I’m dropping Carbon Fin Outliner because the desktop (“Online”) version doesn’t have folders/tags, and I have too many lists for a linear list of all of them. I need to manage some checklists and outlines. Candidate applications include:

  • Checkvist
  • Circus Ponies Notebook
  • OmniOutliner
  • NeO


  • Notebook/Checkvist doesn’t support Spotlight. NeO and OO do.
  • With Checkvist, I’d have to handle backup/exports because I’m not trusting them to stay in business for as long as I need my lists.
    • Oh, wait. I see a mention of “backups to the cloud” for paid users. It might do what I want.
    • “Enable Dropbox integration to save the latest Checkvist backup (zipped OPML files) to your Dropbox folder.” That looks good.
    • If it works, there is also https://github.com/lasseebert/checkvist_backup
  • If I use OmniOutliner or Notebook or NeO, I can’t access it from my work PC. NeO doesn’t even have an iPad app. None of them except Checkvist are iPhone capable.
  • If I use Notebook, I could maybe use it for project management for my non-work projects, in addition to checklists. Evernote might be better for projects because it is available via web browser. (Evernote does not do real checklists and outlines - just indents and manual checkboxes.)
  • Notebook doesn’t let you attach notes to an outline item (it does let you attach a link to someplace else). OmniOutliner does. I think NeO does. Checkvist does via the “nn” keystroke.
  • NeO doc is poor. OO and Notebook have plenty of doc and user forums.
  • OO supports AppleScript. I don’t have a use case for AppleScript just now, but opens up possibilities.
    • It isn’t AppleScript, but Checkvist supports:
      • Python: https://code.google.com/p/checkvist-python/
      • Python: https://github.com/ChewingPencils/checkvist-python
      • … and you can hit it with Ruby or similar languages - http://checkvist.tumblr.com/post/187654104/openapi-javascript-ruby-example
  • I really want checkboxes, and not strike-through like Checkvist does.

So what are the cases where Mac-only is a problem?

  • I work from home, so I’ll have access to my Mac during the work day. If I have to go back to an office building, checklist access is the least of my problems.
  • It is handy to carry around a packing-for-travel list on my iPhone. I could print one.
  • Is there a case where I’m out and about, and I need a list? Debugging a silent SOTA activation? CPR? Car won’t start? Packing from a visit to return home.

They all seem to do OPML. In theory, I ought to be able to export/import to move between them. Fidelity may be poor.


  • I really want the option of cross-device use. I’ll miss AppleScript. I’ll miss the eye-appeal of Notebook. But without cross-device use, I could run into dead-in-the-water situations where I can’t use the checklists. But I won’t use Checkvist without auto-backup, and that’s $35 a year. For now, I’ll run with Notebook, because I own it. If it stops working for me, I’ll look at why, and see which of the other solutions would address the gap.