Cloud Outliner – Outline creator with Evernote integration ($2.99) by Denys Yevenko brings powerful outlining to both your iPhone and iPad. While I still consider OmniOutliner for iPad one of the best outlining solutions out there, it’s not available for the iPhone, which is a shame. So it’s a great surprise to see a robust outlining app that is available for both devices.
The extremely useful thing with Cloud Outliner is implied by the name — it syncs your data in the cloud. There are actually two methods used: iCloud and Evernote. For some reason, Dropbox isn’t one, though maybe it can be added in the future — I’m a Dropbox junkie, after all. To enable iCloud, you will have to enable it from the main device Settings, and Evernote sync can be toggled from within the app. However, please be aware that you will have to manually send your outlines to Evernote, as it will not sync them automatically.
Since I’m usually a sucker for pretty interfaces, I was definitely not too impressed with the plain look of Cloud Outliner. But appearances don’t really matter when it comes to outlining, right? And if you go into the app with that mindset, then it’s pretty great overall.
The main screen will be the list of outlines. By default, the app comes with a basic rundown of what to expect from the app and how to use it. I recommend going through it to learn the ropes. To create your own outline, just tap on the “+” button, and then give your outline a name. You can edit the names of documents by tapping on the pencil from the list, and swipe on one to bring up the delete option.
When you go into the outline, tap on + to add a new line. Tapping on Done will add the text and then hide the keyboard. To add another line, you’ll have to repeat the process. While it works, I found the process of adding new lines to be tedious and annoying. I would prefer to have it add the line and then go to the next line by default once I tap on Done.
You will notice that each time a line is added, it will be “selected.” The bottom toolbar buttons have useful functions, such as delete, copy, paste, move up, move down, indent, and decrease indentation. A double-tap goes into text editing mode. Additionally, you can rearrange the order of items faster by dragging the handle and moving them into their appropriate spot. It’s plain, but fairly effective.
Each outline will have the option to show checkboxes or hide checked items, if you prefer. Once your outline is complete, you will need a way to get your data out of the app. If you have an Evernote account, simply log in to it and you will be able to send your outline to your notebooks. By default, outlines that are sent to Evernote will land in a newly created notebook called “Cloud Outliner.” It does not appear to have a way to change the default notebook that your outlines get sent to, so you will have to live with that one for now.
When you view them in Evernote, you are able to see them perfectly formatted, checkboxes and all. It’s rather impressive, and a great way to keep all of your outlines together in one place in the cloud.
With the iCloud sync, your data will be accessible from any device with at least iOS 5 and Cloud Outliner. I had no problems getting my notes to appear on my iPad after creating them on my iPhone. Other options for getting data out involve emailing it as a plain text file or OPML.
One quirk about the app is the fact that autocorrect doesn’t seem to be working in the app. If you’re used to autocorrect saving the day when it comes to common misspellings, then you had better be prepared to thoroughly look over your words. There won’t even be a squiggly red line for typos, which I found weird. Hopefully this gets corrected in the future.
If you’re looking for a great outlining solution for your iPhone and iPad, then you should try Cloud Outliner. When compared to the competition, you also can’t beat the price tag of $2.99.
GIVEAWAY: I have two copies of Cloud Outliner to give away to a pair of lucky AppAdvice readers! For your chance of winning a copy, just leave a comment on this post (with a valid email so that I can contact the winners) with what you want to use Cloud Outliner for. I’ll pick the winners randomly by Thursday, July 26 at 8 p.m. PDT. Good luck!