Natara Bonsai Reviews

A versatile outliner

Positive Review by dr_andus
about Natara Bonsai and The Guide, Noteliner, Outline 4D Jul 2013

Natara Bonsai 5 Desktop Edition is the best kept secret of the outliner software world. As it started life as a sync client to the Palm app, it has somehow never been recognised for the superb standalone writing tool that it is. I have used it for years, and it's still my no. 1 outliner (on Windows 7). Even many Palm users have just considered it mostly a to-do list manager or project manager, but it has some very powerful outlining functions.

Key strengths:

  • Highly customisable interface. It can be set up as a 1-, 2-, or 3-pane outliner. Multiple windows can be open and tiled.

  • Fast entry of data, quick to move outline items around with keyboard shortcuts or mouse clicks or drag-and-drop.

  • List can be collapsed per levels 1-4, or all expanded just by a mouse-click.

  • You can zoom in (hoist) at any level and cancel zoom with one click.

  • You can select to have check boxes.

  • You can select to have columns with various to-do list functionality.

  • You can set up a default colour scheme for background and font.

  • Outline text can be coloured in automatically on the basis of hierarchy level or other optional attributes.

  • Various search and filtering options.

  • Tabbed interface of outlines open.

  • Multiple standard import and export file options (.MM, .RTF, .HTM, text, CSV etc.) that can be expanded with custom templates (.OPML).

I use it mainly as a two-pane outliner for developing new writing or for analysing reading notes that I took in and imported from Freeplane. Then I export it into Word as .RTF and edit the text further. I also use a whole range of other outliners that have their particular strengths (Noteliner, Outline 4D, ConnectedText, Scrivener, The Guide, Whizfolders), but Bonsai is my number 1 favourite outliner when it comes to quick outlining and analysis of complex lists. See some further discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Bonsai here.

[Edited by drandus, July 31]_

[Edited by drandus, July 31]_

[Edited by drandus, July 31]_

[Edited by drandus, July 31]_