Outline (software)

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Developer(s)Gorillized Corporation
Initial releaseJuly 2011; 7 years ago (2011-07)
Stable release
Operating systemiOS, OS X
Available inEnglish
TypeNote-taking software
LicenseProprietary commercial software

Outline is a note-taking application, available on iOS and OS X platforms. It is being developed by Gorillized Corporation, specializing in Productivity and Business apps for Apple devices. The distinguishing features of Outline are design, hierarchy, free placement of notes as in a paper notebook, support of various types of content (text, images, inks, tags, web-content, etc.), synchronization options and Microsoft OneNote compatibility.[1]


Outline was first released in July 2011 as a reader of OneNote files on iPad. The next update enabled editing and creation of new notebooks. Outline for Mac also developed from the reader to the editor on OS X.

Its first edition was launched in March 2013. Since December 2013 it performs as a full-functional note-taking app on Mac.


Outline's design was invented as an alternative to standard office look.


Outline hierarchy resembles that of a real notebook: there are notebooks for general subjects, section tabs for specific topics and pages for actual notes. For more complex notebook structures additional section groups can be created within a notebook. There is no limitation on the number of notebooks, section groups, section tabs and pages.


Outline for iPad is compatible with iOS 9 and later.[2] Outline for Mac requires OS X 10.9 and later, 64-bit processor.[3] Outline for iPad and Outline for Mac are separate though compatible apps. They can be synced between each other via Box, Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.


Besides the built-in standard editing tools Outline is equipped with additional features:[4]

  • Pictures. Along with text content Outline handles imported images. It is possible to add photos from Camera roll on iPad and Finder on Mac. IPad version also allows to take photo from within the app, it is added to Outline page automatically. Mac version supports adding to Outline pages a screen capture.
  • Handwriting and drawing tools. Outline for iPad is equipped with inking and handwriting tools. Pen, marker and highlighter serve for drawing and annotation.
  • Stylus support. Outline for iPad supports such handwriting devices as Adonit Jot stylus and Pogo stylus.
  • Tags and checkboxes allow to mark particular information as important, to-do, contact etc. Imported OneNote tags can be edited.
  • File attachments like PDF, Word, Excel and other can be added to Outline pages which helps to keep relevant data in one place. They can be opened from within Outline with a corresponding third-party application. In Outline for iPad attachments are added through Inbox storage. In Mac version it is possible to add files using function button or drag & drop them directly from Finder onto Outline page.
  • Password protected sections. Outline can open password protected sections imported from OneNote and also set passwords to OneNote and Outline native sections. IPad version supports both numeric password and Touch ID.
  • Hyperlinks. Outline can open and create external hyperlinks (Web) with a default Internet browser and internal hyperlinks (links between notebooks, sections and pages). It is done for easier and quicker navigation between notes within Outline and data on the Web.
  • Insert various content. Clip text, pictures and links from Safari or other apps. Supporting the latest features of iOS and Mac OS like Share Extensions, Services etc. lets Outline interact with third-party apps and increases productivity.[5][6]
  • Tables. Outline allows to organize data in table form as well.
  • Table of Contents. Insert TOC to easily organize notes and navigate through them. TOC is generated automatically and may include a whole notebook's structure or a current section only.
  • Multitasking. Since the release of iOS 9 Outline supports such multitasking features as Split View and Slide Over.
  • Search. You can access the Spotlight interface from the Home screen of your iPad to search for content stored in Outline.
Handwriting mode in Outline for iPad


Outline supports Microsoft OneNote file format. Each notebook consists of .one – section files and a .onetoc2 – table of contents file. Outline can open and edit notebooks consisting of such files and also create new ones in the same format.[7][8] Currently Outline is compatible with OneNote 2010 and 2013. OneNote 2007 is supported in read-only mode. OneNote 2003 is not supported.


Outline and OneNote notebooks can be exported from and imported into Outline for iPad via iTunes. It requires iTunes to be installed on all the involved devices. They need to be connected via USB cable and be in the same Wi-Fi network. It performs manual transfer of a notebook in its actual state from and to Outline.[9] Outline also allows pages to be exported to PDF and e-mailed directly from Outline.

Synchronization and backup[edit]

Outline supports several backup and sync options.

Notes may be synchronized with users' accounts on Box and Dropbox online services, which retain versions history and deleted items. Files are stored in .one and .onetoc2 standard OneNote format. On Windows and OS X this feature requires native client software for these services.

Outline also syncs data over iCloud, easy way to store notes, keep them synchronized and access anytime across multiple devices. Synchronization process is strong, reliable and provides an error-free data transfer. All the data can be backed up to iCloud or hard drive (for Mac version).

Alternatively, Outline notes may be synchronized with Microsoft OneDrive (Microsoft's online storage service for OneNote software) and Microsoft SharePoint (versions 2010 and 2013 only). Files are stored in single notebook files, which does not retain versioning information and deleted notes. Only incremental updates are sent to the server during synchronization, reducing transfer time and bandwidth usage.


  1. ^ "Outline+ app for iPad (and Mac)". Abbey Dufoe. 2015-02-06.
  2. ^ "Outline for iPad on iTunes". outline.ws.
  3. ^ "Outline for Mac on iTunes". outline.ws.
  4. ^ "Make notes on the go with Outline+". James Cull. 2012-09-04.
  5. ^ "What do you know about share extensions?". outline.ws. 2014-12-18.
  6. ^ "Outline For Mac 3.3 supports OSX PDF Services". outline.ws. 2015-03-06.
  7. ^ "Outline for Mac offers OneNote alternative note-taking". Peter Cohen. 2015-02-02.
  8. ^ "Outline 3.3. for Mac review". J.R. Bookwalter. 2015-03-26.
  9. ^ "Export Notebooks via iTunes". outline.ws. 2015-04-01.

External links[edit]