Outlining in the topic list is the “recommended” approach in WhizFolders because it gives you the power to rearrange your outline by the easy “Move” buttons or by simple drag & drop of multiple topics, including their children.
Is it possible to automatically number the topic titles?
The topic titles serve as headings for an outline. Consider the following test outline prepared in the topic list.
To auto-number the outline, I click on the “List Settings” button marked in the above picture. I get this screen.
I switch on the marked option “Show Numbered List” above. Here is the result.
Once you switch on the Numbered List option, the list stays numbered, no matter what you do. If you add more topics or move the topics up or down, all the topics are renumbered automatically.
Is it possible to print the outline from the topic list while preserving the indentation?
Yes, here is a screenshot of the Microsoft XPS printout of the list.
If you don’t get the same results, check the printing options for multiple topics. You can see them by clicking on Settings–General Options.
You need to look at the page “Printing multiple topics” and switch on the option “Print indented” shown below. Make sure that the other marked option “Do not print topic titles” is off.
The space before and after the headings is controlled by the “Spacing in lines” settings at the bottom of the above screen. Currently, the minimum values allowed are 1 line before and after. But on an afterthought, I’m going to allow “zero” as the value for a more compact printing in the next version.
How do I print a compact outline without the headings?
This is the best part of WhizFolders when used in outlining. It’s so flexible! You can break up a large block of writing, even a complete novel into pieces that you outline, develop and write separately. Now you want to combine those pieces into a complete text draft. You don’t want the headings or topic titles in that case. All the export and printing features of WhizFolders give the option of switching off headings. So you can select all the parts and then perform operations “copy to clipboard” or “export to RTF” with the option not to include topic titles. Once you do that, you get a complete merged block of text without headings.
A similar option is available in printing too. In the options described above, you switch on the option “Do not print topic titles.” Here is the result.
Can I switch off the numbering of headings in the printed outline?
Yes, that is controlled by another option on the “Printing” page of the general options screen. The option that you want to switch on is marked in the following picture, “Do not number topic names in the printout.” Note that printing of numbers in the headings is controlled entirely by this option and not by the auto numbering option that was described above for “viewing” the topic list as numbered.
Logically, this option should have been with the same set of options described earlier but I never had a chance to redesign printing options and I can see that they are over crowded. I have plans to redesign the whole options area using a nice ribbon bar menu.
Do you see now why you should be using the topic list for all outlining?
You can break up your whole writing project into pieces, develop the outline and later merge it while printing or exporting the way you want.
Current limitations of the topic list are, “No control on the numbering format and style of the individual headings.”
Currently, you can not control the number format for the auto numbering or for printing. This is not too difficult to implement, and I’m going to do that in the next version itself. Another thing, it’s not possible to change the style of individual headings or topic titles. That’s more difficult to handle but will definitely be there in the next “major” release of WhizFolders.
But you should know that you can control the font of all the titles by the same “List Settings” screen that we saw earlier. Also, the printing options allow you to select the bold or italic type formats of all the headings. See the screenshot of the options for “printing multiple topics” above.
Workaround solutions for the above limitations
1. Export to Word Outline format: If you export the outline to Word outline format by the Tools–Export to RTF menu, you can then open it in Microsoft Word and change the styles as well as numbering by its advanced formatting features for headings. I had implemented this solution on the request of a customer who was happy with the results. But I, myself, have not used or researched it extensively. If you want to go this route, please share your experience with me.
2. Put headings in the topic text itself: If you put the headings to be printed or exported within the topic text itself at the top, you can still control them fully. But then you will have to switch off the export or printing of actual topic titles by using the options described above in “How do I print a compact outline without the headings?”
You can even avoid putting the headings in certain topics if they don’t need it in a merged output. You get complete flexibility. The only problem is, if you move the topics around, you may need to renumber the headings that you put in the topic text. They won’t renumber automatically because they are not in the topic list. But this is a solution that is workable indeed as long as you don’t resequence the outline often or do not need numbering at all for the headings but just headings with different styles.
Exit topic list and Enter topic editor for outlining
How else can we work around the above limitations of the topic list? For smaller outlines, you can use the nested numbered lists in the topic editor.
Then you can use custom numbering as well as style because it is within the topic editor. You will lose the power to move the headings around though which is available in the topic list. Perhaps, drag and drop will work in the editor too but it will be difficult to select whole items before dragging.
Making nested numbered lists for outlining in the topic Editor
For this to work properly in WhizFolders, the editing caret (blinking cursor) must already be on a list item. See the following picture where I started a “numbered” list in the editor and the caret is on the second item.
By the way, I’m using the Advanced Editor that gives me a wider window for editing. You can do this in the quick editor too.
Whenever you click on the increase indent button, it starts a nested list
In the following picture, the increase indent button is shown marked. When I click that, I get a nested numbered list in a different format than the enclosing list.
The inner list is in roman numbers. But I can change the number format by the “List Type” pull down on the Tool bar.
I change the nested list format to A., B., … Then I click on the same increase indent button and add another nested list, changing its type to 1., 2. by using the same technique as described above. Here is how it looks now.
Now, how do I resume adding items to the “enclosing list?”
When the editing caret is as shown above, I click on the decrease indent button circled above. This will resume the enclosing list. Please see the picture below.
Did you notice that it resumed at the correct next item, C. If I were to click the same Decrease Indent button again, it will resume the main list.
Resuming the correct number in the enclosing list can sometimes break
You will see that as you increase and decrease indent, making nested lists, or even insert blank lines in between, WhizFolders is able to continue the numbering.
For example, see the following picture. I hit the Enter key several times to insert some blank lines. This stops the list numbering. But if I click on the Numbered List button, it resumes the list again at C. This “correct” resuming has lot of effort behind it.
What if the numbering breaks? There is a solution.
Resuming the numbering might break at times due to some internal rtf formatting. If that happens, you can take help of a special button. See the button marked in the above picture, next to List Type pull down. That is a “Change starting number” button. If I click that button, I can change the next sequence number.
I can enter the number 3 if the sequence was other than C and I wanted to correct it to C. The only trick is that you need to enter a number that you want the numeric list item to use. If the numeric list is of the type A., B., C., you still need to enter a number, 1 for A, 2 for B and so on.
You can use “Change Starting Number” button to start a new numbered list in the same topic.
If later in the same topic, I want to start a new numbered list starting from 1, I will have to use the same button and start at 1. In fact, that’s the main purpose of the button as originally designed. But it can be used for fixing a number too.
If you get any more questions or ideas on the same topic, please write to me and I will try to answer them in a new post.