Now for something completely different: MindManager importing tricks 2

In my last post I explained how to import tables of tasks and other relatively simple information from Word and Excel using Outlook and converting them into MindManager (MM) maps. There are times however when this approach isn’t appropriate, for example if you have non-task-related data with multiple fields, for example a conference attendance list or product catalogue.

You could of course consider using Outlook, at least to import contact-related data, but there is probably a greater risk of messing up your existing Outlook contact information than there is of “temporary” task data interfering with your Outlook tasks.

So, how do you do this without Outlook? First, consider the following hypothetical workshop attendance list:

 

Name Organisation Position Phone
Ethyl Cameron Acme Pty Ltd Director XXXX AABB
Thomas Merkel Acme Pty Ltd Manager XXXX AACC
Jane Obama Acme Pty Ltd Manager XXXX AADD
Andrew Gillard Zenith Pty Ltd CEO YYYY GGFF
Sarah Sarkozy Zenith Pty Ltd Group Manager YYYY GGHH

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a table like this in Excel you will need to import to Word. Once there (or if it is already in Word) you can easily import it into MM but you have to do a few things first, otherwise it will just be a mess with all the data concatenated into a single topic per row.

It was Andrew Wilcox who first described the underlying “trick” to get around this, which is to apply Word’s inbuilt heading styles to each column, say heading 1 style to the first column, heading 2 to the second column and so on, so the table would look like the following (it’s helpful to turn off Word’s heading numbering):

 

Name Organisation Position Phone
Ethyl Cameron Acme Pty Ltd Director XXXX AABB
Thomas Merkel Acme Pty Ltd Manager XXXX AACC
Jane Obama Acme Pty Ltd Manager XXXX AADD
Andrew Gillard Zenith Pty Ltd CEO YYYY GGFF
Sarah Sarkozy Zenith Pty Ltd Group Manager YYYY GGHH

 

 

 

 

 

The table can then be imported by highlighting all the required rows (without the header row) then pressing the MindManager button to import to MM.  The data in any column which does not have a heading style (such as the phone numbers) will be treated as topic notes, so the above ends up looking like this as a MM map:

MindManager example map 1

MindManager example map 1

 

This is fine for a simple table, but what happens when you want to import data to create a more hierarchical map with multiple levels, for example the previous attendance list sorted by organisation?  The first step is to take this list (either created in Word or imported from Excel) and place the organisation column first, grouping the employees by organisation name using Word’s sort function. Then apply Word’s heading styles as previously described so the table looks like this:

 

Organisation Name Position Phone
Acme Pty Ltd Ethyl Cameron Director XXXX AABB
Acme Pty Ltd Thomas Merkel Manager XXXX AACC
Acme Pty Ltd Jane Obama Manager XXXX AADD
Zenith Pty Ltd Andrew Gillard CEO YYYY GGFF
Zenith Pty Ltd Sarah Sarkozy Group Manager YYYY GGHH

 

 

 

 

The next step is to leave the first name of each organisation but replace each of the repeat names for the same organisation with a simple carriage return/line feed (it’s always handy in Word to make these visible) in the cells below.  This should leave only one occurrence of each organisation name, which should appear in the first row relating to that organisation’s employees.

Then you have to do something a little obscure – retain the Word heading 1 style for the organisation names but highlight the subsequent carriage returns in the table cells under each organisation name in this column and reformat them with Word’s default normal style.

The name and position columns should be formatted as before. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to import information into MM topic notes using this method, so in this example the phone number column has been given the same level three formatting as the position data:

Organisation Name Position Phone
Acme Pty Ltd Ethyl Cameron Director XXXX AABB
Thomas Merkel Manager XXXX AACC
Jane Obama Manager XXXX AADD
Zenith Pty Ltd Andrew Gillard CEO YYYY GGFF
Sarah Sarkozy Manager YYYY GGHH

 

Proceeding as before to export the table to MindManager, the following map is produced:

MindManager example map 2

MindManager example map 2

 

 

This shows the attendees grouped by their organisation. Of course you could use the same trick to group them by position, or to produce a map of a catalogue grouped by product type, shelf location, etc.

In my next post I will discuss using Word to import task-related data especially when it is grouped under headings. Unfortunately this is a lot more complex to achieve.

 

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3 Responses to Now for something completely different: MindManager importing tricks 2

  1. Pingback: How to create hierarchical maps in MindManager from directory-style tables | Sociamind

  2. Pingback: Sending tasks from Word to MindManager (with a little help from Excel) | Sociamind

  3. Pingback: The Ins and Outs of MindManager Word Importing – Part B: tables | Sociamind

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