TVO: The Vim Outliner

I've used outliners for years to brainstorm and edit text. With the prospect of doing more writing, I've wanted to have an outliner that matched my editing style and wasn't too mouse-heavy.

Since I'm a Vim user, and since Vim 6.0 added folding, it seemed natural to make an outliner out of it.

First, I looked at the VimOutliner Project (see This wasn't what I wanted, as it didn't even touch the behavior of Vim. (I still don't get what all the Perl was doing).

So I decided to make my own.

By itself, Vim doesn't work quite right as an outliner. So I added a foldexpr() routine to make folding work right. Then I wanted keystroke macros. Then a menu. Then I wanted it to work with Vim Easy under Windows.

Anyway, here it is. Unzip it into a directory on your Vim runtimepath (I put mine into my $HOME/.vim directory, but I'm running Linux. Your location may differ). Read the included README.otl file that describes configuration.

Here's a reduced screenshot showing the folding, syntax highlighting, and text block decoration. It also shows tags and the toolbar.

TVO screenshot showing folding

See the README.otl file for some minimal documentation.

There is also a help file; if you go

:he tvo

you will get a quick-reference.

It still needs better documentation; if you can, please write some and send it to me!

Please email me with bug reports and suggestions.

This is also available on

25 May 2006: v122

Older versions

19 March 2006: v111
15 March 2006: v110
13 March 2006: v108
7 March 2006: v107
12 June 2004: v1.63
23 December 2003: v1.62
23 December 2002: v1.56
22 December 2002: v1.55 19 December 2002: v1.47

Download latest version:

Ned Konz
email: vim -at-
Currently: Camano Island, Washington

most recently edited: 7 March, 2006