Yesterday I was training a client team. They had already been using MindManager to create a series of internal web sites for sharing information within their multi-national group, suppliers and clients, They had created a new web export template to suit their purpose and produced some elegant web pages linked to different sources of information. One area in where they reached the “It’s not doing what I really want” limit was the handling of spreadsheet information. Here are some suggestions that arose from that discussion, many of which I have tried previously and some which may be relevant to other file types e.g. Word and PowerPoint.
The Standard Link
Add a hyperlink to the spreadsheet file in the topic or in the topic text. There are more options in a topic link e.g. adding an argument which opens a specific worksheet in the spreadsheet. The standard link to a file will take a copy of the spreadsheet and place it in the Linked Documents folder of the web export. You can create a web link to a networked version of the spreadsheet with read only rights. Thus web site users will see the current data.
- Easy to do
- The original is not accessed by the user. They can do what ifs on the spreadsheet.
- Excel has to be loaded and the file opened which takes time.
The Excel Range
In MindManager 7 and 8 you can add an Excel range to a topic. This works well when viewing the map in MindManager. The data is refreshed every time the map is opened and can be refreshed with F5 at any time. Data can be placed in relationship to other information on the map e.g. sales data next to a list of outstanding invoices.
- Works if you are using a clickable image export. You see a snapshot of the spreadsheet ranges in the map.
- In other web export you see nothing except for a Data Container marker i.e. the spreadsheet was here but MindManager does not handle it in this export !
The Cut and Paste
You can cut and paste a spreadsheet range in to the topic notes. This creates a table.
- Easy to do.
- Information appears when the web page is loaded.
- Formatting is not the same and in my experience cell heights get larger. For ranges more than 4 x10 cells the post paste editing required to tidy up makes this unacceptable.
The Excel Web Export
Use the Excel “Save as Web Page” option. There are several options when doing this but the principles are that you either create web page which is a static snapshot of a range or whole spreadsheet or a more interactive web page which permits e.g. changing data and data sorting. Use a hyperlink in the map to point at this HTML file
- The data owner can republish the Excel web page after each update or save (an automated option in the publication process) of the spreadsheet.
- The formatting of your spreadsheet is reproduced
- The web page loads quickly
- The publisher can create several views of the spreadsheet for different users and save them as individual pages e.g. for an improvement process monitor: Completed actions, over due actions, department X actions
- The Excel web page is external to the MindManager web export i.e. the content does not appear inside the export page template. I suggest you use the open in new web page option in the Hyperlink. Workaround: You could post export paste the Excel HTML into a “blank” web page created during the export but I really wish Mindjet which allow HTML snippets to be added to topic notes!
Do you have any better strategies?