Getting Started


If you're totally new to mind mapping then it's worth having a quick look at - but basically it's a great way to visually organise your thoughts and ideas in a broadly hierarchical format. Below is the Welcome map I ship with the Windows version of iThoughts. This gives you an idea of the type of diagram you can create.



Some terms used throughout the app and this website:

  • Topic = one of the 'bubbles' or 'nodes' on screen. A topic can contain text, images, icons etc. and can have a shape and colour.

  • Parent topic = topic which has child topics. A parent topic can have multiple children but a child topic can only have a single parent.

  • Child topic = see above.

  • Sibling topic = a topic which shares the same parent as another topic.

  • Cousin topic = a topic at the same 'level' as another topic (i.e. when both topics have 3 levels of ancestor then they are considered cousins.)

  • Branch = a topic and all its descendants.

  • Relationship = line linking two, otherwise unrelated, topics.

  • Boundary = shape encapsulating a branch


Anatomy of a Topic

  1. Topic shape (rectangle, rounded rectangle, oval etc)

  2. Topic image (stock images or user supplies images)

  3. Topic text (uses Markdown)

  4. Links can be embedded 'inline' with the text.

  5. Task badge (start/due date, effort)

  6. Topic hyperlink

  7. Topic note

  8. Task Progress (0-100)

  9. Task Priority (1-5)

  10. Topic icon (any number)


The maps created on all platforms look the same - what differs is how those maps are administered.


Creating a map

Navigate to where you want to create the map (folder, cloud provider) then tap on the + ‘Create Document’ button. You will be asked to supply a name and the new map will be created and opened.



  1. Close the current map.

  2. Options button. Tap on this to reveal a menu of options which apply to the current map and system as a whole (e.g. change the map background canvas and link styles.)

  3. Search button. Search for text within the current map (or across all maps.) Tap on one of the results to open that map.

  4. Filter button.

  5. UNDO button. Long press for REDO

  6. Create Child Topic button. TIP: Press and hold one of these buttons for more options.

  7. Create Sibling Topic button. TIP: Press and hold one of these buttons for more options.

  8. Create Callout. Tap on this to create a 'callout' topic. A callout is intended to be used like a sticky note to annotate a map. TIP: Press and hold this button to set the default colour for callouts.

  9. Relationship button. Create a link line between two related topics.

  10. Boundary button. Create a boundary around a branch to emphasise the grouping

  11. Inspector button. Use this to set the attributes for the selected topics (e.g. colour, shape, icon etc.)

  12. Share button. Use this to export the map via email etc.

  13. Mark topic complete (100% progress.) Long press to apply immediately or drag/drop topic onto button.

  14. Notes area. Attach additional text, images and links to a topic. Double tap to edit.

  15. Increase/decrease the font size for topic notes.

  16. Show/Hide the topic notes window. Drag to change size of window.

  17. Toggle between View/Edit the topic notes.

  18. Trash can. Tip: Long press this to delete the selected topic or drag/drop a topic onto the trash to delete it.

  19. Summary of selected topics (word count etc.)

  20. Name of current map

  21. Full screen mode. Tip: Long press this to make it read-only.

  22. Show/Hide the outline window. Drag to change size of window.

  23. Outline view.

  24. SHIFT button. Press and hold this whilst tapping on topics to multi-select. Press and hold this whilst dragging the canvas to create a 'selection marquee' to select multiple topics. TIP: Press and hold SHIFT whilst dragging a selected topic to duplicate it.


Creating a map

Choose File -> New.



  1. Toggle between note view and edit mode (will also open the notes window if necessary.)

  2. Create child topic

  3. Create sibling topic

  4. Create relationship (when 2 topics selected)

  5. Create boundary

  6. Create callout topic

  7. Change topic shape

  8. Share the map or selection (i.e. export the map)

  9. Administer the Style settings for the map (canvas color, layout etc.)

  10. Change color for selected topic/relationship

  11. Change font for selected topic

  12. Choose an icon. Tip: Drag/drop the icon or double click it.

  13. Choose a stock image. Tip: Drag/drop the image or double click it.

  14. Administer task settings (start/due date, priority, progress etc)

  15. Administer/apply filtering.

  16. Quick (textual) filter.

  17. Topic notes window (drag it open and closed)

  18. Zoom settings

  19. Focus mode (everything but the selected branch is 'dimmed')

  20. Topic/Word count summary

  21. Select from a predefined Style.

  22. Make the map a 'favourite' (so it can be selected quickly from the file menu)



Creating a map

Choose File -> New.



  1. Toggle between note Edit/View mode

  2. Create child topic

  3. Create sibling topic

  4. Create callout topic

  5. Create relationship (if 2 topics selected)

  6. Create boundary

  7. Change topic color

  8. Change topic text font

  9. Change topic task settings (start/due date, priority, progress etc)

  10. Share (export the map)

  11. Quick (text) filter

  12. Notes window (pull down from under toolbar)

  13. Zoom settings

  14. Focus mode (everything but the selected branch is 'dimmed')

  15. Topic/Word count summary

  16. Sidebar

  17. Choose predefined map Style

  18. Configure current Style settings

  19. Add stock image to topic

  20. Add stock icon to topic

  21. Show/hide the sidebar.