5 design thinking shortcuts for productivity in Mural

Written by 
Emilia Åström
February 15, 2017

According to IDEO President and CEO Tim Brown, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

At Mural, our aim is to make the designer's toolkit as effective as possible so that they can get to better solutions quicker. To ensure the application is user-friendly, we strive to keep its design as simple as possible. And to ensure the tool is as powerful as possible, we also incorporate design thinking shortcuts and ‘hidden’ features.

As you get more familiar with our service, you’ll discover how to work even more efficiently within your workspaces-- from using obvious elements to digging deeper into the design capabilities. If you want to impress your colleagues, or yourself, try these five cool tricks to enhance your design thinking in your next mural.

Five Design Thinking Shortcuts to Try in MURAL

1. Use the C key to easily connect ideas with arrows

Design Thinking Shortcuts in MURAL

Visual thinking is about making quick connections. By connecting unexpected dots, our minds can actually associate objects together and arrive at new conclusions. To connect your ideas together quickly in a mural, use the C-key shortcut:

  • Hold down the C key while dragging your mouse in the mural.
  • Hold down the shift key to snap to angles
  • Create flow diagrams and connect ideas.

Learn more here.

2. Seamlessly import existing information from spreadsheets

Pasting Data in MURAL

We get it: you work with a variety of other tools and software programs throughout the day. That’s why we made it easy to get content out of lists in other applications and into your murals. Save yourself time by importing data from another source or using your ideas in another context. It’s easy, just:

  • Copy from spreadsheet
  • Paste into mural
  • Each cell will be a separate sticky note

You can also do this in reverse:

  • Select multiple sticky notes or text elements
  • Select “Copy as Text”
  • Paste in the spreadsheet

This trick also works with emails, word docs, and more.

Learn more here.

3. Duplicate elements you already created for faster visualization

Duplicate Elements in MURAL

Want to reuse the same element or custom formatting more than once? Don’t drive yourself crazy doing it one by one. Instead, try this really quick shortcut for duplicating elements:

  • Use ALT + DRAG to duplicate
  • Hold down the alt key while you click and drag an element.
  • You will instantly pull out a copy of that element

(This should be familiar to those of you who use applications in the Adobe suite of products.)

Learn more here.

4. Fit your canvas to your screen and zoom in

Zooming Interface

MURAL makes use of what’s called a zooming interface, which makes understanding scale in your murals important to your user experience.

Our rule of thumb is to keep sticky notes at their default size. Instead of making elements large and bringing the content to you, move in to see the content up close. This will give you more space to design your thoughts in each mural.

If you want to zoom out quickly to see all content you added, simply:

  • Fit to screen by pressing ⌘ + 0 on a MAC
  • Or by pressing CTRL + 0 on a PC

Want to zoom into a specific area?

  • Hold down the Z key while you select an area of the mural you want to view more closely.

Learn more here.

5. Get even more options using the right click menu

Right Click Menu Options in MURAL

To help you visually map out all your ideas, we’ve built the left-hand toolbar to include all of the content options, but we’ve also built in shortcuts. For example, double clicking directly on the mural background instantly populates a sticky note. Looking for more? You can also add elements by using the right-click menu.

  • Right click for more options.
  • Right click directly on the mural to add content.
  • You can add titles, stickies, images and comments.

You can also right click on elements to change properties or rearrange layers. Using the right-click menu, you can bring elements to the back or front as well as lock or group them.

Learn more here.

What are you waiting for? Get started improving your design thinking and mind mapping in MURAL with these tricks. And for more tips, browse our help center. Plus stay tuned for our quarterly webinar series to see What’s New at MURAL.


Learn More:

  • Type ? anywhere in a mural for a list of shortcuts.
  • Or access this menu via the ? in the lower left.

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About the author

About the authors

Emilia Åström

Emilia Åström

Emilia Åström is a facilitator and coach of creative and collaborative processes that support digital transformation.