A few months ago I described a workaround for one of MindManager’s shortcomings – the inability to export MindManager’s slides as images to PowerPoint. You can export the content of slides as bullet points or as PowerPoint objects, but not the slide images themselves and unfortunately this state of affairs has persisted into the recently-released MM 15.
My workaround drew on a method described by UK mindmapping expert Andrew Wilcox in his blog, which involved using MindManager’s Web export facility to create JPEG image files. I discovered that in PowerPoint the process could be speeded up by using the program’s Insert Photo Album command. Overall this simplified the process but it remains a bit complex, especially at the MindManager end.
I have since discovered a simpler, albeit more expensive export approach. This is to use a JPG image printer to create the MindManager slides as image files which can be easily be imported into PowerPoint using the same Insert Photo Album method. Image printers work in a similar way to PDF printers – the program loads as a printer driver and you then “print” the slides to create a virtual file. The main difference is that with a PDF printer you create a single file but with an image printer the program has to create a separate file for each slide or page being printed.
There are a few image printers on the market but I’ve settled on ImagePrinter Pro which costs around AU$40. It outputs a range of image file types including JEPG, PNG, GIF, TOFF and BMP, and also doubles as a PDF printer. There is a free trial version which isn’t limited operationally but which puts a watermark on each slide.
So after you have downloaded and installed ImagePrinter or another image printing facility the steps to send MindManager slides to PowerPoint are:
- Create or select a folder to store the JPEG files. It’s probably best to use a separate folder for each map export
- Open a map in MindManager and create the slides you want.
- When these are ready go to either the Slides sidebar or Presentation on the View ribbon and select Print Slides. When the dialogue box appears choose which slides you want to print and click on Properties. Check you have the right options under Page Settings and then click on the Options tab and check you have JPEG selected as the file type. Click OK then click on then on Print in the next dialogue box.
- Switch to PowerPoint and create a new presentation (beginning the import will create a new “album” anyway).
- Under the Insert tab on the ribbon, click on Photo Album and then choose New Photo Album.
- When the Photo Album dialogue box appears, click on File/Disk and navigate to the folder you created earlier to store the slide images. Highlight the JPEGS created by MindManager’s PowerPoint export and click on Insert.
- The files should appear in the Pictures in Album section of the Photo Album dialogue box. Here you can change the order of the files or remove individual ones.
- Under Album Layout choose one of the options. The default is “Fit to slide”, which will fill the whole of the slide with the image. The other useful one is “1 picture with title” which will generate a conventional slide layout with a blank space for the title.
- When you are ready, click on the Create button to generate the photo album, which should contain a slide for every map. In addition a title slide called rather cheesily “My Album” will appear; you can either rename this or delete it entirely.
- Finally, either format the new presentation or import the slides into an existing one, sorting and deleting them as required.
A few final comments on this approach. First, the process is easier than it sounds and once you have set up the basic parameters it’s quite quick. Second, the Page Settings dialogue box in ImagePrinter allows you to select quite high resolutions and the resulting images are very sharp. And third, while this method makes the process a little easier, it shouldn’t let Mindjet off the hook; slide image export is something the company should have done years ago. If they want somewhere to start, however, incorporating the ImagePrinter driver would be a great option to consider as a basis for doing this because it does PDF printing as well. This would bring back a feature which many have missed since Mindjet dropped it from MindManager.