Flashcards and TextPack

Just pushed out an update to the iOS, OSX and Windows apps with 2 new features. The first is .textpack export support. This is basically a ZIP file containing the map text in Markdown format and any associated images. The format is defined by www.textbundle.org and is becoming a 'standard' way to pass around Markdown type documents. The main use (today) is probably to get your iThoughts map into Ulysses for further processing. See below for an iThoughts map and how it might appear in Ulysses.

Click to enlarge:

iThoughts (Mac)

Ulysses (Mac)

The second feature is Flashcard export. This enables you to collate all your information in a Mindmap then export that into a Flashcard app and from there (hopefully) into your memory :-)

Flashcards are a simple way to learn information. Each card has a question on one side and an answer on the other. You work your way through the cards attempting to answer the questions (flipping the cards over to verify the answer.) There are many different apps/websites that enable you to do this 'digitally'. iThoughts will export in a format that is supported by many (quizlet.com, cram.com etc.)

The following short video demonstrates exporting to Quizlet.com



Posted on May 12, 2017 .

Windows v2.3 released

I'm pleased to announce that v2.3 of the Windows app is now live. Hit Help -> Settings -> Check for Updates to get it.

The headline feature for this version is Presentation Mode. See below for a demo. For more details see here.

In addition this version also includes:

  • Freemind/Freeplane Export
  • TextPack export (good for exporting maps to certain Mac apps.)
  • Auto Zoom (with animation)
  • Show/Hide Status and Toolbar
  • Better integration with Marked on OSX


As always, any other questions, suggestions or issues just let me know and I'll do my best to help.

Posted on April 27, 2017 .

New Release (iOS4.6, Mac4.10, Win2.2)

I'm pleased to announce the latest update to iThoughts on all platforms (Windows, iOS and macOS)



One of the new features is 'hugging'. This is a per topic (and Style) setting which dictates whether the topic shape should 'hug' the text or not. This enables you to force all topics to have the same width regardless of the length of the text. See below:

Hugging can be used in conjunction with the 'align levels' setting in Styles to make everything line up (horizontally and vertically) as follows:


The default width for topics (and images) can now be set in the Style settings.


Topic Count Tooltip

Another new feature (on the Mac version) is topic count tooltips. Surprisingly useful! These enable you to quickly count up the number of descendent topics - as below:


The iOS version now integrates with the 'Share' system. You can select text, images or links in other apps and Share them with iThoughts. The shared content will be placed in the Quick Thoughts map (either in the root of the map picker or in the root of iCloud Drive.) It will create this map as necessary.



The iOS app now supports 'Places'. This enables iThoughts to Open (and Save) maps stored in other services. This is an improvement on the previous approach where copies of maps had to be manually downloaded and uploaded. 

NB: Whilst testing I found support for this a little 'sketchy' amongst some of the services. However it seems to work well with Box.com and for maps in iCloud folders other than the default iThoughts folder.



Remaining Effort

Where a topic has both effort and progress, the topic will now calculate a 'remaining effort' value. This works on individual topics and on 'rollup' topics. Calculate values can be identified by the [square brackets] surrounding them. See below:



A few of the other tweaks included in this update:

  • iOS Only:
    • Use Dropbox v2 (much faster and more resilient)
    • Full sync more frequently (every 2 minutes)
    • No more 'Checking for Updates' message to distract.
  • All versions
    • CMD/CTRL + Arrow Key will now move topics up/down the hierarchy
    • CMD/CTRL 1-5 will now toggle the Priority
    • Default Effort unit (hours, days etc) is now a setting
    • Applying a progress or effort attribute to a topic will make it's parent have a 'rollup' progress/effort automatically.


As always, any questions, suggestions or issues - just let me know.

...and remember, if you're interested in iThoughts for Windows or Mac, there are discounts available.




Posted on April 7, 2017 .

iThoughts for Windows is live

After over a year in the making, I am pleased to announce that iThoughts for Windows is finally here !

It will install on Windows7 and later. It is designed primarily for the desktop/laptop (keyboard mouse) environment - but it does also work with touch.

The goal in developing this has been to enable people to work seamlessly between iOS, macOS and Windows. To that end, you can use either iCloud or Dropbox to keep your maps all in sync.

Maps will look pretty much identical across all devices (subject to installed fonts etc.)

Functionality-wise, all three platforms share a common set of core capabilities (see here for a detailed list)

Just like iOS and macOS, the Windows version is an additional purchase - but there are some hefty discounts available for existing customers (see here for more details.)

There is a free 14 day trial available from here.

This is the first public release of the app on Windows. There will be many more in the future (most will be free updates.)

Please do let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or issues at the usual address.

Posted on February 27, 2017 .

iThoughtsX is coming to SETAPP

iThoughtsX is coming to the new SETAPP AppStore (in addition to the Mac AppStore and Direct from this website.)

SETAPP is a new AppStore (for Mac apps) created by the guys over at MacPaw (the ones who built CleanMyMac and a whole bunch of other utilities.)

What makes SETAPP different is that it's like a kind of Netflix for apps. For a fixed (low) monthly fee you get to use any and all the apps in the Setapp AppStore. That's hundreds (thousands?) of dollars worth of apps - for a few dollars each month.

Disclaimer: I hate paying subscriptions for access to stuff (especially digital stuff that is just files on disk  - like music, films and apps.) 

That said, I have Netflix (subscription pricing for TV box sets) so my position is inconsistent already. What attracts me to Netflix (and SETAPP) is the 'deal'. No way would I buy all those TV box sets outright - but I would like to see them if the price were right. Same deal with SETAPP - for a low monthly fee you're getting:

  • Access to dozens of hand picked 'premium' Mac Apps.
  • The latest and greatest version of all apps (no more paid upgrades, in-app purchases or adverts.)


What's in it for me as a developer? The deal is that I get a slice of the subscription fee based on how much people actually use my app. The better my app is, the more people'll use it and the more money I'll make. It's a virtuous circle.

New apps are being added all the time - but as of December, my SETAPP folder looks as follows:

There are a lot of quality (and valuable!) apps in there - and I can use all of them.

If you'd like to take SETAPP for a spin in a private, invite-only beta just let me know and I'll send you a 'code'.




Posted on December 8, 2016 .

v4.2 released

It's been over a week since v4 was released. A loooong week! Markdown is like Marmite - some people love it, others hate it.

Anyhow, I've just released v4.2 which fixes a bunch of early teething problems as follows:

  • Double click/tap the notes window to enter Edit mode.
  • ⌥⌘T to toggle between Edit and View notes.
  • ⌘B and ⌘I will now apply Bold/Italic at the topic level. This changes the font for the topic rather than add Markdown punctuation so it won't be included in any Markdown export.
  • PPTX export no longer includes the Markdown formatting
  • Word count is now updated properly
  • Code blocks now default to using ``` rather than 4 spaces
  • Triple space (iOS) now strips off any period character.
  • The font used for headers has been reduced in size.

There is also a new Highlight (text formatting) option as below:

I guess this is another advantage of the new Markdown approach that I haven't really communicated. Additional textual formatting can be added in future and it will remain entirely backwards compatible.

Any other questions, suggestions of issues just drop me a line.


Posted on November 7, 2016 .

v4 Released

I'm pleased to announce the release of iThoughts v4 (on iOS and macOS)

This version adds support for Markdown in the topic text and notes (see below for a description of what this means.)

IMPORTANT: This version also uses a new variant of the .itmz file format which cannot be read by older versions of the app. This means that you should update all your devices (iOS and Mac) to the latest v4 apps.


What is Markdown and why should I care?

In previous versions, you would configure text formatting (bold, italic etc) using a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. You would select the text, pick the attribute from a menu and see the change instantly.

In v4 you set textual attributes by using various 'obvious' punctuation characters. For example **important** would make that text bold. This textual formatting is called Markdown (see here for more details.)

Markdown makes the following topic text easy...

There are a number of advantages to this new approach:

  • Markdown is effectively plain text - which means it can be read by almost any OS or device (Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux etc.) Information stored in this format is better 'future proofed' - you'll be able to get at the data in years to come. By contrast, the WYSIWYG approach stores the data in an Apple proprietary format. Good luck reading that in years to come if Apple choose to deprecate the format (headphone jack anyone!)
  • Markdown has great support for bulleted lists - one of the most requested features.
  • For technical reasons, Markdown is less 'resource intensive' to process. This means smaller file sizes, faster sync times, faster load times, more performant application and better battery life.

There are some downsides...

  • Markdown does not really support fine grained control over fonts and colors. If you have individual words that have specific font, size or color attributes (other than bold, italic etc) then they cannot be represented using Markdown.
  • Learning the 10 or so Markdown punctuation characters is more brain work than simply choosing from a menu - although there are also menus to help with this.


If you have v4 installed then you can download a demo map from here.

...and see it in action below.


Other stuff

There are a bunch of other features in this release:

  • Any number of embedded documents and images stored in the topic notes.
  • Full iCloud support for the non-Mac AppStore version of the Mac App (Handoff etc.)
  • Support for tabs in macOS Sierra
  • 10x more Undo history in iOS version.
  • Keyboard toolbar in iOS version (with buttons for moving the cursor etc.)
  • Set the default text alignment (left, right, center) per level in the Style settings.
  • Improved Font picker.
Posted on October 26, 2016 .


So here I am - just returned from a 2 week vacation (Thailand - which is amazing by the way) to find that Mindjet has been acquired (never pretty!) and Novamind appear to be imploding?

I've been a little quiet over the past few months, but I thought now might be an opportune moment to let you know what I've been working on. See below for 2 screenshots (click to enlarge.)

On the left you can see the current Mac version of iThoughts. On the right you can see iThoughts running on Windows 10 :-)

I've been working on this for many months now and hope to release v1 later this year (2016.) It will work on Windows7 and later and will be 'touch enabled' but designed primarily for the desktop (mouse/keyboard)

The goal is to be 100% compatible with the iOS and OSX versions and to that end, the 'core engine' is already complete - but what remains (to be implemented) are a lot of UI stuff (configuration dialogs etc.)

I will be posting more progress updates over time and eventually have a beta testing programme. Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts (at the usual address)




Posted on August 15, 2016 .

v3.9(OSX) and v3.7(iOS) Released

I'm pleased to announce that v3.9 of iThoughtsX (for Mac) and v3.7 of iThoughts (for iOS) are now live on the AppStore. These are significant releases with lots of new features - described below:


Adjustable Link Thickness

Link lines can now be either thin, medium or thick - click on the images below to see the difference.


Summary Relationships

Previously links were only one to many - now we can have many to one. See here for more details.


Additional Relationship Link Styles

In addition to summary relationship (above) there are 2 new styles:

  • Straight Line
  • Angled

See below left for a straight line example and below right for an angled example:

Multiple Layouts in a Single Document

You can now set the map layout and link style independently for each 'root map' within a document. This means (for example) you can have one map that is horizontally laid out and one map that is vertically laid out - in the same document. See below for an example:


Concept Maps

There are a bunch of new relationship features that enable concept mapping:


Process Maps

There are a bunch of new relationship features that enable process maps:


CMAP Import

iThoughts will now import (not export) CMAP concept maps (see http://cmap.ihmc.us) once they've been exported in .cxl format. See below for the CMAP help map in the CMAP tool (left) and how it looks after importing into iThoughts (right.)


Scapple Import

iThoughts will now import (not export) Scapple maps (see https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scapple.php) See below left for a Scapple map and below right for the iThoughts import.

...and there's more

In addition to the headline features above, there are a whole bunch of other tweaks:

  • Zoom level saved in ITMZ file
  • Improved random sort algorithm
  • Top down layout improved (fixed indent)
  • Align center option
  • Long press topic to select related topics
  • Long press relationship to edit
  • Select multiple relationships
  • SHIFT + double tap canvas to create new floater
  • SHIFT + double tap topic to create relationship
  • Drag/drop hyperlinks works the 'old way' (i.e. doesn't create a new topic)
  • KB shortcut for new related topic (CMD+ALT+ARROW)
  • KB shortcut to 'nudge' manually positioned topics (ALT+ARROW)
  • Improved map load time.


As always - any questions, suggestions or issues then please contact me direct 

If you have a minute then a glowing review on the iOS AppStore and/or the Mac AppStore is always welcome - and helps generate the sales that fund future updates. Thanks...


Posted on February 25, 2016 .

CMAP import support

The next update includes much improved support for 'concept maps' (many to many connections rather than the usual one to many hierarchy of a mind map.)

As part of this effort, the next version will import CMAP concept maps (see http://cmap.ihmc.us) once they've been exported in .cxl format. See below for the CMAP help map in the CMAP tool (left) and how it looks after importing into iThoughts (right.)

It's not a perfect translation since some of the concepts are different (pun intended) but it does get most of the data and structure translated.

If anyone has any CMAP maps that they'd like to send over, then I'd appreciate some 'real world' data to test with. I can then show you how it would/will look in iThoughts (just export as .cxl format and email it over.)


Posted on January 22, 2016 .