Review of WhizFolders

WhizFolders is file based, that is it stores its data in files so you have to explicitly save the file before quitting.  There was no significant slowing of the response times when using a file with over one thousand notes.  I don’t like the name of this program but the program itself is OK.  WhizFolders can have multiple files open at once.

There is a hierarchical tree of notes and a tagging system, although the tagging system is not separate from the notes as far as searches go.  It does not have a calendar or a sense of time, so it cannot be used to set reminders.

There are two editors and they are quite interactive, you do not need to manually switch between edit mode and view mode, it will automatically switch to the quick editor mode if you just start typing.  When it does switch to edit mode the note pane lurches down by a couple of lines as the toolbars suddenly appear at the top and all the links expand into an ugly mess.

The other editor is the advanced editor which opens in a new window, as its name suggests it has more options than the quick editor.

The only real problem with both editors is that in edit mode the links suddenly expand to show their contents.  This is unnecessary as you are unlikely to want to manually edit them once they have been inserted.  Many other notetaking programs have a dialog box which opens when you request to edit a hyperlink allowing you to change the destination and the displayed text.

WhizFolders is a commercial program and is available at www.whizfolders.com/ , it costs $49.95 (at 20th April 2013).  There is a free 30 day trial version.

Overall score 41 out of 60

Verdict               Worth Buying.

1. Connectivity            =    10

Any note can contain a link to any other note, to a disk file, to a group of files or a folder or to a web page.  WhizFolders also supports universal links so that you may link to a specific note from any external program that supports universal links, there is a context menu item which says ‘Copy Universal link to this Topic to the Clipboard’.  When you paste this into another program you have a link back to that specific note from the other program.  You can also call up notes or e-mails or any other item in another program from WhizFolders using universal links.

So notes can be linked to everything which they might need to be linked to in a nice simple way.

2. Classification            =    7

Notes can be tagged with keywords but the keywords are in a flat list (no hierarchy).  Once keywords have been assigned they can be used in searches.  The keywords cannot be searched for in isolation.  If you search your notes for a keyword then any occurrences of that keyword within the body text of the note will also be found.  The occurrences found in the keywords will be listed separately however.  You can use AND & OR in the searches to refine the search.

There is an option to search only within the keywords, this has been introduced in the latest version (version 6.64).

3. Text layout and formatting    =    7

The editors are not up to the standard of a good word processor but all the normal formatting which you might expect from a word processor is available.  Font, font size, colour of letters, bold, italic, superscript, subscript, alignment, indenting and bulleted and numbered lists.

WhizFolders can insert pictures and tables into notes but the table handling is not very good.  Once the table has been inserted you can edit the contents but you cannot move the cell boundaries as you can in a word processor.  This is a common fault with note taking programs and is caused by the limitations of the RTF editor tools available in Microsoft C++ and C# compilers.

4. A sense of time            =    0

WhizFolders has no sense of time.

5. Ease of use            =    9

WhizFolders is very easy to use.  The toolbars are a little cluttered but that is understandable for a program which can do this much.  You can re-configure the toolbars if you want.  You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to suit your own preferences.

6. Visual Appeal            =    8

WhizFolders with a small icon toolbar

WhizFolders with a small icon toolbar

This program is very configurable, if you want a ribbon with big icons then you can have it.  The way I have it configured the look and feel of WhizFolders may not be the most modern but is very nice with little wasted space.

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7 thoughts on “Review of WhizFolders

  1. I’d disagree with the 10 for connectivity, if I compare it with the 10 you gave to ConnectedText for the same feature. I find it a lot easier and cleaner to create links in CT than in WF. Originally I bought my WhizFolders license specifically to use it for creating links. However, it turned out to be more of a writing software (quite similar to Scrivener), than a wiki.

  2. I have had another look at the connectivity in both ConnectedText and in WhizFolders and in my opinion it is just as easy to create a link in WhizFolders. Admittedly ConnectedText is more powerful than WhizFolders in many ways but as far as connectivity is concerned they are pretty much equal.

    To create a file link in edit mode in ConnectedText you type [[$FILE: then either type in the file location or select it from a windows file selector dialog.

    To create a file link in edit mode in WhizFolders you right click where you want the link then select Insert Link from the context menu then select the file from a windows file selector dialog.

    The types of link you can create are also comparable, you can link to another note, a note in another database, a file (both programs support relative paths), a program, a universal link or a folder.

    Both programs fully support universal links so any note can be the target of a universal link from another program.

    I think the 10 out of 10 for the connectivity score for WhizFolders was justified and I stand by it.

    I would say that ConnectedText is much more powerful in many other respects than WhizFolders but it is quite definitely a wiki program whereas the overall impression I get from WhizFolders is that it has schizophrenia in that it cannot decide weather it is a writing tool or a free form database, and it makes a valiant effort to be both.

  3. Hi Paul, thanks for your reply, I see what you mean. Compared to other outliner etc. software out there, you’re right, it’s pretty easy to create links in WhizFolders, perhaps even easier for people who haven’t had much experience with wikis than in CT. I was only commenting on the ease of link creation and the look of the link when comparing CT and WhizFolders directly. I have very slight differences in mind, such as when you drag and drop a link from a browser to CT, it just creates the link and that’s it, while in WF a dialog box pops up, which you need to fill in. I realise some people might actually find the latter more convenient, but I find the former quicker. Also, I’m a bit bothered by the [~JumpFileShowText etc.] notation in WF, which to me is a bit messy.

    However, I don’t want to moan about WhizFolders too much because it is a fine application and in fact I had used it for many years and was positively in love with it before discovering ConnectedText. It just didn’t turn out to be the wiki solution that I hoped it would be. As you say, it’s a bit schizophrenic, it’s more of a competitor of outliners and writing software (Scrivener in particular) than of wikis. So let’s say I’d give it a 9.5 for connectivity 🙂

  4. I just discovered your blog while reading reviewing a review of either cmaptools or compendium (can’t remember which now) .. and I am amazed at the array of yummy tools that you have reviewed .. many of which I have never heard of before now.

    In this category of ‘personal information base’ class of ideas and notes mapping software, I have used a tool called zim wiki for many years now (on all my desktops: windows, ubuntu, mac, opensuse .. linked through dropbox) and I cannot sing its praises enough. However, it does not handle non-text data, but it is so comfortable fast and lean that I always have it open on any desktop I work on. I later tried CherryTree which has better image management, but which cannot compare to Zim Wiki for speed and simplicity and organization. Would be interesting to read your analysis/review of Zim Wiki ..

    Now, I see pissoibilities of being able to ‘upgrade’ from zim wiki to one of the tools I just discovered here (Cayra, MindRaider, WhizFolders) .. Thanks a million for sharing so much useful information.

    Incidentally, I see Dr Andus (whose excellent blog I also only recently discovered) is hanging out here .. Impressive .. 🙂

    • Thank you for your comments. I tried Zim Wiki for a while, it was OK, it was like Connected Text but with a lot of the goodies left out (but it does beat Connected Text on price).

      Be warned Cayra is broken. Development was stopped and its original website lapsed, then a Microsoft security patch to .NET 3.5 caused lots of errors in Cayra. You can still download it but don’t expect it to run without lots of crashing. You can still download it but I wouldn’t bother. It is a pity because it was a good mind mapping tool, it always put the node of interest at the centre of the screen, there are few other mapping tools which do this (MindRaider also does this).

      My current best recommendations are either Ultra Recall with VUE as a mapping tool or Connected Text with VUE as a mapping tool. If you like Zim Wiki you would probably like Connected Text, it is a lot more powerful. VUE is free, Ultra Recall and Connected Text you would have to pay for but they do have a free trial period so you can see what they’re like before you part with any money.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Thank you very much, for responding to my comment, and for the great recommendations. I must say I have grown to love Vue’s simplicity and flexibility (only snag is is exporting) .. but if paired with a wiki system, one can make that work. Perhaps introduce images to be linked into Vue. Yeah, I can see that working very well.

    I did look around and quickly discovered that none of the tools I mentioned earlier fitted my needs. Cayra runs (with serious tinkering) only on certain versions of XP (service pack levels) .. Mindraider was more flash than substance and was no use to me at all .. And it seems WhizFolders and Memo Master only run on windows (I need ubuntu and opensuse at least) ..

    So, I take your recommendations very very seriously, especially the favourable comparison of Zim with CT & UltraRecall .. I really love Zim as a tool, and wish I could support it to be extended and polished up a little. Yes, I like the tool that much.

    By the way, what’s your take on Compendium? .. On paper it holds so much promise (especially when compared to tools like Docear .. It looks good too when considered for information assembly (images, documents) and linking .. But somehow it just feels too to me heavy to be a replacement for a Zim type of use .. This is what I am thinking so far. What do you think of Compendium, if you don’t mind my asking ?

    Thanks again to both of you for sharing your knowledge and insight.

    • Compendium is quite good if you don’t want more than 32k of text in a node (there is a bug). Most people don’t put anywhere near 32k of text into a node.

      Compendium is a very good mapping tool and nodes can contain maps so everything can be split up into manageable chunks, but it is a bit overkill for most needs. My favourite mapping tool at the moment is VUE, I like it’s style.

      On a side note I believe that ConnectedText can run under Wine with a little tweaking (I believe it needs a .DLL file or it needs a .DLL file deleting or something like that) the details are on the ConnectedText forum. ConnectedText is like Zim Wiki on steroids.

      Hope this helps.

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