iWork and iThoughts

20 02 2013

iWork is Apple’s offer to create spreadsheets (with Numbers), presentations (with Keynote), and write letters (with Pages). The components of iWork are specially developed for iOS devices, easy to use and nevertheless powerful. I see lacks in the missing connection to cloud services without WebDAV support and to network attached storages.
If you ever used these apps you will never change back to other apps which are more likely to Microsoft’s Office Suite.

There is another app which should be in the portfolio of all users working on an iPad.
It’s the mind mapping app iThoughts for iPad developed by Craig Scott, UK.
Mind mapping is a perfect way to save all the ideas you have on your device.

See my blogs

Mind Mapping (1)
Mind Mapping (2)
Mind Mapping (3)

In Jan 2013 iThoughts got an update with some interesting features regarding Apple’s iWork suite.

The Workaround …

This is a mind map about a recommended home configuration when using iOS devices.

You may download this mind map from Biggerplate.com, The Mind Map Library.

Apple iPhone+iPad Home Configuration


Look at the branch ‘Software – iWork – Numbers’ on the right side of the mind map. You can see a small green at the top right corner of the branch. It represents a globe and points to a website link.
Tap and Hold to open the website with the integrated browser of iThoughts.

The essential new feature of iThoughts …

You can now connect iWork documents to mind map branches to breathe life into your mind map by assigning additional detailed information to that branch.



Attached documents are stored in the mind map file in their native format.
So you can delete the source file located in the documents folder of Keynote.
You can also share the mind map. The recipient can then work on the mind map as well as on the attached iWork documents and send them back.

The marked branch contains the Keynote document icon as well as the note icon of iThoughts (left lower corner of the branch) which shows that there is additional information available. By ‘Tap and Hold’ the Keynote document can be opened to display the contents or to move over to Apple’s Keynote app to further work on it.


That’s what I call SUBTLE PROGRAMMING. Congratulations, Craig.

Mind Mapping (3)

7 02 2013

iThoughtsHD was first released in 2010 together with the initial release of iPad. The developer, Craig Scott (UK), focussed on a clean user interface with appropriate functionalities for mind mapping and support for many well-known file formats.

Craig talked about ‘Touchy-Feely Mind Mapping‘ on Biggerplate Unplugged, London this year (a conference initiated by Liam Hughes, founder of Biggerplate.com, which brought together mind mappers, software developers and bloggers). iThoughts is one of the first mind map tools designed solely for mobile and touch-based devices.

There is one and only one toolbar at the top of the screen. On the left side there are icons for managing files (locally or on Box, Dropbox or any other cloud with WebDAV support) and for settings. 6 icons are available for the creation process and placed on the right side.
The design follows Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

On my point of view it’s far and away the best mind mapping app for the iPad in Apple’s App Store. If you don’t believe me continue reading.

For this post I created a mind map with all features of iThoughts.
Here it is …


If you already use a mind mapping app on your device you may download this mind map on

BIGGERPLATE.com (The mind map library)
Goto Search and enter ‘iNotes4You’ to locate this file and beyond

or download the mind map here from my Dropbox account

Application File format
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

Let’s start using iThoughts on the iPad.

Creating a topic …

A set of 3 buttons enables you to add child and sibling topics, and to create a topic at the level before the currently selected topic. You can also add a new topic by first selecting a topic, and then double-tapping on a blank part of the workspace next to it. A new topic will automatically be created at that location and a connection to the selected topic is automatically established.
This is a very effective and easy way to create topics as you don’t need the toolbar.

Creating children and siblings …

Use the toolbar to create a child or a sibling by marking the topic it should refer to. The toolbar icons are self-explaing. But it would’t be Craig’s work if there wouldn’t be a simpler, faster and more intuitive way: double-tap near the topic and a new subtopic is created.

Formatting and linking …

The shape and color of topics, icons and task details can be set with a multi-tabbed dialog box. One tab is for connecting topics to a website, linking to an E-Mail address or linking to some other mind map alread created.

For connecting to websites just tap the topic, select ‘Research’ from the upcoming context menu, search the web and if you found what you were looking for just tap on the task bar to connect the website with the topic. You also may use your choice for creating a new topic, embedding a PDF or open the website in Safari.

For inserted links the relating topic gets a small globe at the upper right corner. The link can be opened by first tapping on the globe then tapping on the context menu which contains the web address.

All topics with or without attachments can be resized by dragging the pointer of the selected item (Craig calls it the ‘Pointy finger’ for me its the ‘Magical finger’).

Attachments …

Each topic can be connected with a photo from iPads camera roll or the photo stream, an image from the built-in library or a free-style drawing (doodle).

Adding notes …

Select a topic, tap on the NOTES icon, write your note and it will be automatically connected to the selected topic.

Craig implemented a keyboard layout which many users of Apple’s iWork suite still miss.


Connecting to other apps …

Craig implemented an awesome feature when using the Copy-Paste functionality. If you select a topic which has subtopics, use the copy function from the upcoming context sensitive menu and paste the clipboard contents into the body of a writing tool the topic ist inserted with the subtopics neatly indented below.


This works the other way around, too: You can select several lines of text in an E-Mail, copy them and paste them into iThoughtsHD. Each line is added as a new topic. Another 5 star rating for Craig.

Saving mind maps …

At the time mind map developers are not able or willing to share a standardized file format.
Is it for keeping the customers? Anyway it hampers collaboration.

But don’t worry. Craig takes care of your requirements.
The app iThoughts supports the following file formats:

ConceptDraw 6 / 7 (.cdmx)
Freemind (.mm)
iMindmap 4 / 5 (.imm / .imx)

Markdown (.markdown)
MindGenius (.mgopml)
Mindmanager (.mmap)
Mindview 3 / 4 (.mvdx)
MyThoughts (.mytx)
Novamind / t (.nmind / .nm5)
OPML (.opml)
XMind (.xmind)

as well as PDF, PNG and CSV and, with the latest version of January, DOCX (Microsoft Word/Apple Pages) and PPTX (Microsoft Powerpoint/Apple Keynote).

The running app …

Migrate to iThoughts and you are back on track.

I hope my blogs about mind mapping inspired you to go into the details of this technique.
Further articles will be published on Feb 13 and 20.

If you want to immediately start mind mapping install this interactive eWorkshop from Hans Buskens, NL on your iOS device.

iTunes: Mind Mapp

Mind Mapp Support

Get free downloads of Mind Maps on

Biggerplate (UK) The Mind Map Library

Mind Maps created by iNotes4You on Biggerplate.com

Thanks for reading my blog.
Please subscribe and recommend iNotes4You to your friends.

Mind Mapping (2)

5 02 2013

In Mind Mapping Part (1) I presented some general information about Mind Mapping and the app iThoughtsHD with some impressive features. This article will show you some applications of mind mapping. You find a complete list of mind maps created by myself on

Biggerplate (UK) The Mind Map Library: My Mind Maps

Biggerplate.com, UK is one of the largest communities of mind map users in the world.
You can download more than 400.000 mind maps for free.

Mind maps for technical systems …

Mind Mapping can also be used for analyzing the user interface of an operating system.
Here is a mind map of all functions of iOS 6 regarding security settings.

If you use a mind mapping app on your device you may download this mind map on

BIGGERPLATE.com (The mind map library)
Goto Search and enter ‘iNotes4You’ to locate the file and beyond.

or download the mind map here from Dropbox

Application File format
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

Readers without a suitable app may download a static PDF version without any functionalities like using embedded links or expand/collapse parts of the tree.

Apple iOS Security Settings (PDF)


Converting the UI for security settings of an iPad or an iPhone into a mind map comes to benefits for users and developers as well.

The benefits for users …

One mind map, less words, no screenshots and a complete overview for fast navigation.
Apple’s User Manual needs more than 10 pages to explain these settings.

The benefits for developers …

They have to accept the following disadvantages as a result of displaying their concept as a mind map.

  • There are many security settings spread over different menu items.
  • The depth of some outlines is criticizable.
  • There is no setting like ‘Security High, Medium, Low’ which adjusts all the other settings to appropriate default values.

Visualization vs. old-fashioned Manual …

Mind Mapping is often a visual presentation of a brainstorming process. But it can be used as part of a user guide as well. A mind map, if not too complex, may be more suitable than a plain text for finding out the way to use the device.

Mind maps in schools …

Consider a simple experiment, the relationship between resistance and temperature of a metal conductor. Pupils should mind map the way to

  • think about the right questions
  • create a suitable experiment
  • think about appropriate accessories to reach the goal
  • think about the right presentation of the results
  • extend the primary question for getting more knowledge about nature, e.g. to repeat the experiment with other materials like iron or silicon.

Application File format
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

Readers without a suitable app may download a static PDF version without any functionalities like using embedded links or expand/collapse parts of the tree.

Resistance+Temperature (PDF)


Mind maps for navigation …

Usually menus are used for navigating through websites.
Websites must have an attractive design so that visitors stay a bit longer than 2 seconds.
The eyes surfing over a website classify this site as attractive or not within parts of a second. There are many websites trying to keep the customers by using the whole spectrum of available colors or tons of images. In some cases it may be the right strategy but this is not applicable to reputable companies.
No guts, no glory! Interactive mind maps could be a new approach to website design and may oil the wheels.

Here is an example I found on

CABRE Accelerated Thinking and Action

a company of Andrew Wilcox, UK.

Cabre helps businesses, organisations and individuals to understand, structure and manage their processes and projects. It uses graphical software, inspired by Mind Mapping, that allows the user to transfer ideas from brainstorming to final publication, as documents, project plans, presentations, process diagrams and web sites/pages. The maps can also form the basis for further work in many other applications.

The mapping software helps you to rapidly convert ideas, into structures which contain information: text, images, tasks and links to other media. If structured correctly they will export into a variety of MS Office, PDF and Web formats for sharing and collaborating.


On January 31, 2013 Andrew Wilcox reported on Biggerplate Unplugged Event, London about the essential problem when using mind maps on websites.

Search Friendly Mind Maps
Do you want the masses to see your maps? Of course you do. Google likes words, but can it see the words on your map? Andrew will provide a few tips to help you get your maps found by google and therefore your intended audience.

Here are some further informations

Search friendly mind maps

Mind maps for summarizing …

Sitemaps, categories and tags are for structuring a website. It’s a challenging project to go a new way in visualization, organization, and summarization of the informations found on websites.
I think everybody using the internet suffers under thousands and thousands of single informations not connected to each other except via links. But what should the user do, to extract and summarize all this. Is there no support available except one’s own brain? We have such an high-octaned computer power and lots of creative developers who could help us.

So the idea of Henry Lewkowicz at Context Discovery is a great step forwards.

See how it works

Context Discovery Inc., Canada WebSummarizer

Henry Lewkowicz launched a further project (in beta phase) which summarizes blogs.

BlogSummarizer summarizes all blog posts and then creates a blog companion knowledge base. In the knowledge base all posts are linked by keywords and summaries to show the overall context of any topic discussed in the blog. The results are exportable to HTML and mind mapping applications for easy sharing.
Any blogger on WordPress and Blogspot platforms can use BlogSummarizer to create a companion knowledge base for their blogs.
Bloggers can register on BlogSummarizer to create a knowledge base and visualize the results with a mind map.

Summaries in everyday life …

I’m sorry, my article is getting longer and longer.
But it’s an amazing topic and I am fascinated by the potential of mind mapping for many many applications even in the everyday life. So if you like to see more examples visit

WebSummarizer Summaries in everyday life

The bad news …

The above mentioned blog contains an interactive mind map.
And here we come to a relevant problem of mind maps on smartphones and tablets but even on computer displays depending on the number of branch levels. Viewing more complex mind maps means to continuously zoom in and out, swipe left and right and up and down.

Mind maps need an enormous space when it comes to expand the branches.

Smartphones and tablets are gaining popularity in a way that sales of traditional devices like notebooks and desktop computers are rapidly decreasing.

If the tablet will be the standard device in the near future does it hamper the further development and application of mind maps used for other scopes than personal brainstorming?

This website hopes to see you again on Feb 07 when Mind Mapping part 3 is presented.
Thanks to all of you for reading my blog.