An outline id is probably the most familiar outline data. An example of an outline id is A.1.03.999.
An outline Id consists of 1 or more “lobes” separated by a delimiter.
While not mandatory, it is usual practice that each lobe consists of values from an ordered set (alphabetical or numeric are the most common) in which the value indicates the sibling position under its parent, i.e. the first sibling is 1 or A, the second “2” or “B” and so on.
Each numeric lobe in the ID can be padded for correct sorting.
An outline ID typically has two properties:
- The id for any given node contains the full set of lobes from itself up to the top-level parent
- It uniquely identifies the node within the hierarchy
TreeWiz has 2 additional features for working with outline id’s:
- Alternate delimiter
- Truncate character
An alternate delimiter is another character that is treated as the primary delimiter to separate node values.
For if the alternate delimiter is set to “)” then TreeWiz treats the ID “A)1.03.999” as identical to “A.1.03.999” for the purposes of outline structuring.
Note: this doesn’t mean, of course, that Excel will treat these two ids’ the same. To be able to use these different id’s interchangeably you would need to replace the “)” with a “.”.
Sometimes we get data that includes an outline ID and other text. This is very common if you are exchanging data with some other application, such as a word processor that includes paragraph numbering.
So, if you have data that looks like these examples:
“A.1.03.999 Headline 4”
“A.1.03.999: now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their party.”
You could set the “Truncate At” character and TreeWiz will ignore any characters that come after the truncate character (inclusive).
In the first example above, you could set the “Truncate at” character to “ “ (space). Or set it to “:” in the second example.
Note: if you set the “Truncate At” character to “ “ (space) in the second example above, TreeWiz would still work but it would consider the outline id to be “A.1.03.999:”. In many cases this would not impact the grouping function.
Here is a simple example of data with an outline level, before and after grouping by TreeWiz: