iThoughts hyperlinking enables you to create hyperlinks to maps and specific topics within maps. A good use for this is to have an 'overview' map with various topics that link off to more detailed maps. Hyperlinks can also work from within other apps.


Linking to Maps/Topics

To generate a link to a topic:

  • On iOS, tap on a topic then choose Copy->Link

  • On Mac, right click on a topic then choose Copy As->Link

  • On Windows, right click on a topic then choose Copy As->Link

This will place a URL onto the clipboard. This can then be pasted anywhere that a web URL could be pasted (into another topic or even another app - even into a web browser.)

The URL will look similar to a http:// web link - as follows:


If we dissect this we see:

  • ithoughts - this tells the system that it should launch iThoughts

  • open - this tells iThoughts to open a map

  • path - this tells ithoughts where the map is that needs opening (this is optional)

  • topic - this tells iThoughts which topic to select after opening the map (this is optional)


If we paste the above link into the same map, then the link will be 'adjusted' as follows:


NB: The path will be removed. This tells the system that the link is to a topic in the same map.


If we paste the above link into another map (in the same folder) then the link will be 'adjusted' as follows:


NB: The path will be adjusted to be 'relative' (although this can be changed in Settings/Preferences.) The reason for making the path relative is described later.


When a link has been pasted into a map, it can be tapped, long pressed or clicked and it will then open the target map and reveal the target topic. In the case of iOS and Mac, you can then 'go back' (either by tapping on the back button in the toolbar on iOS or using the View->Back menu option on macOS.)


Linking to other documents

On macOS and Windows, you can add hyperlinks to other document types by simply drag/dropping the document from Explorer/Finder into the map. By default, these links will also be adjusted so they are relative to the map into which they are being pasted. This assumes that groups of related documents tend to 'stick together' in a relatively fixed folder structure.



Character encoding

Links are like web URLs - which means that any 'foreign' characters, spaces and some punctuation must be 'encoded'. This makes the links look horrible. For example see the following link to a file called my màp.itmz with accented characters and spaces.


There is not much that can be done about this - just something to be aware of.


Unknown/inaccessible paths

On a Mac, you might link to a map called:


On Windows, you might link to a map called:


On iOS, you might link to a map called:



None of those paths make any sense outside of the system on which they were created. Indeed, even if they did make sense, a file on a Windows machine is not accessible from an iPad! This is the reason that the default for links is to create a 'relative path' to the document. That way there is half a hope that the links will make sense (especially if the maps are all synced via iCloud or Dropbox etc.)

NB: Links to non-map documents on Dropbox will not be accessible on iOS (even using relative links.) This is because only map files are synced by iThoughts - not other document types.


Other Linking Possibilities

On macOS, you can drag/drop an email message into a map (from the built in Mail app.) This will create a link to that message such that the message is opened when the link is clicked. This then works on iOS too! Sadly not on Windows though.

On macOS and Windows you can drag/drop an email address into a map and it will create a link that then launches a new message for that recipient.


(iOS) Linking Woes…

Whilst Apple now provide better support for accessing files in 3rd party cloud providers (Dropbox, OneDrive etc) they still don’t have a good way to reference those files (via a link.) This means that hyperlinking between maps that are somewhere other than ‘on device’ or in the iThoughts folder in iCloud is not possible. This is a technical limitation of iOS. Sorry! See here for more details