Write text file

Write text file outputs BrainStorm data as an indented text file, or outline, for input to other programs. By default, it writes the entire model, but it will also write selected entries, either those containing specified text, the currently selected entries or, indeed, a combination of both.

You can specify the indent per level by entering a number or a series of numbers - 1,2,4 - it will indent the first level with one space, the next level two spaces, and all subsequent levels with 4 spaces. Normally you will set it to 3 or 4 or maybe set the tab indent instead.

'Number of levels' allows you to restrict the depth of output. '2' would Write the current selection and its first level of detail. 0 would Write the entire model.

The user can choose whether entries are output with line breaks or as continuous text with a break only at the end of the entry. This second option ensures the cleanest possible transfer of BrainStorm data into another program, such as a word processor. (Please note that the Write operation will stop if the indent level exceeds the line break column (effectively the right margin).

Exporting to other programs

You may also divert the information to the clipboard, ready for pasting directly into other programs. You may also use Tab characters to indicate the indent level, this is good for pasting into other outliners such as Natara's Bonsai for the Palm series of PDAs or graphical mind-mapping programs such as FreeMind or MindManager X5.


We also put a Word template, called bsw.dot, into your BrainStorm folder in Program Files. You can use this to import a BrainStorm model. The template contains nine header styles and a couple of others. The embedded macro, called Outline, converts a tabbed outline from BrainStorm's Write command into a structured Word document.

Normally, if you have elected to 'show hidden files' in Explorer, you will put the template in this directory:

My computer/ [Local disk - usually c:]/ Documents and settings/ [User name]/ Application Data/ Microsoft/ Templates

You may need to temporarily lower your macro security level in modern versions of Word while you install the bsw.dot file. Once installed you need to assign a hot key combination to it, this is done through the Tools/ Customize/ Keyboard/ Macros command. Don't forget to raise your security level to its previous setting.

To make the transfer work: Write from BrainStorm with tab for indents and write to clipboard. In Word, choose New from template and use the bsw.dot that you installed. Paste the contents of the clipboard then press your control key combination. That's it. You can work in normal view or outline view.

You'll possibly be relieved to hear that Word, and many other programs, will also make sense of files published using the simple outline option of the Publish HTML command.


To create an outline which PowerPoint will understand, each slide in the list has to be separated from the next by a blank line. Like this:

Then add deeper levels to each.

When you're ready, select the slides for output. BrainStorm will output them in the sequence you select them. So click the first and then shift/click the last if you want them in that sequence. Or use Ctrl/click to select them in a more ad hoc fashion, but don't forget to select the blank line following each.

Select Write, select "Use tabs instead", select "Only output selected entries". (Other values should be blank or 0).

Open PowerPoint and choose File open, Files of type "All outlines", and away you go...

See 'Output options' for further information.

Ctrl+W (for Write text file)

File menu