New user feedback

Hi, I’ve been using Scapple for a few weeks and I think it’s wonderful. Here is an unsolicited list of things I think are not so good or should be improved. Apologies if these items are possible, but I simply haven’t realised or found the relevant section in the manual.

‘z’ is a poor default choice for zooming, or indeed any action. When zoomed out, clicking cmd to select multiple nodes is a natural action and it may not be apparent that one’s changes are simply being undone. As long as ‘z’ is the default key for zoom, I won’t be the last person to make this mistake.

The inability to style connections makes boards unnecessarily cluttered. For example, wide but low contrast lines are an effective way of visualising long distance connections that can be easily followed without adding too much noise to the board.

The inability to specify the location of a connection label results in some unwanted and unnecessary note shuffling to ensure labels are visible.

Similarly, the inability to curve connections results in unwanted note shuffling to ensure sufficient distance between connections.

When selecting a note its connections should be highlighted. This would make it easy to view its related notes when zoomed out. On a large board where long distance connections may exist between notes, their relationship is lost all too easily (by being difficult to see).

The ability to assign keyboard shortcuts to specific tasks would be nice. I find myself aligning edges a lot and doing so via the context menus is mildly tedious.

The current search implementation does not reflect the visual nature of Scapple. A zoomed out, all-hits-highlighted, search would be a good fit.

I’m unable to reason about the behaviour of the cursor keys. The progression of items makes no sense to me (at least on the boards I’m using).

Neither undo nor redo focus on the relevant item, allowing destructive actions to proceed without feedback.

Renaming the default note styles probably shouldn’t require me to select such a style note beforehand - it is an orthogonal action.

Thanks for reading.


Thanks for the feedback! I think a few of these can be handled via alternate approaches to what you’ve been trying:

  • To modify selections while zoomed out, use the Shift key and marquee drag. Shift in general is an alternative to command clicking in Scapple—and I would say a good habit to get into using, since it does couple with marquee dragging while command clicking does not.
  • Connection highlighting: while the connection line itself cannot be highlighted, notes connected to the current selection can be added to the selection, with Edit ▸ Select ▸ Connected Notes (⇧⌘A). And there is also a variant that will recursively do so. For in-between cases: repeat the connect notes selection function the desired number of times.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: no Mac program needs to have a custom keyboard customisation interface built for it, because all Mac programs can be customised at the operating system level.
  • General answer on connector styling: perhaps some day; it has been stated in the past that we might take a look into colours and drawing styles. But at this time there aren’t any immediate plans for that. I would myself say that the design of Scapple promotes a sparser, more emphatic use of connectors than some other programs. I see a lot of people spamming connections between everything, as if a node shouldn’t exist without one, but Scapple really encourages other ways of association—I think that much is clear from how lines have no management, no styling, no appearance controls, outside of arrows or not arrows.
  • Cursor selection: there is not a really good way of handling this given the freeform nature of the software. Movement within a Stack is given priority, after that, selection is determined by the proximity in that chosen selection, along the entire axis in that direction. So if you have a triangle of notes, with the current selection on the right note and hit the left arrow key, the action will select the top note, which is the nearest note in the leftward direction.
  • Undo focus: this is a little complicated by how not every action that can be undone has an obvious selection target—but if I had to guess it might be that the undo code provided by the system does select what is undone nor provide that information to the software. We can take a look into that though.
  • Renaming without redefining: if you can think of a better way of handling that let us know. I don’t think dragging a note out from the style panel and then right-clicking to redefine/rename from that note is too much of a bother though. It avoids extra interface and multiple routes, while providing a route to other uses of that same mechanism.