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is Scapple the best for "thinking on paper"

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Posted by Dellu
Nov 24, 2017 at 11:41 AM


Human mind is very complex machine.
I had an experience recently trying to buy small plot. I had more than 12 viable choices. Narrowing them down to smaller numbers need a lot reasoning—the pros and cons of each plot—, the missing information about one plot that could change my decision,  if that plot can reduce in price, if that plot X can have all the papers, if that plot Y is bigger….so many factors involved…. why I exclude choice X over Choice Y, needs a lot of complex thinking.

Scapple seems much better than any other mind mapping app since it puts no constrains on how I put my ideas; how I connect and map them.

For a short, and fast thinking, it even seems much better than Tinderbox because of the nature of the maps. The maps in Tinderbox normally hide information. You need an editor window on the side to write (on the side where you read the other notes).

Scapple, you just have it all in one plain page, without the limitations of the paper (you cannot have as large paper to network complex ideas).

What is do you think?


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Nov 24, 2017 at 12:14 PM


Now that Scapple has labels for the links, it may be. (I haven’t been able to use this feature, because the new version isn’t up on the App Store yet.) But Tinderbox is hard to beat. You can write a lot of text as the note’s name, so you don’t really need the note pane open. You can add badges, which may be useful for visualizing. The adornment feature can be very helpful too. I use Tinderbox’s map view to build timelines (eschewing the actual timeline view, which I find unusable). And the fact that you can switch to outline view is a big plus for Tinderbox. Scapple is simpler and probably quicker. I personally would take either one over a standard mind mapping app.

Steve Z.


Posted by Paul Korm
Nov 24, 2017 at 02:14 PM


Tinderbox maps can do everything Scapple maps do—plus several dozen additional features not possible at all with Scapple.

Scapple’s minimalist feature set is nice, but I would never consider it for complex modeling.  The recent update (coming three years after the last, minor, update) provides a few minor tweaks.  Eastgate, on the other hand, produces a dozen or so feature upgrades annually.  Scapple has always seemed like an afterthought to Scrivener—not exactly abandonware, but not a core product either.  If Scapple eventually incorporate’s Scrivener’s custom metadata it will be a contender—but on the other hand, custom metadata has been part of Tinderbox maps since inception.

Alternatives to Scapple include Tufts University’s VUE (which requires an outdated version of Java), and the excellent Cmap Tools from IHMC—which has been around for about the same amount of time as Tinderbox.  Cmap is the only tool in the class that is cross-platform—Windows, macOS, Linux and iOS—and it has more features than Scapple.


Posted by Dellu
Nov 24, 2017 at 02:51 PM


I agree, both VUE and Tinderbox are much more superior products.

But, the complexity of the applications seems to put some kind of mental barrier to use them for small things: for fast thinking.

I love Tinderbox for everything it offers. But, I tend to pull it for my academic works, and for projects that I will be working for longer times on.

For fast and efficient thinking, the things I need to do to make it functional for specific project, setting adornments, or event changing of the colors of the notes is just a barrier for putting down ideas.

That is why I find Scapple incredible efficient replacement of actual paper than any other software.

I also don’t want to use it for longer and bigger projects because exporting the data is a mess.


Posted by Andy Brice
Nov 24, 2017 at 03:20 PM


> Cmap is the only tool in the class that is cross-platform—Windows, macOS, Linux and iOS—and it has more features than Scapple.

I am hoping to add a free placement mode to Hyper Plan. It should then be able to do most of the things that Cmap, Vue and Scapple can do (and a lot more besides). We only support macOS and Windows though. I don’t think there is enough demand for a Linux version to make it commercially viable. And the limited screen size of iOS devices isn’t a good fit for Hyper Plan (I suppose it would be possible to come up with some very cut down version of Hyper Plan for iOS, I don’t know how useful that would be though).

Andy Brice


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