ConnectedText Reviews

Excellent notes database and more

about ConnectedText · ·

People who haven't used a personal or desktop wiki before (and I hadn't before CT) might wonder what such a software is good for. ConnectedText is sometimes described as a "free-form note-taking and note-management application." It's main strength and weakness is the freedom in the "free-form." It's a strength because it gives you a huge amount of freedom as to how you set up the software and what you use it for. It is incredibly versatile. But it also might be a weakness for novices, as initially it might not be that easy to grasp as to how to use it and what you can do with it.

At its heart it's a notes database. It's for keeping text-based notes, although just like with websites, you can insert images and link to local files as well as external ones. Moreover, and this is where the wiki-bit comes in, you can link the notes to each other as well, just like webpages. Effectively you can create your own personal wikipedia. How is this different from hierarchical notes databases such as UltraRecall, for instance? As you may have noticed with a huge amount of notes, once you have hundreds or thousands of them, the hierarchical tree quickly loses its utility as an organisational system. You will stop seeing the forest from the trees.

With a wiki like CT, instead of a hierarchical organisation, the notes are ordered in a flat, alphabetical list. The idea is that the links between individual items take over as the navigational and organisational mechanism. You can still view the implicit hierarchy when you need it with the built in Navigator, which shows you in mind-map style how the notes are linked from the home page down (or from any other chosen note). Also, you can create your own purpose-built hierarchies with the Outliner tool. There are also some powerful search tools and query commands which allow you to interrogate your database in different ways. The wiki eventually helps you discover new relationships within your data.

What is ConnectedText an alternative to? Due to its versatility, CT competes in a number of different categories. You can use it as notes database instead of UltraRecall or Evernote. You can use it as an outliner, such as Bonsai or UV Outliner, as it has it's own built-in single-pane outliner. However, thanks to the modularity of the various panes which you can dock or undock at will and move around and re-arrange, you can combine its Outliner with the other views to construct a dual-pane writing application, such as Scrivener or WhizFolders.

Thanks to CT's analytical tools, it can also be used as a qualitative data analysis software. It has replaced NVivo for me. But I have also heard of people using it as a journalling application, thanks to its so-called "date topics," which have a date assigned to them and act as a special type of a note with additional date-related properties. I have also heard of people using it as a database for books, movies, you name it. So in that sense it's also an alternative to some database applications. Thanks to its ability to drag and drop file links and URLs anywhere in a note, CT also works as a project dashboard, not unlike TheBrain.

CT does have a learning curve associated with it, and it took me several tries to realise what an incredibly powerful and useful software it is. Although there is a bit of mark-up to memorise, the essential ones can be counted on one hand and are very similar to markdown code.



I have used a number of Wiki solutions over the years (Evernote, OneNote, TiddlyWiki, Wiki on a Stick, Mediawiki), but ConnectedText is the best one I have used so far.

The others were each good in there own way, but failed in one way or another that I couldn't get past.

ConnectedText is very easy to start using, the wiki-syntax is familiar, and it has a multitude of options and scripts to make things even easier.

I highly recommend that you download a trial and test it yourself.