Using Inspiration

To Create Your Own Graphic Organizers

Table Of Contents


I.          The Main Screen.. 3

II.         Getting Started: Entering your main idea or theme.. 3

III.        Adding Ideas.. 4

IV.       Adding Links.. 4

V.        Moving your ideas around. 5

VI.        Changing a symbol’s color/shape.. 5

VII.      Using Rapid Fire.. 5

VIII.     Using the Create Links Button.. 6

IX.       Changing the arrangement of your concept map.. 6

X.        Adding Notes.. 6

XI.       Creating an outline of ideas.. 7

XII.      Inspiration Extras.. 7

A. Printing your maps. 7

B. Saving your map as a template. 7

C. Saving your map as a web page and posting it to the web. 8

D. Adding Hyperlinks to your map. 8

I. Introduction


Inspiration is a piece of software that allows the user to think and learn visually.  Users can create pictures of ideas, depict relationships between ideas, or develop outlines to understand concepts in a logical manner.  The benefits of using Inspiration over a traditional pencil and paper outline or concept map include the ability to save and revisit work as well as alter the work without undo effort.

I.                    The Main Screen





II.                  Getting Started: Entering your main idea or theme

1.      Click on the main idea bubble.

2.      Type in your main idea or theme.

3.      Click “off” of the bubble to see what it will look like.

4.      Save your work.



Note: You can always change the font size and style of your text by highlighting your text and going to the Format, Font, or Size, or Style menu.



III.                Adding Ideas


There are a few different ways to add ideas to your main map.  The easiest way is to add them manually.

1.      Go to your symbol palette and drag one of the symbols onto your main map.

2.      Click in the new symbol and a textbox will appear.  Type your idea into that box.

3.      You can choose any shape. 

4.      To change “libraries” click on the arrows at the top 

 of the symbol palette to see what is available.


IV.               Adding Links


You can then create links between your ideas by clicking on the Link tool in the Diagram toolbar. 



1.      Click on the link button.

2.      Start by clicking on your main idea bubble. 

3.      Then click on the bubble that you want to link to.



V.                 Moving your ideas around.


You can move your ideas around simply by clicking on the symbol you want to move.  Hold down on your left mouse button and then drag the symbol to where you want it to be.

VI.               Changing a symbol’s color/shape


You can change the way a symbol looks by clicking on it to highlight it and then choosing a “fill color” from the color palette on the Drawing toolbar, or by clicking on a new shape from the Symbol palette.  

Note: You can change many symbols at once by holding down the Shift key and selecting multiple symbols.




VII.             Using Rapid Fire

The Rapid Fire button allows the user to create linked symbols quickly.  This is good for brainstorming and when the relationships are already known.  To Use:

1.      Click in a symbol from where you wish to create linked ideas.

2.      Click on the Rapid Fire button.  A small red lightening bolt will appear in your symbol.

3.      Type in a new idea and hit Enter.  A linked symbol will be created.




 VIII.           Using the Create Links Button


Another way to create new symbols is by clicking on the Create Links button in the Diagram toolbar.  This button will allow you to create numerous linked boxes off of a single symbol.  To use:

1. Click on a symbol from which you want to create additional linked symbols.

2. Click on the Create Links button.  You can either use horizontal/vertical or angled.

3.      Notice every time you click, a linked box is created.




IX.               Changing the arrangement of your concept map

You can change the way your symbols are arranged by clicking on the Arrangement button on the Diagram toolbar and selecting one of the predefined arrangements. 



X.                 Adding Notes

1.      Click on the symbol from which you want to add additional information.

2.      Click on the Add Note button.  A small notepad will appear in the upper corner.

3.      Type in the information you want to add.

4.      To close, click the X in the upper right corner.  Your notepad will go away.

5.      You can tell if there is a note associated with your idea/symbol because the “handlebar” in the upper left corner of the symbol becomes solid.  You can re-access your note by double

clicking on that solid box.


Sometimes you want to add additional information to the topics in your symbols.  Use the Notes function to accomplish this.  To do:



XI.               Creating an outline of ideas

The ability to move back and forth, seamlessly, between a graphical concept map and an outline is where the power of Inspiration is harnessed.  Once you have created your map, click on the Outline button found on the Diagram toolbar.  Your map now becomes a linear outline, complete with the notes you added. 



XII.             Inspiration Extras


A. Printing your maps


The maps you have created can be printed to fit on a single page (if you wanted to use it as an advanced organizer for notetaking) or can be printed in poster format to hang for display on a bulletin board.  To do:

1.      Click on the file menu and select Print Options.

2.      A complete menu of options will appear.

3.      Select the options you want.

4.      Select Preview to see what your completed project will look like.

5.      Select Print to print.



B. Saving your map as a template.


 You can design a “blank” map for your students to complete.  To do:

1.      Create an Inspiration document that you want to save as a template.

2.      On the File menu, choose Save As Template.

3.      Enter a name for the template.

4.      To assign the new template as the default Inspiration template that Inspiration opens when you choose New on the File menu, select the Set As Default check box.

5.      If you select this option, all new Inspiration documents will be based on the new template.

6.      Click Save.



C. Saving your map as a web page and posting it to the web.


 You can make your map available to your students by posting it on the district web site.  To do:


1.      Display the document in Diagram view.

2.      On the File menu, choose Export.

3.      In the Diagram Formats list, click HTML-Single Web Page.

Note: You can also save your entire web as a picture which can then be used in any other word processed document, or Powerpoint presentation.



D. Adding Hyperlinks to your map


You can add hyperlinks to topics, subtopics, symbols, links, notes text and drawings you create with the Draw tools. The hyperlinks are active in Diagram view, Outline view and Notes List view.


Note… To add a hyperlink, make sure Hyperlink Auto-detection is turned on. On the Utility menu, choose Internet, and then select Hyperlink Auto-detection. A check mark next to the menu item means it is turned on.


To add a hyperlink:


1.      Type the Internet address (URL) where you want the hyperlink to appear. For example:

2.      After you complete adding the hyperlink, when you move the mouse pointer over the link, the pointer becomes a  icon. This icon indicates the hyperlink is “live” and ready to start your browser.


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