TheBrain Software Thought Type Tips

A key Pro feature

Justin Cramer
5 min readNov 5, 2022



As you gather information and knowledge-build within TheBrain software, you may eventually find Thought Types to be useful. In this article, I cover part of my journey to how I use Thought Types today.

TheBrain software comes in two flavors, Pro and Free versions. Thought Types are one of the key Pro features I use. Thought Types was the primary reason I initially paid for the Pro level. I find them so helpful that I would again pay for the Pro level.

For me, it started with four thought types: Person, Company, Project Type, and Knowledge Acquisition. Or, more accurately, that is where it has evolved to.

Person Thought Type

As an avid reader, one of the first things I wanted to add to my instance of TheBrain was books and authors. I added several dozen books, which was quick and rewarding. As I started to add authors, I encountered a problem. Some authors were psychologists, physicists, mathematicians, businesspeople, and others. After a few weeks of thinking, I realized that a person is not just an author, mathematician, dancer, or other. Instead, a “person” becomes a professional in more than one field in their life. That is when I realized that a Person was the thought type and things like a psychologist, author, software engineer, parent, etc., are tags that can be added as Tags to a thought that is a Person type.

I also determined that I wanted to quickly tell that a Thought was a Person Type, so I added a default icon and picked out a high-contrast green. This stood out well on the dark wallpaper I used.

Knowledge Acquisition Thought Type

With the book thought type, I came to a different realization. Any avid reader realizes that they read more than just books. Articles, definitions, peer-reviewed papers, quotes, and more. That should be no problem; just keep adding more thought types. However, I found a means of making it easier for me. I realized that thought types could be hierarchical. This allowed me to set the font colors at the parent level and use icons to differentiate between the child thought types.

With this idea in mind, I realize that “Knowledge Acquisition” could have thought type children of a book, article, definition, quote, etc. I give each child type a unique Icon, but all the text is the same purple color. A person is always a green font with a stick figure icon.

This actually helped me to make connections even faster. I could more quickly identify the expected context of a Thought. I did not even need to see the author tag to know that a person above a book was the author, and any persons below the book were mentioned in the book. Though currently, I break my books down even further, as seen below:

Company Thought Type

My next most used hierarchical thought type is Company. In my day job, I work with anyone that ships small parcel. It is easy to deduce that that would include Retailers, Manufacturers, 3PLs, Healthcare, Aerospace, and companies that ship regulated goods.

For me, Company was the opposite of Person. I want to know the breakdown of the company type such that I can more quickly associate solutions that have worked for one manufacturer with another one. Within this level of company breakdown, there are other trends and bits of common software that do not often extend across company types. Therefore using Company as a parent Thought Type and creating child Thought Types for each major company type is more useful to me.

Color has a part to play here too. With a Person being green, Knowledge Acquisition is purple, Companies are light blue, and Projects are yellow. Any un-typed Thought is still white. There is no crossover in colors. This makes searching faster, wandering more effective, and my daily notes faster to put together.

Tweak for your own needs

As a business person, I deal with people and companies day in and day out. I study books, articles, and other knowledge acquisition things. I am working on multiple business and personal projects. As such, these are the most important thought types in my PKM.

If you are a student, you may have different Thought Types that matter to you. Maybe breaking down by the schools in your university. As a software engineer, your thought type may be based on language type and other software engineering concepts.

In the end, the key to me is that thought types can provide multimedia assistance in the uptake of knowledge in TheBrain, making your PKM that much more valuable.


You can find the companion video on YouTube:

The Training Brain that I use can be found at:

You can discuss TheBrain and other productivity software on my Discord:



Justin Cramer

As co-founder of ProShip Inc. I have been involved in Shipping Software, Product Development, Software Engineering, and Integration of Enterprise Applications