Will Scapple import into Scriverner as Outline?

I very much want to do what Christopher Penn does when importing OPML mind maps into Scrivener as Outlines, as seen in this video:

youtube.com/watch?v=XLXjMLEZ00E - NO! See below

How can I do this with Scapple? No, I have not yet bought Scapple - should I?

Please, advise. Thank you.

~ Mike

NOTE: My bad! Youtube changed the URL before I copied it. Below is the proper URL:


Scapple doesn’t do anything with outlines on import because it isn’t an outliner (whereas Scrivener of course, is). Definitely download the demo from our main site. If you’re looking for a better branching-node mind mapper this might not be the tool for you, it doesn’t even “comprehend” the concept of parent-child relationships—but if you’ve been frustrated with how rigid these programs can be and the impact that makes on your ability to think freely, write text out spatially instead of in linear columns like text editors—it might be a good match! You’ll have 30 days to figure it out with the demo. Have fun! :slight_smile:

Did you watch the video? Please, do so before responding. My initial post was so curt, because this video definitively illustrates what I want to do …

I do NOT care about mind mapping, except as a way to Scrivener outline preparation as illustrated in Mr. Penn’s brief video

In short, he uses mind mapping software to create relationships between many ideas, exports that to OPML, imports that OPML into Scrivener, and - voila! - that “mind map” is now an outline - as I want an outline to be - inside Scrivener.

Although, I appreciate the free trial offer, I do not have time usually necessary to wrestle new software to the ground to get it to do something that an experienced user can demonstrate in seconds …

Thank you.

~ Mike

Hi Mike,

In less time it took to write a reply, I was able to create a sample Scapple diagram, export it as OPML and import it into Scrivener. It does create an outline with all items at the top level. Once in Scrivener, it was very easy to drag and drop items in the outline to set up parent/child relationships.

Hope this helps.


And if that is the direction you are looking to take, you needn’t even use the OPML route between the two. You can just drag and drop notes from a Scapple window into the project binder to import them. Hint: use background shapes to “group” items into folders.

OK, my bad! I inadvertently used the wrong URL in my original post …

Will Scapple only import flat, one level text into Scrivener?

Christopher Penn is using Mindmap software to create hierarchical outlines in Scrivener arbitrary levels deep. I have double-checked the following image URLS

Image from video showing Mindmap:
mdsresource.net/tmp/mindmap_expo … levels.png

Image from video showing same MIndmap imported into Scrivener:
mdsresource.net/tmp/scrivener_im … levels.png

This is exactly what I want to do. Is this possible with Scapple for Windows?

~ Mike

No, that is what I was referring to in the prior post, if you place notes on top of a background shape they will be considered “contained” by that shape when dropping into Scrivener or exporting as OPML. It’s not an exact science since Scapple doesn’t have true parent-child relationships, and one can straddle notes between shapes to indicate fuzzy relationships—it’s all visual in Scapple and they aren’t true exclusive containers in that regard, but if you’re careful to keep everything inside the border lines it can work fine.

I notice that Scapple for Windows is old and remains v1.0

Please, tell me that these hierarchical features are available in Windows

~ Mike

I have tried for 3 hours and I cannot import hierarchies

Please, can you provide an example.scap file for me to see how you do it?

Thank you

~ Mike

Try the attached.
15260279-Scap-groups.zip (2.04 KB)

Yes, I get that. I followed the Scapple tutorial & even did much more elaborate things than your example

I want to create relationships in Scapple - or other app - then get that into Scrivener and immediately have something like this:
mdsresource.net/tmp/scrivener_im … levels.png

That is what this thread is about.

Can Scapple do that - or not?

~ Mike

I’d really like to use Scapple for this - keep it all in the family. And, yes, I’m trialing and liking many things about Scapple - just not this immediately necessary functionality

FWIW, this morning I installed FreePlane (freeplane.org)

Within 10 minutes, including download & install, I duplicated everything I want to do from Christopher Penn’s Youtube video.

Plus, it’s free …

~ Mike

P.S., I continue to want to know how to do this with Scapple. Anybody?

Yes, I completely follow what you are going for (initially I was confused over which direction you were talking about, into or out of Scapple, but that’s all), I’m just trying to describe why Scapple isn’t the best program for that whole way of working. I mean, with a thicket of nested background shapes I suppose you could do something like that, but I wouldn’t advocate it. It’s not designed to be used that way, so you’ll run into awkward areas, such as how dragging shapes within shapes will link them instead of moving the position of the nested shape, or how shapes don’t actually contain the notes that are on top of them, and thus won’t change dimensions if you move the notes around or add items to a stack within them. We didn’t call the feature “groups” for many reasons.

Sure, FreePlane and any number of mind-mapping programs do this, what you are describing, better, because this is outlining (whether you do it with nested lists and folders or with pretty rainbow lines in a radial pattern, it’s still all a single-parent multi-child outline structure). There is a common foundation between these two programs that is similar enough you can drop data in and out of them and have it remain structurally intact. Scapple on the other hand was designed specifically to give one a tool to easily break out of the kind of thinking that results from working in an outlining environment, without having to use a general-purpose drawing or complicated diagramming tools, neither of which are really designed for thinking and typing. I guess it is worth displaying a picture from the home page:

Even a human would have to think a bit to turn either of those into a strict nested outline.

Yes, I get that & I got those aspects of Scapple from the website, documentation & actually using it

Yes, I do like many things about Scapple. This thread started with very specific needs I have & wondering if Scapple can meet those needs. Apparently, it cannot.

Although, I applaud the facility to create random, disassociated things inside Scapple, I urge developers to implement necessary associations, too. Not just for my purposes; but, many things in this world and in creative processes do actually have necessary relationships.

In fact, all things considered, I may use Scapple for functionality it does have; but, alas! when it comes to diagramming necessary relationships, I must use 3rd applications …

Thank you.

~ Mike