Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

Adding new topic shapes to your MindManager library

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

In the MindManager Library there is a section called Shapes. It contains three folders: Ovals, Rectangles and Rounded Rectangles. Any of these shapes can be applied to a topic by dragging and dropping or selecting a topic and then clicking the required shape. This can be used to give another level of emphasis to your maps. If you need to change the colour of a shape or remove / add a dot, duplicate and then open in your image editor.

What about adding your own shapes to the library? Very easy add a new folder (right click the shapes folder) and then follow the instructions on my Creating New Topics Shapes in MindManager map.

I created a new shape from my logo by editing it and adding a boundary in Paint.net. I also gave a it a transparent background. Then I added it to Shape Library and used it for the central topic of the map. You can see in the map some of my choices may not be that clever. If the shape had been applied to the main or subtopics the background would not be an issue.

This morning I was creating a new shape from a sandcastle image during an online client training session. It soon be came apparent that the aspect ratio of the shape image is dependent on the text string height and width. You need to choose shapes that look good when crushed, stretched or otherwise distorted!

There are a few ways to mitigate the distortion:
1. Control the text width in Format Topic or by dragging the left and right text boundaries
2. Font size and type
3. Edit Content Margins in the Library Shape or Format Topic > Size and Margins. See the map.

Does anyone have some great examples of custom shapes in their MindManager maps?

Using Background Images with MindManager

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

MindManager has the ability to include background images and colour. This can be used to brand and watermark your maps, to have a background image which is relevant to the map content or create a subtle and pleasing graphic effect. You need to experiment to get this right. A bad background can distract from the purpose of the map. You have seen people do it with PowerPoint beware of doing it to your maps.

The easiest to way to set these up is to right click the background of a map to reveal the Background settings. These include colour, image selection, transparency, a variety of tiling effects and access to a background image library.

A few tips:

  • In the Print > Page Setup, you can enable/disable the background from printing. Best to disable when you have single colour background. You will use a lot of ink and with some printers have a soggy sheet of paper! You can do this for PDFs as well.
  • The Paper set of background images can be used to give you a grid to line up your topics horizontally and vertically. You can turn it off before publishing.
  • You can have both an image and colour. Adjust image transparency to let the colour show through.

Chuck Frey has provided some more general advice in his blog: How to add visual dimension to your mind maps with a background image or color

Challenging and Varied MindManager Applications

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I have had a wide range of requests and activities in the last fortnight:

  • An old friend from school (35 years ago) has asked can he write a book with MindManager and create timelines (with JCVGantt). Yes.
  • A local friend has asked about training and other applications in a county government organisation.
  • I have been providing maps for someone else’s email newsletter and web site.
  • Discussions around the use of Outlook, Outlook Folders and MindManager for a project management company.
  • Providing a map for a cricket club fixture card to give an overview of things you can do as a member on our web site.
  • And I have been planning and managing a meeting of the Alresford Pigs Association – Duck Race Committee. Must publish the minutes and update the MindManager generated web site.

Of course I will be pleased to take on any other challenges you care to discuss with me.

The MindManager Brainstorm Test

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Many of you will be using MindManager to brainstorm, mind storm or word storm. I wonder how quick you are at it?

Take this test and then publish your results by commenting on this blog.

Normal brainstorming rules apply:

  1. Don’t argue with yourself as you enter the words
  2. Try to use single words. Perhaps word pairs but not sentences! It will slow you down.

Here is how I would like you to proceed:

  1. Make sure you can see a clock with a second hand.
  2. Clear your mind.
  3. Pick your topic and think about it for 30 seconds. For this speed test I suggest it is something you have been thinking about recently or are currently working on and not a brand new topic.
  4. Start the clock. You have three minutes.
  5. Open a new MindManager map and enter the Central Topic
  6. Start entering your words as Main Topics. Don’t organise them or add Sub-Topics. Main Topics only.
  7. Stop when three minutes have elapsed. Count the Words and Topics entered. Hint: MindManager Button > Prepare > Properties > Statistics
  8. Publish your result as a comment in this blog.

I will publish my result and my tips for this process in a couple of days.

If you want a more elaborate test. Record how many topics and words after 60s, 120s & 180s. Just put a marker in the map and count them at the end of the test. I wonder if there is a trend that one third is more productive than another.

If you are not a MindManager users but you do the test, please publish your results and the application you used.

Have fun.

Using MindManager’s Map Part – File Explorer to find lost folders

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I just “lost” some folders when I moved them from one disc to another. In Windows Explorer you cannot see the folder “organigram”. You can only see the the contents of one folder at a time. So hunting for the lost folders was getting a bit frustrating.

Then I remembered the MindManager – File Explorer map part. It also maps folders. My process was:

  • Open a new map
  • Open Map Parts > File Explorer
  • Add an All Folders part
  • Browse to the parent directory where you think they are “lost”
  • The folder structure is added to your map.
  • You can spot folders that have folders in them. They have plus signs!

Thanks MindManager now I have found where I “hid” the MindManager 2002 icons! Next time I must take more care dragging and dropping.

Using MindManager in the writing process

Friday, April 4th, 2008


Tom Evans uses mind mapping and MindManager to assist him in writing books. He is passing these applications of mapping to everyone in his blog particularly in these two articles:

If you do have a book inside you and we all do, then Tom is getting excellent testimonials. Friends who have attended his courses have been very positive.