How to Voice Dictate a Mind Map on Your iPhone

iThoughts icon
iThoughts mind mapping app


You can create a mind map with no hands in just three steps on an iPhone.

Before you voice dictate your mind map, you need:

Then head to the Drafts action directory to pick up this nice little callback url to install to Drafts. If you click this link from your iOS device, you can have it install the action right to Drafts. (More on iThoughts and x-callback-url options here.)

I’ve assigned this action its own “Run Action” key on the customizable Drafts keyboard, with the label MM. My keyboard in Drafts looks like this:


Mind Map Key


Now the fun part, and it’s just three steps:


1. Outline the text of your mind map in Drafts.


Here’s what I’ve just voice dictated:


Text in Drafts for Mind Map


To get going, use Siri to record what will be your first node (“topic” in iThoughts parlance).

To get to a second node, simply say, “New line, new line” and say what your next node/topic will be.

If you want to do sub-nodes (i.e., “children” topics) after you have dictated your main/parent topic, say, “New line,” and then have Siri indent your sub-node with the “tab key” command. Then dictate that sub-node or child topic.

You can add more parent, child, and sibling topics similarly. (iThoughts has a nice terminology overview here.)


2. Run your “iThoughts: New Map from Outline” action in Drafts.


I simply tap my “Run action” key, which automatically opens my draft in iThoughts as a mind map–and does it so quickly, I can barely catch a screenshot of the dialogue!


New Map from Outline


3. View your mind map in iThoughts.


Here it is
Here it is


Because of iThoughts’s sync setup, you can now view (and modify) your mind map in iOS or OSX platforms.

If this isn’t amazing tech, I don’t know what is.

UPDATE: I’ve just learned you can achieve this same effect with MindNode, my current go-to app. It doesn’t have as rich x-callback-url support, but you can make a mind map from voice-dictated text using the “Open in…” feature in Drafts. Very cool.



Thanks to the good people of toketaWare, for giving me a download of iThoughts for iOS and OSX for review purposes. More on that app to follow.

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