5 Free Outline Tools for Writing & Making Plans


When we write and make plans, it is much more efficient to list the outline than to record all the complex text directly. For example, the main points of the course, writing outline, brainstorm, etc. Meanwhile, the form of the outline also helps us to clarify our ideas.

For any writing, one of the most important tools is to create the outline before starting. An outline is one of the most effective ways to organize ideas and save time throughout the writing process. Besides, we also need an outline when we make plans so that we will not forget our plan. Here, we have experienced the 5 best outline tools on the market to help you choose the suitable one.

1. Dynalist

Dynalist is a very powerful and feature-rich outline service. The interface of Dynalist is very simple. It can access from anywhere and available for all major platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

With the development of the outline structure, it tends to become more complex and hierarchical. With Dynalist, We won't be limited by the outline structure; we can create a new entry under any outline entry. If you want to make a plan list in this outline tool, you can use the "Checkbox" feature to list the things and set recurring dates and even sync Dynalist dates with Google Calendar. The "Tag" function can easily group things together. You can click on a tag to see all items with the same tag.

Dynalist Making Plans

Besides, Dynalist can help you to fight procrastination. It can break tasks down to highly actionable, 5-minutes-long tasks and make your writing more efficient. Rich formatting like bold, italics, named links, code, and strikethrough are all supported in this outline tool. So you can create many different kinds of outlines as you like.


  • Manipulate multiple items at once
  • Number your items for easy counting
  • Work together with flexible permissions
  • Export to OPML, plain text, or formatted text

2. Checkvist

Checkvist is an outline tool that can help you organize ideas, notes, and tasks into groups. It is a very simple and convenient tool for managing knowledge, tasks, and outlines. It is suitable for teams and individuals. It records your thoughts and plans lists. It can be shared with friends or colleagues. It is characterized by a hierarchical list, sharing, collaboration, filter, comment, etc.

One of the biggest highlights of Checkvist is the unique shortcut key. This can make your operation more efficient. With Checkvist, you can add tags, due dates, priorities, attachments in your writing outline and plans. From task management and software release planning to research, teaching, and writing, Checkvist can handle it all.

Checkvist Writing Outline


  • Endless hierarchy
  • Rich formatting for lists with images, tables, or code
  • Zen and dark mode
  • Import, export, and integrate
  • No vendor lock-in

3. WorkFlowy

WorkFlowy is one of the oldest online services, it has powerful functions hidden under its simple interface. When you open WorkFlowy for the first time, the interface only has a navigation bar and a whiteboard. You may think it is rudimentary, but it has many kinds of necessary functions. After you get started, you will find it is a multi-functional outline tool. You can use it to outline, make mind maps, record bookmarks, organize notes, do task management, teamwork, etc.

WorkFlowy has unlimited levels, and supports expanding or closing each item, and dragging items to change the order. WorkFlowy can help you clarify your writing thoughts, and help you to organize all the complicated things from the top to the bottom. If you have more and more outline items, you can use the search function in the WorkFlowy to search for the information. If you like simplicity and only need a few outline items, choose this tool without hesitation.

WorkFlowy Writing Outline


  • Simple but powerful interface
  • Can be used on various platforms

4. UV Outliner

UV Outliner is a desktop powerful outline tool for Windows. With UV Outliner you can create to-do lists, plans, and schedules, collect and organize ideas, brainstorm, plan your trips, record meeting minutes, track expenses, write novels and much more.

UV Outliner is a general tool for processing hierarchical text information. The document in the UV Outliner consists of lines. For example, when you make a plan or schedule, each line may represent a category, action point, or task. Each line in the outline can contain multiple lines of rich text. This means that you can format the lines in the outline as you would in any word processing program. Specify colors, font sizes, etc. are also supported in this tool.

UV Outliner


  • Supports printing of the outline
  • Multiline Rich Text

5. Toodledo

Toodledo is a flexible and multi-functional tool that will improve your productivity. Toodledo provides you with a place to write long notes, make custom lists, create structured outlines and track your habits. You can collaborate with friends, family or your co-workers, and they will safely store and sync all your data to your devices.

Toodledo contains some main features like notes, lists, outlines and so on. The Outline section in this severs gives you a way to organize your ideas by breaking them down into a hierarchical structure. Use an outline to plan your next project, record your family genealogy or whatever you can think up.

Toodledo Outline


  • Can set a customizable alarm for a task
  • Can sync your tasks to your tablet or mobile device


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The above have listed 5 free outline tools for writing and making plans. We recommended you 4 online versions and 1 desktop version. If you like simplicity and only need a few outline items, choose WorkFlowy without hesitation. For more complex outline items, you can choose the other four outline tools. If you have a new idea of the tool, please contact us.

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