You probably learned in elementary school that outlining is a good way to organize your thoughts. ThoughtStack is a basic tool that lets you create flexible outlines, or tree hierarchies, with your ideas. It's not the most intuitive program we've ever used, but with a little practice, we can see how it could be a very effective way to brainstorm and keep track of what you come up with.
The program's interface is plain, with a text box at the top and a larger pane below where the tree is displayed. To add a node to the tree, you simply type your thoughts into the text box and then press Enter or click the Add to Tree button. You can continue to add items to the tree or to the nodes you've created. The program is highly dependent on hot keys for navigation, which can be a little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, the hot keys allow you to quickly move through your tree and reorder the items within it. The built-in Help file lists all of the hot keys that the program employs, but we do wish that it did a better job of explaining some other aspects of the program. Most importantly, we'd love to know what the large slider on the interface is for; we thought that maybe it lets you zoom in and out of large trees, but that didn't seem to be the case, and there was no other explanation. Overall, ThoughtStack is not a program for those who like a lot of features, but it is an interesting choice for people seeking novel ways to organize their thoughts.
ThoughtStack requires no installation, and at 737KB, it's lightweight enough to be kept on your USB drive.