Additional 'pop up' text on hover?

Apologies if this capability exists and I just haven’t discovered it yet, but I would love to see a feature which would allow additional descriptive text for each note which would be hidden from view until a mouse pointer ‘hover over’ or some similar action. It’s a fairly common technique used in many programs. I think adding that feature to Scapple would make it more valuable. I’d like to add that I’ve just begun to use Scapple and I need to offer my congrats and thanks to the designers and developers. Such an elegant concept! Where has it been?

Dick Keaton

It is doubtful that this would see implementation, because most of Scapple’s “philosophy” is behind the stance that all of your information should be presented equally, flat and incapable of being squirrelled away in nested groups and so on. Having meta-data that is essentially invisible, obscured from the plain working area, would go against that principle. You’re right, it’s a fairly common technique, but Scapple is here to challenge some common assumptions. :slight_smile: One is: you should be putting your descriptive text on an equal plane to the primary, because evidently the primary is not good enough on its own grounds to describe itself. Knowing that may lead to refining the primary so that it can describe itself—just the type of inspiration Scapple is meant to inspire.

Thanks for the kludge but hopefully serious consideration will be given to resolving this. For windows users the extendable canvas is fairly common now e.g. in visio and onenote. The first three minutes of this video on visio describe the concept fairly well. Note the reference to a “smart canvas” as well which is part of the implementation whereby the canvas automatically contracts after editing to remove unused space from an extended canvas.

I don’t think we are talking about the same thing, pottster. What I’m describing isn’t a “kludge”, it’s the way the software is meant to be used, and the types of thinking it is meant to encourage. Neither the original request nor my response has much to do with the technical or intuitive nature of an expanding canvas (which is, yes, another crucial component of Scapple’s design).

Apologies, replied to wrong post. Now redirected.

One other mechanism I’ve seen in the last couple of years to try to get us to rethink how information is created and presented is shown by Prezi – where there’s no flyovers or anything like that, but you can zoom into and out of and rotate and move across the canvas as you desire in order to group the information in the way you need to. I get where Scapple is coming from and having a design concept is a good thing, but my worry is that I will find this too rigid for long-term use.

It’s an interesting experiment, though, and it’s certainly stretching both my brain and my meta-thinking about my creative process!

Yeah, see how it goes. I don’t think Scapple aspires to be anything like Prezi. That looks like a neat thing, but this is more for the types of thinking you do that really don’t need to be recorded in a publication sense, or immediately turned into a work of art. It just needs to be rough, quick, simple and as close as it is possible to do so, work at the speed of thought. You weren’t making something, you were thinking. That’s what Scapple is. :slight_smile: You can use it for other things as well of course, but the further you go into “presentation” land, or even into super-visualisation land like flowcharts and formal diagrammes, the more friction you’ll run into. Because, ultimately Scapple’s question is: why are we using these tools, which are better for doing other things entirely with their features and ideology, to do this? They do too much to let you just think clearly and record as much of it down as necessary to preserve the thought. Think of using this software as a kind of modern shorthand.

I get what you’re saying, but the point is: if you put your thoughts about something right down next to it, maybe draw a line between them, then you can’t avoid that compound thought. If something takes more than one thought to express, then it should have those components on display, not hidden into meta-data. For this stage of thinking, it is not yet useful to start squirrelling data away into pockets. This is when everything needs to be out, warts and all. Split, merge, stack, throw stuff around, make a mess, and get your ideas cemented. Then you can quibble about what this looks like, spend time in a drawing program if you need to present it, turn it into a complex data model using the best tools for that—whatever you need to do with it ultimately, all we need to succeed at doing is providing you with an empty page you can easily fill.

That’s where this is coming from, anyway. Take that and use it as you will!


Thanks for the response and the in-depth explanation. I think I understand your position, and I fully support it. The ‘flat’ relationship idea of all noted information is what makes Scapple unique, and I think, ultimately, extremely useful. However, I think what I propose would not violate your design philosophy, but instead, would only enhance the utility of Scapple. What I’m suggesting is something like a small, ‘tweet-like’, fixed-length, ‘hidden until hovered over’ field for simple, explanatory text that may not be easily derived and noted, at the moment of first inception, without needlessly consuming canvas space and possibly interrupting a creative, free-flowing thought process. I believe this would make Scapple even more useful, because, in addition to dramatically conserving screen space, a typical user could quickly create a note, jot down very basic ‘reminder’ text, continue while his or her creative juices are flowing at max speed, and then re-visit this creative masterpiece at a later (closely following) time to add any brief explanatory text to make his or her brainchild more easily comprehensible when re-visited a day or two, or a week or two, downstream. It seems to me that this capability would allow for much more easily and quickly referenced data (notes) to be placed on the finite landscape of our respective screens, and would help to provide for and nurture our respective creative processes.

There, that’s it; my last appeal. I hope you reconsider, but if you don’t, I’ll only be heartbroken for a little while.

Dick Keaton

I think there are some tools in Scapple that already kind of do what it is you are wanting to do with meta-tags or description fields. Yes, there is a space expense cost, but with an infinite board that doesn’t really matter too much. What we do have quite a bit of is control over the appearance of notes. These tools are not there to make things pretty, they are there to take on the burden of meaning, to become symbols basically. When you set something to “Green Bubble”, to take one of our example note styles, that can mean “this is important to review later”—just to provide one simple workflow example. A simple style that merely adds a red border to notes could be used to signify the topics you intend to review the next day, for another example. For things that do need to be said, rather than symbolised into an appearance scheme, the “Faded” option on notes can come in handy for separating core parts of the idea with the auxiliary “meta” parts of the structure, being light grey instead of black (you can adjust how grey, if you prefer to keep them more easily legible). Yes, that does add “space” to the idea, but like I said at the top, when the canvas can expand as big as it needs to, then from there one can go into larger-scale organisation, like putting huge section text notes down so that you can read these titles while zoomed far out (there is where the ‘Z’ key comes in really handy), and know where to go. There is a lot of room for expression in the tools you have available.

That is why I feel an embedded notation system is a bit redundant. The software already elegantly handles annotation in a number of ways. They are all visual, and all the sort of thing that can develop naturally for each new board you bring up, in response to its unique topography.

Instead of having additional info display on hover or clutter the diagram the supplementary information in faded or another format, my suggestion would be to put the additional information on a ‘lower level’ scapple diagram by using a hyperlink the ‘lower level’ scapple file.

In the current version this works OK if the lower level file isn’t already open as clicking the hyperlink open the file. If the file is already open, instead of bringing that window the foreground, clicking the hyperlink opens a new blank window.

This idea would be assisted by having a tabbed window interface in a single instance of scapple, rather than the current one windows per file interface.

Thanks for the catch; I’ve filed a bug report for this.


Thanks again for taking the time to respond so definitively. I give. Seriously, I think you’ve enlightened me significantly, and it looks like I can accomplish what I need (at least the most important functionality) with the included features of Scapple. I’m looking forward to becoming more proficient with Scapple. It appears, so far, to be another great product, conceived in the twisted minds of those people you keep hidden in the padded cells at L&L.

Thanks one last time, or at least until my next annoying question,
Dick Keaton

I have figured out a way to do this

My canvas is completely black in colour

Choose/create a note, In the Inspector the “Faded” box is ticked and the note I want to hide is “Sent To Back” upon rolling over with cursor the box is faintly highlighted, click the note and its in the background, click it again its bright and to the front.

Heh heh heh, well done MarkyBB. You cheated and passed the “no metatag” Kobayashi Maru.