Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Quick Start | Importing Your Brainstorm From a Mind Map

(This is more useful for list style books like Recipes, or 'How To' books but I am including it because it is brilliant and really easy to do. 


As long as your mind map software exports to .OPML or .mm you can import your mind map plot into Scrivener using the root idea as your Manuscript heading, the ideas branching off the root as your Chapter headings and their branches as your Scene headings. 

I Use the free Mind Node application on a Mac

Once you have completed your Mind Map in Mind Node go to File > Export.

  1. Name your document
  2. Choose a place to save it to on your computer.
  3. Choose OPML from the File Format check box.

Then, inside Scrivener, select your Manuscript folder. Go to Main Menu > File > Import > Files and navigate to the the .opml or .mm file you just imported to your desktop. Click Import. Scrivener may warn you that your file will be converted to rich text. That’s okay. Click Import again. 

I use the free FreeMind application on Windows. 

Once you have completed your Mind Map in FreeMind go to File > Save As.

  1. Make sure the Files of type field is on Maps (*.mm)
  2. Choose a place to save it to on your computer.

Then, inside Scrivener, select your Manuscript folder. Go to Main Menu > File > Import > OPML or Mindmap File... navigate to the the .mm file you just imported and click on Open.

On both Mac and Windows

Now if you look at your Manuscript folder in the Binder you will see that you have your entire structure sorted out into chapters with scenes inside them. They may not be in the correct order but you can drag and drop them into place.


Note: If a Mind Map branch has no sub-branches like my Front Matter heading, it will have no sub-documents inside Scrivener.

You can right click and convert your document stacks to folders as I showed you in the section on how to manage your folders and files in the Binder.

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