Selecting node(s) by clicking/dragging on whitespace to left of nodes

I’m a software developer been using Ecco Pro for over 17 years and still do to this day. I use it for all my outlining work for high level designs, docs design. writing, note taking for business analysis etc. I am so glad to see your tool as I’ve been using Linux for several years now as my primary development system and running Ecco Pro on Linux has its challenges.

I gave your tool a run through and its very good but missing one important feature for me to do the switch.

I have a common usecase to create a template block that has a parent node and several children. I want to have the ability to close the node, select the parent, copy and paste it several times to create many instances of this node. The issues I see right now with Dynalist is the following:

  1. No ability to select a single node including children when the node is closed.
  2. No ability to paste a single node unless it is first opened.
  3. When I paste the children, the cursor ends up one level in, so subsequent pastes nests the node down a level. I want the pasted node to be at the top level where the paste was initiated.

The way that Ecco Pro does is allows the user to select a node by clicking on the whitespace to the left of the node selection; in the case of dynalist this would be to the left of the ‘Open Menu’ button. The Ecco Pro selecting methodology is intuitive and functional.

I would recommend implementing node selection by clicking and dragging to the whitespace to the left of the ‘Open Menu’ button such that:

  1. The node at the row clicked is selected at mouse down
  2. All nodes over the dragged area are selected individually (eg. not implicitly selecting all children). Children are only implicitly selected if they are hidden due to being collapsed
  3. When the mouse button is lifted, the nodes remain selected
  4. Pasting operations should retain the collapsed state of the copied nodes (if its collapsed, the pasted node is collapsed)


1 Like

So if I understand it correctly, you want to duplicate the template list, is that right?

You can Ctrl+drag it to the same level to copy it. This way you don’t need to engage in text manipulation and have no problems like “When I paste the children, the cursor ends up one level in, so subsequent pastes nests the node down a level. I want the pasted node to be at the top level where the paste was initiated”.

You can Ctrl+A twice to select an item. Repeating Ctrl+A will select a level upward.

I’m not sure what you mean by “unless it is first opened” in No. 2, by “opened” do you mean “expanded”?

If you use the Ctrl+A and copy/paste method, the collapsed children should be copied over as well, just in their collapsed states.

Lastly, there’s a customizable shortcut that can duplicate the current edited item and all its children, but that’s custom shortcut is a Dynalist Pro feature.

I hope that helps.

Thanks Erica for quick response. I apologise for detailed answer but I’m pretty passionate about this topic.

I want to be able to duplicate a node with or without children. The usecase is usually a block that’s a template block. I use outliners for so much stuff and have done this so many times.

This means to copy a single node and paste two new ones below, I must
Number of motions: 10
Times switching between mouse and keyboard: 6
Number of different classes of actions: 5 (click, ctrl-a, ctrl-c, ctrl-v, enter)

  1. Click the node
  2. hit Ctrl-A Twice
  3. Hit ctrl-c
  4. Select the node again with cursor
  5. Hit enter
  6. Hit ctrl-v
  7. Select newly created node
  8. Hit enter
  9. Hit ctrl-v

In Ecco Pro:
Number of motions: 4
Times switching between mouse and keyboard: 1
Number of different classes of actions: 3 (click, ctrl-c, ctrl-v)

  1. Click whitespace to left of node
  2. Hit ctrl-c
  3. hit ctrl-v twice

Yes, for me opened is synonymous with expanded.

This sounds cool, I may consider giving the Pro version a spin.

One additional thing, after the paste is complete, the cursor should be positioned implicitly at the end of the pasted node. If the pasted node is expanded, it should be at the end of the last expanded node. At present, the cursor is lost after a paste operation requiring a click task.

Thanks again. Great looking SW!

  • Tim

I just spun up my old Mac Mini and it functions the exact same way as Ecco Pro. Please look into the GUI of those two awesome single pane outliners. Dynalist should implement this same UI logic as its intuitive and efficient.

@Timothy_C_Quinn did you read this part at all?

Erica, thanks for the tips.

Timothy, another old Ecco Pro user here! I agree with your suggestions.

Yes I did read it but I could not get it to work. I dug in deeper and found that the Ctrl+drag only works when the mouse is over the bullet/plus/minus button and now that I understand that it does help.

There are a few issues with this approach:

  1. I could not copy a node to be immediately after the selected node.
  • The UI forces me to put it two nodes down if there are subsequent sibling nodes.
  1. If the next node is at a parent level, the copied node will go to that parent level when I need it to be at the same level.

Thanks again for the attention to this.

  • Tim

Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention that. I assumed you knew how to drag and drop to move an item already, sorry.

All of these issues can be solved with the customizable duplicate shortcut (it requires Dynalist Pro though). When pressing that shortcut, the current edited item will be duped and the duplicate will appear right under the original one, with all the same children items.

Obviously we can’t force everyone to get Dynalist Pro, but that’s probably what you’re looking for. You can decide whether or not to pay just for this.

If you need time evaluating Dynalist Pro, let me know.