Future options


Using every day Scapple, I had some new ideas that will be nice to implement in future versions.

  1. change the default link style between objects.
    I think having the arrow link as default could be much more appropriate in terms of clarity when reading
    a schema.

  2. have the possibility of defining personal stylings for objects.
    For exemple, all of my second level objects need to be 12px, green background, bold. At present, I need to select every time all of these style options for every second level object. Time consuming.
    It will be great if in the inspector window we could have 3 or more style bottons that can be personalized
    for applying a certain style.

  3. When generating an RTF file from a schema, hierarchy is maintained. So I suppose Scapple knows for exemple that element A is on level 1, elements B and C are on level 2 (related to element A), and so on. So could you add an option to automatically style (option to be activated or not by user) elements depending on their hierarchy level? I mean styling in the schema (and why not when exporting).

Probably mixing a bit of proposition 2 and 3 will be even better. Creating automatic styling for levels based on user definitions.


Thanks for the feedback! I’ll answer in order:

  1. This can already basically be done by holding down the Option key while dragging. It may feel strange at first, but you get used to it.
  2. You can already do this. The Format/Note Style/ sub-menu is there for you to make your own system. The ones we provide (red bubble and all that) are just examples. You can even change them to your own for the defaults in new boards, in the General preference tab.
  3. Actually Scapple has no concept of levels. If you are arranging things into a layer cake, that’s something you are doing entirely with human visual conventions. You could also use Scapple to draw a big circle of notes, with a smiley face in the middle. In either case, Scapple is unaware of your hierarchical convention or of the smiley face. :slight_smile: So that kind of puts a damper on the style-by-level bit as well. This is a freeform thinking tool, meant more to suggest paper and pencil or a blackboard, not a rigid systematic “mind-mapping” tool like you may have encountered before.

Thank you Amber for your answers.

  1. yes, I saw that there is a shortcut to make arrows. But why not less user decide for default link form? In the future.

  2. GREATE. I never knew it was possible.

  3. You are right, levels are not respected. And I must say the logic of exporting is quit strange (see pictures)
    Scapple graph.png

Scapple export to rtf.png

  1. NEW–> is there a way to keep elements in the Background shape? It seems it’s only a graphical thing. I would like it to act as a real container. Is that possible?

Thank you.

Since everything is flat, guesses must be made about the order of things in your output. The instructions behind these guesses are described in §9.2.1 The Order of Things, in the user manual PDF, starting at the bottom of page 63.

There isn’t anything that will make it “act like a real container”, but you can achieve a similar effect by selecting the shape and using the Notes/Magnetic menu command (Shift-Cmd-M or as a checkbox in the Inspector). Unlike a container, shapes can “claim” notes that only partially overlap it (notes can overlap more than one shape, for fuzzy declarations), and when you move a shape “under” other notes, it will pick them up when you move it again. So it’s really entirely different than true containers, but like I say, you can kind of achieve the same effect if you use them very strictly.

Have you gone through the QuickStart Guide yet, from the Help menu?

Why do you want me to read the quick start guide when it is so nice to exchange with you? :mrgreen:

Ok, I’ll try the magnetic option.

Regarding the export we talked about, I don’t believe software guess things.
It’s all about algorithms. The strange thing is that the export order is not based on alphabetical order nor position in diagram and not on creation time. Maybe you developers give every new item an internal number based on a random sequence? I’m only asking by curiosity, no practical reasons.

Thank you.

Ha, well I was just wondering because the magnetic option is one of two bullet points under the Background Shapes section. :slight_smile:

Notes are not internally date stamped. If you’re curious, the .scap file is a simple XML format that is human-readable. There is a random ID supplied to every note (using UUID), but that isn’t used for export ordering. The algorithm isn’t tuned to try and find “levels” in the traditional parent-child expanding tree sense. It works more on clustering and grouping (stacks and shapes). One thing that may help is to know that link distance is more important than any radial or step patterns.

Hi Amber,

Wait, what? Link distance? I see two possible meanings for that: 1) hierarchy (but you said it was not a parent/child relation) 2) the drowned line length between two notes (seems to me a non sense).

So you confirme there is a UUID for every note, which would explain the export order.

I still think that adding one day a relation parent/child of n levels could be a good idea. If you used FreeMind, you know it has a nice option of exporting as HTML page, showing the graph structure in text only mode, i.e. parent/child relations.

Have a nice day :wink:

UUID has nothing to do with export order. The export rules are all described in the section that I referred to above, in the user manual. By distance I mean it literally, if two notes are connected to one, the note that is nearest will be first. You should be able to observe this by manipulating the lengths of the lines to influence order:


The algorithm is not perfect, but there is no perfect solution here. This is a good example, because it demonstrates that cluster proximity has a higher priority than linear sequencing (A-D-B-C). The best we can do is “guess” and let you sort things out after you export if necessary, because stuff like this is equally possible and just as likely:

[size=80]Yup, still A-D-C-B[/size]

And yes, I’ve used Freemind, and Xmind, and Novamind, and iThoughts, and Inspiration, and Curio, and probably several other visual outlining programs, otherwise commonly known as mind-mapping programs. The whole point of Scapple was to get away from the parent-child way of thinking and encourage a more abstract approach to capturing your ideas. Whether or not that works for you is a personal matter, but changing the program to act like yet another mind-mapping program would turn into something a whole lot of people have adopted this program to get away from (never mind why it was designed and programmed in the first place). :slight_smile:

Wow! Thank you again for your time answering.
But I must say it is a strange idea to use distance between notes as an ordering output.
And (only to get you mad), if you are using distance between notes, it mean that somewhere in the software the concept of parent/child already exists. Maybe in a future version it will be possible to exploit it differently (like adding a child-level-variable).

I think the real difference between our points of view is that, for you at Scapple the software is made for quick thoughts taking; but I’m using it in a different way: I resume books with it, like a “real” brain-mind-storming application. So instead of writing long sentences in a Word document (or Scrivener that I have also), I create links between concepts.
Book>>Chapter 1>> main idea>> sub ideas>> sub sub ideas… Chapter 2 and so on.
That is why my schemas usually contains more than 200/300 notes.
That is why hierarchy is so important to me.

And after reading some other user’s posts, I think I’m not the only one to consider Scapple as more than a simple ideas taking software.

But it’s a great program, nothing to say.