In my day job I’ve used many mind mapping apps/online platforms, from Figma to Abstract to Mindnode. For mapping out plots in fiction I keep coming back to Scapple as a visual companion to Scrivener.
One feature that would be hugely useful is the ability to have simple lines and shapes as a background over which to add notes, connections etc.
For example, you could create a series of horizontal lines or rectangles to divide the canvas into a three-act play, or a twelve-stage story / plot structure. Then work with notes/connections over the top of these.
To help with above, ability to ‘lock’ items would be useful. So that some items could remain in position when you select large areas of items to move around.
The first thing already exists. Right-click (two-finger tap) on the canvas and select Background Shape. The inspector’s Background Shape section has a “magnetic” checkbox. Any notes that overlap the shape will move with it when you drag it around.
And on the second aspect of that, of drawing arbitrary lines: you can effectively do that by creating two shapes and connecting them. You would then make the shapes as small as they go (it will end up as a circle) and remove any settings that make them visible. They now act as anchor points by which the ends of the line can be moved, and by dragging on the line, the whole thing can be moved as a unit.
Here is an example Scapple board. I used this for a while as a way of keeping track of the things I needed to get done in a day, as well as documenting how I got them done. It has a couple of lines on it, one stylised as a large arrow, the other a dashed line. The idea of having a sideboard area like that for templates is something that could help out here, as you could have a couple of different line styles and orientations set up and ready to duplicate.
Having played around with this @AmberV I have a better looking set up now.
Would be huge benefit to be able to lock elements and/or have at least two layers – one for background and one for the working foreground. Something to add to the wish list.
Thanks for your help. And thanks to all at L&L for your exceptionally good software. I depend on it every day.
I use Scapple to spread and converge the ideas in my mind, organizing and concretizing them for various tasks. It’s an incredibly useful tool for me, and I’m very grateful for it.
When I organize ideas by hand, the method I often use is to sort out each thought and divide them with lines, which is very helpful in organizing my thoughts.
If Scapple had the feature to draw standalone lines, I believe it would be really useful. I think this addition wouldn’t significantly deviate from Scapple’s fundamental purpose of succinctly organizing ideas. If this feature were to be added, I feel that I would have an even more useful and powerful tool at my disposal.
I would be really grateful if you would consider this!
In the meantime, I use the page guides for a similar purpose.
Since the page guides are intended to show how much will fit on an actual printed page, you can’t change their relative spacing. If you don’t care about printing, though, you can use the font and Zoom settings to change how much information will fit in a box.
What i do is make a note and reduce the smallest font size (5) and then stretch the blank note and give it a color and though not a line serves as a simple divider. Here is an example of what I did for one of my novels with info on my characters.
Refer to this post above for a sample board showing how I make dividers. The result is essentially no more work than I believe it would take to have some kind of dedicated feature that did only this, anyway—particularly once you have the first one made.
I didn’t mention it before I don’t think, but it’s good to remember that you can (a) drag any two connected notes together by dragging and dropping from the connection line itself, and (b) by holding down the Ctrl or Option key, duplicate the structure. So again, once you have one of these in your board, making new ones and positioning them is about as easy as it could possibly get (and this trick works across open boards as well, though in that case you don’t need the modifier key to copy-drag).
You can also set up your Scapple board to have a grid-like backdrop – giving you a pattern of (immovable) lines over which you can arrange your nodes. Useful for some purposes. Here is a link to some backdrop grids I prepared for Scapple.