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column removal frustration Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I tried for several minutes to remove a column and I can't. The removal button is disabled. I can remove the other columns, just not this particular one.

OmniOutliner could be very useful, but fails. It is not intuitive and makes no sense. There is no reason this column should be there permanently. The column moves horizontally and everything, I just can't remove of it.
If you mean the very first column in a document - it is for showing and hiding inline notes and is not a normal column as you have discovered. If you view notes in a pane, it indicates when a note has been added to a row.

FWIW, it isn't displayed in any print out. It is only visible in the document window.
Yes, the first thin column can't be removed, and that's fine - it makes sense. But neither can the another column. The thing that I don't like is that if you move this column, which I guess is the first column next to the thin one when you start a new document, it dynamically changes the arrangement of it in the "Utility Drawer" to reflect the order of the columns (Column 2, etc.).

If this column (the second one when you start a new document) cannot be removed, it shouldn't be able to be moved/reordered at all, in my opinion.
I don't understand why you would want to remove the "first" column? Isn't the first column the "outline" and isn't that the whole point of OO? To me, all the additional columns are just support for the outline. Without the outline it's just a spreadsheet (sorta).

But I don't know your use, so I could be wrong
I think I get it now. I've used OO before for several things, but this time I reordered the columns and it messed things up.

There should be something that automatically visually distinguishes the "Outline" column from the others. In the the "Utility Drawer" for example, it should say "(Outline Column)" for this column that can't be removed and "(Column #)" for the others. Or something.

The way it is now, I think that it's just confusing.
I'm sorry this confused you. That column is the main column that controls the outline structure. If you deleted that, you would no longer have the handles (bullets, checkboxes, triangles). That's how you can visually see which column it is if you've moved them around. There's currently not a way through the UI to change which column has the handles so you're not allowed delete it.

Derek M.
Support Engineer
The Omni Group
Originally Posted by DerekM View Post
There's currently not a way through the UI to change which column has the handles so you're not allowed delete it.
Sorry, but this is a bug. The reason being, the interface gives no clue as to this limitation, thus provoking occasional users (e.g. hoardingbottles, and just now myself) into trying to do the impossible. Users are not wrong here; the software is wrong. End of story.

At least the $#*&# help should mention this ... which it doesn't. Maybe the help could be revised, eh?
Do you have a suggestion for a UI change that would make this clearer, if labeling the column "topic" in an outliner isn't enough of a clue? Out of curiosity, had you read the documentation before encountering this problem? I like using programs without consulting the documentation as much as the next guy, but I understand that sometimes the results are better otherwise. Making a user interface that effectively incorporates all of the documentation (or otherwise makes it unnecessary) can be pretty limiting in a complex program.

Judging from the fact that the previous posting on this thread is almost exactly 2 years old, one might get the impression that this isn't exactly a common stumbling block :-)
Hmm, you seem bent on telling me I did not experience a problem worth mentioning. I disagree. I hope that is okay with you.

Personally, I like OmniOutliner & use it often - but that does not prevent me from (a) getting frustrated at a defect in the design, and (b) pointing it out.

Since it is unlikely a defect this minor can or will be remedied, adding a line or two to the documentation might be a simple way to ease those users who do in fact encounter this glitch, and turn to the help file to see if it's something they're doing wrong.

Last edited by Usable Thought; 2008-11-14 at 12:37 PM..
I'm sorry this caused you confusion. The outline column can not be deleted, nor does it make any sense to be able to delete it because that is your "outline". Without it all you have is rows of text hardly better or maybe even worse than a plain text document.

OmniOutliner 3's help file is basically as old as the app and we've been trying to make improvements in all our apps since then along with other online resources. There are a number of improvements to OO's documentation we'd like to make for OO4 not just in the text but presentation as well.

The printed manual, which is available from our website in PDF, has an nice introduction to the app and interface which labels the topic column as the outline. Any additional columns you add are to build on that outline, each column isn't its own outline.

Out of curiosity, what were you expecting to happen if you could delete the outline column? Did you move a different column to the left of it which you intended to use as the outline column instead? Or do you feel that every single column should be delete-able so you can have a completely blank document window. Or maybe you weren't even taking advantage of any of the outlining capabilities so the outline column served no real purpose in that document?

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