful feature of the outline in NoodleTools is that you can link notecards to topics in your outline. Later, you can begin writing a draft of your essay by exporting your outline and notecards to a word processing program. You can also print your outline with your notecards included (see “How to export or print your outline” below ).

 To begin, drag-and-drop a notecard from either the Notecard Tabletop view or the Notecard Detail view (using the drag handle in the upper-right corner of a view-selected notecard) onto a topic in your outline.

Detail view of a notecard

If you want to move an entire notecard pile into an outline topic, you can also do that from the Notecard Tabletop view. Dragging a notecard pile into the outline will add all of the notecards within that pile to the topic in your outline.

Moving a notecard into your outline does not remove it from the Tabletop or Detail views; it only associates the notecard with the topic in the outline. To distinguish notecards from topics and subtopics, notecards are represented by a small notecard icon, as shown below:

Notecard icon

On the Notecard Tabletop, notecards that are linked to at least one outline topic are marked with a checkmark in the upper left, as seen below:

Notecards on the NoodleTools 'Tabletop'

Once a notecard is associated with an item in the outline, you can move it around in the outline by dragging it onto a different topic in the outline. Or, to remove it from the outline, drag the notecard out of the outline back onto the tabletop area (or select it and click Delete).

Double-clicking a notecard in the outline will open the notecard for editing.

How to export or print the outline

You can export and print your outline with or without notecards. NoodleTools supports the following options:

  1. Export as Web page: Export as an HTML web page that can be opened in a browser.
  2. Export to Google Docs: Export to a new Google Doc.
  3. Export to Word: Export as a .docx file that can be opened with Word.
  4. Export to RTF: Export as a .rtf file that can be opened from Word or any other word processing program that supports RTF.

How to print only your outline

  1. On the Print menu in the Outline panel, select Outline only
  2. Select your format and click Submit.
  3. If you selected Web page, the outline will open in a new window. You can use your browser’s File > Print to print the outline.
  4. If you selected Google Docs, it will prompt you for your Google ID account (if you are not logged in already), and open a new Google Doc with your outline.
  5. If you selected either Word or RTF, the file will be automatically downloaded to your desktop. Open it in Word or other word processor.

Options for printing the outline

How to print your outline with notecards

Unless specified otherwise, highlights, formatting, and images in notecards will be exported along with the outline.

1. On the Print menu in the Outline panel, select Outline with notecards.

2. Select your export format.

3. Select notecard items to print, as seen below. By default, all notecard items will all be included. Unmark the checkboxes next to any elements that you wish to omit.

Printing the outline with the notecards

4. If you selected Web page, the outline with notecards will open in a new window. You can use your browser’s File > Print to print the outline.

5. If you selected Google Docs, it will prompt you for your Google ID account (if you are not logged in already), and open a new Google Doc with your outline and notecards.

6. If you selected either Word or RTF, the file will be automatically downloaded to your desktop. Open it in Word or other word processor. In RTF format, the notecards will be exported as plain text and images will be omitted.

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