Working with XMind and iThoughts using Google Drive as file share

In my daily work I like to create mind maps for many tasks, such as meeting minutes or brainstorming before starting a new task. For my mind maps I use XMind on my Mac and iThoughts on my iPad. Of course there is the requirement to share mind maps between my devices. Therefore, I had a look into both products in order to find a way to work with my mind maps on both devices.

In general, I use Google Drive as my cloud provider and did not want to install additional software on my Mac. Unfortunately, iThoughts does not support Google Drive syncing at the moment. However, you can send your mind maps to other apps and the Google Drive App is one of those you can choose. After trying around a little bit I developed a small workflow that seems to work and I am going to describe it in this blog post.

The following steps will be executed in the workflow description:

  1. Create a mind map in iThoughts on the iPad
  2. Upload mind map to Google Drive
  3. Open mind map from Google Drive Folder using XMind
  4. Edit mind map in XMind
  5. Save mind map to Google Drive
  6. Open edited mind map in iThoughts

Workflow by example

First of all create a new mind map in iThoughts:

Edit mind map
Edit mind map

Afterwards it has to be sent to Google Drive App in order to upload it to the shared drive:

Send to App
Send to App

The native format for XMind is .xmind, so this file type and Open in Google Drive have to be selected:

Send to Google Drive
Send to Google Drive

Afterwards Google Drive App should open and ask for permission to upload the file. As soon as permissions are provided the upload should start:

Uploading file
Uploading file

After the upload is finished the mind map should be stored in Google Drive folder and it can be opened using XMind:

Mind map opened in XMind
Mind map opened in XMind

Now it is time to make some more changes in XMind:

Edited mind Map
Edited mind map

Afterwards the mind map has to be saved to Google Drive again. If Google Drive Mac App and its Google Drive Folder are used the mind map just has to be saved in XMind and it gets uploaded. Another possibility would be to upload the new version using the Google Drive website.

Next step is to open the mind map in iThoughts, therefore the iPad Google Drive App has to be opened, the file selected and send to iThoughts:

Open file in iThoughts
Open file in iThoughts

Here a problem within the workflow was encountered. If the mind map is sent to iThoughts and its name includes spaces they get removed. In the case described the mind map was called “Google Drive Test Map.xmind” but it ended up in iThoughts as “GoogleDriveTestMap”. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose names without spaces.

Finally, the edited mind map can be opened in iThoughts again and it displays the changes made in XMind:

Edited mind map in iThoughts
Edited mind map in iThoughts