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3/6/2012
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iThoughtsHD For iPad Maps Minds On The Go

Plan out your next project on your iPad with this handy iOS-based mind mapping tool.

If you like to plan or brainstorm by doodling or drawing diagrams, mind mapping might be a technique that fits your style of generating and organizing ideas. If you own an iPad, there's an app for that: iThoughtsHD.


iThoughtsHD starts with a blank canvas on which you begin a new mind map project by typing in a name for it. The initial idea bubble--which the app refers to as a topic--is created automatically based on the name you type in. The process of building out and organizing points, ideas, and pieces of information is as fast or faster than performing the task with pencil and paper. The biggest win in using software like iThoughtsHD instead of drawing with a pen or pencil is the ability to quickly and neatly reorganize a multitude of bubbles and their connections. The app can add flourishes such as special graphical icons or even photographs. However, if you plan on sharing or collaborating, it might be best to keep things graphically simple. More about this later.


Double tapping on a blank area of the canvas creates a new topic bubble that automatically links to the active bubble. A bubble automatically adjusts to fit the text within it. Although it is not shown in the examples here, it is also possible to point out relationships between bubbles in different topic clusters. You can add comments to the map by placing them in graphical callouts.


 

iThoughtsHD does more than simply simulate the pencil and paper process of sketching your ideas. It adds abilities that are difficult or impossible to do on paper. You can, for example, easily combine mind maps. And as you can see in the screenshot below, iThoughtsHD can apply basic project management information to a topic bubble: Progress percentage, start date, due date, effort, and resource assignments drawn from the iPad's Contacts database.



Editing your mind map is a simple tap-and-drag process. For instance, you tap and drag to reposition a bubble. You edit the text inside a bubble by double tapping. Dragging a bubble from one branch to a bubble on a different branch brings up a menu to let you move, copy, or merge.


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