OPML or Scapple and Scrivener 3

I think I’m missing something simple… I have MindNode and I’m trying to get it to import to via OPML, what I would consider, the proper places in Scrivener. I would like the OPML notes to show up in the synopsis, not the document where it seems determined to put them. It also titles the document, instead of putting that title in the Synopsis.

In Scapple, the situation is a little better, but when I drag and drop it puts the content in both places: document and synopsis.

I’m trying to use MindNode or Scapple as an outlining tool not a writing tool, so my import needs to be treated as such, but instead it treats it as a rough draft.

Am I simply doing it wrong?

You can control OPML import in preferences:

You have a choice of importing notes into synopsis, notes, or main text. For some unaccountable reason, the default is main text :smiley: but I’m with you: synopsis works better for me.

Very nice! Thank you, Silverdragon. Of course, this is Scrivener! There is always a way! :smiley:

You’re welcome!

Thank you guys!

For alerting me to this feature Id not been aware of. Id always been importing my Scapple maps as images, so this is much better.

The Mindnode route is even more powerful, because it allows a second level of content to be attached to its ‘node’ content. The content of any such ‘note’ then gets sorted separately (versus node content) during import into Scrivener, with those various options that Silverdragon mentions. Brilliant!

Curiously, while many other mind mapping apps allow the addition of a note to a node, Mindnode is only one I could find that both (1) has OPML export, and (2) enables its second-level content to be detected by Scrivener. I would be interested to hear of any other Mac apps that also do this.


iThoughtsX https://www.toketaware.com/ithoughts-osx/ It also opens Scapple files (though it won’t write to one.) It also runs on iOS, thus taking your Scapple stuff onto your iPad…

My favourite (obviously.) :smiley:

Thanks Silverdragon

I had tried that on, but could not see OPML export as an option. Now, I see how to get that going, and yes, it does sort second-level content separately. Wonderful.

Its a nice app too, I used to use Freemind/Freeplane a lot, it seems to be from the same family.



Neat solution, Silverdragon. But it doesn’t solve OP:s second concern, that the text of Scapple notes, when dragged into Scrivener, lands up in both the document and the synopsis. When Scapple is used as an outlining tool, it would be convenient if you had the same options as for OPML, to chose where you want the text of the Scapple notes. But KB deserves a long Christmas holiday before he should be expected to fulfil my wish.

I think what you are asking for here requires more than adding the same options to Scapple import, and that the confusion arises because the use of the word “Notes” in Scapple differs from its use in other mapping programs. In Scapple, notes are the sole content container type. In all other mapping programs, if they have notes at all, then a note is a secondary content container, a sort of footnote to the main one. The primary containers can go by a variety of names, ‘node’ being a common one (but never ‘note’ as far as I have experienced).

In my playing around with the three OPML import options (eg from a MindNode map), the ability to send content to a different target (synopsis, main text, or notes) applies ONLY to content contained in a secondary container (ie a Mindnode note).

This is also explained in the Scrivener manual as follows:

If the Mindnode map only has primary content, there is no substantive difference between the import into Scrivener as one changes from one option to another. There is only a largely cosmetic difference, in that when importing using the 'Note’s option, instead of the Scrivener Binder hierarchy using Folder icons, it uses Document icons. All in all, the import occurs in the same way as a Scapple import.

Thus, to get a Scapple+Scrivener combo to do what combos involving other mapping programs allow, the primary change required would not be to Scrivener, but to Scapple.



Geoff, I must respectfully disagree.The option for how to import Scapple files is in the Scrivener preferences, not in Scapple. Therefore changes as to how Scapple is imported would be made in Scrivener, not Scapple. Since upon drag and drop to Scrivener this distinction between “primary” and “secondary” is made in Scrivener, Scrivener could indeed decide where to place notes. If it’s important to you, it’s definitely worth at least a Scrivener Wish List post. :smiley:

Hi Silverdragon

No problems, I think we are just discussing different things. I agree that it would be good if Scrivener gave one a choice of where it puts its (single level of) Scapple info. But even if it did, that would still not be as useful to me as the ability to import two levels of information, as I can with Mindnode/iThoughts + Scrivener.

I guess my ideal situation for a mapper/Scrivener combo would be that the mapper would allow for two levels of information, and Scrivener could import each level separately, and give you the choice to put the information from each wherever you want.

In the case of the Scapple/Scrivener combo, that would require changes to both Scapple and Scrivener, with the changes to Scapple being more major, at least on a design philosophy level, in that KB and co like to keep Scapple very lean.

e.g. [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/adding-notes-to-notes/22098/1]



I agree that we’re talking about two different things. :smiley: In regards Scapple, yes, you are correct that Scapple really only supports one level of information per “thing.” If one exports a Scapple board to OPML, that becomes clear.

OTOH, it seems to me that L&L aren’t really interested in competing in the general outliner/mind map market. In the context of Scrivener, Scapple has two levels, separated by the first new line in each Scapple note. And using primary information, as you call it, as anything other than a title and/or part of the secondary content is not part of their world view, whether discussing Scapple or any other outliner/ mind map app.

I personally find the situation frustrating, just as you appear to, but for different reasons. :smiley: In my case, getting structural information out of Scrivener drives me batty. I don’t much care for Scapple in that it makes me work too hard to connect things. No connection in Scapple is automatic. And using OPML to export to iThoughts, which I love, results in the synopses being hidden inside notes when I’d much rather they were part of the topic as they are in Scapple. Grr.

Net result: Scapple is almost irrelevant to me. iThoughts is a pain to use. Xmind, ditto. I end up outlining on the corkboard which is less than ideal, as it hides relationships, and I’d prefer to not be in Scrivener when I outline.

So sometimes I just go rent a conference room with a massive whiteboard, tape index cards over it (that I’ve printed from Scrivener) draw lines and scribble in between, and take a photo of the whole blasphemous mess and stick it in Evernote. If Evernote goes out of business I’m … in trouble. :smiley:


I see better now where you are coming from, and it is great to see how people use Scrivener in ways I hadn’t thought about, e.g. exporting as OPML from Scrivener. And I can totally understand your wish to have the features you discuss. Ive also always been frustrated that the corkboard forces the hiding of any nested cards. I’m guessing that simply allowing all cards of a hierarchy to be seen, and rearranged in freeform mode, would mean you could do what you now need a physical whiteboard for?

It does seem a strange constraint, not to allow this, and its runs against one’s most fundamental expectation of how a digital version of a corkboard would actually operate. Ive done some searching on the boards and cant see any serious discussion of this, but I imagine its there somewhere. I remember bringing it up years back myself, under a different nick, and the idea was not received with any enthusiasm, but I cant remember why.

A freeform multi-level corkboard would be beyond cool, especially if I could hook up a 5k monitor… :smiley: it’s hard to get as much info visible at once on a screen as can be crammed onto a whiteboard, even today.

100% agreement has been reached :smiley: Just as Scrivener’s outliner lets you reveal as many levels as you wish, it seems odd not to allow that in the corkboard.

Have you brought this up in any wishlist posts yourself? I found another discussion of related ideas here:

There’s also some interesting tricks here I did not know about:

For example:

  1. Holding CMD down, while selecting multiple Binder items, allows you to open multiple corkboards, divided by lines, sort of like Scrivenings for the corkboard.

  2. MimeticMouton’s post about using split windows to see two corkboard levels at once

Tricks 1 and 2 can be combined, so that, if you use the Binder Folders to represent “Level 1” of your index card hierarchy (and assuming one is likely to be able to remember synopsis-relevant info for Level 1 items), then you can basically show the important index card information for three levels:

It’s not as good as a full freeform multilevel corkboard, but it’s getting a lot closer to it than I had ever imagined was possible.

Maybe this monitor? https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/12/lg-teases-a-monstrous-34-inch-5k-219-monitor-ahead-of-ces/

PS I finally understand now what you were saying about Scapple having two levels of info too. I hadn’t used it at all for OPML import into Scrivener, and when I recently started experimenting, I was only using Notes with a single line. So I never got to see that any subsequent lines would be sent to the Synopsis. So I understand the original request better now.

?? How DO you work with such empty index cards? :smiley: Never mind, each cat his own rat. I have to limit myself to synopses that will print on 1 5x3 index card, front and back, 12 point Courier or equivalent (about 200 words), or my synopses become longer than my chapters.

re: corkboard suggestions: I’ve been using stacked corkboards (the CMD-select trick) for ages. As for splitting the editor into two, and using both as corkboards… not bad, actually. I’ll give that a whirl the next time I’m plotting something.

Re: Monitor: Dear heavens, a 21:9 ratio??? 34 inches? I’d… I’d have to get Hubby to buy/build me a private office when we move… (wanders off into unrealistic daydreams of an Arizona mini-ranch with a house like this…)

Erm… sorry about that… :blush:

Thank you sooo much for this posted reply. I almost choked on my coffee! Just remember, you’re starting to slip into dangerous waters when you start tacking up long strands of colored yarn between the notecards on the walls…

I’m struggling with learning to outline a novel for the first time. I discovery wrote most of it into the mushy middle of 28K, then had a heart-to-heart with myself about needing to learn more about structure to control my creativity. After all, the story is the product, not the words. NaNoWriMo was not good for me–at least not right now.

So, I’m in a similar mode. Maybe I need a conference room! I at least need to get a grip on the structure I’ve got by pulling it out if Scrivener, fix it, outline the rest of it, and put it all back into Scrivener. I wish Scrivener just had some visual tool built into it, but I shouldn’t be greedy. I came to Scrivener from Ulysses and that was like seeing my first sunrise!

Thank you all for the great discussion and options! I think I’m going to park Scapple for a while, and use MindNode via OPML.

@Azure, I’m just a few months further along in the “learning to outline a novel” process than you are. I’ve tried about … I’ll be honest here… three or four different conceptual methods. Theoretically it should be easy, as it’s nowhere near as complex as some of the software I worked on when I was a software developer…

…but to be honest, I was a lousy designer. My forte was troubleshooting–i.e., the boss would say, “Gack! the users reported a bug. Stomp it, Dragon, stomp it!” And I would go stomp it. Necessary work, but not as prestigious as getting to design the whole thing–yet after a while I learned that I would get bogged down in design decisions and not get a product out, So I was content with my troubleshooting gigs.

And here I am, designing the whole big structure of a novel, when what I’m good at is nailing a single scene or chapter or maybe small set of chapters (novella-size.) And sure enough, I’m bogged down in design decisions. Bleah. NaNoWriMo taught me to push on, and really what I need to do now is push on. After that whiteboard session, I have an overall structure AT LAST. What I need to do is get the other 54k of my 90K total goal down, NaNo style, and worry about stomping the bugs/ correcting the design errors later… :

(Oh wait… procrastinating by being on the Scrivener boards much, Dragon?)

Hi Silverdragon,

I think you should have a room for the monitor of your choice and a room for a massive physical whiteboard too. You know, for when the mood takes you. :smiley:

Its interesting for me to hear your discussions of process, Im coming from an academic writing background, but do use some storytelling ideas/practices. And who knows, maybe Ill stretch my fictional wings one day.


Nah. Just paint the walls with hard white enamel. The room IS the whiteboard… :smiley: