3

My typical use scenario is that I am researching a topic and want to save one or two images per article together with a text summary of that article. I wish to arrange these spatially by pasting images and text into a canvas so that I can get an overview of the topic and recall information by viewing the images.

Back when I ran Windows, I used OneNote for this purpose since it lets you type text and insert images anywhere, not only linearly. What I did not like was that it organized my notes for me in notebooks. I would like to use my folder hierarchy to sort notes together with other files relevant to each project. I take most short notes in markdown, but for larger notes (e.g. literature review), I like organizing images and text snippets visually on a canvas (preferably endless).

The most suitable software I have found so far are mind mapping programs like xmind (runs a little sluggish) and freeplane (got that classic alien java look, but seems quite capable). I would like the software to run locally, rather than being cloud based. Bonus points if it saves files as plain text.

Is there anything more suitable that I have overlooked? Should I keep exploring mindmapping software or is there another category altogether that I am not aware of?

1

Should I keep exploring mindmapping software or is there another category altogether that I am not aware of?

Would by any chance Inkscape work for you?

Pros:

  • Mature, professional,

  • GTK native (no aliens! ;))

  • F/OSS,

  • uses SVG as native format - that could partially fulfill the 'plain text' requirements,

  • any graphics (yeah it's graphics software),

  • Linux, Windows,

  • awesome documentation with tutorials (albeit you may not need all the stuff in your case),

  • addons in any language,

  • CLI (man inkscape!)

Challenges:

  • I'm not sure how easy is to just arbitrarily add text that you don't plan to style anyhow.

  • Data stored as files, that is, you are the boss of the hierarchy, but it may be inconvenient if you need to frequently switch between notes or want to re-ogranize the hierarchy often

    This is however something that can be addressed by proper choice and use of window and file managers.

  • Thanks for the tip. I was trying out Inkscape initially, but found the mindmap oriented software easier in terms of adding and formatting text. For other purposes, Inkscape is indeed a solid choices for many of the reasons you mentioned, but it is not ideal for my purpose. Earlier, I have also taken a look at some diagramming software, as you suggest in your other answer, but have yet to find one that is better than freeplane or xmind. – joelostblom Dec 20 '15 at 5:10
0

I would suggest taking a look at RedNotebook.

  • Linux - Yes and Windows/OS-X
  • Free - Gratis & FOSS
  • Plain Text Yes data is stored as plain text, archived to zip and exportable to PDF, HTML, Latex
  • Data stored locally Yes if you need to have remote access simply store the data in your Dropbox or Google Drive folder
  • Multiple Notebooks Yes
  • Also has the ability to use and create templates for specific tasks/entry types.

The only thing that it lacks compared to mind mapping is that is does tend to organise things linearly.

  • 1
    Thanks, RedNotebook seems like a great alternative for many OneNote users. However, since it lacks the ability to arrange text and images freely on a canvas, it is not really an alternative in my case. When I tested it out, it also seemed to me that it keeps all notes within a notebook which is uses for organization, rather than using the file system as the organizational system and then opening single notes from folders. I clarified my question. – joelostblom Nov 16 '15 at 15:28
0

Should I keep exploring mindmapping software or is there another category altogether that I am not aware of?

Related category worth checking out is software specifically written for drawing diagrams.

(Unfortunately my favorite one--Dia, does not seem to support adding bitmap graphics, or at least not in such arbitrary manner...)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.