This Mind Map Editor Help is based on the latest version of SimpleMind Pro. Not all features are available in the free editions, please check the feature matrix for more information.
- Adding topics
- Editing topic text
- Adjusting topic and text width
- Deleting elements
- Moving topics around
- Rotating a branch
- Reconnect a topic to a different parent
- Cross links
- Selecting multiple elements
- Topic toolbar
- Image toolbar
- Relation toolbar
- Layout and auto arrange
- Snap options
- Collapse/expand and hide/show topics
- Labels and call-outs
- Images and photos
- Navigation links
- Display branch borders
- Voice memo’s
- Relation paths
Terms used in SimpleMind and on this web site:
- Central theme:
The central theme is the starting point of the mind map. A mind map consists of a hierarchy of topics (10). Each topic has a single parent topic and zero or more child topics. The central theme is the ultimate parent topic.
- Collapse/Expand tool:
Collapses or expands a branch.
- Topic toolbar tool:
Invokes the topic toolbar.
- Note tool:
Adds a note to the topic.
Adds new topics or cross links.
- Word wrap tool:
Adjusts topic and text width.
- Rotate tool:
Rotates the topic’s branch.
A topic and all its under laying (child-)topics.
- Branch border:
Highlights a Branch, here topic A’s branch is displayed with a blue branch border.
A topic is the basic element in a mind map.
- Sibling Topic:
A topic with the same parent as another topic, 11 is the sibling of topic B.
- Child Topic:
An underlying topic, 12 is the child topic of topic B.
A line that connects the parent topic to the child topic. It visualizes the hierarchical relation between the two topics.
- Cross link:
A line that connects any two topics that are not hierarchically connected.
- Reconnect tool:
Drag to reconnect the child topic to another parent.
- Relation toolbar tool:
Invokes the relation’s toolbar.
Hides the topic or branch.
A text element that is not part of the hierarchical structure.
An icon is a small image inside a topic.
A clickable checkbox.
- Navigation link:
A navigation link, for example to a web page, another topic or another mind map.
- Voice memo:
A voice memo lets you record audio that is played back by clicking this icon.
- Floating image:
A floating image, displayed outside the topic it was attached to.
To add a child, single tap the node-well or use Tab.
To add a sibling, single tab the sibling node well or use Enter. This adds a new topic to the selected topic’s parent.
Insert a topic in between two existing topics by using the “Insert Topic” command from the (drop down) menu.
When nothing is selected, double tapping in empty space adds a new central theme.
In free form layout you can also:
- Select the topic you want to add a child to. Next, double tap in empty space on the mind map page. This adds a new child topic at the location you double tapped.
- Drag the node well or sibling node well to a empty space on the mind map page. SimpleMind adds the topic where you release the node well.
To add multiple topics without regards to hierarchy and structure, add multiple central themes. When done, you can drag and drop to connect and place the topics.
Mac: Use Shift+Command+T
Windows: Use Shift+Control+T
All devices: Double click in empty space when nothing is selected. After the topic is added, click anywhere in the mind map to unselect the topic and double click again.
Editing topic text
Double tap a topic to edit the topic text. Stop editing by tapping outside the text editor or press escape.
SimpleMind for Android: Long press the add sibling tool to change it to the “Edit Text” tool. Tapping the edit text tool is equivalent to double tapping the topic.
Rich Text in topics and labels
Using a mark down similar syntax you can make parts of topic or label text bold, italic or underline.
- Text wrapped with an asterisk * will be displayed bold,
- Any text wrapped with an underscore _ will be displayed as italic
- Text wrapped with a tilde ~ will be displayed as underline.
These effects can be used anywhere: in the middle of a word or across multiple lines. These effects may be combined.
For example this input:
Make p*ar*t of text *bold*,
_italic_ or ~underline~
or *_combine_ ~this~*
Will be displayed as:
Make part of text bold,
italic or underline
or combine this
Note: the Windows edition is currently not capable of displaying Rich Text. The Windows edition instead displays the text by filtering out the mark down characters: “*bold*” is displayed as “bold” (** filtered out).
Add line breaks (paragraphs)
Adjusting topic and text width
You can adjust the topic and label widths by dragging the word wrap tool .
The word wrap tool maintains paragraphs and lists. An empty line starts a new paragraph, ordered and unordered list items are recognized based on mark down syntax.
To delete an element, select it and use the delete button from the toolbar or (dropdown) menu or press Delete.
Note: Deleting a topic also deletes the branch (all its children). Deleting a cross link or relation doesn’t delete topics.
Moving topics around
To move a single topic, drag a topic and move it to a different location.
To move an entire branch, long press before dragging. As feedback, the branch is displayed with a thick border.
SimpleMind Desktop: Press Shift to select the entire branch without the long press delay.
Rotating a branch
The Rotate tool is available in a free form layout. This tool rotates the selected topic’s branch. To rotate the entire mind map, use the rotate tool on the central theme.
Long press the rotate tool for additional options, for example to flip topics.
Reconnect a topic to a different parent
To reconnect a topic to a different parent topic, either:
- Select the relation leading from the topic to its parent topic, and drag the reconnect tool to the new parent topic.
- Or drag the topic and drop it on the new parent topic.
Long press before dragging to to let the child topics keep their relative positions to the parent topic.
Cross links are used to connect any two topics that are not hierarchically connected.
To add a cross link, select the topic to which you want to add a cross link. Then:
- Drag the node-well and release it on the topic you want to connect to.
- Or use the topic toolbar , select the cross link icon to add a cross link between topics that are located a further distance away from each other.
The cross link’s path can be adjusted.
Selecting multiple elements
Multiple selection enables you to select multiple (unrelated) elements. The selection can contain either topics or relations or images or labels. The selected elements are shown with a thick border.
Most commands will work with multiple elements selected, for example move, change border width or add checkboxes.
Android and iPad/iPhone:
- Tap to select a single element.
- Long press an element to start the multiple selection. Long press in empty space to start lasso select.
- When in multiple selection mode, single tap to include or exclude an element in/from the selection. Long press to include or exclude an entire branch.
- Long press in empty space to start rectangular lasso selection, then drag to select.
- Clear selection: Tap in empty space to exit multiple selection, leaving a single element selected. Tap again in empty space to unselect that single selected element too.
- Click to select a single element.
- Long press to select a single branch. Using shift+click equals using long press. Long press in empty space to start lasso select.
- To include or exclude a single element in/from the selection, use Control+click (Windows) or Command+click (Mac).
To include or exclude an entire branch, use Control/Command+long press.
- Rectangular lasso selection: Control+Drag (Windows) or Command+Drag (Mac) selects, Shift+Command/Control+Drag extends selection.
- Clear selection: click in empty space (or press Escape) to exit multiple selection, leaving a single element selected. Click again in empty space to unselect that single selected element too.
Select a topic and tap the toolbar icon to bring up the topic toolbar.
The topic toolbar contains these topic related commands: not all commands are available on all platforms or when in multiple selection mode. The icons may appear a little different depending on platform.
|Copy – copies the selected topic and branch to the clipboard.|
|Cut – cuts the selected topic and branch to the clipboard.|
|Paste – the pasted topics are added as child to the selected topic.|
|Select palette color or style preset.|
|Topic properties and topic style.|
|Adjust the topic style.|
|Add an icon.|
|Add an image. On Android and iPad/iPhone you can also add video.|
|Add a label.|
|Add a navigation link.|
|Record a voice memo.|
|Outline – shows the structure of the mind map. In the outline use drag & drop to reorder topics. This same order is used when exporting as an html outline. Desktop: Use the inspector panel (right side of the screen). Android: Use the menu.|
|Show or hide topic check boxes.|
|Show or hide the branch border.|
|Change the layout.|
|Add a cross link.|
Select an image and click the toolbar icon to bring up the image toolbar. The image toolbar contains these image related commands: (not all commands are available on all platforms)
|Order Backward – rearranges the image behind other images in the same containing topic.|
|Order Front – rearranges the image before other images in the same containing topic.|
|Copy – copies the selected image to the clipboard. Use paste from the topic tool bar to paste the image into another topic.|
|Edit Image Link – change the image link that is opened when double tapping the thumbnail.|
|Change Image – select a different image or photo.|
|Rotate – rotate the image. Use the two finger rotate gesture (iPad/iPhone only).|
Select a relation and click the toolbar icon to bring up the relation toolbar. The relation toolbar contains these commands:
|Adjust the relation style.|
|Clear style customization.|
|Clear the manually adjusted path.|
|Add a label .|
Layout and auto arrange
SimpleMind supports a free form layout and 4 auto-layout schemes.
- The free form layout allows you to organize your ideas exactly how you want it. You place topics anywhere you like, in positions that you feel visualizes best the relations with other topics.
- The auto-layouts automatically arranges the topics for you.
|Free Form layout: Place topics anywhere you like.
Also available in SimpleMind Free.
|Horizontal layout: Also available in SimpleMind Free.||Vertical layout|
|List layout: Arranges all topics in one vertical list.||Top down layout: Arranges the main topics into multiple vertical lists.|
Apply a layout
To apply a (different) layout, select the the layout button from the topic toolbar. Optionally select the layout direction.
The layout style is then applied to that topic’s entire branch. To change the layout style for an entire mind map, select the central theme and select a layout style.
A topic that has an auto-layout style defined, is marked with this symbol .
You can combine multiple auto layouts in a single mind map. Once you have selected an auto layout style for a topic and its branch, it is not possible to change the layout style to free form or another auto layout style further down that branch.
Change the default layout style for new mind maps in “Preferences”. This will not change your existing mind maps.
Change topic order
In auto layout you can use drag & drop to rearrange the topic order. Changing this topic order automatically re-positions topics. This same topic order is used for auto numbering inside the mind map (1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3 etc.) and when creating a .html outline. In free form layout, the topic order can only be adjusted using the outliner.
To assist in aligning topics, SimpleMind supports snap to grid and snap to guidelines.
- Snap to grid
When you move a single topic around and snap to grid is enabled, the topic aligns or “snaps to” the grid position, even though the grid itself is not visible. This is useful for an accurate placement of topics.
- Snap to guidelines
Guidelines help you align topics to each other. When enabled, SimpleMind displays guidelines when a topic aligns with another topic. The guide lines are only displayed when you move a single topic around. You can see this in the video below.
In most cases the combination of “center horizontal” and “center vertical” guide lines will work best. Topics always keep the same center, even when you edit the topic text or change the font(size). This means that when you use “Center”, topics stay aligned. Another useful combination is to horizontal align left and right sides combined with center vertical. However, when you change the topic text (or font size), you need to re-align the left or right edges.
Select “Snap Options” in “Preferences” to change the options to your liking.
Collapse/Expand and Hide/Show topics
Topics can be collapsed to keep oversight in large maps. When a topic is collapsed, the whole branch is hidden. Expand is the reverse of collapse. Tap the collapse tool to either collapse or expand its child topics. Rather than collapsing a topic, use the hide/show tool to hide and show (child-)topics one by one. To hide, select the relation (line) and tap . To show, tap the show tool .
Long press the collapse or hide tool for additional options like collapse children, full expand etc.
Display hide tool for topics
In addition to the hide tool displayed for the selected relation, you can optionally display a hide tool for the selected topic. On one side of the topic the hide tool will be added, making it easier to hide that topic. The collapse tool and markers will be moved to the opposite side of the topic. See image below:
To do so, select “Display Hide tool for topics” in the General “Preferences”.
Note: When moving or rotating a topic with collapsed or hidden topics (see moving topics around), those topics are only moved when the topic’s branch is selected. As feedback the hidden topics are then displayed with a dashed outline. You cannot add new child topics while a topic is collapsed.
A note allows adding (larger) additional text to a topic without cluttering the mind map.
Add a note to a topic by tapping the Note tool . A small yellow note marker is displayed in the top right corner for topics containing a note.
Notes are invisible and neither displayed on the mind map page nor included when printing the mind map or exporting the mind map as image. Exporting the mind map in .html or .txt outline format includes the notes and this format may be imported into a word processor.
Labels and call-outs
A label is a text element that is not part of the mind map’s hierarchical structure. Labels are commonly used to label relations or to add visible comments, as opposed to the invisible notes.
A label is a floating element, you can drag it to any position you like.
Labels are anchored to a topic or relation: if you move the topic, the labels are moved along with it.
Drag and drop a label on another topic to anchor the label to the other topic. Is it not possible to drop a label on a relation.
Change a label to a call-out by clicking the toolbar – Text Style.
Images and photos
With SimpleMind you can add:
- a single image embedded inside a topic
- multiple floating images outside a topic
A floating image has no (visible) connection to the topic. An embedded image is part of the topic.
To add an image, select the topic you want to add the image to. Then, use the topic toolbar and tap the image icon . Select what type of image you want to add.
Adding images embedded in a topic
You can embed a single image inside a topic. After adding the image, you can drag the the resize tool to increase the image size.
Optionally use the command “Add topic with embedded image” to create a new transparent (child) topic without borders, and only containing an image.
Adding floating images
After adding a floating image, SimpleMind shows a thumbnail of the image in the mind map. Double tap the thumbnail to view the full size image.
When adding a floating image you have three choices on how to store the full size image:
- Embed in mind map:
A copy of the full size image is embedded (stored) in your mind map file and is available across devices. However, this increases the size of your mind map file. Large mind maps can take very long to synchronize via clouds.
- Link to source:
The thumbnail links back to the original image’s current location, for example on your device or on a cloud. When linking to an image on your device/computer the full size image is not available on other devices.
- Upload to Cloud:
A copy of the full size image is uploaded to the cloud. The thumbnail links to this cloud link and the image can be opened on other devices that have access to the same cloud.
Images are anchored to their containing topic: if you move the topic, images move along with it. Drag and drop the image to another topic to anchor the image to that other topic.
In free form layout you can drag an image and move it anywhere on the mind map. In auto layout you can drag an image to change the distance between the topic and the image.
Resize the image thumbnail
The resize tool allows increasing of the thumbnail size, at the cost of displaying it at a lower resolution. While resizing may look OK at the device / monitor, it may appear rough when printing.
An icon is a (small) picture displayed inside a topic. A topic can have one icon at most.
SimpleMind has 100+ build-in stock icons to choose from. You can also add your own custom icons.
To add an icon to a topic, select the topic and tap the toolbar icon . Then, from the topic toolbar tap the icon button .
This brings up the icon picker. You can choose to insert the stock icon as a large or small icon.
Tap the icon, this adds it to the topic.
SimpleMind Desktop: Use the icon picker in the inspector panel on the right side of your screen.
Adding custom icons
To add your own custom icons to the custom icons tab, open the icon picker as described above and select the “Custom Icons” tab. How you add a new custom icon depends on the platform:
Android: Use the commands in the top toolbar: “Image from Gallery”, “Take a small picture” or “Image from file”.
iPad/iPhone: Select the custom icons tab and tap “Edit Custom Icons”. This opens the custom icon editor. On the top toolbar tap “+” to add a new icon, for example from camera roll. When you’re done, tap “Back” to exit the custom icons editor.
Desktop: In the icon picker, select the “Custom Icons” tab. At the bottom toolbar click “Edit Icons”. This enables the edit mode. You can now use “Add” to select one or more images. When you’re done, click “Edit Icons” again to exit the edit mode.
SimpleMind supports adding a (single) navigation link to a topic. You may link to a mind map, a web page or a document or file on your device.
From the topic toolbar select link to add or remove a link. After you add a link, the topic shows a navigation icon. Tap this navigation icon to open the linked mind map or document.
Navigation link types
- Link to a web page:
Links the topic to a web page. Fill out, or copy/paste, the whole internet-address, including http:// or https:// to make the link work.
- Link to a document in the cloud:
Adds a device independent link to a document in the same cloud (such as Dropbox) as the mind map. Other devices with access to the same cloud can open these documents. Linking to a document in the cloud is only available when the mind map is stored in the cloud.
- Link to a document on your device:
A link to a local file is bound to your device or computer and won’t open across devices.
To overcome this problem, SimpleMind optionally allows uploading a copy of the linked document to a cloud. The link will then actually be a “Link to Document in Cloud” as described above and will be available across devices.
SimpleMind for iPad/iPhone and SimpleMind for Mac App Store edition do not support linking to a file on your device due to Apple’s security policy.
- Linking to a specific page in a pdf (SimpleMind for Desktop only):
From the topic toolbar select link to document or web page .
Click the pdf icon and select the pdf. Next, from the pdf’s table of contents select the page you want to link to.
SimpleMind Desktop for Mac App Store edition doesn’t support linking to a pdf file on your device due to Apple’s security policy.
- Link to a mind map:
Links to another mind map on your device on or in a cloud.
- Copy/Paste Link to Topic:
Links to a specific topic in the same or another mind map. See how this works in the video below.
Display branch borders
A branch border visually groups a branch by drawing a line around the elements in that branch.
The branch border’s colors are auto-derived from the topic’s fill color and the mind map’s background color.
SimpleMind for iPad/iPhone and SimpleMind for Android support adding multiple video recordings to a topic. SimpleMind adds an image with a thumbnail of the video in the mind map. Double tap the thumbnail to play back the video.
To add a video recording, select the topic you want to add the video to. Use the topic toolbar and select the image icon . Tap “Add image”. Select “Record Movie”.
Where SimpleMind stores the video file depends on where you stored the mind map, in a cloud or locally:
The video file is uploaded to that cloud. Other devices that have access to the same cloud can play the video.
SimpleMind stores the video locally on your device. Because that video is stored on your device only, other devices cannot play back the video.
SimpleMind for iPad/iPhone and SimpleMind for Android support adding a voice memo to a topic.
After recording a voice memo SimpleMind shows a voice memo icon in the topic. Tap the voice memo icon to play back the voice memo.
To add a voice memo, select the topic you want to add the voice memo to. Use the topic toolbar and select the voice memo icon .
Where SimpleMind stores the audio file depends on where you stored the mind map, in a cloud or locally:
The audio file is uploaded to that cloud. Other devices that have access to the same cloud can play back the recording.
SimpleMind stores the audio file locally on your device. Because that recording is stored on your device only, other devices cannot play back the recording.
SimpleMind for Android: You can choose to save the recording of a local mind map in a cloud or on a public directory on your device.
SimpleMind Desktop is able to play back voice memos recorded with SimpleMind mobile editions.
In SimpleMind you can choose between 3 relation path types. Select this in the Style sheet, mind map style or per relation.
- Curved paths
- Straight paths
- Angled paths
In free form layout drag a relation line to manually adjust the path. Use the relation toolbar to clear the manually adjusted path. In an auto layout you can only drag crosslink lines.
Note for smaller mobile devices: Enable “Draggable relation lines” in Preferences.
The visual appearance of a Mind Map and its elements (topics, relations etc.) is controlled by styles. A style defines colors, borders, font size etc.
These styles are hierarchically organized. This hierarchy of styles allows you to adjust / redefine appearance on each level:
- Style Sheet
Top-level: when no other style settings have been applied, the selected style sheet defines the appearance of the mind map.
- Mind Map Style
Use the Mind Map style to redefine (aspects of) the selected style sheet for all elements in the opened mind map.
- Element Style
Use the element style to redefine the appearance for a single element.
Additionally you can set preferences that operate on a global level for all mind maps.
A style sheet contains a complete definition for a mind map’s appearance. It for example defines a color scheme and sub-styles for topics and relations. SimpleMind has a set of good looking built-in style sheets that allow you to quickly change the look of your mind map. Such as: Bright Colors, Natural Colors and Spring Levels.
To select a style sheet:
iPad/iPhone: Tap the style sheet tool from the toolbar or tap “Style”.
Android: Tap the style sheet tool from the toolbar or “Select Style” from the overflow menu.
Desktop: Use the style sheet drop down in the style toolbar.
Custom style sheets
Custom style sheets allow customizing and extending the build-in style sheets. For example: create a custom style sheet with a different background color and a different color palette. The custom style sheets appear in the style sheet list, just like the build-in style sheets.
You can apply a custom style to any mind map. When you adjust the Mind Map style this only changes the mind map that is currently opened.
Level versus Branch based style sheets
Style sheets can either apply the color scheme per level or per branch.
A level based style applies colors per level like so:
A branch based style applies colors per branch like so:
Note: if you change a topic’s color in a branch based style, this affects the whole branch, unless a child defines its own customized color.
Mind Map Style
The Mind Map style allows to customize style sheet attributes (border style for example) and affects all elements in opened mind map. Additionally it controls mind map specific attributes like:
- Auto numbering,
- Background color,
- Custom checkbox color,
Without a custom check box color, topic checkboxes are tinted according to the topic colors. Note: Defining (near) white as custom checkbox color results in plain black and white checkboxes,
- The way hierarchical relations connect to topics (centered, base line or left-right).
To adjust the Mind Map style:
iPad/iPhone: Select Mind Map Style from the dropdown menu.
Android: Select Mind Map Style from the overflow menu.
Mac: Select from the main menu “Style” → “Mind Map Style”.
Windows: Select from the main menu “Visual style” → “Mind Map Style”.
Each element’s (topic, relation) visual appearance is ultimately controlled by the element’s style.
The element style allows you to fine tune appearance by redefining attributes like border style, border width, colors and alignment.
To adjust the element style:
Android & iPad/iPhone: Tap the element’s toolbar and select .
Desktop: You’ll probably find it much easier to use the style toolbar to customize appearance for selected elements. If you want, you can use the style tab on the element’s properties dialog (Windows Ctrl+E, Mac Alt+Command+E).
Rather than selecting the same combination of custom fill color or border width repeatedly, SimpleMind supports creating and applying style presets.
A style preset defines customized attributes like fill color, stroke color and border style. When you apply this preset, you change multiple attributes at once. SimpleMind comes with a set of pre-defined presets but you can also create your own presets.
For branch based style sheets, changing a topic’s color affects the whole branch.
Desktop: Use the presets button from the style toolbar (star icon). Related: the style toolbar also allows to copy/paste a style from one element to other elements.
Android & iPad/iPhone:
To apply a style preset, tap from the topic toolbar.
To add a style preset, tap style presets, tap edit (iPad/iPhone) then +.
The eraser preset clears the element’s style customization. When you select multiple topics you can use the eraser directly from the topic toolbar.
In preferences you can control basic visual attributes for all mind maps, like fonts, snap options, general options and image options.
To open the preferences:
iPad/iPhone: Select “Preferences” from the drop down menu.
Android: Select “Preferences” from the overflow menu.
Desktop: Select from the main menu “SimpleMind” → “Preferences”.
Fonts that are used in all mind maps are defined in Preferences. Using the default fonts assures mind maps look identical across platforms and devices. If you do adjust the default global fonts on one device, select the same fonts on other devices to assure shared/synchronized mind maps look identical.
Rather than adjusting global font sizes to improve legibility, we recommend adjusting the editor scale factor. The editor scale factor changes the scale used at 100% zoom level. Adjusting the editor scale factor, rather than adjusting font sizes, assures your mind maps look identical across all devices.
See more in the video below.
Use the presentation mode to showcase your mind map.
Presentation mode disables editing and displays the mind map in full screen. Commands that stay available are: hide/show topics and collapse/expand branch.
iPad/iPhone: Select presentation mode from the dropdown menu.
Android: Select presentation mode from the toolbar or overflow menu.
Desktop: From the main menu select “View” → “(Toggle) Presentation mode”.
Auto focus (Desktop only)
SimpleMind desktop supports auto focus, a powerful feature, mainly used in presentation mode. You can auto focus;
- the selected topic only,
- the selected topic and the children (see image below),
- the entire branch.
Windows: Select “Auto focus” from the statusbar (bottom of the screen), or use main menu “Zoom” → “Auto Focus”.
Mac: Click auto focus button on the toolbar, or use main menu “Zoom” → “Auto Focus”