I’ve made no mystery of my love for iThoughtsHD. It is a great iPad app that finally brought home for me the utility of mind maps. It wasn’t long after I got hooked that I wrote the developer, Craig Scott, explaining how much I wanted iThoughts on my Mac. Craig wrote back with a very nice note explaining how he was focussing on iOS for the time being. So you can imagine my surprise when Craig wrote me about a month ago with a beta of iThoughtsX for the Mac. I’ve been using it ever since and now it is released for sale. If you like iThoughtsHD, you’re going to feel right at home with iThoughts X on your Mac.
Many of the features I like about iThoughtsHD also appear in iThoughtsX. The color pallet includes Ethan Schoonover’s great Solarized color scheme. There is a rich assortment of line and box types along with icons and images. (I’ve got to admit I’ve never used iThoughts’ clipart feature.)
The Mac version also inherits the iPad version’s quick entry method. Need a child branch? Tap the space bar three times. Need a sibling branch? Tap return three times. This is so second nature to me that I spit out mind maps as fast as the ideas hit me.
Using these tools I’m able to quickly start assembling ideas for later use in writing or dictation. I described this workflow at length in MPU 82, Cooking Ideas.
Like its iPad predecessor, iThoughtsX also can export to several formats including PDF, Image, Docx, Powerpoint, OPML, Markdown, and CSV.
The Markdown support is particularly clever. You can drag Markdown text into a blank canvas and it automatically creates a mind map based on linked images and heading levels. You have to see this part to believe it so I made a short video. (Sarah, my 11 year old, provided the Ukulele music.)
The file format (.itmz) is the same used on iThoughtsHD for the iPad so you can move the file back and forth between the two platforms. The app is sold directly by the developer and not in the Mac App Store. Sadly, that means there isn’t any iCloud support but all of the iterations of iThoughts play nicely with Dropbox.