Scapple is a mind-map and note taking software.  It is made by Literature & Latte, the people who made the highly respected Scrivener.  Both Scapple and Scrivener can be downloaded for a free trial.

I have never been someone that finds mind mapping useful and originally looked at the software as a useful program for making resources for my students. Scapple is both incredibly simple and flexible.  It is this flexibility that makes it so useful for a whole array of applications.

Scapple has been compared to a blank sheet of paper or a whiteboard.  Scapple allows the user to put notes, images and connections on this paper and arrange as they find helpful.  To give you an idea, I used Scapple to outline the features of the Internet Business Handbook.  This is what I came up with:


Scapple works by:

  • double clicking anywhere to insert a note.  This can be repeated and the notes arranged by dragging and dropping.  Some people use Scapple, in this way as a virtual brainstorming platform.
  • drag one note to another to make a connection.  The note will spring back, to the original position and a connection, with a dotted line, made between them.
  • hold down the alt key (option and command keys on a Mac) while you drag to create an arrow between the notes.
  • images and external text can be pasted in.
  • double click a link to add a note between the two linked notes.
  • borders can be added to notes, as well as colors.  Custom note-styles in the format menu are easy to make and delete.  If you have a number of notes that you want formatted in the same way, then select all of them before formatting.
  • URLs  in Scapple are clickable.

Once finished the Scapple document can be exported in .pdf or .jpg forms.  

So, Scapple is a quick, powerful tool to organize your ideas.  However, care must be taken not to spend too much time making your mind-map a masterpiece.  Your masterpiece should be your product not the mind-map you used along the way.

Why not leave a comment about how you use Scapple or any tips that you have found helpful?

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