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What's new, Topicscape SE 2.0

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What's new for you in Topicscape Student Edition 2?

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If you're one of the tens of thousands using the ever-popular, free Student Edition of Topicscape, you'll be happy to hear it has been upgraded with some amazing usability improvements that were introduced to Topicscape Pro a few months ago. Topicscape SE remains free, as we promised when we first introduced it. Just download the new version, and install it to try it out.


  • Halo menu and associated dynamic help
  • Innovative swinging panels
  • Topic footprints
  • More Association line choices
  • Hotkeys on menus
  • Neighborhood views
  • Customize the Home view position
  • 'Meaning of structure' button
  • New demo covering multi-parent topics

The Halo menu

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Bear in mind that if you choose "Search this topic group", your search will look in only the topic on which the halo appears and all its descendants To remind you that you have requested a search limited to a topic group, Topicscape shows an orange border round the search-term box. For a full search, you just start typing the search terms, as you do now.

Two controls have added capabilities on hover:

Hover over the 'Enter Topic Center' icon (ringed in white in the illustration) instead of clicking it and you will see a simple list of the contents. You can click on an item from that list to open it, if it has a file attached.

The Halo menu brings often-used controls into a highly visible position, and allows the right-click, pop-up menu to be simplified If you like, you can turn it off. Existing controls still work, if you prefer to use them.

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This menu also has built-in dynamic help as you can see in the image above right. Hover your cursor over an icon and the blue help bubble explains the icon's purpose. It is headed by the topic's name, in case the name panel is covered by the Halo menu.

There are checkboxes in the help bubble, to suppress the Halo Help and the Halo menu itself. Switching them on again is done from the Options panel:

Tools | Options | User Preferences | Enhanced Menus

If you select a topic, it's Halo menu will disappear until you move the cursor away and back again to hover over the topic.

The Halo menu shows anywhere in the 'Scape where a topic appears: Cones, pyramids, 3D Hit List and History list items (for topics, but not occurrences), and even the 2D lists.

Swinging panels

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Then there are the Swinging Panels. Adjust the appearance of Topicscape's landscape easily and without hunting through menus: 3D Topicscape Pro's new and innovative "Swinging Panels" provide a way of controlling software with the minimum obstruction to the view that is so important to quickly grasping where you are in your information landscape

Most of the time, the panels swing back and are only just visible, but move your cursor over them and they swing out to allow you to see them fully and use the controls.

There may be two swinging panels, one on each side, though by default you will see only the one on the right Press Ctrl+h to trigger the other, which is the 2D hit list on the left-hand side.

Quick Options

The swinging panel on the right of the Topicscape window, "Quick options", gives you fine control over many aspects of the appearance of the Topicscape scene, either through direct controls or by bringing up one of the tabs in the Options panel.

2D Lists

If you have chosen to view the Hit and History Lists in 2D, the swinging panel on the left shows these lists. As always, pressing Ctrl+h toggles between use of the 3D Lists and the 2D ones.

Swing or pin open?

If you want to have either or both of the swinging panels permanently in full view, click the small thumb-tack icon at the top of each panel.

Topic footprints

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Now you can get confirmation of the 'Scape's structure without a moment's thought: The topics in front of the Current Topic now have footprints to show how they are grouped.

If you like to use different colors for topic cones, the color of the parent topic of each group will be used to shade the footprints Try the Festival skin (right) to see this.

More Association line choices

If you like to have a visible connection between related topics, there are now more choices of how you see association lines connected to the selected topic. In addition to seeing just parent connections or no connection line, now you can also choose to see parent and child connections, or parent, child and sibling connections.

This is controlled by four options under "Topic association lines" in the Quick Options swinging panel.

As before, holding down the F7 key shows all association lines.

Neighborhood views

Want to find the tag pool quickly? Or Topicscape Orphans, Topicscape Islands, the Lists, or the Home position?
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There are shortcuts and menus for all of these, of course, but on the swinging panel there's a new way: Three icons, shown on the right, give a quick jump to the neighborhood you want, with just a click.

Customize the Home view position

The new swinging panel affects the visible area a little. We had adjusted the view point for the Home position to take note of that (including allowing for cases when you pin the panel open. (You arrive at the Home position when you press the Home key.)

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At user request, we introduced a new control near the foot of the Quick Options swinging panel. You can permanently slide the view point in and out, and left and right to your taste The same proportional adjustment will be applied to the Home position for any Current Topic.

You can only make this adjustment when you are at the Home position and as you move somewhere else, the control will be disabled and the Lock checkbox will be checked. To adjust it again, press the Home key or uncheck the box, and your viewpoint will be taken back to the home position.

'Meaning of structure' button

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This is a button on the Quick Options panel. When you click it, your topic names will, for a few seconds, be changed to show their relationship to the Current Topic.

New demo covering multi-parent topics

There is a new demo entry in the Help menu that shows new users how multi-parent topics work, and the operations demo has two new sections at the end to cover the main new features in 2.0.

Download!

Get 3D Topicscape Student Edition 2.0 here: http://www.topicscape.com/student-edition.php

For an exciting free guide to all things visual, visit the
Visual Thinking Center
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