iThoughts for Windows Review
Finally, the Mind mapping app of choice for IOS devices, iThoughts, has made its way to the PC. In this iThoughts for Windows review, let’s see how it has survived the journey – bruised and battered or with a nonchalant swagger.
• Simple and effective mind mapping App
• Limited functionality at present
IOS iThoughts elegant, feature rich implementation with a multitude of import and export options have left me more than satiated
For some years now I have been an avid user of iThoughts on the iPad. IOS iThoughts elegant, feature rich implementation with a multitude of import and export options have left me more than satiated. With a Dropbox and Freemind on my PC, I had a neat little solution for note taking and brainstorming new project ideas. So, the prospect of a native PC solution naturally interests me and if you are reading this iThoughts review, then I assume you too.
To a great extent, Windows Mind mapping Software falls into two camps. There is the cheap and cheerful free Mind mapping tools such as Freemind and XMind and other premium tools such as Mindgenius, Mindmanager and iMindmap. Pricing and functionality wise, the new iThoughts for Windows falls between both. It’s mobile heritage shines through in the user interface which has a very mobilesque(yeah I made that word up. At his stage, with the number of words I have invented I could write a mini-dictionary. Pamphlet size for easy access when you are reading my articles) feel to it and with a price of $50, falls well below other Windows apps but still far North of the free solutions. Let’s kick off this iThoughts for Windows review with a look at the mobilesque! interface.
iThoughts for Windows User interface
icons are oversized and sparse, in expectation of some chubby fingers to be prodding them
With Windows, you can restrict the access rights for users, accounts, and computing processes to only those resources absolutely required to perform routine, legitimate activities. This can be done by looking into something like a least privilege manager, who blocks malware and similar software. Windows software tends to be rather ubiquitous in its design with the comfortable familiarity that breeds. You have the drop down menus at the top with various options that tend to be very similar no matter the application. While iThoughts for Windows has that the initial feeling of using it is rather strange. If you ever pondered what it would be like to have a mobile app smack down on your Windows desktop, well iThoughts for Windows is probably a good reference point. While it retains the familiar top menus, the icons are oversized and sparse, in expectation of some chubby fingers to be prodding them. But on a desktop app they are safe from such harassment but nevertheless still maintain that appearance.
iThoughts for Windows, similar look and feel as the IOS version below
Layout wise, everything is as expected. There is the main window for your beautiful Mind map and on the right side some formatting and other options for the Mind map constituents. The little tabs on the bottom allow various formatting options such as,
- Mind map styles such as chalkboard and Org. chart
- Text box shapes, colour and line styles
Icons and images
At the top of the Mind map, a Note section allows additional information to be added for each Mind map entry. From personal experience, this is a great thing to have for Mind maps to prevent any bullet point entry from becoming a short novel.
iThoughts for the iPad
iThoughts for Windows Features and Functions
Often a lot of functionality is thrown at Windows Mind mapping software. Sometimes it sticks and provides something useful for the user, other times it is not particularly well implemented and only gathers dust in some forsaken drop down menu. iThoughts for Windows has taken a somewhat different philosophy. That is to do Mind mapping, do it well and do it consistently across whatever iThoughts App you are using – IOS, Mac or on the PC.
I will but cover a few notable features that stand out for me in this iThoughts for Windows review.
Mind mapping with iThoughts
When it comes to creating a Mind map in iThoughts, there are but two things you need to know. Hit Tab to enter a child topic and Enter to add a peer topic. That’s the fastest and easiest way to get new stuff into iThoughts. Mind map entries can naturally be dragged around with your mouse and reattached to any parent topic.
iThoughts for Windows Compatibility
One of the things I have always liked with the IOS version of iThoughts is the myriad of import and export options. You could export to MS Word, MS ppt., PDF, Image files, OPML, Freemind, Xmind, iMindmap etc. I could go on but I think you catch my drift, it plays well with other formats. The Windows version is not yet up to that level yet, but hopefully it will over time. At the moment, you can export to MS Office documents, Mindmanager, PNG and OPML. Freemind is an obvious omission as you may want to share your Mind map with non-iThoughts users but again I expect this to come in a future release.
Import wise, a few more options are available. Freemind files can be imported along with a few other Mind mapping formats such as iMindmap, Mindmanager and Mindgenius. Text import is also supported.
NOTE: Very important information. If you are using the older version of iThoughts on your IOS device, as denoted by the Blue icon, you will not be able to open files from the Windows iThoughts. You need to be running the later version with orange and white icon to read the updated ITMZ files.
Check you have the right iThoughts for compatibility
Research with iThoughts
The functionality for researching stuff with iThoughts has been there for eons. With the IOS version you can easily Google for any of the mind mapping topics you enter for fast and easy research of topics. With the PC version or indeed the Mac version, this functionality also comes baked in. Right click, hit enter and the topic currently selected will be entered into a Google search. You can also quickly and easily get stuff from the Web into iThoughts, replete with links. Check out the video below to see how this works.
iThoughts for Windows vs. iThoughts for IOS/Mac
While the general idea is to have similar functionality irrespective of the platform there are a few differences to expect between the IOS/Mac and Windows version of iThoughts.
iThoughts for Windows does not have any presentation mode as available on the Mac version or “Doodle”, available on IOS. Doodle I can live without but given the corporate tendency to use PCs for presentations, the absence of it from the Windows version is notable. Advanced search functionality is also missing at the moment, but stay tuned for it is pencilled in for a future update.
In terms of import and export options, the Windows also currently lags behind both the IOS and Mac version.
iThoughts Design Qwerks
There were a few unusual things I noted in trialling the new software. First, there is no Print option. I know the file can be exported and printed but curious nevertheless.
Next up. File attachments. It is possible to attach files to each Mind map entry but from what I have seen not from any menu. To do it you have to drag the file from Explorer, while holding down the Alt key. To open the files though there is a menu option for that, care of the trusty old right click.
Right click to open attached files!
Going to the File menu, then Export just bounces you back to the main window where there is also an Export option.
iThoughts for Windows Pricing
When it comes to pricing it is not one size fits all so you need to pay attention at this point. If you are a newcomer to iThoughts then expect to part with fifty of your finest dollars. If you are a penniless student that does not even have two pennies to rub together or own the IOS or Mac iThoughts app, then the impact to your wallet will be somewhat less bruising. Discounts for Students, Mac iThoughts owners or iOS owners are 50%, 70% and 20% respectively. Personally, I find the price, especially for new entrants to be a little steep. Given the functionality mirrors that of the iOS app, I think the pricing should reflect that and be around the same figure $11.99. Here are the links for iThoughts for IOS and iThoughts for Windows.
iThoughts for Windows Review Summary
iThoughts for Windows is a straightforward little App that does Mind mapping. It is the final piece of the trilogy that now spans the IOS, Mac and Windows operating system to provide a consistent, competent Mind mapping solution. It does not match heavyweight Mind mapping software such as Mindmanager, nor does it try to. It is priced at $50 but given it has lesser functionality compared to the IOS version priced at $11.99, it offers less significantly less bang for the buck and therein lies the problem for me. Without the significant discounts for Students or iThoughts for Mac owners, offers less value for money than the mobile App in particular. $50 is a high entry price for new comers to the iThoughts ecosystem and personally, I see iThoughts for Windows making most sense for existing owners of either the IOS or Mac Software where both price discounts are possible and you can yoke the benefit of having the same formatting applied to your Mindmaps.