'Styles' are predefined groups of settings (e.g. canvas color, layout etc.) that can be applied to a map. iThoughts has a built in library of styles to choose from - but users can also build their own - and even share those styles with colleagues. See below for 2 identical maps - one has the 'Solarised Dark' style applied and the other has the 'Hand Drawn' style applied (click to enlarge.) Notice how the fonts, shapes, link styles and canvases are all different (but the content remains the same.)
Switching between styles is as simple as selecting the style from a list - as below:
So what can be (pre)defined in a style?
There are 2 types of setting which are included in a style:
- Map level settings (canvas colour etc.)
- Topic level settings (shape, colour etc.)
Topic level settings can be applied to each 'level' of topic (upto 10 levels deep.) For example you could configure level1 topics to be red+oval and level2 topics to be blue+rectangle etc.
Map level settings:
- Map Layout (horizontal, vertical etc.)
- Auto Align (manual, full, partial)
- Level1 and LevelN link styles
- Map style (wireframe, full colour etc.)
- Rainbow coloring (see here for more details)
Topic level settings (0-9 levels)
- Shape (oval, rectangle etc.)
What about defaults (when there is no specific style setting)?
Values (for font, shape etc.) DO NOT need to be specified for each of the 10 levels. If a value is not set (i.e. it is set to AUTO) then it typically inherits its value from its parent level (in the Style.) So, for example, if only Level0 is configured (e.g. to blue + oval + Helvetica 14pt) then all levels below will inherit those same values.
What about overriding the style settings (e.g. change the shape of a single topic)?
All topic attributes (shape, colour, font etc.) can either be set specifically - or they can be set to AUTO. If an attribute is set to AUTO then the system will choose the correct value (by looking in the style settings.)
If an attribute is set specifically (to something other than AUTO) then that value will override the style settings for that topic (and only that topic.) One exception to the rule is for topic colour. If a topic has a specific colour set then all child topics will inherit that same colour (regardless of any style settings) unless, of course, the child itself has a specific (non AUTO) colour set.
Ideally most attributes (shape, colour etc.) will be left as AUTO thus enabling a consistent style across the map. To switch the values back to AUTO, you can either:
- Set AUTO for individual values (on all selected topics) by using the Inspector.
- Set AUTO for ALL values (on all selected topics) by right clicking (or tapping) and choosing the 'Auto' option.
- Set AUTO for all values on all topics by choosing the 'Reset Map' option in the Style Picker window.
Creating custom styles
When a style is applied to a map, the settings are all COPIED. Subsequent changes to the style of the map will NOT be reflected back into the original template style. Chances are, you will want to create your own style and use that in preference to the styles shipped with iThoughts. To do this, you need to:
- Create a map (with an existing style)
- Modify the style settings within that map.
- Choose the 'Save Style' option in the style editor.
- Give it a name.
In future you can use that style in new maps and also apply that style to existing maps.
Right click (or press hold) on a custom style and you'll get the option to share it via email. A style is actually just a small file (with a .itmz-style file extension) which can be sent as an email attachment. If you open that attachment it will be automatically imported into the iThoughts custom style library.
NB: I am also maintaining a library of additional custom styles for download here.
I've chosen a new style from the library but nothing much has changed?
Style settings will only be applied where topic attributes are set to AUTO. It might be that your topics have specific (non AUTO) values set. You need to switch these back to AUTO - see above description for overriding style settings.
My style topic colours are not being applied?
Verify that the topic itself is set to 'AUTO' colour (in the Inspector.)
The Rainbow option will override any style topic level colours.
Does a topic further up the branch have a specific colour set? This will override any style colour.