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the plain text export works rather well *except* that column widths seem to be arbitrary. I have a few summary columns for each row with only a few characters max, but somehow the width of the exported column is about 40 characters ... is there, perhaps, a hidden attribute that can change this behavior?

At the very least, columns should be no wider than the worst case entry plus the existing pref->text>space between columns value.
If you go to File -> Page Setup -> Settings: OmniOutliner -> Columns tab you can adjust the width for each column.
Wow! Those are settings that I never knew existed! is this a normal OS X thing to put export settings in the Page Setup? Maybe I should start paying attention to that dialog for more that the normal page size/orientation settings.

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