TheBrain 11 keybindings: Selection and Navigation Basics

changed “crosshair” to highlighter, cause that makes more sense

Note: To follow along, you should set the keybindings manually try doing the same things as I’m showing. Here is a tutorial Brain for this, which you may download here.

These are the shorctus I use many dozens of times per day and they form the basis for most other things I do, so I’ll explain them first.

the highlighter:
(officially known as the “Focus Highlight circle”?)

The official name is rather long and awkward.
Also I don’t really consider it to have an official name as “Focus Highlight circle” is merely what the devs call it in the TheBrain-forums.
It is extremely useful, but never mentioned once in the TheBrain 11 User Guide!
It is a thick circle with a dot in the middle, which appears over a Thought, if you press any arrow key. It kinda looks like a crosshair, hence the name.

On second Thought, it kinda doesn’t look like a crosshair at all, so we shall call it highlighter instead.

In the BrainTheme-window, you can make sure, that it’s clearly visible For most default BrainThemes this is not necessary.

The highlighter is your new best friend and we’ll be using it for doing pretty much anything on the Plex fast.

The Selection-box:

Selecting a thought will open the Selection-box. We will use this one a lot, as well.

Note that text color, background and icon on the Plex will also show in the Selection Box

You might wonder why we need a Selection box, when the Selection-frame already neatly shows what’s selected.
That’s because, Thoughts may be selected, even if they aren’t visible in the current Plex (as seen below). Unless we delete or unselect a Thought, they’ll stay in the Selection box.

Now what is all this good for, why do we want to select Thoughts and what do we need a highlighter for?

Selecting a Thought and deleting a whole Selection

We will be using:
arrow keys, to move the highlighter
alt+1, to select a Thought
ctrl+shift+delete, to delete a Selection

In the animation above, you can see me add the Thoughts “delete me 1”, “delete me 2” and “delete me 3” to a Selection.
I show the highlighter, by pressing down-arrow. It’ll immediately show up on “delete me 1”. I press alt+1 to select it. (the command is called “toggle Selection”, because if I did it again, it would unselect a selected Thought)
I press down, alt+1 again for “delete me 2” and then right and alt+1 for “delete me 3”.
Then I press ctrl+shift+delete, to delete the entire Selection at once.
As the selected Thoughts no longer exists, the Selection-box automatically disappears.

Note: The visualization on the bottom left isn’t part of TheBrain 11, but a helpful little AHK-script to show what I’m doing.

quickly unlinking and relinking multiple Thoughts

Now we will learn, how to use highlighter and Selection box, to can quickly move multiple Thoughts from an “inbox”-Thought to a new location.

We will be using a couple more commands for this:
alt+2 unlink Selection (from the active Thought)
alt+3 discard Selection (this saves us from ever having to click the undersized close-button of the Selection box)
ctrl+shift+F6 link Selection as Children
alt+left go backwards

From the “Inbox”-Thought, we move select “cute kitten” and “zesty cat” as we learnt before. Now we press alt+2 to unlink them from the active Thought, because we want to empty our Inbox.
Now we type “cat pictures” and press enter to go to that Thought.
We press shift+F6 to make them Children of the “cat pictures”-Thought.
Our cat pictures are properly filed now and our inbox is less cluttered already.
So therefore, we don’t need to do anything with them for now and thus clear them from our Selection with alt+3.
Now we press alt+left to activate the previous Thought and jump from “cat pictures” back to “Inbox”.
We file “Golden Retriever” and “two dogs” under “dog pictures the same way.

What have we learnt so far:

arrow keyscontrol the highlighter
alt+1select/unselect a Thought
alt+2unlink Selection from the active Thought
alt+3discard Selection
shif+F6link Selection as Children
shif+F7link Selection as Parents
shif+F8link Selection as Jump Thoughts
ctrl+shift+deletedelete Selection
alt+leftbackward (go to previous activated )
okay, some of them I haven’t shown yet, but they are similar enough

4 thoughts on “TheBrain 11 keybindings: Selection and Navigation Basics

  1. The animated gif is interesting, but it passes too quickly.
    A alternative would be to have a video embbed using youtube or vimeo, so we could pause.
    I’m trying to understand where is the gif beggining and that is also difficult to understand on the gif.
    But I appreciate your effort to teach us how to better use The Brain. thanks


    1. Yeah, I’ll look into slowing the gifs down and adding a titlecard, so it’s easier to see where they start.
      I think I prefer gifs, rather than embedded videos. Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point, though.
      Thank you for your feedback.


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