Topicscape Pro User Guide - contents list

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1 "Can't I skip all this and just get started?"

1.1 Here's how to get started quickly

2 3D Topicscape: Introduction

Very brief, with images of 2D and 3D forms, and skins.

3 2D-3D choice

How to switch between the two views: The 2D Map and the 3D 'Scape (landscape).

4 What Topicscape Pro can do for you

The 'Why?' of Topicscape.
4.1 Benefits of organizing your information this way

5 2D Map view

Brief introduction to the 2D Map.

6 3D Landscape view

Brief introduction to the 3D Landscape.

7 What you can do with Topicscape

What's in it for you...
7.1 How you can use it in your work, hobbies and life

8 3D Topicscape building blocks

Introduction to the most important components when organizing information.
8.1 Topics - The subjects into which you classify your information, files and ideas.
8.2 Occurrences - The items that fit into those subjects
8.3 Associations - The links between topics

9 Demonstrations

About the five demonstrations in Topicscape: Flying in 3D; flying in 2D; using Topicsape in 3D; using it in 2D; explaining the 3D structure.

10 What is "a Topicscape"

This section is about what you see in your Topicscape window.
10.1 Skins and layout - Changing the style of your Topicscapes. Basic skins, additional skins installer, 3D and 2D skins,
10.2 Ranks and columns - Wide maps or tall ones.
10.3 Topic footprints - They indicate topic groups, and can be suppressed if you wish.
10.4 Home position - About the starting point for Map or Landscape exploration, with variations.
10.5 Topic Center (introduction) - A very preliminary look, with a link to the main section about this.
10.6 Topic appearance - Topics can appear in 2D maps, 3D 'Scapes, lists and the navigation map. This shows their various forms.
10.7 Viewing occurrences - How to see the contents of topics.
10.8 Association lines - Introducing how these show the relationships between topics.
10.9 Association types - capturing knowledge - How describing the relationships between topics captures knowledge and enhances understanding of a subject. Shows examples of how these appear in 2D and 3D.
10.10 Flags - Flag topics to make them stand out.
10.11 Taking it all in - The Boundary - Defines how much of your information map is available at one time.
10.12 Details Panel - Where more detail about a topic or occurrences is added and displayed.
10.13 Topic Center - Where all the occurrences are stored, and where immediate connections with other topics can be seen, including those that may not be visible (loose associations).

11 What you can do

11.1 Make a new Topicscape - A summary of five different ways including importing from various sources, or just starting a new one from the File menu.
11.2 Make new topics - There are many ways of making a new topic, and which you use will depend on what you're making the topic from (file, folder, mindmap, etc.) and your preference for mouse or keyboard shortcuts.
11.3 Merge any two topics in a Topicscape - Explains exactly what happens when you merge topics, or merge a folder into a topic.
11.4 Occurrences - making new ones - Describes the types of occurrences and gives links to more detailed descriptions of each. Tells you how to add descriptions and other information to occurences, so your files become more than just files. Describes occurrence flagging (with colors or 'finished with' flag. Covers making occurrences with Paste Special (from just part of a document), fileless occurrences for quick notes, occurrences from Outlook, emails, occurrences linking to other Topicscapes, and cloned occurrences. Describes how occurrences are stored.
11.5 Promoted occurrences - Occurrences that have an icon attached to a topic and can be seen in and opened from the Map or 'Scape.
11.6 Drag-and-drop / Import -- to make topics, occurrences and associations - Describes extra work Topicscape can do for you when you drag items in to make occurrences.
11.7 Check for duplicates before introducing a file - How you can avoid bringing duplicate files or older copies into a Topicscape.
11.8 Connect topics using Associations - After the earlier introduction, this is the main description of how associations work in Topicscape.
11.9 The power of the 'Create New Topics' panel - avoiding duplicate topics - How Topicscape does a fuzzy search and gives hints about similar topics that you might prefer to use in place of the new one you're about to make.
11.10 Pending Tray - holding area for topics and occurrences - Describes how the Pending tray is used, and what it's for.
11.11 Out Tray - moving or deleting topics or occurrences - How the Out Tray is used to move occurrences, topics and topic groups out of Topicscape easily.
11.12 Search - All the ways of finding things in Topicscape. This is a jumping off point for detailed articles on the different types of search.
11.12.1 Advanced search - Details of how to search across an entire Topicscape and the ways of limiting the search to specific types of item.
11.12.2 Local search - Search in the local area that's visible now. Covers search in search-results.
11.12.3 Topic Center search - Search in the current Topic Center.
11.12.4 Concept search - Searching by navigating down the hierarchy that you set up.
11.12.5 Tag filter search - Full details of using tags to narrow searches down, by hiding all irrelevant topics and occurrences.
11.12.6 Group search - Searching in one topic group.
11.12.7 Searching with Latin alphabet characters with diacritics and ligatures - Including characters like Á, ß,ä, æ, ç and þ in your searches.
11.12.8 Hit list - Options for displaying and filtering the results list after a search.
11.12.9 Include orphan topics - Show or hide orphan topics
11.12.10 Noisewords - How noisewords (stop-words) keep unhelpful words like 'the' or 'and' out of your searches. Also, how to change the standard noisewords list.
11.13 History list - Describes how this list shows your recent activities, how you can control the number of items it records, and how to 'page' through a long History List.
11.14 Export / Drag-and-drop, to make folders and files -
11.15 Importing to, and exporting from Topicscape - Introduction to the options available.
11.16 Deleting topics and occurrences - Describes various options for deleting, the effect of deleting, and deletion reports.
11.17 Topicscape Orphans - Describes this locale for material that you want to delete, but prefer to archive for now. Also shows how to get items back from Orphans into the main 'Scape.
11.18 Topicscape Islands - Describes this locale for detached topics.

12 Controls you can use

Details of the Topicscape User Interface.
12.1 Viewing-position keys - Shortcut keys to common viewing positions, and how to re-trace your flight path.
12.2 2D flight controls - Moving the 2D Map around - like Cooliris, or an alternative.
12.3 3D flight controls - Controlling your flight in the 3D landscape - like Google Earth, or using classic Topicscape flight.
12.4 Halo menus - 2D and 3D - What the Halo menu (for newcomers to Topicscape) does and how to turn it off and on again.
12.5 Topic controls - How to select, manipulate and see the contents of topics. Meanings of the various icons that can appear on topics.
12.6 Swinging panels - Describes the panels that can swing out from either side of the Map or 'Scape window.
12.7 Toolbar - Describes the bar of buttons at the top of Topicscape's window.
12.8 Menus on the main menu bar - Gives an item-by-item description of the main menu.
12.9 Function keys - Describes the use of the Function Keys across the top of your keyboard.
12.10 Editing keys - Describes how editing keys operate when Topicscape is in text-edit mode.
12.11 Shortcuts to make new topics quickly - Describes shortcut keys for making topics from the keyboard.
12.12 Other keys as shortcuts - Describes the remaining keyboard shortcuts.
12.13 QuickZoom - Shows how to zoom instantly into one part of the 'Scape or Map, and either stay there or zoom right back immediately.
12.14 Other zoom options - Shows other controls that allow you to zoom in to the Map or 'Scape.
12.15 Draggable true-magnifier -- the Enlarger - Describes the magnifying panel that you can drag around the Topicscape window. This is functional and useful, but was developed before Quickzoom, which largely supersedes it for most users.
12.16 Keep Topicscape active but out of view - Describes how to instruct Topicscape to shrink to an icon in one corner of your screen when your cursor moves away from the Topicscape window, and spring to life again when hovered over.

13 Topicscape Box

This is a small helper application fro Topicscape that allows you to have some of the benefits of Topicscape (storing descriptions of files, source of web pages, make MHT files with just a drag, add value to emails, capture Outlook objects etc.) without opening Topicscape itself.
13.1 Moving occurrences to Topicscape
13.2 Other browsers
13.3 For permanent export from Topicscape
13.4 Personal Firewalls and Topicscape / Topicscape Box

14 Importing into Topicscape

This covers both importing to make a new Topicscape and imports into an existing one.
14.1 Importing folders and files - Importing a folder and subfolders is very simple. This section also covers re-importing exported folders and touches on the limitations imposed by Windows' path length.
14.2 Importing text files - Text files for importing need to follow a numbered-outline format. This section provides a pointer to more information.
14.3 Structured text file -- export and re-import, round trip - And this section describes how similar text files that were originally produced by Topicscape can be re-imported.
14.4 Importing from PersonalBrain - This describes some important issues with exporting from PersonalBrain, and provides pointers to sections dealing with importing from various version of PersonalBrain.
14.5 Importing from MindManager - Describes importing from MindManager 5 and later, and shows how a Topicscape can be built from earlier versions.
14.6 Importing FreeMind files - Describes the steps for importing a FreeMind (.mm) mindmap. Also mentions a round trip, export/re-import.
14.7 Importing OML files

15 Exporting from Topicscape

This is a pointer to the various articles on different forms of export.
15.1 Exporting folders and files -
15.2 Exporting text files - How to make various types of text file - a "reading" text file, a formally structured text file, a flat HTML file, and a dynamic OPML file with folding branches.
15.3 File names and paths when exporting to folders - Notes about a Windows limitation that, because of the freedom to make very deep hierarchies in Topicscape, may come into play if care in choosing a traget location is not taken. Description of the report that is produced if the path length is too great and how it helps you deal with this.
15.4 Exporting to FreeMind - How to make a FreeMind map from a Topicscape. This explains how some relationships possible in Topicscape that are not in FreeMind are handled, so that re-importing allows recreating a proper Topicscape structure.

16 Can Topicscapes be printed?

In 3D? No, but this section gives some alternatives.

17 Glossary

Describes, with images where appropriate, terms used in Topicscape.

18 Appendix A: Customization - the Options panels

Gives details of all the customization options in Topicscape.
18.1 Flight Control
Choices for 2D, 3D, how you fly, sensitivity of the mouse and keyboard, and which way the mousewheel zooms.
18.1.1 Flight Control - Customize Customize 2D Flight Customize 3D Flight
18.1.2 Flight Control - Speed
18.2 User Preferences
Enable or disable various enhancements to the
18.3 Appearance
How to change the colors available for occurrence highlighting.
18.4 Skin
How to change the colors and textures of topics and backgrounds, some of the shapes, transparency settings, and flags appearance and color. The changes can be applied to the default skin (affecting all Topicscapes presently using the default skin and all new ones) or can be applied to the Topicscape currently open, only.
18.4.1 Skins: Why not other shapes?
The answer to a perenial question.

19 Appendix B: Summary of easy steps and shortcuts

Here are the keyboard shortcuts all gathered together in one place.
19.1 Edit shortcuts - Used when editing text.
19.2 Manipulating Topics
19.3 Manipulating Occurrences
19.4 Visual enhancements including zooming - Minimizing/hiding or showing certain elements of the Topicscape scene, change The Lists from 2D to 3D and back, and control zooming.
19.5 Level of Detail controls (how much you see in the Map or 'Scape)
19.6 Search-related shortcuts - Used to bring up controls for searching, Tag filtering and filtering the hit list contents.
19.7 Viewpoint changes - Used to go to certain useful Topicscape viewing positions.
19.8 Operational shortcuts
19.9 List organized by keystroke rather than function

20 Appendix C: Data storage in Topicscape

20.1 Choosing where "My Topicscapes" should go: Path lengths and security
20.2 Moving Topicscapes around
20.3 Moving "My Topicscapes"
20.4 Thumb-drives supported
20.5 Network access to files

21 Appendix D: Data checks and repair -- The Data Repair Wizard

22 Appendix E: Security of Topicscape documents and data

23 Appendix F: Details of format for imported structured text files

This gets deep into the nitty-gritty.
23.1 General Structured Text Files
23.2 Internal Structured Text Files

24 Appendix G: License installer

When you buy Topicscape, you'll receive a license. This section tells you how to install it.

25 Appendix H: Ways of running Topicscape

26 Appendix I: Component software, license information

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