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Someone smarter than me--how do I start? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I think OmniOutliner is the solution for my problem, but I'm not exactly sure just how....

So what I really want to do is to create a series of similar pages for a number of species.

I right now have a FileMaker database with species sorted under Family and Higher Group. It has about 500 species in it. The final OmniOutliner document will prob. have 1,000 - 3,000 species in it.

What I want to do is to create a file that has, let's say these columns

Taxon.................................Other names..............Notes............Photos
.........Sciurus carolinensis...Eastern Gray Squirrel..Forests.........<an image>

[Sorry about the dots, but the web site eats multiple space and converts them to one space.]

And add other data as necessary (like range maps, etc.)

But what eludes me right now are

1) How do I get the structured data from FileMaker to OmniOutliner?

2) How do I format the photos so I can print this and take it with me into the field?

3) Does OmniOutliner have any way of tagging rows so I can easily see "Endemic Species", "Introduced Species", etc? Or do I just use the search facility for this (with some unique identifiers)?

Any other ideas would be appreciated if anyone has tried to do something similar.


To be perfectly honest, I would not recommend using OmniOutliner 3 for this unless you can break it up into small files. A file with that many entries and photos will likely have performance issues. I'm also not sure if there's an easy way to move your data over from FileMaker, but someone else here probably has more knowledge than me on that part.

Future features, some of which will be in OO4.0 like filtering and smart folders, will likely help depending on the situation. We'd also like to improve attachment handling. But none of that helps now and we're not trying to make OmniOutliner a database application which it sounds like is much better suited for this.
I never tested the limits for it, but pressing ctrl while dropping files onto Oo cells creates aliases that can be previewed from Omnioutliner instead of embedded attachments. I reckon you want to make an overview of taxonomy which is something I think works well in Oo, but remember that aliases will only work as long as links/locations for your picture files are fairly unchanged.


DerekM and Arild,

I am very (much too) familiar with using FileMaker to organize my life. The problems with Filemaker are that (a) the structure of the file is completely determined, if you want to change one thing, you have to change everything, but more important (b) FileMaker just doesn't play well with Macintosh--records are not accessible by Spotlight, and no other program can peer into a FileMaker database to interrogate it (unless you write database queries), and (c) even if you live with these limitations, creating a "Global Search" for all values of all fields becomes a programming exercise instead of just being there.

I am currently thinking of creating rtf (and/or rtfd) files in a directory and indexing them in DevonThink, which may be the easiest and fastest solution.

Thank you


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