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(Go to:Topicscape Pro User Guide - contents list)


The toolbar provides quick access to functions. It appears in the Map, 'Scape and Topic Center windows (see next section). You can hover your cursor arrow over each button to see a description of its function. From left to right, then:

First is the 2D/3D switch button, that toggles between the Map and the 'Scape.

The aircraft button (3D only), when double-clicked, shows a summary of the flying controls.


The arrows next to the aircraft button indicate the current flight mode and change dynamically as you press the Shift, Ctrl or Alt keys. They indicate how the mouse or cursor keys will cause the scene to move. Shown right are the Topicscape classic flight controls. If you use the Google Earth controls, the indicators will be adjusted accordingly.


The Mode button allows you to switch between the three modes: Limited; User's; and Expert.

  • Limited mode is intended for users seeing Topicscape for the first time. It hides some functions, and simplifies menus. You can turn this mode off yourself, but if you keep using this mode, Topicscape will ask if you want to try the more advanced features. You can tell it not to ask again, or leave the reminders active. When active, you will see the reminders only once a day.
  • Expert mode reveals all functions but does not enable you to selectively turn them on and off.
  • User's mode allows you to select exactly which options and behaviors to show or suppress and will be the Mode to use once you have used Topicscape for a few days. The customization is done through a panel in the Tools | Options | User Preferences menu.

You can freely switch between these modes by clicking the button near the left end of the toolbar and picking from the drop down:

or using Tools | Options (refer to the box at the foot of the User Preferences tab).

Neither Limited mode nor Expert mode can be customized, but when you switch to these modes using the radio buttons, they will not change your own (User's mode) settings. If you want to use your own variant of Expert mode, a button helps you to copy all the Expert settings to the User's settings and then vary them individually as you wish.

Level of Detail when clicked provides a selection panel for Greatest, Middle and Least detail. This is described in The "Level of detail" controls below.

Most other buttons should be self-explanatory if you hover over each and read their blue hint text. We just elaborate on a few others:

To the left of the "Out tray" area are two search buttons. One is the local search. The icon on that button changes, depending on whether you are in the Map/'Scape view or the Topic Center, to reflect the scope of the search that will be done. Please see Local search and Topic Center search for details.

The Out Tray is a multi-purpose area and the functions it offers vary depending on what you are doing:

If you just click on it, you'll see an option to open the Topicscape Box (the number in brackets shows how many items are in the Topicscape Box - see Topicscape Box) or to go to Topicscape Orphans (i.e. make that the Current Topic). Note that if you are in Limited Mode, or have "Use Topicscape Orphans" switched off in the Options panel you will not see this option.

If you click on a topic and drag its green dot to the Out Tray, it changes form. You'll see a Group and a Single column, and three drop-down items: Delete, Send to Orphans and Topicscape Box. As you move the green dot around the Out tray, you will also see blue hints, telling you exactly what dropping the green dot on each of the six places will do. The Group column processes the dragged topic and all its descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), while the Single column processes just the topic dragged. What you can do with the topic or topic group depends on where you drop the green dot. You can delete, move them to Topicscape Orphans or move them right outside Topicscape by sending it to the Topicscape Box where they will appear as folders and files.

If you drag an occurrence or occurrences to the Out Tray, you will have the same three choices as are offered for topics, but the Single / Group options don't apply so they won't appear.

More detail is given in Move or delete topics and occurrences through the Out Tray.

The Pending Tray area is also dual purpose: Click it and the Pending Tray will drop down unless it is empty. Drag something (a topic or an occurrence) to this part of the toolbar and it will be copied to the Pending Tray. The two numbers in the Pending tray show how many topics and occurrences are there. See Pending Tray - holding area for topics and occurrences

The lightning flash button on the far right will bring a handy reference to shortcuts on the screen.

Level of detail controls

More detail, or less ... as you wish: The Detail button in the Toolbar (alternatively, four function keys, F9 to F12) provides a way of cutting out or increasing the detail when viewing a Map or 'Scape. Other controls give access to the same function on-screen: The "Level of detail" button on the left of the toolbar (across the top of the window) provides a selection panel for Greatest, Middle and Least detail, and items in the main menu bar under "View", then "Level of detail" also provide this control.

When you start Topicscape in 2D, you have a view that shows the middle detail. This shows all topics down to grandchildren of the Current Topic - that means it excludes the great-grandchildren. You can return to this level of detail at any time by pressing F11.

In 3D, you have a view that shows the full detail ("Greatest" will appear in the "Level of detail" button). This shows the maximum number of levels of topics. You can return to this level of detail at any time by pressing F12.


When reviewing a large and complex Topicscape, it is often useful to be able to cut away the detail at first. To do this, press F10. Then you will have a view showing just the principal topics in relation to the Current Topic. You may also see some small '+' labels at the foot of some topics. These indicate where lower topics (children and their children) are hidden and usually there will be many more when the lowest level of detail (F10) is in use. The lower levels of detail also allow for faster flying, zooming etc. Then press F11, and the middle level of detail will appear.

Secondary parents

Press F9 to eliminate any topics representing other parents of the Current Topic's children or siblings ("Fruits" in the example right). Sometimes, you'll find it useful to see these secondary parents, as they can be used as a way of categorizing topics under multiple headings. You will often want to have them showing, but hiding them can sometimes be helpful for a simple view. On the right is an example of before pressing F9 (left) and after. If you see no change when you press F9, it just means that you have no such "small parents" in the present Map or 'Scape.

Finally, press F12 again to bring the maximum detail into view.

For more on keyboard controls, please see Appendix B: Summary of easy steps and shortcuts.

Next: Menus on the main menu bar

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