Locking Background Shapes on the Canvas?

Is there a way to lock/anchor specific background shapes to particular spots on your Canvas?

If not, maybe it would be a useful feature to add. Here’s why I think that’s so: If you’re looking to create a couple of visual dividers on your Canvas, but you want things to be free form inside of each quadrant, locking the backgrounds might help you avoid unintentionally moving the backgrounds when you are moving the notes inside of them, etc.

Then, if you later want to move an entire background and any notes it contains, you can just unlock it at that point.

If your primary intention here is to block a board into quadrants, a better approach would be to make your four shapes as small as they can go, turn off borders so they are invisible “dots”, and connect them with lines. So basically you would connect a top and bottom “dot” to make a vertical line, and a left and right “dot” to form your horizontal line, than arrange them in a cross position to mark out the quadrants. You’ll still want to make sure to avoid dragging the line itself, but it’s quite a bit more difficult to do that accidentally, than a large area behind everything.

This would be an amazing feature. They mentioned on Twitter that they’re considering adding it! twitter.com/eli_schiff/status/4 … 6700419072

For me, I want to annotate sections of a drawing - the only way I have found to do this is to create a background with an absurdly large right and bottom border, then put the notes around the drawing, linking to an ‘empty’ (containing a space and no border) note in the right place on the diagram.

This allows me to position the lines coming from a point on the drawing, and link to notes around the edge. Absolute pain that I can’t print or export reliably as the background image moves in relation to the notes. So, (on the Mac), I do a screen shot to capture the diagram and notes in the right place, then send that out.

If you could stack things and have lines coming over the top of an image that was ‘behind’ the current layer then I would love it.

Drawing on pictures is a job for a program more dedicated to image manipulation. There are a lot of simple, easy to learn tools for this, many are even free. Additionally, in Mac OS X 10.10 there will be a fairly universal image “mark up” utility. We’ll try to interface with that if it is feasible (there are some issues with editing images that are embedded inside other formats at the moment, but I suspect these are mainly beta OS bugs).

I agree - and I have Adobe’s Creative Suite to do exactly that.

Now for the “but” …

But … (told you) … I have to present concepts, ideas, production notes, sketches, outlines and so on: the joys of being someone that designs things for a living. Sometimes the ability to add comments linked to specific parts of a diagram within a brainstorming session proves invaluable. Illustrator and the like do this perfectly well, but take a lot of time to do a very simple job - I get lost in switching tools to add text and then worry about anchor points … and so on.

To clarify ‘wot I mean guv’, see the attached. The workflow’s a little cumbersome, but still quicker than Illustrator or Photoshop. Drag the image into Photoshop and extend the canvas to create the background image. Add to Scapple as a background. Then double click and type, double click and put a space in the reference point (the headlight, for example), then link the ‘space’ node to the text.

Upside: I can annotate quickly and accurately.

Downside: I can only screen-shot the result as no form of export keeps the image locked in place (relative to the text and ‘space’ nodes).

(P.S. You can use other soft drinks to replace hot liquids - Fanta is only one of many possible solutions)

Okay, I see what you are going for better here. It’s a text-heavy form of image mark up, and so naturally a text oriented program like Scapple is appealing for the task, over something so detailed that it can treat text as vector graphics. :slight_smile:

I’ll put in a suggestion for locking images (and maybe anything) somehow “to the background”. I don’t feel that goes against the principle of the software, though Keith may not agree, so we’ll see. Thanks for the feedback, all!

I can think of a few… not best suited for driving, however.

Thanks lots. I do this a lot - from defining flow for animations through to discussing particular merits of a ‘thing’. It will really help as I could then have several images on the one sheet.

Passing thought - the lock to background needs to allow the lines/text to flow over the image for this to be any real use. In effect, send to background and layer over the top. I guess that’s where Keith may object as I have seen some resistance to ‘layer’ principles for Scapple in the forum.

I’ll keep my finger’s crossed and hope that by saying “Keith’s a wonderful and kind individual”, that might sway him towards supporting this feature!

Thanks again.

+1 Locking note/shape to background is a very welcome feature. Since (in Scapple) object position on canvas conveys meaning, accidental displacements hinder a workflow. And I experienced this a lot.

Yes, in fact having it occupy a background layer is precisely how I wrote it up. In a traditional vector program you wouldn’t want to constrain locking to being to a particular “layer”, but I think it is appropriate here. There is in fact a background layer in the program—Shapes occupy it. So depth is used when it makes sense to.

I’d love to be able to lock items as well. I’m using Scapple as a “This Week” calendar. I have large M Tu W Th F Sat Sun text blocks on the top and very faint vertical dividing lines (as well as delineated areas for “unscheduled”, “upcoming” and “invoice”. It would be wonderful to be able to lock down the days, dividing lines and the three other areas, so my tasks and notes can move around freely without danger of affecting locked items (moving or connecting).

Scapple’s beauty (part of it) is its simplicity, I know, but a little bit of locking would be so helpful.

Thank you!

Thank you, this has already been filed to the list of possible future features, no need to continue “voting” for it. :wink:

Thank you AmberV ! :smiley:

Hello everyone! I am looking for the same feature, as in my case I would like to put a background image to do visual mapping.

Could you consider to actually implement a lock command?

Thanks :smiley:

I use miro.com for everything related to image annotation.
I just found scapple because I use DEVONthink and they sent out a summerfest notice so I was looking at the partners. I keep looking for an offline way to store visual notes and Scapple looked interesting.

My experience:
With Scapple, I tried pasting an image url and I ended up with text.
I tried pasting the image and then tried to create a note on top of it and I can’t.
I tried dragging a note I created next to the image and instead of dropping it where I want, it makes a link…

Frustrated… I would like to have an offline miro experience but this isn’t what I am experiencing…


  • Paste images or PDFs or Docs (video and audio not yet supported) except embedded like youtube
  • Paste web site or PDF or Image or Doc URL and the document is imported as image to Miro for annotation.
  • Search for text on your board
  • Type text anywhere
  • Precise arrows that are easy to draw and format
  • Export to PDF or to RTB format or image


  • It would be nice if it could read the RTB format from miro and import
  • Would be nice if it could feel like miro in terms of object manipulation
  • Would obviously be nice to overlap objects and group them so you can create your own objects
  • Ability to make text link (like miro to urls) but also to applications like DEVONthink or use Hook Productivities linking system so that the drawing can send the user directly to the app by opening the link.

I think if you have a 4k monitor, Miro just blows the doors off of any other application out there. But I would love for somebody to prove me wrong. It’s so fast and flexible for taking notes on anything that it is just my go to application for keeping track of any workflow that must be done in steps. Basically, you can use miro to document any procedure because you never run out of space left and right and you can always zoom to add more details. It keeps a log of each step chronologically and you can walk back through it. If that means multiple people have edited something, you see the order it was done. Just beautiful.

I have placed some of my experience on a miro board so as to help push this idea a bit further for those that were hoping it was implemented years ago…

Here’s the link to my board

I have locked all of my edits on the whiteboard so they cannot be modified.

However, so that you can play with the board and understand my frustrations with Scapple, I have turned on Edit mode.

This will allow anybody (without paying for Miro) to comment on my experience and to draw their own lines and objects and see how miro works in comparison to Scapple.

I hope this helps to show what I would like to experience in Scapple.

Thank you for your assistance.

We see Scapple as primarily a planning tool for writers. It does not attempt to be a general purpose image annotation tool.

I should point out, I was able to find a way to annotate (sort of).
What you can do is create your text and then use the keyboard commands to move the text.
You type M to enter movement mode.
Then you can use the arrow keys.
cmd+shift and shift modifier keys on the arrow keys will make the movements larger.

It seems to me, we just need to

  1. Add a mouse modifier mode that prevents creating a link on drag. Turn off the linking.
  2. Add some other object types (circles, triangles, lines, squares)
  3. Add transparency coloring

If that was available, it would be pretty close to functionality with basic drawing on miro.

Not sure it will feel as fluid as miro, but perhaps that is a study that the developers have to consider doing at some point because there are lots of drawing apps, but to make drawing fluid so that the mouse feels like you and the program are one unit working together is an art. Miro got it right.

This may give you useful ideas (thanks to Bernard Davis):