By Andrew Runka Free Editors' Rating

Editors' Review

Download.com Staff Jul 14, 2011

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.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 1.069

Version 1.069 represents a couple years worth of tweaks.
  • Added: Priorities are changeable in tree
  • Added: Multi-line edit
  • Added: Visible loading phase of startup
  • Added: "Copy to Clipboard" button in export window
  • Added: View menu option, "Toggle Buttons"
  • Added: View menu option, "Toggle HTML"
  • Added: Search ability in trees!
  • Added: File navigator
  • Added: Expand/Collapse all nodes with ctrl +/-
  • Added: Auto-check for updates
  • Changed: Requires java 7
  • Fixed: safer saving procedure
  • Fixed: Some unwated folds
  • Fixed: bugs.
  • Removed: Help -> Donate. Screw paypal.
  • Updated: UI button layout
  • Updated: new server address


Release May 19, 2013
Date Added May 19, 2013
Version 1.069

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows XP
Additional Requirements Java 1.7


Total Downloads 14,980
Downloads Last Week 0
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Developer's Description

Great for note taking, planning, brainstorming, and general thought organization needs, ThoughtStack is a free-form tool inspired by the need for an improved notepad for quickly and easily organizing thoughts. Thoughts are entered into a foldable tree structure for improved consistency and readability over plain text. The tabbed structure allows the user to have many streams on the go at once, and the intuitive hotkey system allows the entire program to be controlled by the keyboard alone.

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