Dec 272016

At first look DocusTree (version: 3.2) might look like a notes organizer. The interface and look is of the two pane outliner or organizer where the focus is on writing, jotting down and inserting various media or documents. While this is true of DocusTree it is more geared towards organizing existing documents or websites in a central location.

As the demo (see screenshot) shows when right clicking on a node DocusTree is mostly about adding. Of course a user can include a new document and start typing – for keeping a list for example – but this freeware is built in a way that is best suited for inserting documents.

DocusTree supports pdfs, urls, text documents, rich text documents, doc files, XML files and image insertion. It can import individual or a folder of these documents. It can also link to files or folders and therefore not directly show them.

The additional features are the activity tracker and note calendar. The activity tracker presents a six months calendar view where one can click on days to highlight days where the activity is done. There is no flexibility in individual days’ descriptions. As can be seen in the demo screenshot the “3 fruits per day” is either true (for any given day) or not. The note calendar present a single day view calendar with a text area for general notes and separate area for each hour of the day.

The built in search, using either the top right text field or the Edit menu did not find expected results. For example searching for jogging while the Jogging node was open did not return any results. The software also became slow to unresponsive after a pdf node was loaded/clicked on. The program interface is not fully bug free either (see right side of screenshot). These are not good signs, especially since this is at version 3.2.

A password can be set via the program options (Tools —> Options) to prevent access to the program. DocusTree should work on Windows XP and newer but is unfortunately too unpolished.

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Aug 312014

CherryTree is an open source cross platform notes organizer with numerous features. Crucially it stores notes in xml (or sqlite) files and has numerous export and import options.

CherryTree is two pane and hierarchical. Nodes and subnodes are used to organize notes. A wide range of formatting options make it possible to change the look of everything stored and kept. If it is used for programming code many syntax highlighting options are present with the option to have the notes in a “codebox” as shown in the screen shot above (Edit—>Insert codebox or Ctrl+Alt+C). Everything from C++ to php, LaTex and sql is present. Images can be inserted anywhere and like text can be justified or moved to the right or elsewhere in a node, the same can be said for tables, ordered and unordered lists and check boxes to create to do lists. Text and images can be linked to internal or external locations and even to another node.

Copy/pasting from many applications into CherryTree works and depending on the source images can be pasted directly inside a node as well. Copying and then pasting a number of files from an explorer windows creates nodes for each file.

The find in CherryTree is not as you type but there are separate (Ctrl+F or Shift+Ctrl+F) hot keys for searching in the current or all nodes. Nodes can be bookmarked for easier and quicker access. The import options are for importing from plain text, html, EssentialPIM, BasKet Note Pads, KeepNote, KeyNote, Tomboy, Zim, Treepad, Gnote and others. The export options are to pdf, html and plain text. These options also exist for individual nodes. There are options to sort nodes via the menu or keyboard (Tree menu).

Nodes can be made to Read Only. The program preferences (Edit –> Preferences) cover the default font and colours, the program theme such as changing the background colour to another, the icons to use in the tree pane and the number of backups to keep.

Official downloads for all Windows versions are available in exe and portable versions and these are complimented with deb files and a PPA to add to the software sources lists to keep up with CherryTree releases when using the Linux version. CherryTree is currently at v0.34.1 but it has long been a stable option for note keeping.

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Feb 252013

Redhaven Outline (Version: is a freeware (donationware) outliner. A repository to not only write information down but to have it organized as naturally as possibly. Outlining or organizing software, much like a traditional pen and paper method, work differently for everyone and the software created for such purpose may or may not suit everyone at first or at all. First use of a software like Redhaven Outline is not necessarily easy or intuitive. Admittedly writing about such software is not very easy either, as you will notice when I describe some of Redhaven Outline’s features below.

Redhaven Outline

Redhaven Outline can hold and keep open several outlines or databases. One can start a new outline via its file menu, start new nodes (via right click in the node tree area) and start typing or just bring in text written elsewhere. The first line of text written in a node becomes its title so the node title gives an indication of its content, this is one example of how Redhaven Outline manages organization. Nodes can be copied and moved across an outline to better organize thoughts and notes. Nodes can be colored and use different fonts to add emphasis. Child nodes are created from text and Redhaven Outline treats new lines and tabs as child nodes automatically.

Redhaven Outline has a good search features to find any word or phrase anywhere and using the Summary and Key Words (much like tags) fields provide a better method for future information retrieval. Using key words inside nodes is perhaps another way of maximizing an outliner’s usefulness. Searches can be saved for future re-use (see the bottom of the search dialog). There is also a ‘Build Reference Search’ that saves a search inside a node. This is another feature whose usefulness is not necessarily apparent at first or may not work for everybody because one needs to be organized about creating them to be organized later!

Redhaven Outline

The program can also create reports or exports outlines for external viewing. External references can be added with links to sites, files, sounds or images. Add the link or path and when needed click the Reference button to launch the file.

There is lots to be said about any outliner but probably the best way is to use it, read its tutorial and also in this case go to to watch tutorial videos (one can also launch the video tutorials within Redhaven Outline by following the external reference links.) Redhaven Outline runs on Windows 2000 and newer.

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Jul 042012

MyShelf (Version:1.0) is a newer software that is available for all operating systems, iDevices and Android as well. Information can be synced across devices and across a network. It strives to be both an organizer and central storage for text and images. Its interface fulfills at least one important requirement and that is notes, pictures and everything is saved using MyShelf is at least somewhat visible and in view when the program is open.


Use the Add tab to add text, image or alternatively import the current clipboard entry. A shelf or rectangular area is where items are saved, each can have a subject (type it in the yellow area when adding a shelf) and each can hold one or many text snippets or images. Tags are added via the tag tab. The tags can then be added to each shelf and will appear above them beside the shelf date.

Editing or moving around shelves is done while in quick edit mode. Click the Quick Edit mode button and then click anywhere on any shelf. It can be dragged (move mouse over the red/black circle) elsewhere to change its order or it can deleted (button on bottom right of the shelf). Clicking the Open button that appears when hovering over a shelf opens a separate window to edit its contents. MyShelf also lets you save the file back to its original format. For example an image can be saved to any folder in its own format.


When in edit mode one can archive a shelf, this will remove it from view. Archived shelves can be viewed and if needed unarchived and brought back into the default view by switching the program view from Show Normal to Show Archived (drop down near top right of the interface).

Shelves can have one of three sizes, click one of the three squares to the left of the aforementioned dropdown to resize them. MyShelf is java based and works on XP and newer, Mac OS, Linux systems and the aforementioned mobile devices (it is available in the App Store and Google Play).

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Jun 092012

MyTetra (Version: 1.30 tested) is an open source and cross platform note taker, notes organizer or PIM. It doesn’t have the most modern interface but it is a good option if looking for an organizer.


MyTetra is tree structured. Its structure is item (or sub item) with separate note(s) within each item or sub item (see image). It comes with a base item and sub items or siblings or other items can be added.  MyTetra has an unusual characteristic, it requires each item to be divided into notes, the nodes in the tree themselves don’t hold any text, just a list of notes that belong to them. Notes are added by clicking the Add Note (top middle of interface) button.

Note content appear below the notes list. The note editor includes paragraph, justification, font, indent, list, table and image tools. Additionally there is an Edit HTML button to edit or work in pure HTML.

Search is a strength of MyTetra. One can search within an open note, if necessary, by clicking the Find button to the right of the font selection dropdown but more usefully the find section occupying the lower part of the program can search across all notes and all fields (tag, author, url, title or content or text). If the find area is not visible it can be toggled on at Tools—>Find In Base. Tags belonging to an open note are visible under the note area and are clickable to aid in searching for other notes with the same tag.

MyTetra supports copying and pasting nodes so one can create duplicates. It also supports encryption (Tools —>Settings —>Crypto) and Synchronization over a version control system like Git (Tools —>Settings —>Synchro). It is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and FreeBSD.

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May 182012

Aml Pages is described as a tree-structured notes manager. It supports plain and rich text as well as webpages, images and attachments. As a fan of such software, whether freeware or shareware as in the case of Aml Pages, here on RGdot I have reviewed and written about many notes managers or organizers.

Aml Pages

To start with Aml Pages begins by creating what it calls a document or perhaps re-using the sample that comes with Aml Pages. I believe the interface, especially when looking at the sample or demo is rather busy but if notes structure are convenient for the user this becomes easy to manage soon. Aml Pages probably meets many requirements if one is comfortable with a two pane tree system for keeping notes.

Aml Pages can create nodes with different colors, fonts and icons to make each stand out if necessary. Each node can be tagged which often eases future retrieval. One interesting extra is the ability to not only sort (right click anywhere on the tree and choose sort) the notes tree by date, category, type, size, title and others but also filter (may need to expand the tree area to see the filter drowdown (see image above)) them to show those created/modified in the last 6 hours, today, yesterday, last week or those largest, smallest or created within the current Windows session.

Styles and formats can be used and created (Format—>Styles) to give text different colors and fonts. Existing styles can be applied by using the drop down on the far top right of the text area. There is also Format—>Text Templates that can save highlighted text for future re-use. Aml Pages also supports syntax highlighting for the usual like C++, Visual Basic, Java, HTML and other languages. Some of the additional efficiency features include inserting dates (F5 or Insert—>Date and Time) and capturing screenshots (Insert—>Screenshot).

Aml Pages opens with two processes, the second is the Aml Assist whose icon sits semi-transparent on the corner of the desktop. It’s main use is to be the drop for text and other media dragged from browsers or other programs such as Microsoft Word. Right clicking the Aml Assist icon provides settings for its use and a configurable hotkey for automatic text grabbing.

The bookmarks feature adds more usefulness. Any part of a document can be bookmarked via a right click. The same right click gives additional ways to find, view, manage and a count of the bookmarks. For even easier later retrieval Aml Pages has tabs on the left hand side of interface to show all bookmarks in one view. The same area offers the different views available.

Aml Pages

There is also sticky notes support, most easily created via right clicking the Aml Assist icon. These will ofcourse stay on the desktop even if the program itself is minimized.

The program’s search has a good number of options as well. The search can be restricted to selected nodes or folders, categories or tags, or creation or modification dates.

Aml Pages has autosave options (Tool—>Settings—>Autosave) and keeps backups which are then visible in Backup Explorer (Tools—>Backup Explorer). From the same Tools menu one can setup encryption for opening the program or password for opening documents.

On the program’s site there are many videos and a tips and tricks page highlighting more of Aml Pages can do. On that note I found two potentially useful features. File—>New has two extra options, one is creating a blank document with nodes named from A-Z (or other first and last letters) with optional prefixes or suffixes. The other is creating a diary sort of document with any start and end date as node titles. There are also plugin which include everything from Auto Completion to Spellchecker to Aml2Dropbox (for synchronization of documents) and to Aml Export to save a document in XML format.

Aml Pages should work on Windows versions going back Windows 98 and it currently costs $19.50.

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Jan 222012

RightNote is a feature packed notes organizer that can take simple notes and do more like include workable Excel spreadsheets (in its professional version). A not so limited freeware version has been recently released that is missing only a few features.


I have decided to to post the complete review on the DonationCoder Mini-Reviews section at

RightNote is a notes manager and organizer, it is also one able to import existing text (File—>Import). Each database is represented as a notebook, each notebook is then divided into pages (horizontally tabbed) and each page has its own notes structure within a tree…


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Oct 092011

Kestrel GX (Version: 1.2.1 as of this post) is an attractive photo editor that also helps organize photos into one or more databases. It supports many image formats including JPG and others but also Photoshop’s PSD format and RAW formats. Photos can be arranged into PDF albums to share easily with others. The usual edits like resize, rotate, flip, convert, remove red eye, saturation, rename and others are available but Kestrel GX lets you choose an external application (File —> Open In External Editor) for editing images.

Kestrel GX

Kestrel GX is perhaps mostly useful as a photo organizer. Not only it can be used to edit and search EXIF, IPTC and even GPS data associated with images but it can also be used divide images by rating, category and keywords and store them into their own database(s) managed by the program to view and also search for later.

Kestrel GX has print capability that includes a few ways or templates to print and also a slideshow (View —> Slideshow) with 163 transition effects. To top it all of it does both image and text watermarks (File —> Watermark Images) too. Kestrel GX is one of the most complete photo applications out there and is free for personal and educational use only. It requires Windows XP and up.

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Sep 112011

Smereka TreeProjects is a feature rich freeform database that can manage, hold and centralize all sorts of information. It can create one or more fully searchable collections of information each in a single portable file that can contain anything from simple or rich text to entire web pages to file attachments and even alarm reminders.

Smereka TreeProjects

TreeProjects can be used to gather and organize data in a hierarchical way that also remains flexible where data or item(s) can be moved – right click and copy/paste or just drag items using the mouse – from one section, item or node to another. Each node or item can also be colored or assigned to one of the provided icons.

Tagging is another very powerful way of organizing personal data and TreeProjects offers tagging very much like the blogging method where under the details of an item or file one assign tags which are searchable and auto-complete as well.

Another important part of TreeProjects’ power is the revision feature. When saving an already existing item, a note for example, TreeProjects offers the user the option to keep the old version(s) as well.

The reminder feature (Items menu —> New:Reminder) lets the user work with alarm set to anything from once to yearly with not only a remind in advance feature but also a setting to make the alarm dependent to independent of time zones. This is useful because not only the program itself is portable –  after installing just copy the whole program folder, for example, C:/Program Files/Smereka TreeProjects, to a USB key – but as mentioned the database is in a single file, so the program, including the alarms, are useful everywhere.

In my tests TreeProjects did very well in capturing a webpage (see image below) with links and images intact. Just create a New:HTML via the Items menu or right click a parent or node, name the item, type in the URL (or browse to a local .htm/.html file) and go. Capturing items like passages of text is also easy and useful for research purposes. Using Ctrl-Alt-v keys instead of the traditional Ctrl-v pastes the copied item into TreeProjects’ active item.

Smereka TreeProjects

A spell checker is included as is a find as you type search feature which takes advantage of the SQLite foundation of the database. Transparent, behind the scenes indexing takes place and provides seconds away easy access to everything. SQLite allows for various views and sorting options that will always be available without destroying the ‘original’ view which the user may be comfortable with.

The Special monitored folder, see Tools menu, is another ease-of-use feature of TreeProjects. A folder, or the default provided by the program, can be monitored and items that are moved to it will be imported into the current item or database. Things like Word .doc files and .jpg images are imported as file attachments and ‘readable’ or supported ones such as .rtf files fully viewable and editable just like a new item created in the program.

One can set a whole series of keyboard shortcuts, see Tools menu, to things like opening a new item, capturing a new item and shifting between views.

TreeProjects is very impressive, it runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is currently available in Dutch, English, German, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian. It costs $49. A free, very usable ‘sister’ program is also available.

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Aug 122011

JC&MB Quicknote (Version: 5.5 as of this post) is a little program with a not so modern interface that is nevertheless a useful notes organizer or scrapbook. It offers a few additional tools and an efficient launch method that make it a bit more usable.


When installed Quicknote remains always close at hand by placing a narrow gray strip on top of the screen. Just hover the mouse over that strip and Quicknote animates into view. The location of the strip can be changed and also a hotkey can be added for keyboard users (see image).

By default it offers four note areas where a drawing tool is available as well. The extra features available via either the program toolbar or menu are a calculator, unit convertor, reminder with alarm, program launcher, screen distance calculator and also a ‘send text through a network’. The latter is probably best explained by watching one of the tutorial videos available on the author’s site at

The program is still in development as witnessed by activity in its bug tracker page. It should run on all Windows versions.

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