Welcome to Thinking Space!

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Thinking Space is a Mind Mapping application for Google's Android Platform. It has been designed with portable Mind Mapping in-mind, and is hoped that it will be an essential tool for Mind Mapping enthusiasts and beginners alike!

© 2011 Kinesthetic Ltd


About Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping is the name given to a intuitive and visual technique of organizing ideas. To learn more about Mind Mapping, have a read of the following Wikipedia article:

Wikipedia | Mind Mapping


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Basic guide

Before we begin, I'd just like to explain the term 'Node' used here in the documentation. A Node is simply the name for a bit of text on the map, like this:

The main screen

The main screen allows you to start new maps, and open existing maps.

To start a new map, open the application and choose 'New Map' from the title screen. You will then be asked to name the title node. Once you have your title node on the screen, its time to start Mind Mapping!

Select the title node by tapping on it with your finger, and then use the bottom toolbar to add a new node under it by pressing the Plus icon.

To edit an existing node, double tap it with your finger.

Expanding and collapsing docks

You are able to toggle a node's sub-node visibility by tapping on the Node Dock, which looks like this:

When a Dock is 'collapsed', all the sub-nodes are hidden.
When a Dock is 'expanded', all its sub-nodes are visible.

And thats the basic tutorial complete!

Additional Main Screen functionality

Long pressing your finger on an existing map title will bring up the following menu:

  • Delete: This deletes the map
  • Copy: This copies the map
  • Cloudify: This enables cloud support for that map (see the Cloud Support section for more details)
  • Create Home shortcut: This places a shortcut to this map on your Home screen
  • Cancel: Leaves the menu

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Menu System

Thinking Space has a menu system that helps your design and create your mindmaps. This appears when you either:

  • Double tap on any node
  • Press the menu button
Edit text
Edit note
Add sub node
Add sibling node
Remove node
Gesture Input

Text color
Text bigger
Text smaller

Node color
Node graphic

Attach file
Node Styles
Mini-menu, provides a minimalist menu bar to edit the map
Awesome button, determines the double tap action that occurs when you double tap a node. Press the button to change to next action. Possible actions are:
  • Edit Text
  • Insert sub node
  • Insert sibling node

Move node up
Move node down

Zoom in
Zoom out
Reset zoom

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You can export your mind maps in a variety of file types, including Image PNG files. This allows you to print the MindMap from a PC, or just have a handy reference.

To export a MindMap, simply open it, and then select 'Export' from the menu.

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Thinking Space allows you to join nodes together with node relations (links)

To create a relation

1. To create a relation, select Relation mode from the menu

2. Select the starting node that you want the relation to start from

3. Press the "add relation" button

4. Select the destination node that you want the relation to end on

To edit a relation

Before you can select a relation, you must first put the menu into Relation mode

Once relation mode is activated, you can then simply tap select relations to modify them


Attaching Files: Pro feature only

The Pro version of Thinking Space is able to associate nodes with files on the Android device. This enables you to do the following:

  • Associate things like PDF documents with nodes
  • Associate images or photos with nodes
  • Associate sound recordings with nodes
  • Associate mindmaps with mindmaps, create your own menu system
  • And so on!

Please note: In order to open attached files from within Thinking Space, you must have compatible viewing applications installed! Please see "Recommended program list" below for a list of compatible programs

To use the linking feature, simply find the 'Attach' button under the 'Tools' menu.

You will then be presented with a list of programs that are able to 'Pick' files from your Android device.

In order to select files from SDCard, you must have a file manager program such as Astro installed

Simply use the program which is best suited to your needs to select a file from your device

Recommended Program List

Here are some recommended programs that have have tested as working well with the Thinking Space attach feature:

  • File pickers: Estrong, Astro
  • PDF Reader: Adobe Reader
  • Image Viewer: Stock Gallery
  • Sound Recorder: Stock Sound Recorder
  • Mindmap editor: Thinking Space

If you find any neat programs on the market that integrate well here, please let me know at, thanks!

Awesome tip: Attach other Mind Maps

This is perhaps my favorite use of the Attachment feature: linking to other Mind Maps

You'll notice that Thinking Space comes up in the list of programs that you can use to select a file, if you select Thinking Space, it will open up the title screen, but in a cool green colour, like below:

This means that Thinking Space is in 'Select Mode', which means you can either...

  • Select an existing map, the map will not be opened and you will be returned to the map you were editing. The node you had selected will now be linked to the Mind Map you selected.
  • Create a new map. The new map will open, you can edit it, and when you finished you will be returned to the other map, with the new map linked in. How cool is that?


Great tip!:Use the Sound Recorder program to record voice notes, and then associate these with a node for later listening

Another great tip!:Attached files can be easily exported from the phone via the 'Export' and 'File' menu options.

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Pro feature only

The Tags feature of Thinking Space allows you to organize the mindmaps on your Title screen, and sort them into groups. This is very much like a folder system, but easier to manage and use.

To use tags, simply long press a map from the Title screen, and then select "Tags"

You can then create and assign Tags from the following Dialog:

To delete a Tag:Long press the Tag (From the Title screen), select "Delete" from the menu

To rename a Tag:Long press the Tag (From the Title screen), select "Rename" from the menu

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Pro feature only

Styles allow you to quickly swap the appearance of a node with a saved style in your library

You can find the Styles feature in the tools menu


Once you select styles mode, your saved styles are displayed down the vertical menu

To apply a style

  • Select the node you wish to style
  • Select the style from the style menu that you want to apply

To save a style

  • Select the node you wish to save it's' style
  • Press the camera icon to save the style to you library

To delete a saved style

  • Long-press on the saved style from the style library

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Gestures have been implemented to make life easier for users without Hardware Keyboard shortcuts. Gestures aim to bring useful map commands right to your fingertips.

The Gesture Panel is opened by pressing the Yellow button:

This is where the magic Gesture Spot is:

The Magic Gesture spot allows you to:

  • Minimize the Gesture panel
  • Resize the Gesture panel
To minimize the Gesture panel, Tap the Gesture Spot; To resize the Gesture panel, Drag the Gesture Spot

To hide the Gesture panel, Tap the panel in the center

When a gesture is performed and Android is not sure it is correct, the Gesture Panel will ask you to confirm the gesture is correct

Press the green text to confirm, or ignore the text and do the gesture again if the green text is not what you intended to do

To quickly repeat the last gesture, tap the white text

Gesture symbols will almost certainly be revised as I spend the next couple of months playing with this! If you have any suggestions, please email me.

GestureActionDirection (default is Left to Right)Mnemonic
Add NodeNode line
Add Sibling NodeRight to Left
Remove NodeStylised 'X' for delete
Edit Node TextA line of text
Text BiggerTwo bumps getting bigger
Text SmallerTwo bumps getting smaller
Text Bold'B' for bold (as the number 3)
Text ItalicNo idea for this one.. hopefully temporary until inspiration arrives
Text StrikeTick symbol, for its 'done'
Node NotesN for notes
Text ColourRainbow
Node ColourDouble Rainbow
Node IconsStart at bottomIconic heart symbol
Node GraphicAntiClockwise, Start at top Node shape, triangle shape..
Shift Node UpBottom to TopStrike upwards
Shift Node DownTop to BottomStrike downwards
CutOpen Scissors
CopyOuroboros=Repeat=Copy... (this ones a bit tenuous :))
PastePasting wallpaper with paintbrush 'Z' movement

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Thinking Space provides basic compatibility with the popular FreeMind, Mindjet MindManager and XMind file formats.

For best result with Freemind Compatibility, please use the Freemind 0.9+ series

Important: Default file format

The default file format for Thinking Space is Freemind .mm files. If you wish to use maps produced in Thinking Space in either MindManager or XMind, you will have to change your default file format via the Thinking Space settings

More important: Default file format

After changing your default file format, any *new* maps you create will now be in your default format. Existing maps will remain in whatever format they were created in.

You can convert mindmaps to your default format by long pressing on the Map Name from the Title screen, and then selecting 'Copy' from the menu. A copy of your selected map will then be produced in your selected default file format

ThinkingSpace MindMaps are stored on your SDCard in the mindmaps folder

Freemind can be downloaded from here

At the time of writing, the following Freemind features are not supported:

Map Attributes, Node-Clouds, Text Strike-Thru (this is a shame, Freemind doesnt appear to support this at all!) + other advanced features.

If you open a FreeMind map with any unsupported feature in it, that feature will be lost when Thinking Space saves your map. This issue may be addressed in later releases..

If you are importing maps into Thinking Space, please note the 'AutoStyle' feature, that aims to make imported maps much more readable

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Dropbox Support

Thinking Space now supports DropBox

Using dropbox is a great way to syncronize mindmaps from your phone to your PC. You can then use a Desktop Mind Mapping program to edit the MindMap, and have the changes syncronized back to your phone.

Getting started with DropBox:

  • Download dropbox from Android Market
  • Install PC/Mac desktop software
  • Put some MindMap files into your shared dropbox folder
  • Open these mindmap files from the DropBox android application
  • Have fun with editing the same maps whether you're on PC or your Phone!

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Cloud Support

Thinking Space offers a 'Cloud' functionality. For the uninitiated, 'Cloud' is a buzzword for storing data on the Internet (put simply!). Thinking Space has a Cloud server that is able to synchronise your mind maps so that they exist on both your SD-Card and on the Internet. Here are the benefits to using the cloud functionality:

  • Sharing maps. When a map is 'Clouded' (i.e put on the cloud), you can grant other people access to it. When they make changes to the map, the changes are synchronised to your phone (but not in real-time!)
  • The cloud server has a web front-end allowing you to download/upload maps to your phone from any computer with an Internet connection
  • The cloud server provides revision control, enabling you to open previous revisions of a saved map
  • The cloud server can provide a means of backup, so that if your phone is lost or stolen, your maps are still safe

How to cloud a map

Long-press the map name from the Title screen, and then select 'Cloudify' from the pop-up menu, and then select 'Thinking Space Cloud' from the menu that follows

Please note

To enable Cloud support in Thinking Space, please sign in via the settings menu. Please note, cloud syncronisations occur when the Title screen is showing, if you have just received a map via a share, or have used the Web Portal to upload a map to your phone, please leave the title screen active until your map appears.

Availability of the Cloud feature: The cloud feature is free as Google offers free hosting for undemanding Google App Engine apps. If the traffic or load on the Cloud Server increase to levels whereby I have to pay to continue to offer the feature, I will need help from people to keep it going. Currently, the load is minimal, so it shouldn't be a problem keeping this going :)

Cloud Privacy Statement

Please see privacy statement available via the Menu key from the Title screen of Thinking Space

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Cloud Web Portal

  • The Thinking Space Cloud Portal is located here:
  • The Cloud Portal allows you to access any maps you have clouded from the Internet via a website.
  • The Portal website allows you to both download and upload revisions to your maps
  • This makes it easier to work on your mindmaps on PC/Linux/MAC using programs like Freemind
  • To upload and download maps to your phone, you need to be signed in to both the Portal and Thinking Space with the same Google username and password

The main screen of the Cloud Portal allows you to 'Add' and 'Remove' maps.

When you click Add, you then have to provide a file to be syncronised to your phone. Please select a .mm file (Freemind Mindmap)

By selecting an existing map from the Map List on the left, you can download any of its previous revisions, or upload a new revision from your PC.

To upload a new revision, simply use the Revision upload box on the far right

General Cloud information

Cloud synchronisations require the main application to run, and therefore it is not recommended to make desktop shortcuts to cloud enabled maps as these will not synchronise until the main app is opened.

To share a map between two users of Thinking Space, both users need to sign into the Cloud using their Google username and password. Next, one user should open the desired map to be shared, and press the Menu key followed by the 'Export' menu item. Then select 'Cloud' from the share menu, this will 'cloudify' the current map, and then create an invitation inviting the other user to have access to the map.

The invitation is sent in the form of an email, so once it pops on screen, type in your friends email address, and send the invitation. Once your friend receives the invitation, they must click on the link contained within. This will direct them to the Thinking Space cloud server page where they will be asked to log on. Here the user must log-in using the same username and password that they have signed into Cloud in Thinking Space, as the server connects the user to the phone by the username entered here. The user should see a simple 'Done!' message once they have successfully activated the share link, and from then on the shared map will be available to all users.

How the cloud works (Technical speak for tech-heads)

The Thinking Space cloud server runs on Google App Engine, and uses your Google Account as means of authentication. When the Cloud setting is set to 'enabled', Thinking Space tries to log into Google App Engine via the permission of the account your phone is set to. If this fails, or you are using a non 'Google Experience' handset, you will have to use the 'Enabled with specified login' option to use the Cloud functionality.

With the 'Enabled with specified login option, you are required to enter your Google username and password. These are securely used at the time of input to generate a cookie file for the Thinking Space cloud server at It is this cookie file, which is unique to the Thinking Space cloud server, is then saved for future use.

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Mindmeister Support

Thinking Space supports the MindMeister web API for modifying web based MindMeister mindmaps.

Please note, MindMeister support was implemented into Thinking Space at the request of MeisterLabs. MeisterLabs allow Thinking Space free access to the MindMeister API, which is used to upload/download MindMeister maps. If the terms of this access were to be changed in the future, then this feature may be dropped.

*** Please note, MindMeister integration is only available for Premium MindMeister accounts ***

MindMeister is a commercial service which offers web based Mind Mapping. With Thinking Space supporting the MindMeister API, it is possible to edit your web based Mind Maps via Thinking Space, and syncronise your changes back to MindMeister

Enabling MindMeister support

MindMeister support can be enabled via the Settings menu. Once in settings, find the MindMeister options, and then enable this.

The next time you go to the Title Screen of Thinking Space, a browser window will be opened, asking you to log in to your MindMeister account. Please log in, and you will then be returned back to the Thinking Space title screen

Your mindmaps on the MindMeister service will then begin to download to your phone

Editing MindMeister maps

To edit a MindMeister map, simply open it from within Thinking Space, make your changes, and then exit back to the title menu. Your changes will then be uploaded to the MindMeister web site

Uploading changes may take some time, depending on how productive you have been. It is safe to exit Thinking Space while it is uploading changes, as these will continue on in the background until completed

Importing an existing map into MindMeister

To import an existing map into MindMeister, simply long press on the map name from the Title Screen. Then select 'Cloudify' from the menu that pops up, and select 'MindMeister' from the subsequent menu. The map will then be uploaded to the MindMeister service. A copy of your map will then be downloaded, and the original file will be moved to the bottom of your maps list

Current state of MindMeister compatibility

Feature Supported Notes
Adding ideas Yes  
Removing ideas Yes  
Moving ideas Yes  
Connections Yes  
Notes Yes Plain text notes only, formatting will be removed
Icons No  
Idea Styles/Shapes No  
Sharing with other users No  
Deleting maps No  
Map information, list of authors, etc No  
Hyperlinks to files No  

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Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are for users who have a physical QWERTY keyboard on their phone


  • W : Up
  • A : Left
  • S : Right
  • Z : Down
  • J : Select last new node

Operations (for selected Node)

  • ALT-ENTER : Insert new child Node
  • ENTER : Insert new sibling node
  • E : Edit node
  • T : Edit node notes
  • Y : Edit node icons
  • H : Edit node hyperlink
  • X : Edit node styles
  • DEL : Delete node
  • SPACE : Collapse/Expand node

Text (for selected Node)

  • B : Bold
  • N : Strike
  • M : Italic
  • F : Text Smaller
  • G : Text Bigger

Arrange (for selected Node)

  • ALT + C : Copy Node
  • ALT + X : Cut Node
  • ALT + V : Paste Node
  • ALT + W : Move node up
  • ALT + Z : Move node down


  • I : Zoom in
  • O : Zoom out

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  • Bottom Toolbar Visibility : This controls whether the bottom Toolbar's (which contains the add/remove node buttons) visibility
    • Show Always : Bottom Toolbar is always visible
    • Hide Always : Bottom Toolbar is always hidden, except for when double tapping on a node
    • Hide When Physical Keyboard is out : Hardware keyboard users only. If the Hardware Keyboard is out, hide the toolbar. This assumes you know the Keyboard shortcuts!
  • Show Soft Keyboard : This is a setting for Keyboardless Power Users. This controls whether the Android Soft Keyboard should be automatically shown when Editing a node. When this setting is set to 'Hide Always', you will have to tap the Edit Text box to show the Soft Keyboard. The Default setting, 'Show when Creating, hide when editing', forces the Soft Keyboard to appear when creating a node, but makes you tap the text to show the keyboard if you go back to edit this node later.
  • Default File format : What MindMapping file format to use as the default
    • Freemind: Use the freemind format
    • Mindjet: Use the MindJet MindManager format
  • Auto Capitalize : Auto capitalise the first letter of each created node
  • Wordwrap : Use automatic word wrapping to wrap long sentances
  • Toolbar Animation : Show/Hide toolbars with animation
  • Double Tap Action : What action to perform when double tapping a node
  • Long Press Action : What action to perform when long-pressing a node
  • Long Press Vibrate : Vibrate the phone to confirm long press
  • Tip, a handy alternative combination is: Double Tap: Show Edit Toolbar, Long Press: Show Main Toolbar
  • Cloud functionality : Enable cloud support by logging in with your Google username and password
  • Sync over Wifi only : When enabled, cloud and MindMeister syncronisations will only occur if you are connected to the Internet via a Wifi connection, so no syncronisation will occur over GPRS/3G
  • MindMeister Support : Support the MindMeister web mapping API service. See MindMeister for more details
  • Left Handed Mode : This switches the add/remove node buttons from the right hand side to the left hand side of the screen
  • Default Folder : The folder name that your mindmap files are saved to on your SDCard
  • Key Mappings : Configure the applications key mappings, for hardware keyboard users only

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Translate Help

Here you can use Google Translate to translate his Help file

This requires an Internet Connection

Please dont forget to change the language from 'Japanese' to your language, at the top of the next page

Click here to Google Translate this page to your language

List of Desktop MindMapping programs

  • Freemind Free MindMap editor for PC/Linux/Mac
  • Freeplane A popular Freemind spinoff for PC/Linux/Mac
  • XMind Good looking free editor
  • MindManager: The daddy of desktop mindmapping programs. If you're like me, you probably can't afford it :( (if anyone from MindJet is reading this, any chance of a freebie, I'd love to further improve the Icon compatibility!)

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Credits and thanks

This application contains modified LGPL Nuvola icons, which are used heavily in the menu system, obtained from:

Icons used are credited to the following authors:

Inline with the LGPL License requirements, you can obtain Thinking Space's modifications to these icons from:
  • Huge thanks to Ralph for Beta testing!
  • Mark James of for his Silk Icon pack, which some node icons are from
  • Some other (awesome) node icons are Copyright ¬© Yusuke Kamiyamane. All rights reserved.
  • Lenza on Google Groups for the App Engine pointers
  • The person at Google who made the Colour Wheel picker API demo!
  • Donators
  • Everyone who has sent in feedback