A new word processor paradigm

in Mac Software edited January 2014
Does anyone know if there is a word processor that has the following features.

1. Text only

2. Supports a structured, database approach employing "pieces" of text that fit together in a heirarchy

3. Basic Leopard supported features like spell check etc.

4. Can be exported as a single text document with headings.

5. Possibly incorporate links to images within the text.

My reasoning for this is as follows. Many people have to write reports that have a very heirarchical structure with a series of of nested headings and subheadings eg 2.1.2, 2.2, 2.3.4 that progressively give more detail or list componants of a parent heading. When writing such a report in Word I get so fed up with the formatting and spend more time formatting as I go rather than focussing on writing the content. I find it very distracting and would prefer a text-only app so I'm not tempted to waste time playing with formatting. In my mind formatting should be simple and left to the end but I just find it so hard to do that. I know I can turn all auto-formatting options off but then Word still doesn't handle text in a database-like functional heirarchy that helps you to mind-map your writing and how pieces of information fit into one another. Does this make sense?

If anyone knows of some software that does this please let me know!


  • Reply 1 of 5
    Have you tried OmniOutliner?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,200moderator
    For technical documents, LaTeX is quite a good way to go. It's like HTML where you use markup to define your styles and headings. It sorts out all the numbering for you.

    It takes a bit of getting used to the syntax but for big documents, it takes the pain out of section numbering:



    You can basically cut and paste sections around and it will update all the numbers for you. Even links to images. It will auto-generate content menus and PDFs with all the links active.

    I did find it to be a bit restrictive in terms of layout but at the same time, you can open an absolutely massive document almost instantly whereas apps like Pages or Word would take ages because they load in images and things.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    I am a Scrivener user myself. While not perfect, I think you'll like trying it as it seems to fit your wishlist quite well.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Scrivener is excellent.

    You also might consider Papyrus.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    I'm going to second LaTeX. It takes a little bit of playing around with to get the hang of it, but once you do, it's eassily the most powerful typesetting program out there. It saved me in University.

    Essentially the idea of the program is that you "code" the document, and then based on settings (predefined in a header), it will typeset the whole document for you a certain way. It can dynamically construct table of contents custom talored to display what you want, display the content in a particular essay/paper format (i.e. standard scientific, research, MLA, APA, etc), build your bibliography for you (through BibTeX, included), manage images and figures, and more. It's also the easiest way, bar none, to create formal documents that contain math.

    It truly is a great, great, great tool. And it's completely free. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get it, it's the best, most powerful typesetting document you've seen.

    And if you've been to a post secondary institution, you've seen a LaTeX document. I guarentee it. A good example of the basics of what LaTeX can do and what it looks like can be found here:

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