Can we have at least one Mind-map type Import / Export option?

Can we have at least one Mind-map type Import / Export option?

Hi. I bought this yesterday to import some mindmaps I have from freemind and also simplemind on my android devices. So I could import them into Scrivener which I also bought yesterday.

PDF import: imports it as a little graphic, basically useless.
TXT import: imports as one chunk, even when ticking separate into separate items. Worse, relations are totally lost, hence useless.

Scapple needs at least one mindmap format that Imports/EXports:

1) Items properly as units/nodes
2) Keeps their relationships and/or connections

any one of the following formats would be a start given they do the above 2 functions without which any mindmap file is useless:

(generic and best choice)

SVG (if having those 2 functions abilities)

If you can do those 2 functions with an html format import/export, then that would be great too.

Some sort of functioning import/export standard used widely (not Scapple’s own format) is really essential as major mindmap software have recognised.


That should be working, but you have to tune it to work with the file you’re importing. There is no such thing as a node in a text file, of course, so you need to check on what is being used to separate them (it might even just be one single carriage return) and then supply that into the separator field.

By the way since you have Scrivener, you can already turn .mm and .opml files into objects that can be imported into Scapple. It’s not something you’d want to establish as a workflow obviously, but using a quick temporary project to populate the binder with nodes and then drag and dropping those nodes into a Scapple board could be viable for some types of work that aren’t too heavily dependent upon hierarchical or visual states to express themselves fully. I’m not sure what that would give you over a text file though.

As for why Scapple itself doesn’t do that: it was a scope+expectation decision. Despite the superficial similarities, the underlying concept of how data is organised differs from mind-mapping software, to the point of being considered conceptually incompatible—like turning a text file into an image, you could do it, but you’ll lose what it means to have text. So given that conceptual limitation, along with the whole “this is a cheap utility meant to replace scratch paper”, it didn’t make sense to pour a lot of time into mind-mapping integration that would ultimately not even satisfy most people, who would mistake it for direct compatibility. As noted above, this approach wouldn’t provide a whole lot over what a simple text file with separators can already do.

Might not always be that way, to be clear—but even if we do put a lot of time into this, you shouldn’t expect it to be very clean or something you could round-trip.

Thanks for your reply.

It did not separate on a few items. Fine tuning for each import will take longer than copy/paste chunks of txt.

Anything, hierarchical or relationships between nodes or ANYTHING would be good. Not just import a txt chunk or a big pdf as a tiny graphics, both useless. Thanks for letting me know about .mm .opml import in Scrivener. That should mean those import functions should have been built into Scapple too, which is the natural app for them. Can not understand why they are not supported in Scapple too, their natural home!

If it is just a scratch paper app, then there are many free/open source ones which are scratch paper too. Even Windows Paint app which has been around for ovewr 30 years does that. But that is not how scapple is marketed and described. We can talk about a million possible features or avenues of development or as you say “it didn’t make sense to pour a lot of time into mind-mapping integration”. But that is not what the OP request is, really. All I am saying, is give us a single format for import/export, from those formats please. Just one file format that works, not complete integration with any class of apps or AI etc.

Anything, even if it works some of the time. will be a start, or at least shows some intent or basis for future work. It will sell a lot more Scapple, if that helps. I need to crystallise my request even more than the current specific pithy OP, perhaps, give me a minute.

Thanks again for your time to reply.

Can we have either opml or mm file_format for import/export, please? Just one. Thanks.

My point was that it would not give you those things, because those things do not exist in the same form that they do in mind-mapping software or at all. Thus the only coherent thing we could do with a mind-mapping file would be to import a big tall flat list of notes, just like .txt with separators. If we spend a bunch of time and effort getting right back to where we started, that’s not exactly a great use of time.

Because Scrivener is the one that is much closer to these mind-maps, and houses an information structure that is “natural” to a mind-map. It is the one that expresses information in a large hierarchical tree of nodes, where each node is capable of expressing one parent concept and many child concepts. In Scapple the best you could do along those lines is draw what looks like hierarchy according to your own personal human expectations for what hierarchy looks like. As I said: a blackboard, scratch paper.

So no, we obviously disagree with you in that Scapple “should” have these formats built in. We have the code laying around, we deliberately did not use it for import even though we did use it for export—maybe just maybe there is a solid and good reason for that. :slight_smile:

Correct it is not described as a raster image editing program, but it is also not described as mind-mapping software either, so I’m not sure where you meant to go with that illustration.

Thanks for your reply.

I think you are being selective to what you reply to and even then evading the main points. Here is a few points:

# If the hierarchy or other connections can not be done, ANYTHING is better than nothing as I said. If only nodes can be imported in many file cases, or whatever percentage, then it is better than nothing. I said anything, at least it shows intent and a basis to build on as I said also. I did not ask for either a perfect import with all the nodes and connections and bells and whistles or nothing in every single case. Not at all as can be read above, not being an absolutist, any effort as I said will be appreciated.

# If you are being an absolutist about foolproof imports in all cases or nothing at all as presently, then that is also false as imports into Scrivener are also not 100% in all cases. So that is a self contradiction of positions and current practice with the main product.

# Scapple not being a mindmap, as you say? That is like someone saying I have been drinking at least a bottle of Vodka every single day for years and I can stop anytime but choose not to do so, but I am not an alcoholic. Lets see what Scapple definition says:

What is Scapple?
Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.

For sanity’s sake, if we asked sane tech literate people what is: “make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows”? What do you think they say? If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it is what is, a mindmap, as many posts here testify mentioning mindmap functions of scapple. Text nodes connected as required via lines. In fact the choice of straight dotted lines or arrows as it officially says makes it a hardcore super-duper extremist hardlined evangelical advanced form of a mindmap. As Seinfeld said to George “Not it? That is the definition of it!”. I beg you lets stop this and get back to reality, lets not pretend to be mindmap deniers. Text nodes connected by lines, sp. various line forms, is a mindmap.

# If mm or opml can be imported into scriv but not scapple, why not give it to us? Saying scapple is not the natural place to import mindmaps but scriv is (with varying degrees of success, better than nothing), is like saying do not import your graphic files into photoshop to play with, use MS Word instead. ANYWAY, if the import engine code is done for scriv, please please please just port it onto scapp too? Even if it will not work 100% in all cases as in scriv? Please, please please?

OK lets assume we are on planet Zorg and mindmaps do not exist but Scapple does (which to an earthling is the same thing). But lets say as you claim it is not. Can we stop these discussions about the number of angels on the head of a pin and just give us either an opml or mm import/export on Scapple as already on Scrivener, please? Many of us have old files and any degree of import succes would be good and many of us do mindamps on android devices etc. It would be good if an effort is made, much appreciated. Thanks.

No, this is not true. This is not how the creators of mindmaps define them and this is not what software that markets itself as “for mindmapping” provides. (See also Tony Buzan’s page, here:

Mindmaps, by definition, are hierarchical. Scapple drawings are not, and therefore there is no obvious conversion path between the two.


Mindmaps ARE hierarchial and parents-children are connected by lines (which can sometimes be incisivle).

In Scapple you write text, anywhere, and you have the option to draw lines or arrows between any pieces of text in any way you want.

What I don’t understand is - if you want a mindmap, why not use a mindmap app? Why demand that Scapple should ecolve into a mindmap app?


  1. [/b]The generic common definition of mindmap is text units (nodes) connected by lines. Tony Buzan’s © “Mind Map” from decades ago is one form of it and he did not invent text nodes connected by lines which is what I refer to and others in this subforum. Whcih can probably be seen on Sumerian Cuneiform tablets probably not to mention Egyptian cartouches from many thousands of years ago. Not to mention cave drawings from tens of thousands of years ago. Ain’t this fun?

2) Even the Scapple blurb says it is not exactly a mindmap, which implies a variation of generic mindmap.

Thirdly, re: hierarchy, I repeat for the nth time, any import which NOT ONLY DISCARDS HIERARCHY but even connections in many or most cases would be welcome, even if just getting all or most nodes imported.

4) JUST AS IT IS DONE SO in Scrivener opml import which answers that non-point in a second categorical way.

5) Not to mention Scapple’s own opml export.

So please address those philosophical, non practical, objections to the devs, not me having anything to do with mindmaps, and ask them to remove it as it is incompatible with opml hierarchies. If not doing so, alllow me to talk about opml mindmaps too without being atacked for doing much less than the devs themselves.

As to why I want it:

1) I did say why in the end of my last post, for two reasons. Which I am sure applies to many others. Namely importing old files and from Android devices apps which many like me use. Further, as Scapple team on facebook said they have no immediate plans to implement on that platform.

So thanks for reading, or rather not as the case be, before correcting and asking why o why.

2) It already is in Scapple export: opml export, as I said. It is not a huge sin to ask to be able to import them even if it will not import many attributes, incl. connections (nvm hierarchy) as in Scriv which already does so imperfectly. Again if you have probs with that, be it philosophical moral ontological psychological mathematical etc., ask devs to remove those functions from the codes and manuals and blurbs, before telling me off why I dared mention them.


So I assume the answer to below request, actual OP essence, ignored by replies above:

Importing either mm or opml files for Scapple (even if imperfectly in many cases just like scrivener, losing many atts) will be considered?

Is a big fat NO.

Despite the fact that Scriv does so and Scapple exports it already. Which does not make any sense at all, as to why not import it too just like Scriv with various degrees of success wrt to atts.

OK, thanks.

I’m not the one demanding that the developers include functionality that is directly in conflict with Scapple’s underlying philosophy, you are.

The problem with an “imperfect import” is that half a solution is worse than none. The people who never wanted to import OPML files in the first place won’t care, while the people who did will scream about the inevitable conflicts between what they wanted and what they got. Scapple still won’t satisfy the people who want “real” mindmapping, and so you’ll get significant development effort and significant support load for very little user benefit.


Thank you very much for your reply Katherine. :slight_smile:

I am afraid more falsehoods, here is why:

  1. Not demanding anything, requesting, with many please please pleases… as can be seen above in black and white.

  2. If your latest fantastic accusation was correct:
    i) The team would not welcome feedback and requests. They do as can be seen in many subforums here. Just like any product forum. So more double standards and false accusations I am afraid.
    ii) People would not leave suggestions (what I did), Criticisms and feedbacks. That would be a loss.

  3. “in conflict with Scapple’s underlying philosophy” ??? Why then:
    i) Why Scrivener does it?
    ii) It exports as opml already

If you really believed in what you typed, you would be attacking the devs to remove those already built in functionalities. But of course every one reading knows you will not ask the team to remove those functionalities which are in conflict with the “underlying philosophy”. Not to mention the workaround suggested of doing it directly via scriv and skipping scapple altogether as suggested to me. I wonder why you attack me for what the devs do, in the name of defending them. Basically absurd, and an excuse, not true. QED.

That’s more like it and more frank. However:
i) it does so already in scriv
ii) imports are already not a hundred percent in many cases and formats in scriv
iii) can have a little warning in ALL IMPORTS (incl. those already built in scriv) saying not all imports nor all features are completely imported due to numerous file format versions. It already is the case in scriv.
iv) people are not stupid and will appreciate it was tried, as they already do now in scriv with various format imports. You see people as screaming angry mobs as in your own words, I see them as gentle and reasonable with common sense

As to my enumerated list of replies to your initial post, they were not answered.
Anyway I was enjoying my discussion with Amber, it was fun and informative.
I wish you all the best Katherine.

As to OP,
Q: mm or opml import attempt as in scriv?
A: No.

As to the rest:

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.


Scrivener is not Scapple. The two programs have different goals. The fact that OPML import is supported in Scrivener (which does use hierarchical structure) is irrelevant to the question of whether it should be supported in Scapple (which does not).

The gentleness and reasonableness of users who do not get what they want is not always evident in our support queue, or in this forum.


Thank you for your post.

Well as explained for the nth times, hierarchy import was not asked for. Not even connections was asked for, nor even perfect import of all nodes. Tired of repeating, please see above. So irrelevant, was not asking for that. Even partial import of nodes would have been better than nothing. Which scriv does and the code is done for that.

Other points, remain unanswered.

As to the last sentence, yes there is a minority who would be upset if any import would not function a hundred percent despite warnings. But you already have that scenario. However generalising from a view and then projecting that onto the whole of humanity or whole groups of people is a lesson some of us hoped that was learnt in WWII. Unfortunately, sweeping generalisations are once again, all the rage everywhere. However one can not say the majority of humanity does not posses gentleness or reasonableness. Just not true IMHO. Also one can project one’s own worldview and mindset onto the world and it reflects back in the same way on many levels. Does not affect reality, just one’s own. Lots of sayings too, one catches more flies with honey than vinegar, smile and the world smiles back at you, etc. etc. Also in written form, often the mood and tone can be misinterpreted based on one’s own momentary disposition.

Anyway, best wishes.

Several years ago, HP had a very good tablet, Touchpad, on flashsale at low prices. Many people incl. me and friends bought them. When we got them, I told friends, you are going to laugh at me but I am serious, the actual little USB charger is the real star. The tablet will be outdated soon but the little charger? They laughed. They stopped using the tablets years ago. The USB chargers are sought after by many online as experience and breakdowns and reviews by engineers showed it was one of the best ever.

Scriv is good. Scapple has more potential. Facebook seems to show development is basically, well as is currently for the foreseeable future. I am sure some other dev or devs, maybe even reading here, is planning the next level for this genre of software. They might even put something out as a test and for feedback.

I have many suggestions, but nvm.
All the best :slight_smile:

I was probably unclear in my question about why you wanted to import into Scapple, so I will try to be clearer.

Okay, so you have old mindmaps and Android mindmaps which you want to use on a modern Mac. Nothing mysterious about that, but why do you insist on importing into Scapple? Why not import into a mindmap app made for handling mindmaps?
If you just want to get the text into Scapple, importing txt is possible, right?

I am not questioning your need for getting access to old files etc, just bewildered by why you insist on doing it with Scapple instead of doing it with for example Mindnode or iThoughts, etc.

Because files in Scapple can be worked on further in Scapple and developed in time. Plus Scapple is integrated into Scrivener and will continue to be so more than any other app. Basically because many like me might like to use Scapple and Scrivener together for that and other good reasons, not lots of other apps you mention and scrivener.

However there might be other apps that I might look into other than Scapple considering the state of things here, particularly now. Many have great potential and lots of features already and importing into Scrivener or Rightnotes or Final Draft might be easier than from Scapple. I am making a list of features I like to see in future in some of those mindmap and writing apps.

Basically your last post is saying why use Scapple at all? Just ditch it and use other apps, like the ones you mentioned. You might have a point.

Best wishes.

No, it’s saying “why trying to use Scapple for something it’s not made for?”. I use Scapple when I need a free form canvas for jotting down notes and ideas and re-arranging them to see a pattern or sort out my thoughts, but I use iThoughts when I need a mindmap to organize things in a hierarchy. Or Cloud Outliner when I only need a quick outline and not the 2D space of iThoughts to arrange stuff on. Different apps for different purposes.

I will look into the apps you mentioned I should use instead of Scapple in your last two posts. There are many good ones.

I am not saying what you should use. Only what I am using. That’s a big difference…