Toggle Brainstorm View

I want to toggle between an outline view like workflowy and a “brainstorm view” (online corkboard)… imindmap had this where you would work with documents in outline form, then easily switch over to brainstorm view… basically software can easily switch between views because an outline is really just post-it’s inside post-it’s inside post-its. I personally implemented this with the miro software. I took all my workflowy outlines and converted them to a zoomable canvas. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE


see below for examples


The outline is on the far right, on the left is the “brainstorm view”. In the middle of the picture is a mindmap view of the outline. I honestly hate mind maps, so we can skip that.

Notice that once you have information in outline form the other views are automatically generated from the outline.

Here is an normal outline:

Below is another representation of the same information.

As you can see I used the app to take a typical outline and convert it to “brainstorm view”. Therefore it IS POSSIBLE to show any outline in “brainstorm view”


So basically a kanban board view like trello or notion? Or are you specifically wanting a sticky note version?

I want hierarchy represented SPATIALLY to facilitate my thinking. Once you have a spatial representation of nested notes and categories you can work with it in a much richer way. For examples of new possibilities only available SPATIALLY, watch a video from imindmap’s implementation of this feature. Kanban boards don’t really do nested hierarchy.

The visual aspect of sticky notes vs cards vs just blocks of text makes no difference to me.

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I totally second this. Nesting spatially with a containers-within-containers metaphor is a very intuitive way of navigating hierarchy. Outliners already approach this to some extent, but you can only navigate along one axis (vertically, as in Roam, or horizontally, as in Gingko).

Roam’s diagrams are already very helpful for spatial hypertext, but you can see items only at the same hierarchical level. Mind mappers that combine full 2D spatial canvases with nested containers, like MarginNote or the zoomable InfinityMaps (iMapping) are great for spatial thinking.

MarginNote has both outline view and mind map view. Something like this would be awesome in Roam.

I think this is a really great idea. Once they release the API to the world adding visualization capabilities will be much easier and there are a lot of great javascript libraries to do this.

This is a good thread to get ideas of what would be useful when the time comes.

I do appreciate the idea, but I would prefer a simpler mind map. Here is how it works in dynalist.

Write your outline, just like in roam

Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 8.33.37 AM

Toggle into Mind map

Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 8.35.35 AM

I like this clean and simple look


Okay so I think we agree that outline view is insufficient. We want to be able to toggle between other representations of the same data, like mind maps and brainstorm view.

There is another view we could also toggle between which Gingko app uses. It’s called Miller Columns. I’d far rather have Miller columns than a mindmap. Roam research is useful as a writing tool and this is exactly how Gingko app’s miller columns shine. Something about that representation really facilitates writing. Given that Roam is largely a tool that facilitates research and writing it is a natural fit.


Essential. Any developments on this front recently?

This is an area we’re Tinderbox shines, but it’s Mac-only.

I also think this is an essential feature.

Multiple reasons:

  • would make brainstorming possible (wide AND deep)
  • helps see the “big picture” of what you’re doing
  • makes it so much easier to re-arrange your structure
  • long pages will inevitably get cluttered
  • Roam is unfortunately still very linear, compared to an app like MindManager that can do both axes really well
  • long lists basically push the limits of our working memory. If a list is longer than 7 items, I would suggest that it’s probably useless.


does this plugin by @davelu suffice? Spatial Graph Sidebar - Mind map by opening links!

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I can see using this feature.

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I +1 this. The ability to visualize the outliner in a different way (mindmap etc) would be awesome! I currently export between apps to be able to do that.

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