Inspiration Samples

by Lynne Schalman and Steve Bergen
(you can e-mail us both at )
Last revised 12/23/07

Inspiration Step by Step
Beginning the Diagram

1. Create a new image map by opening Inspiration
2. If the tip of the day appears, read it and then close it.
3. The words Main Idea in the central oval should be highlighted, so simply type in your starting idea. Let’s use Jane Eyre as an example.

4. Press Shift+Return or Shift+Enter (PC) to both enter the text and select the current symbol. Your symbol should look like the one below:

Formatting an image
1. With the icon selected, go to the Format menu at the top of the screen and change the size of the words to 12 point in the Size submenu and make the main idea Bold in the Style submenu.
2. Now change the icon itself. While it is still selected, click on the icon of the book on the Symbols palette shown here on the right.
3. Click the cursor away from the newly changed symbol.
4. By the way, the symbols palette has many libraries of images to choose from. Experiment now by clicking the right facing arrow on the top of the toolbox. Click the left facing arrow to return to the original palette. Now click the down facing arrow to see a pop up menu of all the available libraries of images.

Adding Links to your diagram

1. With your central symbol still selected, click on the down arrow on the first create button as shown here below.

2. Select the new image that appears and type in the word themes. Press Shift+Return or Shift+Enter (PC) to both enter the text and select the current symbol.
3. Now move your cursor arrow around the two create buttons. Notice that as you move the cursor, different arrows turn blue. If you click on one of those arrows a new image will appear linked to the previously selected image.
4. Click on the arrow pointing Southwest, select the new image and type in Dangers of Love.
5. Reselect your Themes oval, then click on the Create arrow pointing Southeast, select the new image and type in “Journey to Self Awareness.” Click off of the image when you have finished typing. Your new image map should look like this:

Adding more symbols
1. You can click and drag symbols from the Symbols Palette that appears to the left of your work screen.
2. Click, hold and drag the symbol of the light bulb and release the mouse when your cursor is above your original Jane Eyre image.
3. The light bulb will appear, but now you have to create a link.
4. An alternate way to create links is to move the cursor to the desired spot and click; a + will appear. Then move the cursor into the symbols palette and click on the desired symbol. For now, click on the heart icon. Try both methods.
5. Click and drag each symbol to move it around. Move the light bulb to the right of the self awareness image and move the heart to the left of dangers of love.
6. Label each new image by clicking on the image and immediately typing in the label. For the heart, type “Rochester as a destructive force” and for the light bulb, type “Lowood as central symbol”

Creating a Link
1. Click on the Link Button in the Toolbar
2. Click on Journey to Self Awareness image
3. Click on the Light Bulb.
4. Click the cursor anywhere in the screen.
5. Voila, you have created a link between the two ideas. Notice the bulb is an animated gif because it keeps flashing.
6. Now link the heart to the Danger of Love image by clicking on the Danger icon and then on the heart. Click the Link button again to turn it off.
7. You can click and drag the icons to move them and the arrow moves with them.

Working with the Outline View
1. To see an outline view of your image map, simply click on the Outline button:

2. To add a topic, click on B. Dangers of Love and then click on the the Add Topic Button. A new topic labeled C will appear. Type in Power of Love.
3. To add a subtopic, now click on the Add Sub button.
4. Type in overcoming social barriers
5. Return to image map by clicking on the Diagram button; notice that your diagram reflects the changes made in the Outline view. You can create from either view and switch easily back and forth between the two views.

Using the New Look Feature
1. This feature allows you to apply changes to new or existing symbols. To set the new look, click on the heart symbol that you have already placed on the screen.
2. Now on the toolbar, click the New Look Button:

3. Or you can choose Edit menu, Set New Look. Clicking the button is easier.
4. Now try it out. Click on the Jane Eyre Book icon. Now click on the Create Button to create a new Icon to the left of the Book icon. A heart will appear. Immediately type the words “Struggle with Love” and click anywhere in the white screen.
5. You can apply New Look to existing symbols. Click on the oval entitled “Dangers of Love”.
6. Now go to the Edit menu, choose Paste New Look.

Adding Notes to Symbols
Because you can add only a few words to anyone icon, you might feel the need to expand some of your ideas. This is where the note feature comes in.
1. Click on “Rochester as a destructive force.”
2. Click the Add Note Button on the toolbar.

3. Type some notes into the text. You can even paste a graphic into the notes box. Extra credit: go to the web, go to, look for a picture of Jane Eyre, copy it, return to Inspiration and paste it into the notes box.

4. Click the close button on the title bar of the Notes window.
5. The box in the upper-left hand corner of the heart is now filled, indicating that this particular symbol has notes attached to it.
6. To see the notes, double-click on the red box. You can always edit the Notes box by double-clicking to activate the box and click the cursor the begin typing or editing.

Adding Text to a Link
Each link (the actual connecting line between the symbols) has a hidden text box. You can add notes to the box to clarify the connection between two symbols.
1. Click on the line that connects the two heart symbols. A text box will appear.

2. Click in the text box and type “Struggles of Jane.”
3. Click anywhere in the white screen once you have finished typing.
4. You can edit the text by selecting the box and clicking the cursor inside the box. Try it now. Change Struggles of Jane to “Loss of Identity” by highlighting the original text and typing over it.
5. To provide more room for the text box, click on the Rochester heart symbol and drag it to the left. Now you have discovered that you can easily select and drag symbols. Can you figure out how to resize a symbol? Hint: click and drag on the bottom right hand box of a selected symbol.

Adding your own Graphics
You can add clip art, scanned images, images from the web, or graphics you created in another program, including PhotoShop.
1. First let’s get a graphic. Go to
2. Type in Jane Eyre in the Search box.
3. Find a picture and right mouse click (PC) or click and hold (Mac) and choose Save Picture As or Download to Disk (depending on your browser); navigate to a folder to save into. Rename the graphic to Jane Eyre.
4. Now back to Inspiration. Go to Edit menu, choose Insert Graphic. Navigate to the Jane Eyre graphic and double click on it to insert it. If a symbol is selected prior to your insert, then the new graphic will replace the original symbol.

Inserting a Hyperlink
Hyperlinks will allow you to go directly from Inspiration to a website. You have to be sure that hyperlink detection is on. To check, go to Utility menu, choose Internet, then see if there is a checkmark next to URL Hyperlink Auto-detection. If there is not a checkmark, then click on it to select it. Chances are that the feature is already on. Now all you have to do is type in a URL.
1. Create a new link connecting to the Central Themes icon using the Create Button. Another heart should appear.
2. Immediately type
3. Click off the text box.
4. The text should be blue and underlined.
5. If your computer is connected to the Internet, click on the link now to test it.

Changing Text into a Hyperlink
Text in topics, subtopics, symbols, link boxes, notes text, or drawings can become hyperlinks.
1. Highlight the words Power of Love.
2. Go to the Utility Menu, then Internet, then URL Hyperlink. The words Power of Love will appear in the Hyperlink Text Box. You can edit the words if you wish.
3. In the Hyperlink Address Box, enter the URL to go to the Bronte home.
4. Click OK.

Adding Checkboxes
Diagrams can be turned into to do lists or checkboxes can be used to mark off topics that have been covered.
1. Go to the Utility menu, choose Show Checklist.
2. Click in a box in the Jane Eyre icon to show that you have discussed it in class.
3. Click in the box again to remove the X.
4. To remove the checkboxes entirely, go back to the Utility menu and deselect Show Checklist.

Saving Inspiration as HTML
1. From the Diagram view, go to the File menu, choose Export.
2. Choose HTML-Single Web Page Format. This will actually create 2 files: an HTML file and a JPEG file. Both files need to remain together to view the diagram as a webpage in a browser.
3. Click Save and then navigate to the appropriate folder.
4. By the way, if you want to save the Outline View as HTML, repeat the above steps but this time begin in the Outline View. Your HTML choices are found under the Outline Formats.

Viewing Available Templates
1. Now that you have created an image map, explore some of the available formats.
2. Go to the File menu, choose Template and click on it.
3. Scroll down the available list of templates to view the one you want.
4. For now, choose Language Arts-Comparison.
5. Note that you can enter text in each symbol. You can delete the instructions text box so that it will not appear in your own diagram box. Click on the instructions text and press Delete.
6. Explore other templates by repeating the above steps.

Inspiration Projects