Looking for a tree-structured hierarchical text editor / note-taker.


  1. Freeware
  2. Not ancientware (must have been updated during the last 3 years)
  3. Support italics/bold text
  4. Windows 7 SP1 compatible
  5. Can successfully import Treepad Lite files

Cherrytree seems to be an obvious contender, but the memory footprint of it in Windows seems extremely large.

  • Have a look at OneNote: onenote.com
    – ComFreek
    Dec 13, 2014 at 18:43
  • Cherrytree memory footprint was certainly reduced as they migrated from python to C++
    – gagarine
    Sep 1, 2021 at 23:10
  • @gagarine Thank you for the info. Approximately when did that migration take place? Also, any idea of the memory footprint on Windows now? Sep 2, 2021 at 5:49
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket they started porting cherrytree to C++ circa 2019. Don't know when the first stable C++ version was released, but it's quiet recent. I do not have access to a windows machine. Give it a try :).
    – gagarine
    Sep 5, 2021 at 17:25
  • @gagarine Thank you for the follow-up. I'm looking forward to trying it again. Is it now in C++ for all supported platforms? Sep 6, 2021 at 0:38

4 Answers 4


You may try:

  • Wunderlist (note-taker for mobile and desktop)
  • KeyNote [code] (it supports tree style editing),
  • Evernote (notebooks and tags which can be tree organised),
  • TreeSheets (it's table based),
  • The Guide (file format is human readable like XML),
  • wikidPad (wiki-like editor),
  • Zim (notes are saved as text files in folder hierarchies),
  • Treepad Lite,
  • 2do (Notes management),
  • Things (task management for Mac & iOS),

Source: Simple tree notepad like editor at superuser SE

For more details, check Comparison of Outliners.

  • Thank you. I'll take a look. Note that Treepad Lite is not an option because it does not support bold or italic text and is certainly ancientware, with no updates in over 5 years. Mar 19, 2015 at 21:12


Treeline is a very nice cross-platform (Win 7, 8; Linux) hierarchical notes manager. It is similar to Treepad (as the author himself notes).

Treeline screenshot

As for OP's requirements:

  1. Yes Freeware
  2. Yes Not ancientware (must have been updated during the last 3 years)
  3. Yes Support italics/bold text | and more besides
  4. Yes Windows 7 SP1 compatible
  5. Note Can successfully import Treepad Lite files | Not sure - Treeline can import "plain text, tab-indented text and tab-delimited table files" as well as "generic XML files" (and import/export its own HTML); Treepad Lite can export (according to the online documentation) HTML and a "Treepad Lite file". There might be something compatible in there, but I'm not sure.

It ticks enough boxes to be worth investigation, at any rate. I use it from time to time under Ubuntu and enjoy having it in the "toolkit".

  • Nice bullet points. Is that kind of a SR standard? Nov 19, 2015 at 15:15
  • 2
    @Thomas I'm sure it's not an SR standard! You can see the meta-Q&A where this was concocted with some helpful guidance notes on usage in the comments. I find it very easy to use and a quick visual guide to the requirements list.
    – Dɑvïd
    Nov 19, 2015 at 15:17

I like Workflowy It's web based, works on mobile and offline too. You can share bullets.

Meets most requirements:

  1. Freemium. Free gets 500 new bullets/month, no password protected sharing, no auto-backup to Dropbox.
  2. Stable, under active development
  3. Supports italics/bold text
  4. Web based, so supports all OSes with modern browsers
  5. You might be able to simply paste your old data to import it.
  • It's very high quality and they are thinking the right way about this imo. Sep 14, 2020 at 13:29

Try this web app https://webnote.in

Online notepad on the web for all devices with flexible tree-like structure.

Currently not supported:

  • italics/bold text
  • import Treepad Lite files

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