I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been using mind maps frequently when writing. It’s an excellent way to structure and flesh out a piece of any length. Create sections, add topics, and even start fleshing out paragraphs using notes. I export the mind map to various formats and continue writing in an editor.

To that end, I’m excited to announce an integration that I guarantee will make the process more effective (and fun) for people who want to write in this manner.

iThoughtsX is currently my favorite mind mapping tool on OS X. Marked 2 is, obviously, my favorite way to preview Markdown. Now they work together. You can simply drag an iThoughtsX map file to Marked, and it will start previewing an outline of your map as you work. Every time you save your map in iThoughts, you’ll see the changes in the resulting Markdown document, previewed in whatever theme you’re working with.

This integration is live now in the current versions of both apps. To use it, you need to enable “Generate Markdown Preview” under the advanced preferences of iThoughtsX. Your outline is generated clockwise around the center node. Here’s a video from Craig Scott, the developer of iThoughts, showing the required settings and the integration in action.

YouTube Video

Future improvements will likely include the option to mirror the collapsed state of nodes and other fine tuning, but it’s already a very useful tool.

I’m really excited about this, and hope to bring more integrations to Marked soon. The TextBundle format opens up a lot of possibilities! Check out iThoughtsX and Marked 2 on the Mac App Store. There are also free trials available of both iThoughtsX and Marked 2 from their respective websites.

Before I go, I’d like to acknowlege a severe bug in Marked 2 on Yosemite which occurs after an export. If you’ve run into this bug, know that I’m working to fix it and release an update as quickly as possible.