TreePad Reviews

TreePad has No Competitor

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I have searched a lot, but did not find an app better than TreePad Business or TreePad X Enterprise for Note Taking and Notes Management.

[Edited by luizmenezes, December 02]

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The concept of TreePad is still intriguing after over 17 years of use. I have searched and not yet found alternatives that give me comparable benefits. My main use is taking short memos (ideas, to do's, outlines, links etc.) and sorting the entries in the tree. Even outlinig of projects is quite simple with TreePad. And it is far more convenient to use as a presenting software (yes!) as PowerPoint.

TreePad, I honestly love this program and I hope it will work at least as long as I do. Can't imagine to be without it.


TreePad Lite

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[NOTE: The freeware version of TreePad is now called TreePad Lite. This is a review of TreePad Lite.]

If all you need is straight-up plain text notes in an outline with the ability to search through the tree, then hands down nothing beats TreePad Lite. I've been relying on it for over a decade and it has never let me down. The one feature that is most important to me is that there is a global search function that lists the full path of all the nodes that contain the text string you are searching for. You can then double-click on the search result to go directly to that node, and also search within the node scope only.

The thing that really sets TreePad Lite apart is that it comes in a portable package that is just one tiny (588 KB) executable file, and that's all you need -- no installation required. It's super fast to load, consumes a fraction of the memory that other tree outliners use, and has enough features to make it useful. I've tried just about every free "light" tree outliner out there, but found them all lacking in one feature or another (one tiny app didn't even have a search feature!).

It's not a perfect piece of software -- for example, I have long been annoyed by the fact that you have to manually backspace to delete the previous search term when you perform a node-level search, and the author has never replied to my request to fix this -- but compared to what's out there right now, it's the best fit for me. Seriously, TreePad Lite is pound-for-pound the lightest, fastest freeware out there for organizing plain text in a tree structure.

The only free program that could knock TreePad Lite off its top position (at least in my world) is an open source gem called The Guide. It has a lot going for it, like a more modern and intuitive UI, but as of v2 it is missing that one feature that I can't live without in a tree outliner: the search results only show the node title, not the full node path. This may seem trivial at first, but when you actually start using this extra information having the ability to see the entire taxonomy matching your search string this becomes a very powerful and invaluable tool.


Lacking... but still no viable alternative

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Treepad is small, fast, and supports RTF.

I'm continuously desperately searching for an app that will serve me better... Personalbrain / The Brain, OneNote, and Evernote are the closest. However:

  • OneNote and Evernote don't have the infinitely hierarchical structure that I find so important in Treepad. The ability to simply hit a button to add a subtree whenever the detail gets too much and needs breaking out... rather than wrapping your head around categories, pages, sections, yada yada yada,... is crucial for workflow and moving at the speed of your thoughts.
  • PersonalBrain is overkill and very expensive
  • None have a mobile app which is as powerful as the desktop app (ie. you can work/manage from the mobile app, rather than simply doing a partial note/post, which you then have to file when you get back to the full desktop app).

Having said that - Treepad has no real mobile app itself, no cloud service/sync, and no appreciable ongoing development. I'm amazed no-one has come up with a viable cloud/mobile version of Treepad, including Treepad/Freebyte themselves!

[Edited by dam2311, July 04]