MindManager Shortcuts: 6 –Import and Export Options (part 1: Microsoft Word)

As part of an occasional “series within a series” I’ll be looking at shortcuts to help manage MindManager’s relationships with other programs.

With a few significant exceptions MindManager (MM) does not provide a wealth of ways to exchange information with other software, but depending on the program involved there may be other import and export options provided by add-ins or which involve third-party programs.

I’ll examine four potential scenarios for MM’s relationship with each program, looking at whether any of the following options are available and which approach works best in terms of import and export, as well as any downsides. The options are:

  1. A built-in approach (either within MM itself or something it adds to the source or destination program).
  2. Simple copy and paste.
  3. Third-party or another external program.
  4. Direct two-way sync between MM and the other program.

In relation to the last option I won’t be considering Zapier at this stage. Zapier provides a wide range of options for establishing automated workflows between applications, including MindManager. Zapier’s premise is therefore somewhat different to the relationships I’ll be discussing here and it deserves a series of posts in its own right.

I’ll begin with the Microsoft suite of programs, partly because of their obvious significance but also because many other programs which do not have a direct import/export relationship with MM can open and write MS files.

In this first part I’ll examine MM’s relationship with Word. MM has always had the ability to work closely with MS Word, for obvious reasons; the ability to import a Word document to create a map and also to export a map to a Word document have always been key features. As a result of this relationship there are a number of alternative approaches for both importing and exporting Word files. Continue reading

Posted in Export, Import, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MindManager Shortcuts: 5 – Colouring topics by category

Colouring topics based on tags or icons is an effective way to visually categorise them in a complex mind map. However, while the ability to colour text tags has been added to MindManager, the program still does not provide direct automatic fill colouring of topics based on their tag or icon.

Some time ago I described a method for colouring topics based on their category by using Outlook as an intermediary. This was part of a process for integrating MindManager topics and Outlook tasks and applying a common colour-based category system between the two programs. This method still works but the conditional formatting feature introduced in MindManager 2018 has now provided an easier and more direct way to colour topics based on icons and tags without involving Outlook.

Even if you still want to maintain Outlook synchronisation, conditional formatting allows you to maintain topic colours independently in the two programs. You can continue to match Outlook’s category colours in MindManager, but you can also access a much wider palette than Outlook’s limited range.

Isn’t this approach overkill, given that you can add colours to text tags? Perhaps the best advantage is the ability to reduce visual clutter in a map by hiding the icons and tags themselves, while making it easy to recognise a topic’s category based on its colour. Continue reading

Posted in Filtering and Formatting, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MindManager Shortcuts: 4 – the power of Power Select

Most MindManager (MM) users are acquainted with the program’s Power Filter feature, which provides a facility to show, hide or (from MM2017 onwards) fade topics which match filter criteria. However, a lot of people overlook the Power Filter’s close cousin, Power Select – and even if they are aware of its existence they fail to recognise its usefulness.

Power Select dates back at least to version 7 of MindManager, but unlike the Power Filter which has its own icon on the Status Bar it remains comparatively hidden. Power Select does not even get its own spot on the default ribbon – it is found at the bottom of the drop-down menu in Select under Edit Topics on the Advanced tab.

Clicking on this brings up a dialogue box which is very similar to its Power Filter equivalent and operates the same way – in fact Power Select will remember the last set of criteria created in Power Filter, and vice versa. However, instead of showing (or fading or removing) topics which match the chosen criteria, Power Select merely highlights the matching topics – or the non-matching ones, depending on which option is chosen.

This may not seem that remarkable, but this facility brings some advantages. It is helpful sometimes to see and work with selected topics in the context of the whole map with all other topics being visible. Markers and formatting such as fill and font colours can also be applied to the selected topics and their effects more easily assessed if the rest of the map isn’t hidden. Continue reading

Posted in Filtering and Formatting, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MindManager Shortcuts: 3 – filtering with conditional formatting UPDATED

In this the third in an occasional series of articles on MindManager shortcuts I’m describing how to use conditional formatting as a more user-friendly alternative to power filters. Many of these posts are based on solutions I’ve suggested in response to questions on the Mindjet community forum. In part 1 I described how to select topics by level, while in the last post I explored options to set up and use “secret” markers.

Update: When I was responding to some thoughtful comments on the original post I realised that I had forgotten to highlight the most important advantage of Conditional Formatting over the Power Filter: its much better handling of the distinction between filtering topics that match all the query criteria and filtering topics that match any of the search criteria. I have therefore rewritten and expanded this post with some examples. The table has been updated as well.

MindManager’s Power Filter is quite a powerful facility, giving users the ability to set up queries based on almost every aspect of a map. Multiple queries can also be created, saved and applied cumulatively, while the ability to fade filtered topics as well as to show and hide them is a great recent addition. However, power filters can be tricky to use and the feature’s interface does not make it easy to set up complex queries.

A prime example is the way in which the Power Filter handles the choice between “Any Element” – when you are looking for topics that meet any of the criteria, and “All Elements” –when you want to show only the topics that meet all criteria. You see these choices only on some tabs: the Markers tab in the Power Filters dialogue box where there is an Any marker/All marker choice, on the Text and Other Elements tab where the options are Any element/All elements and on the Properties tab where the choice is Any property/All properties.

However, these Any/All options apply only to the items within each tab. For example, if on the Markers tab you can select, for example, Priority 1 and another marker such as, say, a green flag and then choose either Any marker or All markers, the query will return the results you expect. On the other hand, if you select Priority 1 from the Markers tab and a Due date of today from the Task Info tab, the resulting query will show all tasks that suit either criteria, regardless of the Any marker/All markers setting. Continue reading

Posted in Filtering and Formatting, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | 5 Comments

MindManager Shortcuts: 2 – using “secret” markers

MindManager is a great program but it has its shortcomings; this is the second in an occasional series of articles on how to overcome some of these. Many of these posts are based on solutions I’ve suggested in response to questions on the Mindjet community forum. In part 1 I described how to select topics by level, while in this post I’m looking at how to set up and use “secret” markers.

MindManager has a wealth of features including a comprehensive set of icons, flags and markers which can be added to topics. It also provides a facility to hide these icons altogether while still making them available as filterable objects.

This is handy if you want to reduce visual clutter in a map, for example when you want to print it. However, it is an all-or-nothing feature which can’t be applied just to selected icons; they are either all visible or invisible (the same limitation also applies to text tags). This means that there is no opportunity to set up specific individual markers, or groups of markers, which can be hidden while others remain on show.

There are lots of ways in which a facility to set up selected “secret” markers would be useful. You might want to distinguish otherwise-unrelated special tasks that you want to keep an eye on without making this obvious, or your map may have topics which share a specific feature that needs to be recognised but which can be ignored most of the time. Secret markers can also be helpful as a way of marking topics in very large maps that you need to find quickly without adding to the map’s overall clutter.

Secret Marker Options

Fortunately there are a couple of ways to achieve this, based on a couple of lesser-known MM features which can be repurposed as secret markers – assuming that you aren’t planning on using these features for their original purpose: Continue reading

Posted in Filtering and Formatting, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | 2 Comments

MindManager Shortcuts: 1 – selecting topic levels

MindManager is an incredibly versatile and useful program but it has its shortcomings, so I thought I’d start an occasional series of articles on how to overcome some of these. Many of these posts are based on solutions I’ve suggested in response to questions on the Mindjet community forum. Welcome to the first in the series, on selecting topics by level.

UPDATE: I’m very pleased that this feature has been added to the latest version (3.8) of the MAP add-in from Olympic Limited. This has a wide range of features that I’ll be reviewing shortly, but it offers a simpler way to access topic selection than using WordX2 (which obviously has other uses).

One of the puzzling aspects of MindManager is the lack of any provision to select topics automatically at the same level across branches. Apart from Main Topics (which I will come to in moment), MM does not appear to offer an easy way to do this – or at least none that I can find.

MM obviously “knows” about its own topic levels – it automatically allocates the appropriate level whenever you add a topic or sub-topic. In addition it also matches the topic level to the relevant heading or paragraph style based on the template used when a map is exported to Word; this information is also available to third-party add-ins.

However MM does not extend this facility to end users, despite the many other selection options provided. Topic level selection is not provided as an option for filtering or searching, nor can it be used as a trigger in conditional formatting or as a range in formulas. The only “official” ways to select topics (besides Main Topics) at the same level manually are using the shift or control keys, or highlighting them with the mouse.

This is frustrating as there are many situations in which the ability to select by topic level throughout a map would be very useful, for example, if you want to quickly change the appearance of a whole layer of topics or to add an icon or tag to them. It would also be helpful to be able to specify topic levels in formulas, so that you could sum or average a numeric topic property at the same level across branches.

I don’t know why MindManager’s creators have made this so difficult, but I can suggest a couple of workarounds to make topic level selectable. The first one which applies only to Main Topics is more of a neglected command than a workaround, while the second can be easily applied at any topic level but requires the use of an add-in. Continue reading

Posted in Filtering and Formatting, Mind Mapping, Shortcut | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Strong growth in Sociamind visits

While I would like to claim all the credit for the strong growth in the number of site visitors and page views for the Sociamind website in 2017 I suspect that part of the story is an increasing interest in MindManager itself, especially since the 2017 release.

There were 3,190 visitors to the website with 5,929 views, an increase of 21% and 31% respectively over the 2016 figures (2,630 and 4,516). Apart from the Home page, by far the most views were of two articles on the new dashboard map and HTML 5 export features in MM 2017. Geographically, over half the views came from the US, with the UK and Germany running a distant second and third respectively.

Whatever your reasons for visiting Sociamind and regardless of where you come from, I would like to thank all my Sociamind visitors for your continued support.

Posted in Mind Mapping, Software, Statistics | Tagged , | 3 Comments