How to Make Work With Carbonfin Outliner

Carbonfin Outliner is a basic outliner for iOS. The product has a web interface that will sync with your outlines on your iOS device, but you can also sync outlines with Dropbox (as OPML files). For any single outline you can only sync via one of these options (go to the Settings in an outline and choose the Storage option).

Frankly, I find Fargo to be the superior web app for editing outlines — it has keyboard shortcuts for nearly everything, whereas the Outliner web app is pretty rudimentary. Fortunately, Outliner has only a few attributes, which you can easily add right within Fargo.

Three Attributes


The text attribute is always required in the OPML file for Outliner.


If you want to add a note to a task, add the _note=”" attribute


No _status results in an empty checkbox. _status=”checked” results in a checkmark. _status=”" results in no box at all.

Create an Outline in Fargo for Carbonfin Outliner

All you have to do is create an outline in Fargo. Then go to the /Apps/smallPicture 1 folder in Dropbox and move your OPML file to the /Outliner folder in Dropbox. When you tap on the sync button in Outliner on your iOS device, Outliner will import the outline.

If you want to add a note to a task while in Fargo, click on Outliner and then Edit Attributes… in the dropdown menu. Tap on the +. In the left field, type in _note. In the right field, add your note. (You can also just overwrite the “Created” attribute because it isn’t really necessary.)

Click on image to view full size.

Click on image to view full size.

If you want no checkbox for a particular node, go to Edit Attributes, enter _status in the left field and leave the right field blank.

If you want a box checked, enter _status in the left field and checked in the right field.

Fargo will save an outline whose body looks something like this:

<outline text="task with note" _note="this is a note"/>
<outline text="task with box checked" _status="checked"/>
<outline text="item with no checkbox" _status=""/>

When synced with Outliner, this is what you’ll see for the above outline:


If you want to edit your Outliner outline again in Fargo, you’ll have to move it from /Outliner to /Apps/smallPicture.


The only real downside to this solution is that you can’t see your notes or an item’s status without going into the Edit Attributes window in Fargo. But if you’re creating a basic outline with only text attributes, then Fargo will work just fine for your needs.

  1. I recently learned that the /smallPicture folder was only installed for early adopters — for anyone else, the folder is called /Fargo.