Checkvist is a nice, web-based ouline editor. Since it uses a hierarchical content structure, and a mindmapping software like Freemind does the same, interfacing between them can work well in theory. There are some quirks and tips though that we will explore here in practice.

I selected Checkvist among alternative solutions for the following reasons:

  • Work fast with large amounts of text. Large amounts means here something like 400k characters (400 pages A4), which Freemind can handle easily. The web-based, open source mindmapping tool Wisemapping for example was only able to work with some few pages of text before getting sluggish).
  • Unlimited lists, list items and other features in the gratis version. In contrast, Workflowy is also nice but offers only 250 free list items per month … .
  • Collaborative editing in the free version. Because that is what I need it for: a real-time collaborative interface for some content I developed so far in Freemind mindmaps.
  • Public sharing in the free version.
  • Comfortable importing from Freemind 1.0. In contrast, Wisemapping for example would support only imports from Freemind 0.9 directly, so you would need Freemind 0.9 installed as well to copy, paste and save your Freemind 1.0 mindmap in 0.9 format before uploading it.

How to import Freemind content into Checkvist

  1. You can only import plain text. No icons, colors, HTML rich text formatting of nodes etc., but you do not have to remove them before either.
  2. Make sure you do not have multiple paragraphs of text in any one node. Because the second and following paragraphs would start without indentation in the text version, leading to hierarchy level errors during the import. So, split every node that currently has multiple paragraphs using this technique:
    1. Position the node selection at the root node of the branch you want to export.
    2. Do "Navigate -> Unfold All" (Ctrl + Shift + End).
    3. Do "Edit -> Select Visible Branch" (Ctrl + Shift + A).
    4. Do "Format -> Use Plain Text". This will convert bulleted and numbered lists into normal paragraphs, as else "Split Node" would not be able to break them up.
    5. Do "Tools -> Split Node".
    6. Do "Navigate -> Fold All" (Ctrl + Shift + Home).
  3. Copy the content you want to import. Select all nodes you want to appear on the first level after the import, and do "Edit -> Copy" (Ctrl + C).
  4. In Checkvist, select "Import" and paste the clipboard content.
  5. Click "Import tasks". It will import your Freemind content as indented text.

 

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