I recently bought NeO and I am having a bit of trouble understanding it. I have tried googeling for resources, but NeO does not seem to have that many users. I am looking for a place to discuss NeO usage and/or pointers to documentation besides the included help file.

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    I'll be following this question. I've been somewhat of an outlining software for Mac geek since the ancient days of ThinkTank and MORE, but I'd never heard of NeO. Just the screenshots look intimidating. – Negrino Mar 11 '11 at 18:56
  • If you are interested in outliners, I would recommend you take a look at Tree outliner which brings a fresh look to outlines. It's also quite intuitive and easy to use. – fnurl Mar 13 '11 at 9:50
  • Anyone here remember Acta, David Dunham's cool little DA outliner? I used to love it. I too am an outliner "freak" but find most modern implentations too complex for simple hierarchical list making and writing. – Richard Jul 19 '12 at 11:48
  • The developer of Neo is Japanese so there are some language barriers to getting the documentation.At least it has documentation which most apps theses days don't – TechZen Jan 7 '15 at 20:18

I don't know of any place specifically to discuss Neo, but I've been using it for a few years (used to be called Tao) and it is my most used application on my computer. I own licenses for Neo and OmniOutliner and Neo is just much much much more configurable and powerful. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it's an amazing piece of software. In the Windows world I used to use Ecco Pro, which is also amazing and free nowadays.

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  • Thanks, I have given NeO a rest for the time being. I do see how it is more "powerful" than e.g. Omnioutliner, but at the moment, I do not have the time to put into it. I am however using Tinderbox and Stapler. Tinderbox for organized notes and Stapler as a scratchpad. – fnurl May 6 '11 at 7:09

I assume you have checked out the manual on the download page? Also see this old TAO/OmniOutliner review at ATPM.

I also sure would like to find a newsgroup/forum though...

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I just got Neo and have found it a trade off of money vs time.

Neo has an incredible functionality to cost ratio (if it were the weight to power ration of aircraft, Neo would be rocket.) It's almost as capable as Omnioutliner Pro $99US while costing only $8-$10US.

But you just can't sit down and open up Neo and start outlining. You've got to fiddle with it a bit. Then to get the the more powerful features, you've go to explore and fiddle some more.

Using it is almost like playing a game in which, instead of unlocking levels or achievements, you learn how to use different features of the app.

If you are burning paid man hours, you could easily eat the cost differntial between OmniOutline and Neo before you got Neo to same level as Omni


It has a out of date, idiosyncratic interface and the documentation, though detailed, is oddly structured and phrased, probably because the developers of Neo are Japanese. You have to spend at lot of time fiddling with the app to get to the features.

Idiosyncrasy example: It doesn't use tab or return to indent outline items or to create a new lower sibling. It uses modifier and arrow keys. They make sense but it's not what most people are used to as no other apps uses those keys. Before most anyone can use it, they have to edit the keybindings (which are sweetly customizable.)

Idiosyncratic example: It depends heavily on "Style Sheets" for formatting, filtering and other functions (I think) but the "Style Sheet" functions are fairly buried and you have to dig for them. The documentation starts out talking about how to use Style Sheets and only at the very last of the subject does it tell you how to actually make one.

Since Neo is an old app, I suspect it is "crufted" i.e. acquiring features over the years like barnacles each just tacked on and the whole having no pattern and it ends up like a software Rube Goldberg machine.

I decided to go with Neo after trying demos of Tree, OmniOutliner, FoldingText, Workflowy and a few other browser based. Tree is neat and clean but to simple for what I need long term. OmniOutliner can do just about anything but runs $99 and I'm still experimenting with using outliners in my workflow.

Plus, I fiddle with applications the way other people play video games so Neo didn't seem as frustrating to me as it would to others.

But I would not describe exploring Neo as a "pleasant user experience" its an uphill battle but if you've got more time than money to burn and need OmniOutliner level formatting, view, column, sorting, etc options then Neo is likely a good choice.

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  • Thanks for your comment. I abandoned NeO before I got to know it because of the learning curve and the UI. Now I'm using OmniOutliner since it is easy to use and I can import outlines into OmniGraffle. – fnurl Nov 20 '15 at 14:59

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