Abstract 2-Cyano cyanothioformanilide 3a reacts with triphenylphosphine in the presence of water to give 2-(cyanomethyleneamino)benzonitrile 4a, 2-(cyanomethylamino)benzonitrile 5, 3-aminoindole-2-carbonitrile 2a and (2-cyanoindol-3-yl)iminotriphenylphosphorane 6a. In the presence of p-toluenesulfonic acid in MeOH the reaction between 2-cyano cyanothioformanilide 3a and triphenylphosphine (2 equiv) gives 3-aminoindole-2-carbonitrile 2a in 90% yield. Under the same conditions 2-(cyanomethyleneamino)benzonitrile 4a gives anthranilonitrile 8a, 3-aminoindole-2-carbonitrile 2a and N-(2-cyanophenyl)formamide 9. In addition, substituted 2-cyano cyanothioformanilides 3b– f react with triphenylphosphine and p-toluenesulfonic acid in MeOH to give 3-aminoindole-2-carbonitriles 2b– f in 63–75% yields. Under analogous conditions 2-cyano-4,5-dimethoxyphenyl cyanothioformanilide 2g gives only 4,5-dimethoxyanthranilonitrile 8g and 4,6,7-trimethoxyquinazoline-2-carbonitrile 14g, but in refluxing dry PhMe in the absence of p-toluenesulfonic acid 2-cyano-4,5-dimethoxyphenyl cyanothioformanilide 3g, (2-cyano-5,6-dimethoxyindol-3-yl)iminotriphenylphosphorane 6g and 2-(cyanomethyleneamino)-4,5-dimethoxybenzonitrile 4g are obtained. The structure of 2-(cyanomethyleneamino)-4,5-dimethoxybenzonitrile 4g is supported unambiguously via independent synthesis and comparison to the isomeric 6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline-2-carbonitrile 15. All new compounds are fully characterised and a tentative mechanism for the transformation of 2-cyano cyanothioformanilides to indoles is proposed.