Advanced Tips and Tricks

iThoughts is intended to be 'easy to use'. In order to achieve that, I've had to 'hide' many of the more 'advanced features' - making them difficult to discover. Below you can see (and download) a mind map which documents many of these.

See below for the map in outline form:

Tips (OSX)

iThoughts is intended to be ‘easy to use’. An unfortunate side effect of this is that many of the more advanced features are ‘hidden’ so as to not clutter the interface. This map attempts to document all the ‘non obvious’ capabilities of the app.

Keyboard shortcuts.

  • Too numerous to go into details - see attached link
  • Some ‘interesting ones’
    • F2 or CMD+RETURN to edit selected topic
    • P and SHIFT+P = step the Progress setting for a topic forward/backward.
    • CMD+SHIFT+T = show/hide notes
    • CTRL+CMD+T = toggle between editing a topic’s text and its notes.
    • CMD+SHIFT+0 = toggle between full map view and selected branch view (zoom)
    • 0 to 9 = show that many levels of child topic
    • CMD+1 to 5 = set priority
    • ALT+1 to 9 = set nth favourite icon


  • Clicking
    • (Left) click on a topic to select it.
    • (Left) double click a topic to edit the text.
    • (Left) double click the canvas to create a new child topic of the current selection (or a floating topic if nothing selected)
    • (Right) click on a topic to present a context menu. (CTRL+Left click does the same)
    • (Left) click on the expand/collapse button to show/hide the child topics.
    • (Left) click on the square ‘resize handle’ to copy the topic dimensions to related topics (i.e. make them all the same size)
    • (Left) click on the ‘task badge’ (bottom edge of the topic) to present the task panel.
    • (Left) click on a hyperlink within some text to open it. (like this one toketaWare)
    • (Left) click on one of the small grey ‘edge icons’ to action them
      • Click on the note icon to open the notes window
      • Click on link icon to open the link
      • Click on the progress icon to get a popup menu to change the progress
      • Click on the priority icon to get a popup menu to change the priority
  • Selection
    • (Left) click on a topic to select it.
      • 3 ‘selection states’ for a topic
        First click selects the whole topic
        Second click (on an image or the text) selects it.
        • Topic
        • Image
        • Text
    • CMD + click to select (and deselect) individual topics
      • Works for Relationships too
    • SHIFT + click to select all topics in between
    • SHIFT + click + drag the canvas to select multiple topics using a ‘marquee’.
    • Click and hold (for 1 second) the background canvas to select multiple topics using a ‘marquee’.
      • Subject to ‘Drag to move canvas’ setting in System Preferences.
    • Right click on a topic and choose from the ‘Select’ sub menu options.
    • Use the arrow keys to change the current selection.
    • (left) click on a topic and hold it to select related topics
  • Dragging
    • Drag one topic over another and an arrow will indicate whether the topic (if dropped) would be attached as a child or sibling.
    • Drag one topic over another and hold it there until the ‘merge’ indicator shows then drop it. The topics will be merged (text, notes etc.)
    • Hold down ALT whilst dragging topics to duplicate them
    • Select an image within a topic then drag it to move it to another topic - or the canvas to create a new topic.
      • Hold down ALT to copy it.
    • Select a topic with an icon - then drag the icon.
      • Drop it on the canvas to delete it
      • Hold down ALT to copy it
      • Drop it back onto the same topic to reorder multiple icons.
    • Select some text (in a topic or notes) and drag/drop it to create a new topic
  • Creation
    • Select a topic and hit TAB or RETURN to create a child or sibling respectively.
      • SHIFT + TAB or RETURN will create a parent or sibling before.
    • Hit TAB or RETURN with nothing selected to create a new floating topic at the current mouse position.
    • Select a topic then double click the canvas to create a child topic.
    • Double click the canvas with nothing selected to create a floating topic.
    • Hit TAB in the middle of (editing) some text to split the topic in two (parent and child)
    • Hit CMD+RETURN n the middle of (editing) some text to split the topic in two (siblings)
    • CMD+ALT+Arrow to create a related floating topic
    • CMD+DoubleClick canvas to create related floating topic
  • Delete
    • With at least 1 topic selected, hit BACKSPACE and all selected topics (plus their children) will be deleted.
      • CMD + BACKSPACE will delete only the selected topics
  • Misc
    • With a single topic selected, hit CMD+ARROWKEY to move the topic relative to its siblings
    • CMD+ALT+Arrow to nudge manually position topic position


  • CMD+DoubleClick topic to create relationship
  • DoubleClick box on relationship line to edit
  • Right click relationship line to edit properties
    • Style
    • Arrow Heads
    • Color
    • Dashed
    • Switch ends
    • Remove text


  • Predefine colors, shapes, fonts etc. for a map then save those settings as a named ‘Style’ which can be applied to subsequent maps.
  • Share (email) styles with colleagues or across devices.
    • right click on the (custom) style in the Style picker
  • Remove custom formatting from the map - enabling the Style settings to apply
    • Use ‘Reset Map’ (in the Style picker) to reset the entire map
    • To reset individual topics, click on them and choose ‘Auto Style’ from the popup menu
  • Automatically apply descending font sizes to lower level topics
    • Set the font to something large for the Level0 topic then click on ‘Apply Descending’ - you will then be asked if you’d like to apply the font (in descending sizes) to lower levels.
  • Let the system choose topic colors by enabling ‘Rainbow’.


  • Drag images, text and links from Finder, Photos, Safari etc. into iThoughts.
  • Drag multiple lines of text into iThoughts and each line will be split into a new topic.
  • Drag a (non image) file from Finder into iThoughts and it’ll insert a link to that file.
    • Hold down ALT whilst dragging to embed a COPY of the file.
  • NB: Drag/Drop is simply a fast way to do Copy/Paste (so the above also works with CMD+C and CMD+V)


  • Right click on a topic and choose Copy As -> Link to place a link to the map/topic on the clipboard.
    • The link can be pasted into other apps - including another mind map!
  • Drag/drop a file (including ITMZ) from Finder into a map to create a hyperlink
    • Hyperlinks will be ‘relative’ paths so that inter-map links are more likely to work on the iOS version too.
  • Drag email messages from Mail into iThoughts and it’ll create a hyperlink to the message (which will also open on the iOS version)
  • Drag email addresses from a mail message into iThoughts.
  • Drag the link from the URL bar in Safari to create a topic with that link.


  • Enter text into the ‘Quick Filter’ box in the toolbar to show only those topics containing the that text (NB: this will not reveal topics that are ‘collapsed’ - you need search for that.)
  • CMD+F to search (and replace) text in notes and topics.
  • Use the ‘Show Modified’ option under the Filter toolbar button to see changes you’ve made to a map today, yesterday, this week etc.
  • Create custom filters that show/hide topics with certain characteristics (text, progress, icons etc.)


  • Resurrect the ‘Save As’ workflow by holding down ALT whilst viewing the File menu
  • Right click on the iThoughts icon in the OS X Doc to create a new map.
  • Drag a file from Finder and drop it onto the iThoughts icon in the OS X Doc to import it.
  • Select multiple topics then double click an icon/image in the picker to apply that icon/image to all selected topics.
  • Drag/drop an icon/image from the picker onto a topic.


  • Predefine the Style used in new maps.
  • Predefine where the Notes window is placed in new maps.
  • Define whether dragging the canvas will pan around the map or create a selection box.
  • Define whether an outline is included in an emailed map.
    • various other tweaks…


  • CMD+P will pop the print config window.
  • Print a sub section of the map by selecting a single topic, hitting CMD+P and choosing ‘Print Selected’.
  • Print a watermark in the bottom right corner of the map (name, date, copyright etc.)
  • Print the map over multiple pages and stick them together for a ‘poster sized’ map.
  • Optionally include notes in appendix pages.


  • Right click on a branch and choose Copy As -> Email List to extract all email addresses in the selected branch onto the clipboard.
    • …then paste them into an email TO field
  • Use Marked2 to generate a live outline preview.

Task Management

  • P and SHIFT+P = step the Progress setting for a topic forward/backward.
  • CMD+1 to 5 = set priority
  • Use ‘rollup’ progress to summarise sub task progress
    Immediate children of a topic with rollup progress will automatically be given a progress of 0
    Progress: 37%
    • Task1
      Progress: 50%
    • Task2
      Progress: 25%
  • Use ‘rollup’ effort to estimate total project effort
    Effort: 5 days
    • Task1
      Effort: 4 days
    • Task2
      Effort: 1 day
  • Strike through completed tasks (System Preference)
    Progress: 100%
  • View -> Hide Completed Tasks to ‘dim’ tasks with 100% progress.
  • Click on the ‘task badge’ beneath a topic to pop the Task Panel
  • Click on the Priority number on the bottom edge of a topic to change priority
  • Click on the Progress indicator on the bottom edge of a topic to change the priority
  • Send tasks over into Calendar or Reminder apps (or email events as attachments)
    • Right click on the topic and choose the ‘Calendar’ option

Presenting using iThoughts

  • Enable ‘Focus’ mode during presentations to dim irrelevant topics
  • Enable ‘Auto Zoom’ to get a Prezi like effect
  • Use a bluetooth ‘clicker’ to go next/back. The Stop button will preview a selected attachment full screen.
  • Use the Share button in the Slide view to generate a handout PDF of all the slides.