Mind mapping software

August 28, 2008

For many years I taught high school students how to create explosion charts, spider diagrams, or whatever you want to call them. They are a great way to organise ideas, particularly at the start of a project or task. I have seen some software over the years that purports to do this for you, but in my opinion pen and paper still beat any software I’d seen for quickly generating ideas and tasks, and organising them into like categories.

But I’ve had to change my mind! Recently I trialled a piece of software that adds so much more value to the ideas generation process. As well as being able to add ideas on screen as quickly as with pen and paper, you can print out your diagrams, and best of all, send all the ideas and tasks in your diagram to any of Microsoft’s Word (creates a fully-structured outline), Outlook (creates a separate task for each one), PowerPoint (creates slides with bullet points for the sub-tasks), and Project (creates a complete project/task list ready for you to add milestone and other data). You can also save all the information to HTML and a website is created with all links created automatically.

The templates that come with the software will have you thinking much wider than just organising your ideas! At one company I know, they use it in meetings for recording everything—attendances, action items, etc. and then send it to a Word document as Minutes. With everything projected on the screen during the meeting, no-one can argue later about the interpretation of the minute-taker.

So what’s this magical piece of software? MindManager from MindJet Software (http://www.mindjet.com). You can download and trial it for 21 days; cost for a single user license: US$99 for v7 Lite, US$349 for v7 Pro.

[This article was first published in the June 2005 CyberText Newsletter; links and prices last checked December 2007]

One comment

  1. I use Mindjet. It’s cool, there are a lot of features that I am still learning, and I am also having to teach myself how to think non-linearly.

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