Review of LexiCan

This note taking program is file based, that is it stores its data in files.  There was a significant reduction in response times when the file grew to just a few hundred notes or a couple of hundred kilobytes, this is very poor in my opinion.

When you open this program it takes a very long time before even the splash screen appears, this is annoying.

LexiCan has some serious issues which hamper its use, most of the other programs can have multiple databases or files open at once.  LexiCan can only have one file open at once and when you open another file it automatically closes the file you had open.

This program is produced by a German company, it has been translated into English.  However some of the more obscure menus and dialog boxes are still in German and if you get an error which happens frequently the error message which comes up is always in German.

This program does support transclusion which is a feature that few of the other programs support.  Transclusion is the feature whereby one note can appear in several places, not as a copy but separate instances of the same note.  If you edit one of them then it changes all of them.

This program is available from http://www.lexican.net/ , there is a free version available which is fully functional but only allows 30 notes.  The program costs 39.90 Euros (at 28th April 2013).

Overall score = 33 out of 60

Verdict               Almost worth buying, but not quite.

1. Connectivity            =    6

This program cannot generate a universal link, it is not possible to link into a specific article in this program, the only thing you can do is start the program.

If you paste a universal link into LexiCan the link will appear in the text but if you click the links nothing happens, to open the link you have to use a context menu which appears when you right click on the link, then it takes a very long time to open the link.

The program keeps a list of all the files you have linked to so it is easier to link to a file if it is already on the list.  If you view the list you will see that any files which have been deleted, renamed or moved have a red icon next to them.  Apparently it checks for the existance of each file when start the program, this could be one reason why the program takes so long to start up.

You can create links to files, to web pages, to other notes (articles) in the same file, to a folder or to a reference.  A reference is biblographical reference, a place to put all the details of a book or article, but there is no link to the book or article if you have it as a file on your computer.

2. Classification            =    6

There is a tagging scheme which is just a flat list, but the problem is the search facilities.

Tagging is only half the story, the whole point of tagging things is to be able to find them again.  The designer of this program forgot that.  The search facilities are inadequate and that is what lets this program down.  You can search for words in the notes (articles) or in the titles or within a single article or in the tags, what you cannot do is search using a combination of these methods.

3. Text layout and formatting    =    8

The editing functions are good.  They are as good as some word processors.  Table handling is excellent.  Pictures and graphics can be inserted into the text.

4. A sense of time            =    0

This program has no calendar or any sense of time.

5. Ease of use            =    6

This program is quite easy to use, if you ignore the clutter of the screen and if you can remember which ribbon contained the icon for the function you wanted to use.

The frequent errors were a problem and the fact that the dialog box which is displayed in response to an error is always in german so you have no idea what the error was or what to do about it unless you can speak German.

6. Visual Appeal            =    7

This program uses the styling of a modern word processor, everything looks the part.  It has a ribbon instead of conventional toolbars and so there is a lot of wasted space on the screen and this restricts the size of the editing area.  You cannot turn the ribbon off completely and go back to conventional toolbars, most of the time the ribbon is sparsely populated but it takes up a strip the height of the ribbon across the entire screen with about half of it empty.  The note (article) is in a window in the middle of the screen with many panels displaying various other information around it, on a small screen the amount of space left for the article window can get very small indeed, I ended up switching various things off and having the ribbon automatically disappear when the mouse wasn’t over it, this is all very well but it does increase the hassle of using this program

LexiCan screen shot

LexiCan screen shot

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3 thoughts on “Review of LexiCan

  1. 2014-09: Also for the new version 5 the above mentioned arguments are still valid. Memomaster (also a German software) is similar, but puts all data in one single file. Probably Microsoft One Note is also a competitor.

    • I did look at Evernote but didn’t try it as it is very cloud centric. I work in a place where I cannot connect my computer to a network, there is no mobile phone signal and all the work computers are secured by an IT department which could teach the KGB a thing or two about paranoia. All my note taking solutions must be indipendent of a network.

      I might take another look at LexiCan if they have brought out another version and if I can muster the enthusiasm, but don’t hold your breath.

  2. forgot to mention Evernote as another competitor.
    One function that is good on Lexican (and why I finally bought it) it to export items as a website including navigation. And Lexican files can be accessed from without Lexican, as they are docx files.

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