10 Best AI Outliner Tools to Organize Your Tasks, Notes, and Brain in 2024

July 18, 2021 47 Min Read

Managing big chunks of work and solving complex problems on the fly isn’t exactly easy. In today’s article, we set out to find the best AI outliner software for 2024 that’ll help you plan, organize, and get things done, one indent at a time.

Here’s the thing. The legendary Emacs Org Mode has been around since 2003. But while its utility is still top-notch, it’s not the most user-friendly outliner out there.

If you want to outline documents and plan your work but don’t want to leaf through lengthy manuals, we have a steaming-hot lineup of 10 Org Mode alternatives at a ready.

👨‍💻 What Is Outlining Software Anyway?

Every action, no matter how simple, can be broken down into a sequence of incremental steps. This principle applies to everyday activities, e.g. preparing breakfast, as well as high-level professional tasks like managing a team, planning projects, or drafting documents.

🌳 Outlining is the process of creating hierarchies to contain whatever you’re thinking or working on. An outline breaks complex processes into smaller, more manageable bits.

Outliner software boosts creativity by allowing you to build an infinite number of outline levels. Advanced outlines have features like drag-and-drop editing, folding/unfolding, keyboard shortcuts, and real-time collaboration that allowed you to create even the most complex outlines with no problems.

Key benefits of outlining software include:

  • ⚡️ Unlimited visual hierarchy for complex outlines
  • ⚡️ Quick indent/outdent to create hierarchies
  • ⚡️ Folding/unfolding outline levels
  • ⚡️ Intuitive navigation with keyboard shortucts
  • ⚡️ Real-time sync and backup in the cloud
  • ⚡️ Drag-and-drop workflows
  • ⚡️ The ability to outline collaboratively
  • ⚡️ Undo/redo to quickly revert changes
  • ⚡️ Customizable visuals and color-coding
  • ⚡️ Deep linking and multimedia elements
  • ⚡️ Powerful search and tagging features
  • ⚡️ And more…

A solid outliner/outline processor is a must-have tool for all kinds of creative and organizational tasks. That can include writing, project planning, knowledge management, note-taking, or bullet journaling!

So, what do you say we take a look at 10 awesome outliners?

🏆 The Best Outlining Software for 2024

Outlining tools come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why we’ve put together a selection of the best outlining software so you don’t have to go through trial and error.

  1. Taskade
  2. Workflowy
  3. Scrivener
  4. OmniOutliner
  5. Dynalist
  6. Checkvist
  7. Roam Research
  8. Obsidian
  9. Notion
  10. Athens Research


Taskade is a cloud-based, collaborative outlining software that combines project and task management with powerful advanced outlining features, all fit for a modern knowledge worker.

Turn the chaos of everyday commitments into an aesthetic, organized structure of cascading tasks. Break ideas and problems into hierarchical lists and focus on the work that matters.

And the best part?

Taskade is the only cloud outliner app that syncs everything in real-time!

Outlining items in Taskade is simple. All you need to do is add a few lines of text inside any of your projects and indent sub-tasks or lower-level elements with the ⌨️ Tab key.

Taskade user interface.

Every outline you create in Taskade can be formatted and customized to give it a unique flavor. Choose from several different node formats including checklists, bullets, and headings and add finishing touches with beautiful highlight colors.

Task formatting interface.

Finally, Taskade outlines are stored in a tree-structured database, which means they’re designed to be organized hierarchically. You can use Taskade’s flexible workflow to transform your outlines into mind maps, Kanban boards, customizable tables, or org charts.

A Taskade project visualized in the Mind Map view.

But wait, there’s more!

🌟 Taskade Select Outlining Features

  • AI Workflow. Taskade uses the latest GPT-4 language model from OpenAI to help you generate high-level outlines with spanning, nested levels. All you need to do is select a node, type /outline or /subtask, and let Taskade structure your thoughts and ideas. You can also use the Workflow Generator and AI Chat to get more done faster.
  • Fold/Unfold. Fold (collapse) a parent task/bullet element to hide its subtasks. Indent a node with the ⌨️ Tab key and unfold lists with the ⌨️ Shift+Tab keyboard shortcut.
  • Keyboard Navigation. Use keyboard shortcuts to reorder, format, or complete/check the elements of your outline without taking your hands off of the keyboard!
The user interface of Taskade's AI outlining tool.
  • 500+ Templates. Taskade comes packed with 500+ templates for every occasion. Modify templates from our catalog or craft new ones inside your workspaces.
  • Multi-Select. Select and format multiple outline elements or bulk-assign tasks to other team members. You can also copy, paste, and indent selected blocks.
  • Customize Sub-Tasks. Customize the format of your sub-tasks at individual outline levels. Choose from headings, numbered lists, shapes, and more.
  • Recurring Tasks. Add due dates with start and end time to outline elements. Set tasks to repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly and never forget a thing.
  • Communication. Combine chat, video conferencing, calls, and project comments. Engage in stimulating conversations while getting work done together in real-time.
  • Move Tasks. Move and copy selected nodes and outline elements to other projects across any workspace. You’ll receive a pop-up notification on completion.
Move Task feature in Taskade.
  • Deep Linking. Use internal links and create connections between nodes in your workspaces. Use the @mention functionality to quickly select link destinations.
  • Drag-And-Drop File Uploads. Add images, videos, and documents to nodes and make your outlines shine. Use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to upload.
Drag & drop file upload in Taskade.
  • User Roles & Permissions. Manage outline collaborators, set editing permissions, and define user roles. Choose from four distinct roles, project Owner, Admin, Editor, Checker, and Viewer.
  • Sort Tasks. Sort sub-tasks/children elements by completed/uncompleted stats or the due date. Task sorting can be accessed from a convenient pop-up menu.
Sort Tasks feature in Taskade.
  • Project Views. Use Taskade’s flexible workflow to visualize your writing project in several ways. You can transform documents into lists, ,mind maps, boards and more.
  • Comments. Comment and discuss the contents of your outlines with others. Invite collaborators to edit projects together and gather valuable feedback.
Project Comments in Taskade.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts. Move between tasks, add new content blocks, change the order of elements, and edit your outlines using universal keyboard shortcuts.
  • Project Activity. When somebody checks off an outline item, there’s a chat notification with the editor’s name and scope of the changes. Keep everybody on the same page anytime, anywhere.
Project Activity in Taskade.
  • Search. Find information within outlines or run global searches across workspaces and subspaces. Quickly move between projects anywhere in Taskade.
  • Project History. See all the changes made by you and other collaborators. Click on the entries to navigate to the edited items within the outline.
Project History in Taskade.
  • Notification Control. Prioritize deep, focused work with push notification settings. You can turn notifications off for each workspace or individual project.
  • Export and Print. Taskade supports the export of visual outlines as plain text or markdown files. Attach them to emails, presentations, or for print.
Export & Print feature in Taskade.
  • Undo/Redo. Correct mistake and safely restore your outlines to a previous state. You can also use undo/redo when editing a project or collaborating with others in real-time.
  • Mobile and Desktop App. Sync your outlines between Mac, Linux, and Windows or outline on the go with Android / iOS mobile app.
Taskade mobile user interface.

💸 Taskade Pricing

  • 🟢 Free (forever!)
    • Unlimited outlines and projects
    • 250 MB of storage for files and projects
    • 7 day project history
    • 1,000 AI credits per month
    • Access to 500+ free templates
    • And more…
  • 🔵 Starter and Plus subscription (starting at $4 / month)
    • Everything in the Free plan +
    • Additional workspaces and project members
    • More cloud storage and longer project history
    • Additional AI credits, integrations, and sharing options
    • And more…
  • 🟣 Pro subscription ($19 / month for 20 members billed annually)
    • Up to 5 workspaces and 20 project members
    • Custom branding and advanced integrations
    • Advanced team permissions
    • Guest sharing and up to 20 attendees per video meeting
    • 50,000 AI credits per month
    • And more…
  • 🟡 Business and Ultimate subscription ($49 or $99 / month for 50 or 100 members)
    • Additional / unlimited workspaces
    • 100 – 1,000 GB of cloud storage
    • Additional / unlimited AI credits
    • Up to 300 attendees per a video meeting
    • Single Single On (SSO)
    • Zapier integrations
    • And more…

Try Taskade for free today!


Workflowy user interface.

Workflowy is streamlined outlining software that lets you map out all kinds of projects. The outliner app offers a minimalist, distraction-free outliner environment. You can use Workflowy in a web browser or get it for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices.

Like Taskade, Workflowy was nurtured under Y Combinator’s wings and was designed to address the everyday project management problems. Workflowy uses a hierarchical tree structure that accentuates the flexibility of ordinary lists.

🌟 Workflowy Select Features

  • Infinite nested lists (in Workflowy Pro)
  • Filtering features
  • Color-coded tags and highlighting (beta)
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Outline backup to Dropbox
  • A selection of themes and fonts 
  • Outline sharing and collaboration

💸 Workflowy Pricing

  • 🟢 Basic/Free
    • All features included
    • Limited to 250 bullets/month
    • File upload limited to 100 MB
    • Only basic sharing
  • 🔵 Workflowy Pro ($4.08 billed annually)
    • Unlimited bullets
    • Unlimited file uploads
    • Advanced sharing features
    • Backup to Dropbox
    • Premium support

See how Workflowy compares to Taskade. 👈


Scrivener user interface.

Scrivener is a writing and outlining tool designed for students, academics, and writers. It’s a complete writing suite with everything you need to research, outline, and draft documents. Scrivener works on macOS, Windows, and iOS.

Scrivener is not really a cloud outliner per see, but you can sync your outlines to Google Drive and Dropbox to sync between multiple devices.

🌟 Scrivener Select Features 

  • Organization into folders and subfolders
  • Meta-data including keywords and labels
  • Drag-and-drop outline organization
  • Customizable templates
  • Side-by-side outline preview
  • Full-screen outlining
  • Printing and export

💸 Scrivener Pricing

  • 🟢 Standard macOS/Windows ($49 one-time purchase)
  • 🔵 Educational macOS/Windows ($41.65 one-time purchase)
  • 🟣 Mobile for iOS ($19.99 one-time purchase)
  • 🟡 Mac + Windows bundle ($80 one-time purchase)


OmniOutliner user interface.

A dedicated outlining tool from the creators of OmniFocus. OmniOutliner is a simple cloud outliner app for brainstorming, organizing information, and creating high-level hierarchical lists. The app offers automation via JavaScript.

🌟  OmniOutliner Select Features

  • Typewriter mode
  • Bult-in themes
  • Light and dark mode
  • Keyword-based search
  • Document statistics
  • Resizable columns
  • Keyboard shortcuts

💸 OmniOutliner Pricing

  • 🟢 Subscription ($4.99/$49.99 monthly/yearly)
  • 🔵 For teams ($4.99/$49.99 per user)
  • 🟣 Mac ($99 one-time purchase)


Dynalist user interface.

Another piece of distraction-free outlining software for personal and business use. Previously called Omniflow, Dynalist evolved into a lightweight outliner and a note-taking app for “logical thinkers.” It’s a solid choice for focused work sessions.

Dynalist is a reliable outliner app that has the potential to be a powerful tool. However, recently the team has diverted focus into developing its flagship product, Obsidian.

🌟 Dynalist Select Features

  • Markdown formatting
  • Light and dark mode
  • Browser extension
  • Node-level formatting
  • Color-coded labels and tags
  • List sorting options
  • Google Calendar sync
  • File and item finder
  • Internal cross-linking
  • A selection of themes and fonts

💸 Dynalist Pricing

  • 🟢 Free 
    • Unlimited items/documents
    • Internal linking
    • Markdown formatting
    • Dates, tags, and checklists
    • Sharing and collaboration
    • Up to 5 bookmarks
    • Export/import
  • 🔵 Pro ($7.99/$9.99 annually/monthly)
    • Everything in the Free plan +
    • Google Calendar integration
    • Version history
    • Dropbox/Google Drive backup
    • Custom shortcuts
    • Priority email support

See how Dynalist compares to Taskade (click). 👈


Checkvist user interface.

Checkvist offers a fair balance between a task manager, to-do list, writing app, and, most importantly, an outliner. Built around hierarchical data organization, the tool features everything you need to tackle a wide range of creative projects.

🌟 Checkvist Select Features

  • Keyboard-first navigation
  • Focus and dark mode
  • Private and public sharing
  • Collaboration features
  • Markdown formatting
  • Word and progress counters
  • Tags, due dates, and attachments
  • CSS customization

💸 Checkvist Pricing

  • 🟢 Free 
    • Unlimited hierarchical lists
    • Unlimited sharing and collaboration
    • Add tasks via email
    • Markdown, notes, due dates
    • Import and export
    • Mobile (offline) web app
  • 🔵 Pro ($3.90/month per user or $39/year)
    • Everything in the Free plan +
    • 2 GB attachments
    • Google Calendar sync
    • UI customization
    • Private tags and tag colors
    • Bulk operations (multi-select)
    • 30-day backup + Dropbox sync

Roam Research

Roam Research user interface.

Roam Research is a note-taking tool designed for heavy-duty research, brainstorming, and knowledge management. Like other outliners on our list, Roam packs a simple, distraction-free UI that’s perfect for metacognition or “thinking about thinking.”

🌟 Rome Research Select Features

  • Bi-directional linking
  • Markdown support
  • The Daily Note and The Graph
  • Task management features
  • Theme customization via CSS
  • Search, tags, and filtering options

💸 Roam Research Pricing

  • 🟢 Pro ($15/month or $165/year)
    • 3 private or public Roam graphs
    • Unlimited collaborators
  • 🔵 Believer ($500/5 years)
    • Everything in the Pro plan +
    • Priority access to new features
    • Priority support and community calls

See how Roam Research compares to Taskade. 👈


Obsidian user interface.

A note-taking, brainstorming, and outlining platform designed to act as a knowledge base or a digital “second brain.” Obsidian can be used with local folders or external/proprietary sync. The app is based on plain text Markdown files.

🌟 Obsidian Select Features 

  • Markdown support
  • Cross-linking and graph view
  • Browser extension
  • Multiple resizable UI panes
  • Official and community plugins
  • Pre-made UI themes
  • Proprietary and external sync
  • Bi-directional linking

💸 Obsidian Pricing

  • 🟢 Free for personal use 
    • Doesn’t require an account
    • Plugins and API
  • 🔵 Catalyst ($25/50/100 one-time purchase)
    • Support the development process
    • Access to insider builds
  • 🟣 Commercial ($50/year per user)
    • Ready for commercial use
    • Priority support
  • 🟡 Sync Add-On ($8/month billed annually)
    • End-to-end encryption
    • Built-in version history
    • Priority email support
  • 🟤 Publish Add-On ($16/month billed annually)
    • Selective notes publishing
    • Graph view and outline
    • Priority email support

See how Obsidian compares to Taskade (click). 👈


Notion user interface.

Notion is an all-in-one workspace for personal and team projects. The platform offers a highly customizable workflow fit for engineering, creative, HR, and sales projects of all shapes and sizes. A good choice for productivity geeks.

🌟 Notion Select Features 

  • Integrations and templates
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Embed with 500+ tools
  • Fluid user interface
  • Drag-and-drop organization
  • Multiple project views

Check out our Notion alternatives list if you’re looking for more options!

💸 Notion Pricing

  • 🟢 Personal/Free
    • Unlimited pages & blocks
    • 5 guests editors
    • Cross-platform sync
  • 🔵 Personal Pro ($4 per month)
    • Everything in the Personal plan +
    • Unlimited file uploads and guests
    • Access to version history
  • 🟡 Team ($8/month per user)
    • Everything in the Personal plan +
    • Unlimited team members
    • Collaboration tools
    • Advanced permissions
    • Admin toolkit
  • 🟤 Enterprise (custom pricing)
    • Everything in the Team plan +
    • SAM/SSO + advanced security
    • Dedicated manager
    • Custom contract

See how Notion compares to Taskade (click). 👈

Athens Research

Athens Research user interface.

An open-source sibling of Roam, Athens Research is an open-source note-taking, knowledge management, and outlining app. Athens is a solid choice for advanced users looking for an independent, self-hosted outlining solution.

🌟 Athens Research Select Features 

  • Built using a graph database (GDB)
  • Support for bi-directional linking
  • Organization with block references
  • Auto-complete and undo/redo
  • Import from Roam Research

💸 Athens Research Pricing

  • 🟢 Free Open Source
    • Unlimited pages
    • Unlimited blocks
    • Self-hosted, local-first
  • 🔵 Enterprise (custom)
    • Everything in the Free plan +
    • For commercial use
    • Contribute to Athens

🚀 Pick the Best Outlining Software

Outlining is a simple and elegant way to manage the complexities of everyday life. With a solid outliner at hand, you and your team will solve problems, organize knowledge, and tackle every creative venture that comes your way.

  • ⚡️ Map out ideas as you would on paper
  • ⚡️ Create outlines with a great level of detail
  • ⚡️ Keep everything secure in the cloud
  • ⚡️ Use shortcuts and drag-and-drop magic
  • ⚡️ Revert changes to your outlines in a blink
  • ⚡️ Customize everything the way you like it
  • ⚡️ Collaborate with others and get things done

🤖 Custom AI Agents: Set up your own AI agents to organize and plan your tasks or create clear, actionable plans for any project or goal.

🪄 AI Generator: Simplify the creation of personal projects and documents with an AI. Turn ideas into structured outlines and detailed plans.

✏️ AI Assistant: Use GPT-4 Turbo to enhance your writing and outlining tasks. Perfect for quickly drafting, organizing, and editing.

🗂️ AI Prompt Templates Library: Dive into a wide array of AI prompt templates to guide and inspire your personal and work projects.

💬 AI Chat: Engage with AI in a one-on-one conversation to dissect complex ideas, find solutions to problems, or plan next steps.

📄 Media Q&A: Use AI to analyze and summarize documents. Extract key insights without spending hours reading the whole thing.

And much more…

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best AI Outliner Tools

Can AI make an outline?

Yes, AI can make an outline. Tools like Taskade and other AI writing assistants can generate structured outlines based on provided inputs and topics.

Can ChatGPT write a book?

Yes, ChatGPT can assist in writing a book by generating content, offering ideas, and helping with structure. However, human oversight is essential to ensure coherence and quality.

How do you convert AI to outlines?

To convert AI-generated content into outlines, use tools like Taskade to automatically structure the content into headings, subheadings, and bullet points.

Which AI tool is best for academic writing?

The best AI tool for academic writing is Taskade, as it provides features for organizing research, creating structured outlines, and collaborating with peers.

Taskade AI banner.