The Speare Interface
Speare has a very simple interface. Once you understand each of the components and their functions, you'll be able to capture and organize your thoughts and rapidly assemble drafts and documents. Let's take a look at the 9 most fundamental aspects of the Speare interface and each of their basic functions from top to bottom.
Number 1 — It's a web app
Speare is a web app which means it runs in a browser on your computer and smartphone.
Note: Speare is an online-only application which also means you'll have access to your content from anywhere on any device. The other key factor is that you don't have to purchase multiple licenses (a license for desktop, for laptop, for tablet and for your smartphone). That's pretty awesome.
Go ahead and try Speare out on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Once you learn how to use Speare on any one of these devices you'll be up and running on the others, too.
Number 2 — The Speare title bar
The Speare title bar holds the keys to your thought library. Everything you write in Speare becomes part of your personal thought library and as it grows you'll need some basic tools to access and manage it. This is where the title bar controls come in to play.
From left to right, the icons are as follows... The app menu, Speare logo, quick profile.
The App Menu
The App Menu opens a flyout menu of all the app-wide menu options. From the top, the first three items are your profile image (shown below with the red Speare logo), your name (instead of the Speare Support name), and your email address. Note: you can change these anytime you need to by selecting the "Account" menu item further down the app menu.
The Workspace menu item closes the Boards panel so that you have more screen width to work with. You'll be able to add new boards by clicking the "New Board" button to the far right in the Workspace bar without having to open the Boards panel.
The Boards menu item opens the Boards panel when it is closed and opens the Workspace when you're on one of the other page views (Drafts, Spaces, Account, etc...
Spaces are where you open collections of boards you're working on. Space's allow you to switch between writing projects quickly and efficiently get to work. You can create as many spaces as you need.
Here's a link on "how to work with Spaces"...
The Drafts page is where you'll find all your drafts when you complied your boards into documents and saved them out as drafts. This is where you'll also find all your shareable links to drafts you've created.
Check out the video on how to create drafts.
The Stats menu item opens a page that shows you information about your thought library.
The Messages menu item opens and closes the Messaging flyout. Messaging allows you to communicate with other people on Speare on the channels you create. You can discover more about Messaging in the "How To Message" video.
You can always revisit the App Tour any time you need to by selecting the App tour menu item. Note: when we add new features to Speare, you'll see them appear in the App tour.
The Account menu item opens a page that displays all your account settings. Note: your account can also be accessed by clicking the "Profile" button on the far right of the title bar and then clicking the "Manage Account" link.
Number 3 — your Space
The Space is where you create your content on open boards with building blocks. The Space allows you to open boards, organize them in the order you want them stitched together to make a document when you compile the Space.
For more information on Spaces, Projects, and Collaboration, check out our videos on those subjects.
Number 4—Compile Boards
A compile at the whole Workspace level.
The other is at the individual board level.
The compile we are addressing here is the one at the Workspace level. The board level compile is addressed in Number 6 of this document.
The Workspace Compile feature stitches all open boards in the space into one seamless document. If you have 5 boards open in a Space, for example, the Workspace Compile button will stitch all 5 boards together into one document in the order you have arranged them.
Note: the Board Compile button will compile not only the board itself into a document, but it will also stitch Boards that have been dragged and dropped onto that board as board links. The Workspace Compile button does not stitch the boards represented by board links.
For more information on Compiling, see our video on Compiling.
Number 5—The Boards Panel
The Boards panel is a flyout panel. This panel can be hidden. If it is hidden, you can get to it by clicking the App Menu icon (the hamburger icon) in the top left corner of the Speare application and then clicking the Boards menu item.
The Boards panel is where you can search for all the boards in your thought library. Speare by default displays the last 100 boards in the Boards panel list. If you have more boards than that, you can find them by using the "Filter boards" edit box and entering a keyword in the title of the board.
Note: if you can't find a board by title, you can search for it using the App-wide search icon and search for a word or phrase in that board.
Each board has a context menu that can be accessed with a right click on the title of the board or it can be accessed by clicking the "More" button (the 3 vertical dots) to the right of the title of the board in the Boards panel. You can pin a board to the top of the list using the context menu.
The context menu on the boards panel allows you to rename, pin, and delete boards. You can also drag and drop boards from the boards list onto the top of other boards to create Projects. Check out our video on Projects to see how this is done.
Number 6—Movable Side-by-Side Boards
Yes. You can pick the boards up and drag and drop them into the spot you want in the Space you're working in.
Note: you cannot drag and drop boards between Spaces. The trick to moving boards from one Space to another is simply going to a new space and opening that board from the Boards panel.
To drag and drop boards in a Space, all you have to do is select the title bar of the board and drag and drop the board where you want it in the Space. The Space will automatically scroll to the left or right as you move the board in either direction.
If you are writing a book and each board represents a chapter, then movable side-by-side boards allow you to have your whole book open in the Space and to be able to scroll through it from left to right and top to bottom.
You can then organize the chapter in the order you want and then select the Workspace Compile button to compile it into one seamless document.
Number 7—The Text Box
At the bottom of every "writing" board, is a text box for writing or pasting your content.
For the most part, when you enter text into Speare, you're going to do it here at the bottom of the board. Speare automatically encapsulates everything you write into building blocks. You can press Enter or click the plus button to the right of the image button to commit text to the board.
Note: the Enter key in Speare does not create a newline. It simply submits the text to the board which is captured in a "building block".
The Image Button
You can also upload pictures to your board by clicking the image button.
The common open folder will pop up and you can search for the images you want to upload to the board.
Note: YouTube videos can also be added, by pasting the YouTube video URL into the Text Box and hitting enter.
The Plus Button, Enter, and Newline
The Plus button, Enter key, and the newline character all have the same effect. They all commit the content from the text box to an encapsulated building block.
For example, if you type text into the text box and hit the plus button or the Enter key, your text will automatically be put into a building block on the board. If you copy and paste into the text box content that has a newline character at the end of it, it will also automatically enter the content on the board as a building block or more. If the content you copy and paste does not have a newline character at the end of it, it will remain in the text box until you hit the plus or the Enter key.
Number 8—The Building Block
Building blocks are movable, nestable, sharable blocks of content. The only building block types that are editable are the text block and the board link.
Image of 4 different kinds of content in building blocks in Speare.
Building blocks with text in them can be edited when you click on the building block. They can also have hyperlinks in them and markdown. Check out our videos on how to create hyperlinks and how to use markdown in Speare.
Images and Video are not editable building blocks you can only move them around like any other building block.
Board links are links to other boards in your library. You can create a board link by dragging a board title from the Boards panel onto a board. This will automatically create a link to that board. You can edit the title of the board link once it is in a building block.
Board links on a single board are a great way to manage projects with lots of boards. You can also turn a board into a Table of Contents of sorts by dragging and dropping all the boards onto one board and organizing them on the one board. To open any board link, you simply click the board link itself. You can learn more about Board Links by watching our video on Board Links.
Number 9—The Selection Tray
The Selection Tray is the way to move or copy more than one block at a time. It is also the way to swap the position of two building blocks which is super handy especially in nested situations.
By default, the selection tray is in "Move" model as we can see in the image above.
Copying a block
To place a copy of a building block elsewhere on the board or on another board, just click the "Copy" icon on the Selection tray and drag and drop the Selection tray where you want a copy of the block(s) placed.
To swap a block with another block, select one of the two blocks to be swapped and drag and drop the Selection tray on top of the other block.
This has been a very brief overview of the Interface of Speare. Be sure to watch the more detailed videos on each of the different features to get a solid understanding of how to use Speare.