Scrivener (Mac) and Freemind...?

This is how much I love Scrivener: after twenty years working exclusively on Windows computers, I sold my laptop and bought a macbook air. (Every time I wanted to do something in Scrivener, I would come to this forum and discover that what I wanted was possible on Mac, but not Windows, yet…) I am so happy I made the switch!! What wonderful software. What a wonderful world.

Imagine my surprise, though, when I went to export my Scrivener project as a .mm file and could not find the option! (I use Mind Maps regularly to fiddle with my structure, exporting, rearranging, and then manually rearranging the project files to match my results. My mind mapping software doesn’t support .opml import. Uhoh.) Am I looking in the wrong place? Is this option planned for a future update? (I can open the project in my desktop/Windows version of Scrivener, export as .mm, and make my map that way, but it seems a little clunky.)

Just wondering.


Oh the irony! Switch to the Mac to get features you’re missing on Windows, and stumble across a feature that doesn’t exist on the Mac. :smiley:

Have you tried Freeplane? It’s a fork of Freemind that has a more active development cycle on the Mac, and most importantly for you, supports OPML for import/export. We never added a specific Freemind importer—generally speaking Mac software has much, much broader support for OPML than Windows software, so there has never been a high level of demand for specific formats.

I cannot vouch for how well Freeplane supports native Freemind files. Like I say, it started out as a fork, but that was some years back now and so there may be a degree of divergence that shows if you use some of the newer features in Freemind. For OPML though, it should be fine as that is the essence of stripping things down to the basics.

P.S. You might want to update your forum tag, it still states Windows; and welcome to the Mac platform. I hope you find it to be less scary than the FUD that surrounds it.

Irony abounds: not long ago I switched from Freeplane to Xmind, which I find a little more streamlined for visual adjustments. Xmind doesn’t import/export opml-- now I learn that Freeplane does. Oh well. Xmind will import/export a variety of file formats, including .mm, but for some reason never has .opml on the list, in spite of repeated requests for it. Alas.

Now, back to Freeplane for a second-- is Freeplane for Mac MORE actively developed than Freeplane for Windows? If not, I will just stick to Xmind, which seems to work well on the Mac, and do my Scrivener exporting from my desktop. It’s only when I get stuck on structure that I get into this weird cycle anyway, and hopefully it won’t happy too many times per project, and/or when I am on vacation.

Profile updated. I am loving the new computer, for many reasons in addition to Scrivener, and am grateful to you guys for pulling me out of my comfort zone. :smiley:

PS Freeplane and Freemind work beautifully together, at least on Windows-- Freeplane has more features, so it works better going from FM to FP than the other way around.

I’m no expert on these programs. I don’t know which is developed more or less on which platforms. I did use XMind a long time ago, but then I lost the taste for visual outlining and just ended up doing my outlining in a traditional top-down indented fashion, which meant Scrivener was good enough for my thinking process. So I’m a bit rusty on these programs, sorry for that.

Oh no, no sorries. Are you kidding? You guys provide the most top notch customer support I have ever seen anywhere. EVER. I will make do with my Xmind workaround, and maybe you could add “.mm export” to a wish list somewhere. :slight_smile:

Well all right, if you put it that way. :wink:

I’ll put it on the list for consideration.

  1. I am looking at my old Freemind installation and am seeing in its accessories folder this file : ‘opml2mm.xsl’ (as well as an ‘mm2opml.xsl’). This suggests to me that Freemind should be opening your opml files. (Not really a Freemind user myself, so am speaking off the top of my Finder.)

  2. I wonder if having an Export > Tab-indented function would cover more ground than a software-specific export item. Since, surely all mindmap software can accept tab-indented plain text input, yes?


P.S. I guess if Copy operations from the binder or outliner deliver tab-indented text, that would turn the trick, too.

XSL files sound promising, those are designed to convert one XML format to another, but if the front-end doesn’t make use of them, they may require manual execution of xsltproc on the command line. If you’ve ever messed with Linux before, you can probably take it from there once you know that the Mac’s terminal emulator is in /Applications/Utilities. A Mac is surprisingly quite like GNU/Linux once you poke around beneath the shiny (it is technically a BSD UNIX).

DOH!!! :laughing:

Sorry to bump the ancient thread, but that’s my situation exactly - I’m just switching from WinScriv to MacScriv and was surprised to see there is no Export as .MM option (something I use a lot).

I’ll give the OPML a try - I never got to use that before because it seems nothing really supports OPML on windows.

Finally got around to trying OPML for a mind map - it would seem that Freeplane doesn’t support OPML after all.

There’s an option to Export to OPML, but no Import (unless they’ve hidden it really well).

If you try to open the opml anyway:

Searched their site - nothing save for a couple feature requests. :frowning:

Dug into the resource folder, there’s a mm2opml.xsl. but not the other way. Maybe it was removed?

Meanwhile, MindNode Pro does import OPML (which is why I bought it) but it only gets the titles, not the notes. :facepalm:

iThoughts will do it, but is a tad expensive. Any other suggestions?

Any chance of MacScriv exporting to .MM anytime soon?

Maybe a better aim would be an export format that is understood by the widest array of mind map programs (rather than one for a specific program).

OPML works with many such programs, but not all and it is terribly limited. (I have carped about the unbearable thoughtlessness of the OPML standard elsewhere and will not repeat it here.)

I think a promising route would be going to tab-indented output.* Any mind map software that is worth its salt, will understand a tab-indented outline.**

I assume you are not trying to export your whole novel text into a mindmap, so a natural thought would be to have an Export > Outliner Contents as Tab-Indented. Programmatically, this would be a simple variant of the existing Export > Outliner Contents as CSV (which itself ignores Binder nesting level).

In fact, if Copying from a selection in the Binder or Outline just preserved the structure by tab-indent, we would already have a way to do what you want. When you think about it, it is a bit odd that when you select and Copy from the binder or the outline, you get only a flattened text list of your items. One would have thought that preserving the structure was what would be usually wanted.


  • One might argue that this would run afoul of your use of tab characters in your text. But there is a case to be made for thinking that you shouldn’t be using tab characters for anything in your text.

There is always Scapple. I hear it works pretty well with Scrivener… :smiley:


:smiley: Well played. :laughing:

For what it’s worth, I use MindNode Pro and I can edit the mind maps inside Scrivener! Neat.

The attached compile settings will do just that, and of course if one just wishes to compile a selection of documents rather than the entire Draft, it is trivial to set the compile group to “Current Selection” in the Contents pane.

Tab-Indented (5.84 KB)

OPML doesn’t support transferring anything other than hierarchically arranged headings. Scrivener uses a loose “common tradition” of putting bulk content into an XML attribute called _notes, but there is no guarantee that every program will also decide to use that unofficial method, a different one entirely, or to remain purist and only work with the specification.

Of course a tabbed list won’t handle “notes” either.

That’s nice. Somehow it never occurred to me to try Compile to achieve this end – and it does employ an aspect of the Formatting options of Compile in a way I had never explored.