Temporary overview

Everyone I follow on Twitter and RSS is talking about Scapple, a new free-form mind-mapping tool from Literature & Latte that just went into public beta. It seems very much like OmniGraffle, and I’m not sure I want to take on another tool that has so much overlap with one I already have.

This feature, though, made me sit up and take notice:

Hold down the “z” key while not editing to zoom out and see the entire canvas. When you release the “z” key, the previous zoom setting will be restored, but now showing the part of the canvas the mouse was over when you released the “z” key.

As someone who’s often working zoomed-in on a small section of a document, I love the idea of getting a temporary overview of the entire document by holding down a key. And the added ability to move when you unzoom just makes it that much better. If this is available in other graphics apps, I’d like to know about it; and if it isn’t, other developers should steal it.

When I first read the Literature & Latte blog post about Scapple, I misread the name as “Scrapple,” which reminded me that

  1. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet; and
  2. I hadn’t listened to this in a while.

One Response to “Temporary overview”

  1. Confused--Guy a73ae3 says:

    Completely agreed. It doesn’t matter whether I’m laying out text or painting art in detail—I could use this feature in any app that can zoom in and out. The split second that it takes to zoom out (and then zoom back to the context I just was in) is a split second that destroys whatever I had in my head, after which I must reconstruct my thoughts. I would like to keep my flow, please.

    Quasi-modes are very much underutilized, by every designer. Jef Raskin sighs in his grave, heh.