Transform a mindmap into a Scrivener outline

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BIG UPDATE: USE FREEPLANE the new updated branch of Freemind (can generate OPML!)

Keith showed us Mac lovers a nice idea of how to do brainstorming and put all in Scrivener with ease. Scapple is a great tool, but soon after the first beta release it made alot of people cry: windows users. Here’s an idea for people who can’t get their hands on Scapple and the ones who think of transferring existing Mindmaps to Scrivener (this is more easy for the Mac people, because Scrivener Mac has OPML support, which is now also available in the Scrivener Win version!). So get Freeplane, make your OPML Files and import them to Scrivener. It is that easy. Or consider switching to Scapple.

Mac Users (and Win Users now, too) simply export their Maps to OPML in Freeplane and import it to Scrivener Mac/Win and all is done. People who prefer Freemind do it the way I described below. And to the iOS Version since it would coop with iThoughtsHD pretty well which would make an awesome workflow possible. 🙂

So here is the Freemind way:


Yes, we can! And the efford is not much.

Here is what you need:

  • Scrivener (Windows or Mac)
  • Freemind (runs on all plattforms)
  • and the “key to success” a XSL converter scheme file. Normally it is located in the accessory folder of Freemind (Mac users use “Show package content”) or just use this one: MindMap2OPML

How ist it done?

Create a new Mindmap, let the juice flow through your brain and when you are done save it as a normal Freemind document (MM).


Now we have to export it using the XSLT converter that is part of Freemind


Now we have to tell the converter how to translate the MindMap. This is the point where the MindMap2OPML File gets into the game. First point to this file, second name the new OPML output file. Then “Export”. (So you realize that you should keep the XSL file in a safe place if you plan to do this workflow more often).


Now we have a new OPML file and it is time to fire up Scrivener and import it. Normally you do this in a blank project.


Klick on “OK” when Scrivener show a “Import Notice” and very likely you can see your MindMap Nodes as an outline in the Binder. Mission accomplished. Now edit the parts/folders in the Binder in the way you need it. Done.


Have fun!

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