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Do you know a simple way to do personal note taking where I can have tables which I edit in the original layout? Basically like Excel with columns and rows, rather than some Wiki markup syntax where it's hard so see which columns I'm in. It would be good to sort and filter the columns. I'd like to use a system more lightweight than a complete Excel file.

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I get your point that you don't want to use Excel. But what's exactly wrong with it, the prize, the installation size, the startup time? Does using Google Docs fix Excels flaws? – 0x6d64 Jun 22 '12 at 17:11
Sometimes the prize because it isn't installed on all machines I might use. The start-up time also. Moreover an alternative solution might offer integration with other markup besides tables. Like text, bullet points, images, tree navigation etc. – Gerenuk Jun 22 '12 at 17:56
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Aibase can do this. You have SVG surface for editing. The software just got an update. Now it seems possible to throw python-scripts at all tables to manipulate data. Still have to check this out in detail, but looks like a huge feature for project, data, knowledge management.

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Looks interesting and Python is cool :) – Gerenuk Jun 23 '12 at 16:39

Evernote lets you include tables in a note. They're more like Word tables than spreadsheet cells (i.e. not interactive), but if table layout is what you're looking for, it may work for you.

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Noteliner can help you organize text notes in hierarchical structure, the editing interface also enable you to fold/unfold each level of the note-tree and drill-in/roll-up between different levels.

Besides that it does support inline table editing (without filtering/ordering capability). I revisited its official website just now and found that it supports "gantt chart" editing now. But in my memory it does not support embeded image. (I might be wrong, so check it for yourself.)

The tool is written in Visual C++, and require .NET framework 2.0.

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