A new way to organize ideas📍 Wonder Tools
Scrintal helps you map out thoughts + notes
Scrintal is a promising new app for organizing ideas. Use it like a digital bulletin board to organize notes on a visual canvas. I’ve used it to brainstorm ideas and plan out writing projects.
What to use it for: Map out a creative project and organize ideas visually
Best feature: Drag & drop linked notes on a visual canvas for brainstorming
Limitations: No mobile app, Web clipper or full export yet
Alternatives: Napkin, XTiles, Milanote, and Walling
Read on for how and why to use Scrintal and a video demo.
Why Scrintal is so useful
Flexibility to work out of order. Ideas don’t always flow in a straight line. Sometimes you figure out the fourth element before the second. With Scrintal, you can add ideas without determining their order. You can later drag to rearrange them in whatever order makes sense.
Ordinary notes lack visual connections Text dumped on a linear page doesn’t represent how ideas are linked. Scrintal and other visual notes tools are like souped-up whiteboards for organizing ideas visually. Any note can be linked to multiple others, so you get a visual picture of connections.
What to use Scrintal for
Take visual notes. Jot observations as you learn something. Make connections between ideas. Scrintal has a nice guide to visual note-taking.
Map out a project Organizing multi-step projects can be challenging. Scrintal lets you easily focus on one element at a time. Create notes for pieces of your project, then step back and look at the big picture. Use your visual board to organize ideas by sequence or priority.
Outline a presentation
Sketch out a lesson plan or syllabus
Prep a research project
Write something. I used Scrintal to outline this post. I created cards for questions like what Scrintal is, why it’s useful, and its limitations & alternatives. Then I added bullet points on each card. Once I rearranged them, I had an outline. I then fleshed out the bulleted outline into a draft. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at my Scrintal outline board.
📺 See Scrintal in action in a brief video demo👇
I interviewed Scrintal CEO & Co-Founder Ece Kural. In the 5-minute demo, below, she showed Scrintal’s interface and examples of how people are using it.
🎧 Listen to an audio version of the interview
䷉ Read the transcript
No mobile app yet. Scrintal only works on a laptop. You can try using it on a mobile browser, but it’s not optimized for that.
No Web clipper yet. If you want to grab things from the Web to add to your notes, you’ll have to copy and paste things in. Other tools, like Notion, Napkin, Walling and mymind all have Web clippers to save things from your browser directly to your visual pages.
Incomplete export options. You can collaborate on boards and you can publish them for others to view, but you can’t yet easily export all content. For now you’re stuck copying and pasting individual notes. Kural told me an improved export is high on the list of upcoming features.
Good alternatives 😒
💭 FOR DREAMERS: Miro, Mural, Figjam & other infinite whiteboard tools offer a limitless canvas for images, Post-Its and text. Scrintal is closer to a mind-mapping or outlining tool. It offers a consistent card structure to help you make connections between cards. Scrintal is a good option if you appreciate structure, while others work well if you want limitless options and more illustration tools.
🤔 FOR WRITERS: Napkin lets you put individual thoughts, ideas or notes on a visual board and draw connections to other ideas. It’s great when you like focusing on a few ideas at a time and seeing their connections. Here’s more about why I find it useful. Another writerly, card-based notes option is Scrivener.
👩🎨 FOR VISUAL THINKERS: Milanote offers a visual canvas for mixing text with images, links, and anything else you want to put on your mood board. It’s the most elegantly-designed of these tools.
👩💻 FOR CREATORS: XTiles gives you a digital bulletin board you can use for collecting ideas, links, tasks, notes or images. It’s flexible — you can drag around modules to set up the board. Take a look at templates for weekly planning, writing an article, or brainstorming ideas.
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Shu Omi, a YouTuber I follow, has a glowing video review of Scrintal.
Reviewer Mark McElroy wrote a mixed review & shared a book notes board.
Based in Sweden, Scrintal just raised $1 million with this pitch deck.
In case you missed it: Last week I wrote about 3 tools for editing with AI. Previous posts: how to jazz up your Google Slides & 7 ways to use ChatGPT.
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Join me in a conversation experimenting with Substack’s new chat feature. Today we’re chatting about outlining & visual note-taking. 👩🎨
To join our chat, download the Substack app, now available for both iOS and Android. Chats are posted in the app, not email, to spare your inbox.
The new chat is a conversation space like a group chat or live hangout. I’ll post there after publishing and you can jump into the discussion.
How to get started
Download the Substack app by clicking this link or the button below. Substack Chat is now available on both iOS and Android.
Open the app and tap the Chat icon. You’ll find my chat inside.
That’s it! Jump into my thread to say hi or check out Substack’s FAQ for help. And you can always hit reply to this email to reach my inbox directly.
This newsletter is really great - thank you, Jeremy!
Scrintal looks very interesting. But there's a wait list and the instant-access options are not inexpensive. Hopefully they'll add a once-off 1 month trial for $5. I can't drop $25+ on software that might not be for me at all. But I'd consider the annual sub if this works for me.
Hi Jeremy. I love your attention to great apps.
BTW, do you know of any 3rd party Booking/Scheduling apps that integrate with Substack. I'd like to add a booking service that's integrated with Substack, but I just don't see how to do it. Substack doesn't seem to offer that feature, nor to they seem to have a API for 3rd party developers.