Free PIM TreePad Lite Treads Lightly on System Resources

TreePad Lite is a free personal information management tool. Its feature set, though sparse, nonetheless provides all the basics. Ideal for tight resource environments, it's a useful PIM for netbooks, older laptops, or carting around with you on a USB Flash memory stick.

TreePad Lite screenshot
A simple tree in TreePad Lite. The odd names occurred when I tested sorting.

The design and interface of Treepad Lite is fairly familiar: On the right is an expandable/collapsible tree which lists all of your topics, subtopics, and sub-sub-topics. On the left is, well, your topic--the actual text associated with the subject. Topics can be easily added, deleted, and moved, and it's simple to rearrange subtrees as well, promoting, demoting, or shifting them as needed.

There aren't a lot of options in TreePad Lite. You can choose one font for the tree and one for the text, with no word or paragraph level styling--not even bold or italic. You can sort a subtree (but not its children), or the entire tree, but not "this subtree and all of its children, but nothing else." You can search for text in the current article, or in the whole tree. You can also export an article or a subtree (or the whole tree) as a plain text or HTML file (note the HTML file does not have any kind of links or navigation, it's just a dump of the file from top to bottom). There is a fairly limited linking function--you can link to a file or a Web page, though the link isn't clickable--you need to position the cursor in the link and then click a toolbar button. You can't link from one node to another.

Treepad Lite is missing many of the features its "big brothers," TreePad PLUS and Treepad Business have: true word processing (multiple fonts and styles), hyperlinks between articles in a tree, table layout, and calendar functions. That said, it also doesn't constantly nag you about upgrading or offer you apparent choices which result in a dialog telling you "Not in this version, cheapskate!" It does what it does, and it's free, and for free, you get a solid, fast, well-maintained program. The TreePad family has been actively supported for 15 years now, an eternity in computer time.

Treepad Lite is ideal for anyone who needs a quick and simple tool to organize thoughts, text snippets, and other bits of data (Even though articles can be up to 1 MB in size, this probably isn't the best tool for such huge blocks of text). The fact it can be run directly from a portable USB drive makes it handy for bringing data with you or having a personal notepad you can easily bring from computer to computer.

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