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.

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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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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

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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

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