Scapple + Scrivener = Awesome

There doesn’t seem to be a separate forum where we can go on about how wonderful Scapple is, so I’ll post this here and hope nobody minds.

I’ve been a fan of Scrivener for a couple of years, now. Knew as soon as I started using it that it was easily the best in its class.

But I’ve always been a bit of an outlining freak and loved to outline using traditional mind-mapping apps.

As soon as Scapple appeared, it blew mind-mapping apps out of the water for me. I love the way you have much more freedom in Scapple, with no silly need to have one ‘note’ at the centre of everything.

So yeah, big fan of both Scrivener and Scapple.

However, it gets better (and excuse me if I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake here) - I’ve only just realised that you can effectively add Scapple as a feature of Scrivener.

I have a Scapple file tucked into the Research folder in Scrivener. I can view that file in Scrivener, click on ‘Open In External Editor’, have it open in Scapple, play around with it as much as I want, ‘Save A Version’, and that new version replaces the previous one in my Research folder, available to view (and tinker with if I want) at any time.

Like I say, maybe I’ve been slow to realise that this is possible, but that is just so sweet, the way that works.

Outstanding work, yet again, from you guys.

Many Thanks.

I wonder how much of Scapple’s code can be ported to Scrivener’s Corkboard. Some of the ideas of the former would be wonderful to have in the latter. The Corkboard would always be less freeform, but there are elements of Scapple (like connecting lines and actions) that seem to be at home there.


Thanks! Glad you’re liking the new program so much. You may also find it useful to drag Scapple clusters into a Scrivener freeform corkboard. This will convert them to index cards so they can be further developed, and will roughly retain their original relative placement. That’s more of a “final step” than embedding a .scap file in the Binder itself. Both are equally valid approaches depending upon the circumstances.

Paolo: As for someone embedding Scapple in Scrivener, we have an article here explaining why that isn’t as easy as it seems. In a nutshell though, there isn’t much that could be ported over that isn’t already the freeform corkboard. Lines are the main thing that could be displayed from the References inspector pane but aren’t, and we haven’t ruled that out, but it’s on the longer term list of things to think about.

Ioa, very nice to know that you are still thinking how to give more power to the already powerful Corkboard! I think that the minimal touches you describe would already be a very welcome addition.


These days I’m working a lot in Scapple. No longer short diagrams limited to a sheet of paper, but actual brainstorming around complex ideas. My board is growing to the size of a blanket, and is populated with illustrations, colored cards and connecting lines. It’s great.


Glad you’re liking it! Thanks for the kind words.