Video: 2 minute intro; Tutorial: Worked examples; Help: Contents

Sep 29, 2009

Deleting a box or a branch

It takes only a keystroke to delete a box or a branch from your bCisive Online map. Just select a box with a mouse-click, then click the Delete button, or press the Delete key:


If your selected box has anything below it - children, grand-children, etc. - these boxes will also be deleted. But don't panic! If you delete something in error, you can easily undo your action.

Pro tip: To delete a box without deleting, try excising instead.

Sep 27, 2009

Moving around the workspace: panning, zooming

A bCisive Online workspace is infinitely big, and you can build multiple maps within it. Once your map or maps get large, you won't often want to see all of the space you've used at once; here's how you can move around your bCisive Online workspace and focus on different parts.


You can pan around by clicking on any empty bit of the workspace and dragging it. This effectively displays a new part of the workspace in your viewing window.


To zoom, use the slider or the - and + buttons at the top of the workspace:

Fit All / Fit Map

These handy shortcut buttons, next to the Zoom slider, allow you to zoom automatically to show the entire selected map, or the whole workspace. You can then identify and zoom in on the area you want to work on.

Interesting to note: Unlike in the desktop version of bCisive, in bCisive Online you can't zoom in and out on your map using the scroll button on your mouse. Instead, the scroll button does what you'd expect in a browser: scrolls the browser window.

Hide and show

bCisive Online includes a Hide and Show feature that enables you to work more easily with larger maps, draw attention to a particular part of your map or customize your export to PowerPoint.

To hide everything below a box, hold your mouse pointer over the box; click on the 'minimize' sign (-) that appears.

A box that has hidden children appears 'stacked'. To show the hidden boxes again, hold your mouse pointer over it and click on the 'maximize' (+) button that appears.

Undoing and redoing actions

Made a mistake? Changed your mind? No problem.

In bCisive Online, you can undo as many actions as you like; just keep clicking on the Undo button.

You can also redo.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Undo: Ctrl+Z (Windows) / Command+Z (Mac) 
  • Redo: Ctrl+Y (Windows) / Command+Y (Mac)

Changing a box's type

Did you add a Pro to your map, when it should have been a Con? Or perhaps you want to change your Ideas to Options?

Easy: To change a box's type, drag a box from the tool panel into the workspace and over the box you want to change. A small red square will appear in the middle of the target box; release the mouse button and the box's type will change, but everything else – size, text, hyperlinks – will be kept.

And remember, you can always undo.

Connecting more boxes to your map

Connecting more boxes to your first one to build a map is easy. Drag a new box from the tool panel onto the workspace, and hold it near to the box you'd like to attach it to. You'll see a red line showing where the new box will attach - underneath, beside or above another.

When you're happy, release the mouse button and drop the new box, and connections will automatically be drawn. If it's in the wrong spot, don't worry - just grab it again and drag it to the right place.

Things to note:
  • Maps can only be built in a top-down tree structure (for now).
  • The second box in a map can only be placed underneath the first box; after that, new boxes can be placed next to an existing one (a sibling), underneath it (a child), or on top of it (a new parent).
  • Boxes can have an unlimited number of child boxes, but each box can have only one parent.

Adding and editing text in a box

bCisive Online includes a text editor to let you add text to a box on your workspace, or to edit text already there.

Double-click on the box to open the text editor:

Type or edit your text, and edit the font, font size, color and formatting using the options below the text field.

Tip: You can also edit the heading text in the top line of the pop-up box.  [In the above example this is the box that says "Question: Bottom line".]

Press Shift+Enter or click Save and your text will appear in the box on your workspace:

Adding a box to the workspace

The workspace within your bCisive Online Space provides a place for you to map your ideas, discussion or strategic thinking. Maps - structured diagrams - are built using the collection of icons in the tool panel on the left of the screen.

To add a box to your workspace, choose a box, drag it out onto the workspace and drop it where you want it.

Sep 24, 2009

Accessing a site

Once you've created a new site or joined an existing one, how do you access it next time?

The simplest approach is to go to the bCisive Online homepage and log in from the top right corner.

Alternatively, you can go straight to the particular site's url -- e..g "" -- and log in there:

    Sep 23, 2009

    Wresting control... from myself

    Recently, Donald ran into a problem to do with the luxury item 'Leave me signed in':
    I signed into the [bCisive Online beta] sandbox at home with this feature implemented. Now I'm at work, and logging into the sandbox shows two people, me and me.

    If I request control from me ....I am not 'there' (at my home computer) to say yes or no.
    Good point, Donald!

    Our thoughts:
    1. I should be able to take control from me, no questions asked! (i.e. if both occupants are associated with the same user account.)
    2. Time-out for inactivity: automatically pass control to a requestor.
    3. Grab control option (by force!)

    Single login is here

    Until today, you were required to create a new login account for each bCisive Online site you created or were invited to access. Confusing, and cumbersome, I'm sure you'll agree.

    We've now replaced this with a single login system: once you've set up an account for your email address, you can use it to access any number of sites. (At this stage you still need to log into each site separately, but you'll now use the same password.)

    Existing users:
    • If you only had the one account, you will now be able to use it to log into other bCisive sites in the future.
    • If you previously had more than one account, we have kept the password for the first account you created and removed the rest. (If you need a password reminder, just let us know.)
    As yet, there's no 'My account' management screen where you can see a list of the sites you have access to through your single account, but that's on the wishlist.

    Entering and leaving a Space

    Enter an existing Space

    From the site's home page, click on its title in the list in the Spaces area, or click on the space's thumbnail image in the Latest Activity area:

    You'll be taken to the Space, where you will see:
    • the name of the owner(s) of the space;
    • a list of any other Occupants currently in the Space; and
    • the mapping workspace and any map(s) already built.
    To leave a Space

    In the header area near the top of the page, click on the site Site's name and you'll be taken back to the site's Home page.  E.g. In Dan's Space on "" you would click on "Free Site #99" to leave the space:

      bCisive Online > Free Site #99 > Dan's Space

    Tip: If you're in control of the space, you will usually want to Save before you leave.  Otherwise you will be prompted.

    Creating a new Space

    Within each bCisive Online site, there can be any number of Spaces, each containing an embedded bCisive workspace where you can create and edit bCisive Online "maps". The site owner or anyone invited to access the site can create a new Space.

    To create a Space, from the home page of your site,  type a name for your new Space, and click the Create button:

    Your Space will be added to the list, and then you just have to click on its title to enter it and start mapping.

    • Free sites are limited to a maximum of three spaces.
    • At the moment, reordering and categorizing the Spaces list (into folders, for example) isn't possible: spaces are ordered alphabetically, and recently accessed spaces appear in the "latest activity" area at the top of the home page.

    How to use bCisive Online: contents

    Welcome to the bCisive Online blog!

    Browse our how-to tips for information on how to get started and make the most of bCisive Online.

    Would you like help on how to do something in bCisive Online? Ask us in the comments, or contact us.

    Sep 22, 2009

    Inviting people into your site

    It's easy to invite others into your site, if you are a site owner or admin.

    You will see the "Invite new users" at the top of the People pane on your site's Home Page:

    Clicking on it reveals an invitation form:

    An email with sign-up instructions will be dispatched to your invitees, together with your message.

    Creating a new bCisive Online site

    A bCisive Online site is a private area that you create for your organization or yourself.

    Free site
    To create a free site, go to and Sign up:

    You will be assigned a site with an address of the form "", and you will be logged straight in.

    You are now the owner of the site, and sole member.  Perhaps it's time to invite other people to join your site?

    Later, you can log back in to your site from directly at (or whatever), or from the bCisive Online homepage.

    Paid sites (coming soon)

    From late February 2010, you will be able to upgrade to a paid site, which besides offering a better service, will allow you to choose a more suitable name for your bCisive Online site, like "".

    Accepting an invitation to a bCisive Online site

    When someone invites you to their bCisive Online site, you will receive an email. To accept, open the email and click on the link to the sign-up page and follow the instructions.

    Accounts, accounts everywhere

    "...but I thought I already had a bCisive Online login. Why, when I head over to my friend's bCisive Online site, am I being asked to set up a new account?"

    Bear with us! We're the first to admit that the login system still needs work. Here's how it works at the moment:

    bCisive Online site
    This is the private area that you create for yourself or your organization, or are invited to join. Each site is accessed via a different subdomain, e.g.

    Within each site, there can be any number of Spaces, each containing an embedded bCisive workspace where you can create a map. The site owner or anyone invited to access the site can create a Space. Click on the Spaces tab for a list of the Spaces in the site.

    Login accounts
    An account is your personal login information, and consists of the name, email address and password you enter when you create a site or accept an invitation to somebody else's.

    Here's the rub. Currently, there isn't a global/single sign-on facility, although it is coming in the near future. At the moment, you need to create a new account for each bCisive Online site you wish to access.

    -- Update: we've now implemented a single login. Read more here.

    Accessing other people's sites
    The only way to access a colleague or friend's site is to click the link in the invitation email they send you.

    If you do this, you will be prompted to set up an account for that site, and then you'll be taken straight into the site.

    Just going to the site's URL and trying to login using an account you've previously set up won't work, because that's the account for a different site.

    "Wouldn't it be easier just to have one global login account to access all of my bCisive Online sites?"

    Yup. We agree. We're working on it! -- Update: it's done. Read more here.

    Sep 17, 2009

    Wishlist for faciliation / collaboration / mentoring

    During a real-time session:
    • Who edited the box? E.g. History of edits at the box level
    • Add a box without having control: Allow a participant (without control) to add a single box to the workspace (and text), allowing the user with control (the facilitator) to request suggestions, without having to relinquish control; good for brain-storming; ideally, if you have control you can toggle this feature on/off
    • Avatar facial expressions: Allow avatars (the little faces) to appear confused, happy, sad, etc. to give feedback to the facilitator, allow simple votes, etc.
    • History of the space: Explicitly save snap-shots of the whole space as it develops, to better understand how the final result was reached
    • Follow: Allow other participants to automatically follow the zooming and panning of the user with control
    • Guest passes: Invite non-users to temporarily join a space, e.g. a customer
    • Chat: As an alternative / addition to skype, gtalk, etc.
    Between real-time sessions:
    • Alerts: When a space is changed; subscribe / unsubscribe
    • Invitations: Schedule times to meet in a space, send emails

    Where are we going?

    We'd like to know too!

    Our very short-term plans

    The beauty of software is that it is "soft". We've deliberately taken bCisive Online early, in line with a "release early, release often" approach.

    We don't just want bCisive Online to be a pleasure to use, but also really, really useful.

    So while bCisive desktop was mainly oriented to decision-making decision-making, Rationale to clearer critical thinking, and bSelling to consultative selling, we're leaving bCisive Online a bit more open for now.

    Our initial idea is to make it a great tool for facilitation, collaboration and mentoring, especially remotely, and in combination with skype, gtalk or similar audio-conferencing software.

    Here's an example of father/daughter mentoring from a happy bCisive/Rationale user:
    Dear Anna
    Thank-you ... It works perfect. I really enjoy working with these programs. Once I helped my daughter (27) using bCisive to make a decision about whether she should continue her job. It took us a whole sunday afternoon. A week later she was flying to Spain where she studied Spanish for 3 months. When she came back she was full of gusto to find a new job. Now she is a lecturer at the same university where I work. -- Gerard
    The directions that we are considering include:
    1. Facilitation / collaboration / mentoring: Especially for geographically separated teams
    2. Organizational teamwork / planning / reporting: Build a shared understanding during planning, review and structured problem-solving sessions; stored in a central place
    3. Visual tools for capturing repeatable business processes and making them fun and engaging: See our bSelling product for some examples of how we apply visual-thinking to get better engagement and reporting in the sales arena -- we can apply the same smarts elsewhere
    4. Project management for Agile, and/or geographically separated teams: Existing tools are list-based, rather than hierarchical, and lack the real-time collaboration dimension
    5. More powerful presentations: Our answer to Death by PowerPoint; our approach easily shows relationships as well as bullet-points, and when used "live" lends itself to interactive exploration and "drill-down" with an audience. Our proposal.
    In forthcoming posts I will show some of our mock-ups of proposed features for bCisive Online , depending on the tack that we take.

    Welcome to the bCisive Online blog!

    At Austhink Software, we're busy taking our visualization software bCisive online. In this blog, we'll be:
    • writing about the feature ideas we're pondering;
    • letting you know what's new;
    • giving 'how-to' tips; and
    • posting information about how our early users are going: what you love, and what bugs you're encountering.
    Please check back often, leave comments, and get involved in the evolution of bCisive Online. You can contact us directly too.