Outline Mode Goals

Outline Mode Goals

Bike’s outliner mode is an important part of the long term vision. Outline mode has two functions:

  1. Your edits working on outliner hierarchy. This is mostly realized now.

  2. There is no text entry and so all the normal text entry keys are available for other uses. For example right now in outliner mode left/right arrow keys expand and collapse items instead of moving the text cursor.

I hope to make this second use-case much more powerful in the future, following in the footsteps of tools such as VIM and Checkvist.

I would also like to wait a while before adding more outline mode shortcuts to Bike. To make it work best the shortcut sequences need to be carefully considered and designed to work together. I think Bike needs to be around for a while before I’ll know how outline mode should work.

This post is to server two purposes. First just so you know what my goals are and second so you can make suggestions. Please reply with thoughts, commands, keybinding … how you would like outline mode to work.

This post is similar to Scripting Goals. I’m looking for feedback, but I don’t expect to start this work soon.


This is excellent. For me, personally, I’d be happy to be able to use HJKL instead of the arrow keys (a la Vim) and Control+HJKL for moving lines around. Requiring double modifier keys (e.g., Control-Command-Up) is not ideal.

I’m delighted with Outline Mode, and I think your plans for it make sense.

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Outline Mode is very promising. I’m particularly interested in how it will incorporate Vim-style navigation.

I’ve had a lot of RSI-type problems in my hands and arms in recent years, and one-key keyboard navigation really helps a lot. Doing away even with simple multi-key keystrokes is beneficial.

Vimac in particular has been a life saver for me. It has also made me appreciate properly integrated native Mac apps all the more. For instance, here’s how Drafts looks using Vimac:

It doesn’t just pick up buttons and drop down boxes but also in-text checkboxes, which are exposed to the system accessibility layer (not sure what the proper nomenclature is).

So, back to Bike: Having something similar for one-key navigation of rows and hierarchies in Outline Mode would be amazing. Being able to ‘type’ your way through your document (Vim Command Mode-style) would be really powerful.

P.S. it would be nice if there was an entry for Outline Mode in the app menu so that it could be mapped to keys other than esc. For example, I like to map the backtick key to text completion functions, and would use it here for switching modes—again, less stretching, less pain.

P.P.S. it now occurs to me that Vimac doesn’t currently work with Bike (as it does with Drafts). It’d be nice, as a more short-term measure, if it did.

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I really enjoy using Bike. I use it to take notes in meetings, and it’s faster than any other tool I’ve used.

My feature request would be similar to Luke’s above: custom key bindings. Personally, I’d like to use Vim-style bindings when in outline mode. However, I’m sure everyone has different key preferences, and I think the best solution would be completely custom key bindings.

@Luke @atdrendel Please see:

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