At its simplest, LooseStitch is a web-based outliner that aims to give you your eureka moment, and at its most complex it lets you do everything from publish to collaborate with others.
LooseStitch grew out of a need for an outliner that lets users manage everything from a simple list to multiple projects across groups. What we saw with other outliners was that they were great for a brain dump session, but fell short when it came to collaborating, sharing and publishing with other users and user groups. And there were just enough fancy features to keep us distracted!
It’s great being the wild child of creativity – the sort that puts down their thoughts on a paper napkin and then throws it out with the coffee cup. But if a structured outline is what you’re looking for when planning the next great American novel, then you will find that LooseStitch is a really easy and fun writing tool. Add a row to your outline and start typing away. It can be a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. Or two. Use it to organize ideas, structure plot points, list characters, and keep track of family trees. When you need to move your points around, that’s when you will find that an outliner, such as LooseStitch, really comes to it’s own, making it really easy to restructure your ideas, one row at a time.
LooseStitch really shines as a collaborative tool. Invite friends and colleagues to help you brainstorm, or flesh out your projects. Assign rows to others so they know what needs to get done. And by when. Yes, you can also set due dates to items in your outlines. Attach documents, photos shot from your mobile phone, PDF or Word documents, that need to go with your outline rows. You can even color rows differently and you get to decide what those colors mean. From project to project, or fix a meaning to these colors across all your outlines. Orange: very important. Blue: rows assigned to Editor for feedback.
When an item or section in your outline is done with simply clicking the Completed checkbox marks that portion as finished by adding a strikethrough. This is a great way to indicate progress instead of simply deleting rows and sections from your outlines.
LooseStitch also comes in handy for day-to-day usage. Its versatility is evident in the fact that the features that let you manage projects and deadlines also let you manage a grocery list. Or your class notes. As a to-do list you can create a list (Summer Vacation), and add all that needs to get done (pack sunscreen, throw in extra wipes etc). You can then reorder your list as you please and check items off as they gets done. If class notes are your problem area, then use LooseStitch to share notes with friends and teachers, and invite them to collaborate with you to make sure that you’ve missed nothing out. (And that to-do list we were talking about – great when you’re putting together your college applications!)
One of the unique features of LooseStitch is that it allows people with whom you’re collaborating to view and edit an outline that you’ve started. So you can get the input and ideas of your collaborators without having to send around umpteen copies of it. And since they all get compiled together in the same place, it’s a one-stop-shop for everyone to voice their thoughts. The outlines can then be shared with editors for comment and guidance. Or submitted to your teacher if it’s a class project.
Everything has its drawbacks, and as an outliner LooseStitch could do with a few teeny weeny improvements. Or a truckload of additional features, depending on what your expectations are. For one, LooseStitch doesn’t allow you to create additional columns that more powerful outliners do. We’ve deliberately kept how you can format your rows to a bare minimum, the reasoning being that LooseStitch is primarily a brainstorming tool and not a final presentation tool. We expect people to export their outlines using one of the various options available and repurpose the content to meet their final presentation needs. Currently, those export options are rather limited, enough to get your work out of LooseStitch and continue to improve on it using more appropriate tools. But, we are working on some really cool additions. For example, as we found out, many students use LooseStitch for their class presentations, and they have been telling us that it would be great if they could use their outline as a starting point for a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation. So yes, you will soon be able to flesh out your presentations using LooseStitch and then with a click of a button you will have a ready PowerPoint .ppt file that you can style and finish for your classroom or boredroom (or is that boardroom) presentations.
What do you think?
We would love to hear from you. Use LooseStitch a lot? How do you use it? What do you like? What don’t you like? Have any ideas on how we can improve things? We can’t promise to implement everything you tell us, but if we find that your ideas really make LooseStitch better for a lot of people, we will definitely implement it. And best of all, if any of your ideas get implemented, we will send you a 1 year free subscription to LooseStitch Pro. Use it to sign up or renew your existing Pro account.