MindManager Integrations 3: the logic revolution

In the third article in the MindManager integrations series I’ll explore how SmartRules can revolutionise the use of the program through the introduction of functions based on Boolean logic. 

Beefing up MM’s formula facility to include logic statements, most importantly IF-THEN functions like those found in Excel and many other programs, has long been on many people’s wish lists. This would allow users to compare aspects of topics, most obviously the data in topic properties, either with each other or to some other criteria.

The company has answered this request not by adding this feature to formulas but instead via an unusual route; the expansion of the SmartRules facility in MindManager 2019. Despite some shortcomings this is a surprisingly useful approach. 

SmartRules can accept a wide variety of inputs and not just topic properties. They can be nested like functions in Excel and can also combined with MM’s formula facility. And just as there is a range of inputs, there is a wide selection of formatting and other outputs. This makes the SmartRules feature and more specifically its IF-THEN functionality one of the most powerful tools available in MindManager.

The following example map was developed to illustrate of these techniques and is itself a work in progress as I continue to explore this functionality. I’ve hidden most of the “machinery”, including some topics and topic properties as well as the SmartRules and formulas involved, but I’ll come back to these later in the article.

A word of advice – this is a long and very technical read and assumes a reasonable level of experience with MindManager, some understanding of how SmartRules and formulas operate, and, ideally, familiarity with Excel formulas. If you haven’t done so already, it’s also worth having a look at the first article in this series which explains the basics of linking SmartRules and formulas, as well as the second which provided further examples. Continue reading

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MindManager Integrations 2: Doing more with SmartRules and Formulas

Introduction

This is the second in a series looking at the ways in which new and old features in MindManager 2019 can be combined to produce innovative and exciting ways to manage and present material in mind maps. 

The first post in this series outlined how MM2019’s revamped SmartRules feature can be used to translate tags and icons, including task icons, into topic properties which can then be manipulated using MM’s Formula facility. In this article I’ll explore some additional ways to use these concepts. 

Recap

Previously I covered how to:

  1. Set up numeric topic properties to match tags or icons;
  2. Create SmartRules to link icons or tags to these topic properties;
  3. Use Formulas on the Central Topic to sum the topic properties matching each tag or icon; and
  4. Write SmartRules to highlight if the total for each topic property meets or fails to meet certain criteria.

 These techniques provide the basis for some of the more complex examples discussed in this post, so it’s probably best to look at part 1 if you haven’t done so already. 

Counting multiple tags

In part 1 I used a simple example of counting of mutually exclusive Kanban tags The same approach can be used to count multiple tags in the same group without the mutually exclusive option, as shown in the following example. 

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Sociamind MindManager Article Map Updated

The mind map of MindManager posts on the Sociamind blog has been updated and revamped to make it easier to find articles.

Click on this link, the map below or the MindManager Articles item on the blog menu to go to the map, which shows selected posts relating to MindManager published over the past five years. The three most recent articles are now highlighted in red.

Around 50 articles are grouped by theme in the map. The hyperlink icon next to any topic provides access to the relevant post. The earliest MindManager version applicable to each article or group of articles is shown in brackets. Articles which discuss several key MindManager features may appear in the map more than once.

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MindManager Integrations 1: Tags and Icons to Topic Properties – the Basics

One especially useful feature of the current version of MindManager (MM2019) is the way in which the program’s latest features can work with each other as well as with MM’s more established features to produce new ways of seeing, managing, and presenting material in mind maps. In this series I will look at some of these integrations, starting with how the revamped SmartRules feature can be used to translate tags and icons, including task icons, into topic properties which can then be used with MM’s Formula facility.

What can I do with this?

The primary purpose of this integration is to provide a dynamic count at the central or parent topic level of specific tags or icons in the relevant descendant sub-topics. MM has long had the facility to count tags and icons in the Marker Index, but these are global counts across either the whole or filtered map and aren’t easily accessible within the map itself. Sometimes it’s more useful to show the total count directly in the map, especially if you can show it on a branch-by-branch basis.

The ability to count tags and icons with a map also opens up a range of other possibilities. These counts can be used in other formulas or to apply specific tags or formatting to the parent topic; for example, you can use this approach to apply and then count tags for specific defects in a project, or each time a particular comment is made in a survey at the sub-topic level.

Alternatively, a special tag could be added to the parent topic depending on the result, or it could be specially formatted to highlight key issues. This facility can even be used as a basis for constructing Boolean If-Then-Else statements which currently are not available in formulas. I’ll explore some variations on this approach and other potential uses in later articles.

What is involved?

The process is reasonably straightforward, providing you have a basic understanding of MM2019’s Topic Properties, SmartRules and Formulas – and of course, tags and icons. If you haven’t used these features before try to have a little play with them first. In this example I’m using the default Kanban “To Do”, “Doing” and “Done” tag group but you could use any tag group or icon set.

Basic Kanban Tags to Properties Example

It’s probably best to start with a group containing a limited number of tags or icons set to mutually exclusive, though you can use more complex groups and ones which are not constrained this way (though there are some issues which I’ll cover later). I’m also using a simple map and adding the count totals to the central topic, but the same approach can be used to show the totals for each branch at the parent topic level.

Continue reading

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Want help with mind mapping and using MindManager in your organisation?

As well as publishing the Sociamind blog which explores the many features and uses of mind mapping, Gooding Davies Consultancy (GDC) offers a range of consultancy services relating to mind mapping and in particular MindManager. Based near Sydney, GDC can provide assistance either online or in person (Greater Sydney metropolitan area, and other regions by arrangement).

Alex Gooding and Fiona Davies, the principals of GDC, have been using MindManager for over a decade. Alex is also a frequent contributor to the Mindjet Customer Community Forum, where with nearly 900 responses to queries by other users he has obtained “Champion” status. In addition to their mind mapping expertise, Alex and Fiona have extensive experience in research, strategic planning, project management and organisation development in both the public and private sectors.

If you would like professional advice on how mind mapping could help your organisation, have a general query about mind mapping programs or need training on the use of MindManager software – or if you want to find out more about our other professional services, please contact us.

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What’s new in MindManager 2019 1: SmartRules outsmart Power Filters – Update

Update: Unfortunately, in compiling and discussing the upgraded aspects of Power Filters and SmartRules in MindManager 2019 I left out one of the most important – the ability of SmartRules to write topic properties. This article which was originally posted in November 2018 and the accompanying table comparing the Power Filters and SmartRules feature sets have both been updated to recognise this. 

This feature is significant not only because it provides a way to write topic properties linked to other features such as tags and icons, but also because this allows MindManager formulas to be applied to these linked properties. In addition, the linking of Smart Rules to topic properties provides an indirect way of manipulating MindManager formulas to create the equivalent of Boolean conditional If-Then-Else statements, a facility lacking in the formulas themselves. I’ll explore these options in a future post.

I noted a year ago in reviewing MindManager 2018 that the range of graphic elements brought to the program since its purchase in 2016 reflected Corel’s design heritage and suggested that there could be more to come.

Corel’s makeover has continued with the release of MindManager 2019, which confirms the direction the company is taking with MindManager, adding graphical features and new ways to present information. I’ll describe some of the additional changes in MM2019 over the next few posts, starting with SmartRules.

SmartRules is a substantial development of Conditional Formatting which was introduced only a year ago in MM2018. The feature wasn’t that new even then – as I noted in my review of MM2018, it was really a reintroduction of the old Power Markers add-in which had largely disappeared when Mindjet acquired it several years earlier. Rebranded as Conditional Formatting, Power Markers was revived with an easy-to-use interface. Continue reading

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What’s new in MindManager 2019 2: Tag along for the view

In the first post in this series on the new features in MindManager 2019 I discussed the Corel’s increasing emphasis on the graphical and visualisation elements in MindManager (MM), starting with the additional conditional formatting options in the revamped SmartRules feature. Another example is the addition in MM 2019 of two new ways of viewing maps, Tag View and Icon View.

Both allow users to see their maps not as a tree structure, but instead with topics organised into columns based on their tags or icons. In Tag View these can be general tags or those from any named tag group; MM 2019 comes with a group already created – Kanban, with three tags – To Do, Doing, and Done. If the tags are coloured the matching columns assume the same colour, as shown in the example below, while untagged topics are shown in a single Uncategorized column to the left.

Similarly, Icon View allows users to show topics in columns based on a number of icon groups. These include MM’s default icon groups – Priority, Progress, Flags, Arrows, Smileys and Single Icons – as well as any user-created special icon groups. There does not appear to be a way to colour icon columns.

MindManager’s new Tag View

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