Using an outliner for the index

While I initially set up my index in a Numbers spreadsheet, I just wanted to share that I’m now testing an outliner, particularly the outline mode of MindNode, for that purpose.

I’m trying to assess whether I’m missing anything by not using a spreadsheet, but so far I’m very happy with it. IMHO it is a bit more apt for mobile use, especially on the iPhone (though Airtable might be better at this than Numbers—I don’t know).

Of course any old outliner will do (eg. OmniOutliner), though there aren’t that many native to both macOS and iOS/iPadOS. (I guess the “heydays” of outliners simply preceded the first iPhone, see About This Particular Outliner.)

:heart_eyes: MindNode. I love everything about it. If you have a Mac and you don’t own it you’re missing out.

Cool idea, I really like this. I do this heaps at work but usually informally, the formal database moves to Airtable.

What I like about Airtable is that I can add custom fields. So I often add a ‘location’ field because at work a thing can be on our network in two places, on the customer’s network, or it might just be an artefact in Airtable itself.

I’ve recently — I’ll post properly about this over Xmas, so this is Breaking News — decided to abandon my efforts to write some sort of database of my own. Lord knows I’ve tried. I started teaching myself to code 4 years ago and now I can, which is amazing, but it turns out being a full-stack developer in your spare time when your job is also kinda crazy and stressful is really difficult. Who knew?! Ha.

My recommendation now is just to use Airtable. It’s amazing and flexible and does it all.

Instead I’ll spend my time improving the site, adding templates, building this community, spreading the word. Thanks to my friend Tim, who isn’t here, for the guidance. It’s what I should have been doing these last few years but I’ve been so caught up in the idea of building a thing.


Understandable since you are already using it. For me it would be an entirely new tool (just for a singular purpose)—and it’d be undermining my efforts to keep my toolchain as lean as possible.

As for custom fields, OmniOutliner might be another option there since it offers a lot more finesse and functionality as an outliner than MindNode (eg. multiple columns of varying types). So, if the need for more complexity arrises, I can easily carry the OPML over to OmniOutliner with very little friction.

That, too, is a very understandable (and, well, healthy :relieved:) decision!

Respect the sentiment, I’m trying to do the same with my new laptop. My mouse back/forward buttons don’t even work because I refuse to install the horrid Logitech software. Turns out clicking the button in the toolbar isn’t that onerous.

Hi there
I have tried AirTable but I don’t like the interface.
I’m a fan of Is there a particular reason why nobody seems to use it?
You can do outlines and folding items, as well as databases just like the proposed template of @johnnydecimal in AirTable it seems (haven’t tried yet, still thinking my setup!)

I doubt there are reasons against using Notion—except maybe not being a Notion user (I for one always find myself shying aways from tools, that “bring their own cloud”, but that’s just a matter of personal preference, of course).

That got me thinking, again. So I ported the index over to OmniOuliner, where I have location columns now, too. Makes sense. (Sadly, it does not look as nice on iOS, als Mindnode—but it’s usable. :innocent:)

(“OmniOuliner” in the ”Different location” column implies the OO iCloud folder, BTW.)

I recently moved my jD Index from Google Sheets into Notion. Haven’t done much else with it because busy but planning to get that going in 2022.
If you like more info on how I did it let me know.
I think Notion is pretty cool but can be overhelming quite quickly and I am currently still deciding if I leave Evernote for good for Notion or still keep it around for notes and just use Notion for Project Management (and the jD Index)