Scapple brainstorming software


ScappleAfter much deliberation on tools over many months I have added Scapple to my collection. Made by Literature and Latte (of Scrivener fame) it is a free form note taken tool that can support brainstorming. I will be using it to explore some ideas and will write up my experiences.

While I do that I would be interested to know what tools other people use for thinking about projects apart from pens and a sheet of A3!


I found an interesting blog called Writing While the Rice Boils  which has a few posts including some on tools. One of these mentioned Scapple which reminded me to pick up a copy. I will keep an eye on the blog (it went dormant last year though the owner has posted in March 2014) as it looks like it may well have some interesting insight to offer.



  1. If I am correct Scapple is dead in the water. I just downloaded it (for Windows) and it’s still version dated 2013!

    Have you found anything better yet?


    • John,

      Thanks for dropping by, and yes Scapple seems to have stopped evolving. I haven’t really looked for anything, and am mostly using OneNote for keeping scrap notes. I did play with some mind mapping iPad tools but the better ones all wanted a subscription.

      Do you use anything?


      • Correction the developers have woken up to say that they are still
        planning to develop it although after 2.5 years of zero updates it’s
        not at all clear when!


      • Yes, I followed up – all they seem to say is they see no need to bring out releases for no big reason. I think that is naive, even minor updates when operating systems change make prospective buyers feel your product is still alive


      • To me it’s a combination of great naivity and great arrogance to think that they have got a product completely right on version There are LOTS of small, slick little tweaks that could be done to make even the limited scope of what they are trying to do work so much better, and do so without “over complicating” anything.

        And it is sad for them that having built something so powerful and so simple then fail to make money from it not even on a Freemium basis.

        Personally I find it sad to hear that they are clearly failing to engage with their users and that I will not be able to make suggestions that will be heard.

        All things considered I would prefer to work with something more… “alive” !


      • I have to agree. Even a minor release every and then so they can say they are compatible with the latest OS version would be good.

        Why would anyone invest in a product that hasn’t had a release for such a long time? If it looks dead, smells dead and sounds dead it might just be dead!


      • By the way, after no little searching I have found a couple of possible alternatives to Scapple.

        One is IHMC CmapTools
        The other is (in Concep Map mode)

        I would be interested to hear what you make of each of them.



      • John,

        Thanks again – I see is upgrading in September, so I’ll hold off until then. They are both subscription based – I did take out a month for the Tony Buzan tool and quite liked it. I don’t use these things often enough to justify large subscriptions.

        I agree they look interesting in general.



      • Right now I’m using Scapple in order to discipline myself not to use more complex features, but as soon as my trial runs out I shall abandon them.
        Fwiw, I have uncovered a bug in Scapple in the way it handles a rather nice feature thaty it calls “stacks”.
        Except that scapple users are rather like a religious sect and go nuts if you say that their tool is anything other than perfect!

        Interesting that you liked the Tony Buzan tool. Personally I absolutely hated it. I think it’s because I think so visually and I like the shapes to stay put, and I don’t like to have rigid tree structures forced upon me either.

        Also of passing interest is the fact that the (horrendously expensive) MindManager from MindJet have finally added non-hierchical diagrams and can now do “Concept Maps” (as well as “Flow Charts” – not very well, IMHO). They too seems to have another version coming out in September.


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