HyperList: Everything. Concise and precise.

HyperList is a methodology to describe anything in plain text.

HyperList can be used to describe any state or transition – anything from simple shopping and todo lists to large project plans, process design, the human history, the human DNA or the whole universe.

With HyperList, descriptions become simple, easily readable, concise and precise.

After a couple of months of work, and with a total overhaul, WOIM has been transformed into HyperList! I would like to extend my thanks to Marilyn Abrahamian for her invaluable help in proof reading and for suggesting some new, very useful features.

You will find the HyperList document on my newly redrawn home page (isene.com) or by clicking this direct link to the HyperList document. It is also available on Scribd.com.

I admit freely to being proud of this; I consider HyperList to be one of my most useful contributions so far.

For the users of the excellent text editor VIM, there is a plugin that makes it very easy to create and manage HyperLists in VIM. The plugin includes a large range of features such as:

  • Complete highlighting of HyperList elements
  • Collapsing and expanding of up to 15 levels in a list
  • Linking/referencing between elements (items) in a list
  • Easy navigation in lists, including jumping to references
  • “Presentation modes” where you can view only parts of lists and line-by-line
  • Creating and checking of checkboxes in a list, with or without date stamps
  • Encryption (and decryption) of whole lists or parts of lists
  • Auto-encryption of lists – making a list into an excellent password safe
  • HTML and LaTeX export of lists
  • … and many more features.

Enjoy 🙂

30 thoughts on “HyperList: Everything. Concise and precise.

    S definition: 1
    The “HyperList to the power of S” signifies the iterative or fractal nature of such lists.
    The name represents both singular and plural of the word – both the system and a list or lists conforming to this system. It represents data in tree-structure lists.
    I am interested in using this tool as an aid to sort out importances in the religion field. I wonder what can be done.

    1. It should be well suited. If you read the full document and have a go at it and then send it to me, I would be more than happy to play ball with you on this.

  2. Cool work. Lowercase “P” on “precise” would be helpful.

    Otherwise, it damages the use of the word? 🙂

    Precise lowercase?

    kinda funny.

    Catchy name.

      1. 🙂

        Glad it helped. It really is good work Geir and I’ve always said so. Dang useful when properly used. I’ve given it to some OD pros I know.

  3. Geir, my sister is one of your regular readers (the ones who don’t take time to comment), but I wanted to pass on what she had to say about this article. First of all, she has long had a high interest in admin tech. And based on her experience, she thinks that the HyperList system could “revolutionize” (her word) the business world and in particular it could change the horrible percentages of small businesses failing. She sees the basic problem in business to be, plain and simple, a lack of (and she quoted the article) “precise and concise” communication. She said if that were truly put in, as HyperList would do, everybody from top management on down would know what they’re doing and how they and everyone and everything interrelate – because it would be clearly spelled out. Mind you, she is like me and not a “techie” but was really VGI’s about the whole format, including the fact that it is easy to use on a just a sheet of paper

    As for me, it’s actually the same kind of appreciation for precise communication, and I think how great it would be if regular language were so precise and lacking in any ambiguity! I see it as a sort of punctuation system in a way, and maybe someone will come up with a system of punctuation that would follow along the same lines of showing the exact relationships of all parts of the whole. But in fact it’s great that it can be used for anything you want to “sort” or “sort out” 🙂

    1. p.s. I forgot one funny thing we were joking about – that maybe it could even help men understand women! 😀 But all joking aside, there may be truth to that. And for families too – your shopping list example was a good one because I have known of more than one upset in more than one family due to someone coming home with the wrong items when the request was a bit too complicated.

      And at the other end of the spectrum, I think of that quote on the first page about “grasping the incomprehensible” – through lists. An amazing concept until you read the article. I’ve got it in the back of my mind now that the next time I want to think out something perplexing, I should try putting my thoughts down in HyperList form. 🙂

        1. Great idea. That would be the kind of thing that spreads – and I just thought of this – sanity.

            1. Yes, indeed. Here’s another good one: “the measure of how ably one assists thngs which assist survival, and inhibits things that inhibit survival”.

        2. Hello, Geir!

          First, I would like to thank you for developing and offering HyperList to the Vim community; I found it in a search. It seems to be very close to the type of thing I was looking for. As someone who appreciates Vim and enjoys writing and sorting out ideas on paper, I think I would like to become a regular user of HyperList–but when I try to go to the documentation via your link I get the message of:

          “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?
          It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.”

          So for whatever reason it is not there anymore. (I’m not a member of Scribd, and don’t have any documents of value to upload to them, so would love not to have to buy a membership just to see the pdf.) If you could reload the documentation to the linked page, I would appreciate it very much.

          Mike from Shreveport

          1. Thank you very much for the notice. I will fix this tomorrow – as well as adding links to my other articles that points to another download source than Scribd. And thanks for the nice acknowledgment.

  4. Hi. I’ve just studied Mind Maps, so it seems to me that HyperList with its tree structure can be used in Mind Maps applications. Of course, HyperList is more precise so its item modifiers would have to be used in order not to loose precision.
    I’m just solving capturing and organization of a lot of information and so these FreePlan using Hyperlist is a good candidate. Another is Zim.

      1. Well, so far I’ve used mainly quantifiers. Otherwise I built a map that seemed self-describing enough to me (maybe it would be not for another) and where I need a note, I wrote a note because FreePlan allows to write notes to the nodes. I user OR construction several times to find out I didn’t need it in my mind map. But I can imagine cases where I couldn’t go without AND / OR constructions.

          1. I too am interested in mind maps, and would be interested in any developments with HyperlList along those lines. But I have not been overly pleased with the Mind Map software I have used in the past; it doesn’t seem as useful as I’d like, overall. But there is a related type of mind map called a Fuzzy Cognitive Map, invented by neurophysicist Bart Kosko and described in his excellent book, “Fuzzy Thinking”.

            My devious plan is to interest you in reading this book so that you will also desire to implement Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs), which I will then be able to use in Vim. FCMs are able to describe and predict complex events and test for the consistency of a set of ideas, as well as describe and predict how a system will change according to the relative cause/effect fuzzy values in the connections between the node ot this FCM. He envisions them as potentially being a standard construct for comparing models of how causation propagates in systems to better identify what is going on. This would allow us to better understand how changes in one part of a system affect other parts, as well as the global effects.


            I hope that you find this interesting as I do.

            1. Very interesting. I will look into this. This could be the next level for HyperList.

              Are you a programmer?

  5. Thanks so much for replacing the pdf. In answer to your question,yes–I used to program many many years ago. I’m interested in getting back to it, but only as a hobby at this point. All the languages I learned back then are pretty useless to me now, though. I have an interest in Lisp/Scheme/Python, but definitely need to work on my chops.

    It would be amazing if HyperList’s next level could be an implementation of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps. That would be a very powerful and exciting possibility! Let me know if you’d like to bounce any ideas around.


    1. I ordered the book from Amazon. Tell me if you’d like to work with a HyperList parser as a programming challenge as you get up to speed with (insert any language here) 🙂

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