I’m a person who loves to study, learn, and research. As such my productivity apps on my iPad are many. One of my favourite tools to take notes with is a mind map. I’ve used nearly every one that is available for the iPhone, iPad and computer but only two remain on my device. iThoughts HD and myMind Grande. iThoughts is good for robustness while myMind is awesome for super-quick composition. Fortunately I can start a mind map on myMind and bring it into iThoughts for tweaking.
One of my favourite companies recently released an outliner for the iPad called OmniOutliner. I reviewed it in another posting. My review wasn’t exactly favourable but it is a first release. I trust that Omni will iron out some of the programs faults in time. What I’d like to talk about here is just how well this outliner works with our favourite mind mapping tool.
They are actually radically different ways of dealing with information and it’s likely you’ll start in one place and finish up in the other. Some of you will start with a mind map and then later work it in an outliner. Others of you will outline an idea and then bring it into a mind map so you can see a bigger picture. Both methods are valid.
So how do they dance? Or do they stumble?
iThoughts HD to OmniOutliner for iPad
To get a mind map from iThoughts HD into OmniOutliner you need to export it as OPML. To do that you need to look in the Transfer menu (that’s the little box with an arrow pointing from it) when viewing a mind map.
At the bottom of that menu is a command called Export Options. Open that up and make sure that OPML is ticked. It doesn’t matter if other formats are also ticked though you’ll end up with a file for each when you export. All you need for OmniOutliner is OPML.
Backing out of the export options you’ll see that you have a number of export methods: WiFi Transfer, Send to Dropbox, and Send Email are a few. For our example we’ll use Send Email but if you’re a subscriber to DropDAV you can use that for Dropbox support in OmniOutliner as well.
So send via email to yourself. Ensure that the OPML file is attached to the email.
Next, launch the mail app and retrieve your brand spankin’ new email. Tap the OPML file with your lovely finger and choose the Open With… command. Pick OmniOutliner from the list and VOILA! Your iThoughts HD mind map opens in OmniOutliner.
You’re not quite done yet though!
In your documents browser in OmniOutliner find your OPML file. Don’t open it, instead tap the boxed arrow icon and choose the Convert to OmniOutliner. If you do not convert it to OmniOutliner then any styles that you apply to it will be LOST when you close the file. No warning, just gone.
Once you have converted the file to OmniOutliner, style away!
What comes over: node content in the first column, notes in the notes field, links in a link column.
OmniOutliner for iPad to iThoughts
The steps for getting an OmniOutliner outline into iThoughts HD are as follows:
1. In the Document Browser in OmniOutliner for iPad find the outline you wish to transfer.
2. Tap the Export button (the square with an arrow extending from it)
3. Choose Send