Questions about nested background shapes

Hi. The Scapple manual says that it’s possible to nest background shapes, but I was trying to do it and I was having only limited success.

Here is what I’ve found:

• First experiment: I created a background shape containing some Notes and set the shape to Magnetic. I created a second background shape, also set to Magnetic, with some Notes on another part of the canvas. I dragged the second shape onto the first and Scapple created a connection between the two but didn’t nest the second shape inside the first shape.

• Second experiment: I created some Notes and dragged them inside a background shape. I then selected those two Notes and chose New Background Shape Around Selection. So now there was a background shape inside a background shape. I then set the second shape to Magnetic. But, I had trouble moving the second shape within the first. As I moved the second shape, the cursor kept changing to the curly arrow and wouldn’t let me move the second shape. I was able to move the shape only slightly before the cursor changed.

So, am I doing something wrong? Are there tricks for manipulating nested background shapes that I’m unaware of?


Have you tried dragging things the other way around? Scapple does connection detection by looking at your mouse position, and if the mouse is currently over another entity that can be linked, it will shade it and change the cursor to the curly arrow. So it is possible to overlap entities without linking them by ensuring that the mouse itself never crosses over a note or shape. This means in most cases, dragging the larger shape under the smaller one is an easier way of “nesting” them, as it gives you more free space where the mouse can move without hovering over anything.

I’ve been trying to figure this out for a few days now, and still can’t. It looks like what’s happening is that the top shape can be dragged by the mouse until the point at which the mouse crosses the boundary of the shape. From that point on, Scapple thinks that the shape is not being “moved”, but rather is being “linked” to the underlying shape. Is there no way to change this behavior? I have been enjoying creating background shapes for various branches of a map, and shapes for discussion of sub-items within that main shape. As it stands, I’d only be able to move sub-shapes around within the main shape by slowly dragging to the edge of the border a number of times until it is where I want it to be. I understand if the answer is “Scapple is not designed to work that way” (i.e. moving shapes around in shapes), but I figured it was worth checking whether that was the answer.

Yeah, that is probably the best answer. The design intent for shapes was as a simple and small box around some notes—potentially moving the notes around with it (magnetic). Nesting was of course something that needed to be handled in the program logic, for it can happen, but there isn’t much to support working that way as a major structural tool, nesting boxes within boxes within boxes, for example.

There are two easier alternatives I can think of than “inch-worming” a shape around inside of another one:

  1. If the shape’s edge is on the screen, just grab one side of it and yank it completely out of the way so that the nested shape is no longer entirely contained inside of the larger shape, move it, then drag the border back to enclose it:

  1. Hit the M key to toggle arrow keys from selection to movement mode. This will work better for short hops along the cardinal points, obviously, though holding down Shift and holding down the arrow key can move things around pretty quickly.