Comparison of note gathering applications (III): Devonthink and OmniOutliner Pro

In the previous edition of this comparison we reviewed the newest applications for the introduction of notes, we highlighted Evernote as a very complete application with great possibilities and with an amazing free version, which by the way has been updated recently and I talked about ShoveBox , another more minimalist application but useful after all to save all those pieces of information that later we want to recover: urls, images, serial numbers, passwords or simple annotations with ideas.

Today we’re going to talk about two applications to organize our work in a comprehensive way: the well-known Devonthink database and OmniOutliner Pro one of Omnigroup’s applications that is still fee-based and offers a wide range of tools to organize our ideas. In the extended entry we’ll go over them and so we’ll have a number of more than considerable annotation applications, from the Yojimbos and Togethers of the first entry, through ShoveBox and Evernote and following through Devonthink and OmniOutliner, there’s only one more entry left where we’ll go over the rest of the applications to finish this string of posts in a few conculsions.

Devonthink

Comparison of note gathering applications (III): Devonthink and OmniOutliner Pro
Comparison of note gathering applications (III): Devonthink and OmniOutliner Pro

Devonthink is a commercial product that has been on the market for a long time , it is therefore a reference in the world of annotation applications and also offers a wide range of versions that cover the needs of everyone, from those looking for a simple note organisation application to those looking for a powerful document and database manager for their daily work.

Currently Devonthink is in the third public beta of what will be its 2.0 version , I recommend you try it because the application has undergone a fairly significant change from previous versions while remaining true to its philosophy . And you can tell me, what is this philosophy that makes this application so good? Well, without a doubt it highlights that we can manage one or more databases, which has a way to organize information by folders and color labels, allows you to mark information and create smart lists of notes, create groups or filter information is within reach of two clicks from its main interface and has a powerful file inspector and an integrated browser to view all those urls that we save.

Another benefit of Devonthink is that it allows to organize the panels of the application in very different ways that make it easier to inspect the annotation lists at a glance.

And there are many options to customize it: from defining a keyboard shortcut for importing annotations to selecting the different file types it supports, including text files, PDFs, images, videos or multimedia files, URLs, HTML or XML content (it interprets RSS feeds perfectly) and finally any file type . Another advantage is that it manages its own version control over the database and generates backups so that we do not lose any organizational options, to back up the database itself they recommend using Time Machine.

The bad thing about this application is undoubtedly the price of its license: 50 dollars will cost us the individual license of Devonthink Personal , 80 dollars the Pro version and 150 dollars the Office version, you have a table comparing the differences between the versions on the official website of the product.

To save on licensing costs, we are introducing another less ambitious option for a price of $30 , this is the DevonNote application which is much less powerful, supports very few file formats, does not allow the database management that Devonthink does and is clearly below other options such as Yojimbo, Together or the ShoveBox itself which are simply much better in many ways and with a similar license price.

OmniOutliner Pro

OmniOutliner is the other side of the coin: it’s an application that doesn’t have as many options in the core of the application as it might have Devonthink , In fact, I haven’t seen it have an associated database (I was surprised, however, that from Quicksilver we can navigate to the notes we’ve created with the application as if it were a folder), even though it supplies everything with a very colourful, intuitive and also powerful user interface .

The application is focused on creating scripts, brainstorming lists, task lists, notes and anything else we can think of to scribble on paper . Its interface and the way to work with it is therefore a little different from the other applications we have presented, but that does not mean that it is not tremendously intuitive , easy to use and allows you to attach to your notes all kinds of files, both images, URLs, PDF files and voice notes that the application itself allows you to record. In this other capture we see the set of tools available, which is simply spectacular.

Its interface has a powerful inspector which, similar to those we already find in iWork or the Office Suite, allows us to give our lists their own life notes: we can add columns in a super-simple way, we can insert components such as radio buttons or drop-down lists, we can easily alter the appearance of the items in the list with various styles already predefined or by choosing them ourselves via the same inspector, so in short we can alter almost any list to our liking.

One of the most powerful tools available OmniOutliner is the ability to export to many different formats: RTF, Word, HTML, OPML and even Apple Keynote , so that the work we have done in reordering our ideas and organizing our work is not lost, on the contrary, it can be used to create an index of a document we are preparing or even serve as a thread in a presentation. It also allows us to save our lists and annotations as templates so that we can later edit them in such a way that we only need to create some of the lists that we use the most and automatically generate similar lists will be a breeze.
Devonthink

In the end it is a great option, very focused on generating lists of notes and save them as documents, very powerful in terms of reusing work but with a philosophy quite different from what we have seen in other applications of the genre, You should try out your evaluation version as the final license costs a whopping $70 (Pro version) or $40 for the personal version which is not worth it (as I told you with DevonNote) as we lose several very interesting options such as the ability to export our note lists, record voice notes or the ability to paste from any application contained in OmniOutliner.

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