Why Scapple instead of Mind-Mapping apps like MindNode or iThoughts?

Is there an advantage to using Scapple with Scrivener versus using mind-mapping apps like MindNode or iThoughts?

Probably not. Personal preference, cost, etc.

Edit: Do an internet search for “mindnode ithoughts scapple” and see a lot of pieces that probably benefited by being written (maybe) with help of these tools.

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As much as I have fiddled around with trying to find a good mix (I settled on Simplemind Pro for research purposes,) yes, preference is the end answer.

I use Scapple because it helps me to brainstorm more quickly than Simpleminded Pro and the nodes it creates move nicely into Scrivener. Still, fit your needs.

I’d say the main difference between a traditional mind-mapping tool and something closer to a diagram tool like Scapple is that the former is a lot closer to how Scrivener works: it’s really just an outliner that uses a different visualisation technique from the indented collapsible tree list.

Scapple on the other hand is, like I say, more like a diagramming tool or a general-purpose illustration tool, where you might yourself contrive a concept of hierarchical association, but it’s really all just painting a picture of what that might look like in your mind.

And therein lies the advantage that would set Scapple apart: if what you intend to think about and capture might not conform to a model based upon hierarchy, then having a tool that lets you put stuff wherever you want and maybe not even connect anything at all (or maybe connect eight things to two and those two to sixteen others), will be easier to use than one that assumes everything branches out from one central root concept.

That is very helpful, thank you. After looking into Scapple a bit more, I realized, sadly, that it is not available on the iPad. I do much of my creative brainstorming and thinking on the iPad using the Apple Pencil. Scapple would be an ideal app for use on the iPad.

That’s currently en route, and in fact much of the latest development over the past year, on the Mac version, has been to overhaul all of its internal code to be more cross-platform friendly.

The current public beta is a test of that, by and large (we’ve fixed a few Mac bugs as well), to the point that it is essentially an early test of the iOS code base, under the hood.


That is great news! I will definitely give Scapple a try once the iOS version is available. I hope it doesn’t take as long as the IOS version of Scrivener took! :slightly_smiling_face::crossed_fingers:t3:

Ha! Well, it has the fortune of being dramatically less complicated, but yes. Like I say most of the hard stuff is done at this point, now it is largely of matter of making sure it all works right, and creating and hooking it up to a UI that makes finger sense (or stylus, as the case may be).

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If I wanted a mind-mapping app, I’d use one. I don’t. I want as close to paper as I can get, and that’s Scapple.

(On the iPad, I use GoodNotes and the Apple Pencil. Which I love, but the iPad screen is too small for most of what I use Scapple for.)


I use both MindManager and Scapple. They serve different purposes for me based on this:

To me the biggest difference is that traditional mindmap software is all tree structured, whereas this is not the case with Scapple. (Some mindmap software offers a brainstorming mode which looks nonhierarchical, but isn’t. This is the case with Mindmanager which skins a regular tree structure to achieve the look — that approach is inherently limited, because underneath the thing is still a tree.)

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By the time I’m ready to commit to a tree-like hierarchical structure, I’m ready to bring Scrivener onboard. YMMV.


@AmberV Any updates on Scapple for iPad?