I’ve been researching/testing virtual index card software, because the one in Scrivener is too primitive for my needs, and the storyline tool in Writer’s Cafe is a bit clunky (cannot do simple swapping between cards with one move). I’ve been testing Text Block Writer (too primitive), Super Notecard (pretty good), and Writer’s Blocks (advanced but ridiculously expensive).
I’m now wondering if there’s a way to use Scapple like a virtual index card software.
The features I need in a virtual index card software are:
-Able to customize the GUI’s color (can’t stand bright/white backgrounds).
-Able to customize the cards’ size, font size, background fill color, font color, etc.
-Able to do simple swapping action if I drag a card on top of another, instead of merely inserting a card before or after another card.
-Able to customize layout so I can have columns or rows, each dedicated to a separate subplot in the story.
Scapple has the basic appearance controls in your list, but there’s no way to swap notes the way you describe. Dragging and dropping one note onto another links them together, in Scapple. To change their positions you’d need to manually move them around, and if they’re different sizes that could entail further adjustments in their new positions to organise them with the other notes in the area. There are various commands–align, distribute, stack, make same width–that would let you tidy things quickly, but it’s not all done automatically.
Scapple is intentionally freeform, so there aren’t grids or columns or rows; all of that needs to be created by you, using the different menu options to arrange the notes as you like. There are a lot of shortcuts to make this easy, and to let you create new notes aligned as you want based on the previous. Ctrl+Enter creates a new note stacked beneath the previous, so you get a nice column that way; Alt+Left and Alt+Right will create a new connected note to the side of the current note, etc. So yes, you certainly could have your notes arranged in columns or rows; you could have them in a circle if you wanted. They won’t snap automatically into place, but the tradeoff is more flexibility and freedom.
Whether that’s worthwhile to you or not only you can judge. There’s a 30-days-of-use trial for Scapple, so I’d download that and play around with it–read through the QuickStart Guide, dump a bunch of notes in, and try out some arrangements and see how the commands work. You can get some pretty neat looking maps out of it (if I can find the link, I’ll point you to some cool screenshots users shared that I’m basing that comment on), but I don’t know if it’s what you’re looking for.
EDIT: I can’t remember where the screenshot thread is that I’m thinking of–probably it wasn’t a thread, just various individual posts–but anyway, there’s a user example at the end of the intro vid here that shows a highly structured Scapple map. More vertical connections than I think you’re going for, but it demonstrates that a rigid layout like that is possible.
I have tried Scapple before, but as a mindmapping tool. I just gave it another try using your suggestions, and I think the swapping and inserting between “cards” is inherently a very structured mechanism and not what Scapple was designed for. I think I’ll have to continue to look for the best virtual index card software that does exactly what I need. I like Writer’s Blocks the most, but it’s so damn expensive.