Speare Support posted on Feb 13 2017 3:08AM

How to Move, Copy, Swap building blocks

The content you add to a board is encapsulated in what we call a "building block" that you can move, make a copy, or swap out with other blocks. This ability to move building blocks gives you the flexibility and freedom to explore connecting thoughts and ideas.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On mobile devices, you must use the Selection tray to move building blocks. You cannot move the building block directly. You must first select the building block or blocks you want to move and then drag and drop the blue Selection tray.


Note: if you're moving just one block, you don't need to select the check bubble first. Speare will automatically checkmark it for you.

There are four basic positions that you can move boards to. 
  1. Above or below other building blocks

  2. On top of a building block

  3. To left or right edge of the board

  4. Matching a level

When you pick up and drag a building block you will see a blue bar or outline that indicates where the block will be positioned when you drop it. *Note: you can move or copy a building block to another board and the same 4 positions apply.*

Above or Below

In the above image, you can see that the third item in the list is selected and is being dragged above the 2nd item yet below the 1st item. If we were to drop the item here, the 2nd item would be below the 3rd item. Note: because this is a "Numbered list" Speare automatically renumbers the order of the list.

The results

On top of

When you drag and drop a building block on top of another, you are nesting the block under that block. The 3rd block is selected in this case and when we drop it on the 2nd block in the list, the 3rd block is nested under the 2nd block and the 4th block becomes the 3rd block in the list as you can see below. Note: this is how you make outlines. To read more details about outlines, read our article on outlines.

The results

To the left or right

When you drag a building block to the left or right, it will indicate that you are going to be dropping the building block onto a new board. Speare will automatically create the new board and place the building block on it when you drop the block.

The results

Note: to drag and drop a building block onto an existing board, you must drag the block on top of the board, not between the boards. When you drop between boards, Speare automatically creates a new board for your content.

Matching a level

In this case, I've dragged the building block below itself and you can see that the blue bar is the same width as the parent block above. When I drop it here, the 4th building block will be removed from the list and be positioned at the same level as the parent block above.

The results

Note: if you pick up a parent block, all of its children will automatically be picked up and moved as well.


To make a copy of a block, you must first select the block or blocks and then click the Copy toggle icon on the Selection tray before you drag and drop it.

Selecting the copy button

Now you can use the Selection tray to drag the copied items to their new location.


Using the swapping feature is super handy when swapping nested building blocks.

For example, if we wanted to swap the 2nd item in the list below with its nested building block, "To left or right..." we could...
  1. Drag the nested block above the 2nd item in the list and then.

  2. Drag and drop the 2nd item on top of the block.

Now that only takes two moves to do...

Here's how to use the swap feature
  1. Select one of the blocks you want to swap

  2. Select the swap icon on the Selection tray

  3. Drag and drop the Selection tray on top of the other block you want to swap with

OK... So the move method is one step less than the swap method. Why would we ever want to use the swap method?

Well, consider this case...

If the parent has only one child, you don't need the swap method, you can just move the child out and move the parent on top of the child. Done. But if the parent has more than one child here is how you'd have to move it...
  1. Select the first child in the list

  2. Hold down the Shift key and select the last child in the list

  3. Drag and drop the whole list out from under the parent block.

  4. Reposition the parent block inside the list

  5. Select the 2nd block down from the top

  6. Hold down the Shift key and select the last child in the list

  7. Drag and drop the list on top of the newly created parent block

  8. Toggle off the Numbered list setting on the original list

  9. Toggle on the Numbered list on the top building block

So now you can see that for parent blocks that have two or more children blocks, it is up to 3X faster to use the Swap feature.

Enjoy Speare!