Posts Tagged ‘Word’

Tips for Topic Notes

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I have just preparing a quote for an on-line training client. The quote is a MindManager map which is exported to Word. The process reminded me of few tips I could give you about using Topic Notes.

Topic Notes Menu Bar

  1. Use the Next and Previous notes buttons to check out the next paragraph or chapter of document.
  2. Table tool is good for getting control over column width and placing images with text wrapping around it.  These tables export to Word and the Web.
  3. When you add an image notice notice the Insert option at the bottom left of the file explorer view. Click it and you get the choice to Insert and Link. This means whenever you open, refresh or export a map the latest version of the image will be used.  You can save snapshots of a spreadsheet or project plan when you update it.  Then the image will be updated in the map.
  4. The Format Painter was added a couple of versions ago.
  5. These are tools for Tablet PC users.  You can sketch in the ink section of the Topic Note and convert it to an image in the “text” note.  Or write in ink and convert to text.

Do you have any tips for using Topic Notes?

The MindManager Topic Notes Editor: Time for a big change?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

The Topic Notes editor has remained virtually unchanged for a decade.  A format painter (copier) has been added in MindManager 2012 and way back in 2002 the ink tools were added.  Nothing else has happened.  I met Blaine Mathieu Chief Products Officer at the Mindjet Revolution Roadshow, a few days ago.  After a short discussion, he invited me to send him an email on this matter. Here are my thoughts and your chance to help me write that email to encourage Mindjet to be evolutionary and well as revolutionary!

I have used the Notes editor to create hundreds of web sites: the notes become web pages.  Until last week I used it to create the Cabre web site but I had to do too much post processing to include bits of HTML for videos etc. and had other issues around site management not to do with the Notes Edtor. I have switched to WordPress with MindManager content where required.   The ConferenceREACTION web site is currently produced with MindManager but will switch to WordPress soon.  It’s a pity because all the content is produced with MindManager.

With the Word export I use Topic Notes to create the paragraphs in “Introduction to MindManager” (to be transferred to new web site),  a 20 page  booklet with 50 plus images in it.  I started with Mindmanager X5 and I will updated it to the sixth edition 2012 shortly.

So why change?

It lacks:

  • Word wrapping: you have to use tables.
  • The tables are unstable when they get big (more than 5 rowsish) and if you use cell merge.
  • You cannot include HTML, only links. So no embedded videos, maps or other “gadgets” e.g. mail list capture, twitter streams etc.
  • You cannot resize large images to suitably sized images as you add them to the Notes (or Topics) thus preventing map bloat!
  • It is difficult to manage the formatting in the notes to get the correct format in Word. If you transfer the MindManager Topic Notes format to Word, you can’t (easily) use the Word Styles to manage the formating.

Please add to this list by commenting below.

What would I like to see

Three and half editors:

  1. Keep it simple i.e.the current one.  For simple note taking
  2. A Word editor which uses the style selected for the Word export. Perhaps it opens a Word window and saves the file as an attachment to the map visualised in the Notes pane.  you can support this idea in Mindjet’s User Voice – Editing Topic Notes with Word.
  3. An HTML editor. Something like the ScribeFire for Firefox.  It’s great for editing and storing frequently used HTML fragments.  With the option of using Micrsoft Expression?  You can support this idea in Mindjet’s User Voice – HTML Notes Editor 

3.5 An editor for creating WordPress content. That is one which creates clickable image maps and other content that can be directly exported to my WordPress blog(s). I will write about this seperately.  One respected internet commentator Graham Jones said in his newsletter last weekend: “In my view, though, there is only one way to go: WordPress.” Repeating my dream: Just imagine if Mindjet had developed the HTML editor they had in early versions of MindManager we would be using MindPress now!

 There, that’s this week’s rant (so far) off my desk (chest).  Please add your thoughts here and in Mindjet’s User Voice.

Getting your bullets to Word via the Word Export

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Microsoft Word Export SettingsThis week I was preparing a quote for some internal MindManager training using my quotation template but the bullet lists in the Topic Notes were arriving without their bullets in Word.  After a couple of emails to Mindjet, it clicked as to what I was doing wrong. It was one of those deja vu, I have been here before moments!

With the Style Mapping for Notes set to Body Text the bullets are not displayed in Word because Body Text does not have bullets.

The simple solution is to change this to:

None (Keep current style)

The alternative approach to producing bullets in the Word document is to edit say the Heading Level 3 style in your Word template to include bullets or to select the List Bullet style. Then all your level 3 topics will appear as bullets in the document.

How to summarise a blog with MindManager

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Introduction

Every now and again you see a blog and realise that would be a good template for a MindManager map which you could use to develop your business.  Today I came across yet another such map from my friend Richard White – The Accidental Salesman.  I first heard Richard speaking about story telling to Petersfield Ecademy back in January 2005.  Here is how I processed Richard’s blog “How to Sell Thin Air” in to this.

"How to Sell Thin Air" - MindManager Map

Conversion to MindManager Map

You could just copy and paste from the blog. It produces a reasonable map but you will have to drag and drop text to be subtopics of the main topics or into the Main Topic Notes.

I copied the blog content to a Word document. Then I added the Title style to the Title (not the date and the intro), the Heading Level 1 Style to the headings and saved the document.

Import the Word document to MindManager and hey presto!  The title is the Central Topic and the headings are the Main Topics.  The text has become the Topic Notes.

Creating the Summary

Open a Main Topic – Notes Pane, take the keywords from the text or use your own and add as Subtopics to the Main Topics.

Then I added relationships to show the flow of information proposed in the blog.

Plus a few icons from the Simplico free icon set.

There it is a template with the notes from the original blog which I can use to think about Cabre’s services and solutions.

Would you like a copy?

Click the thumbnail image or “How to Sell Thin Air” and you will find a full size image and links to Richard’s original blog, to download the MindManager map and a PDF of the image.

This next web page also contains all the notes from the map further down the page.  I must get round to publishing the web export template I have created for doing this.  Anyone interested?

Thanks again to Richard

For publishing great information about selling and allowing me to use it in this example

MindManager and Tenders

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Thank you to Alex Gooding for this guest blog. He is a strategic planning, management and governance consultant based near Sydney, Australia. He uses MindManager in almost every facet of his business. See Gooding Davis

Click on the images to see them full size.

One of the things I really like about MindManager is its versatility. Not only can it be used for a wide variety of specific tasks, but these can also be combined to produce all sorts of different applications based on the program.

A good example of this is how MindManager can be used to assist in the somewhat arcane and dry process of analysing Request for Tender and Expressions of Interest documentation, preparing responses and, if you’re successful, managing the resulting project. Most people may have used MindManager to brainstorm a tender response or to manage a project when they’ve won the contract, but in this post I’d like to show you how to use MindManager in different ways throughout the whole process.

First you need to download the tender documentation. This will usually consist of a main tender document and a number of attachments, links etc. If you’re lucky, these will be available in Word format; if you’re very lucky they will be available in Word AND the person who put the documentation together will have used consistent heading styles.

However, most tender documents are likely to be PDFs, so you will have to convert them to Word; once you have done this (or if the documentation was already in Word but styles have not been used) you will need to go through the document and apply heading styles. This may not be as onerous as it sounds; most documents will at least rely on consistent formatting of headings and you may be able to use Word’s Find and Replace feature to search for the relevant formatting and replace with an appropriate heading style.

Convert the main tender document first, then check out the attachments. If these have additional requirements they will also need to be converted, but those attachments which just provide background information can be left as they are. Once this is done you can import the documentation into MindManager, starting with the main tender document; sections and sub-sections of the document should now be topics and subtopics in the map, with the text in each sub-section imported as topic or subtopic notes.

Repeat the process for the other tender documents. Unless these attachments are very complex, copy the resulting maps to the main topic map and attach them as branches in the appropriate places or paste as floating topics with relationship lines to the main map (the growth direction of the map does not matter at this stage, though I generally use a tree).

Then hyperlink or attach the tender documents themselves (including the documents with background information) to the map at the relevant topics. When it is completed this map will give you a much more structured view of the tender and is a great basis to analyse it thoroughly. It will also act as a repository and single access point for the original tender documentation (I’ve attached a simplified version based on an actual tender document).

Map 1 Tender Document Brief example

Review the material you have “captured” on the map carefully, checking with the original documents at the end of each section that everything has been imported properly. As you go through the map, mark topics based on the following two categories, using a separate marker (or topic colour if you wish) for each:

  • Tender response tasks: the activities involved in preparing the response to ensure it is compliant with the tender requirements;
  • Project tasks/deliverables: that is, what activities you will need to undertake and what outcomes you need to deliver to complete the project if your tender is successful.

In a well-structured tender document these requirements will be grouped appropriately but might fall into several different sections if the tender is complex. It is also surprising how many tenders are poorly structured, with the project tasks and response tasks mixed together and/or appearing at random places throughout the documentation. You will need to read carefully through all the documentation to ensure you have identified every potential task.

At this stage you are primarily sorting out the key activities, but you should also add an additional flag for those things which stand out as potentially significant issues or problem areas in either the tender response or the project itself. Add callouts to summarise each issue.

The next step is to create a new map (either a split tree or an org chart) with two branches, one for the tender response tasks and the other for the project tasks. Search for the marker or topic colour you used for tender response tasks and copy them to the relevant branch and then repeat the process for the project tasks (you can set up a separate map for each category but there are advantages to keeping them on one map at this stage).

One slight problem you might experience is that while numbered headings in the documentation should be reproduced in the topic numbering in the initial map, numbering of the topics selected for this second map are unlikely to match the original. If you need them, you may need to consider manually including the original number in brackets as part of the topic name. You should link this map as a two-way hyperlink with the original map of the tender and you may also want to link at least the major tasks back to the relevant sections of this map.

Map 2 Tender response example

You can now plan what you have to do, starting with the tender response tasks. Arrange these in a logical sequence and then plan the development of the response, looking at issues such as the resources you will need and the time frames required. You also need to think about what you will have to do to address the potential problems you identified earlier.

For each task, try to identify all the additional steps you will need to undertake to complete the work involved. For example, the tender might say, for example, “provide a fee schedule including hourly rates and all expenses “. You might want to add “Get Michael to prepare fee matrix” and “ask Karen to update mileage rates”, etc. Add these tasks as additional subtopics, callouts, task info, resources etc, but retain the topics you imported from the other map to provide the overall framework.

Repeat this process for the branch containing the tasks relating to the actual project. This will probably involve a bit more brainstorming than for the tender response tasks and you may find that as you develop your strategy for delivering the actual project, your approach to the tender response tasks may change (and vice versa). Obviously the map can also be circulated or made available through catalyst for others to contribute to this process.

This iterative process is the main reason for keeping both branches on the one map (see the example). However, when you have completed the development phase you may want to set up two, three or even four separate maps.

The first of these maps will be based on the tender response branch. This map is relatively straightforward; it is used to manage the process of developing the tender response documentation. This can be done directly through the map, by using the Gantt view or by exporting it to MS Project, Word etc.

The branch relating to the actual project tasks and deliverables is a little more complex. The next map will be drawn from this branch and will provide the basis for the documentation which forms your response to the tender. Use the headings as the framework to prepare this material to ensure you address all the tender tasks, following the same approach outlined above for the tender response branch.

While the content of this map will draw mainly from the project tasks and deliverables, it is likely to use elements from the tender response branch (for example, a requirement to attach copies of current insurance certificates). You can then export this map to Word for additional work before lodgement, thus reversing the process you started off with.

If you need to make a presentation on the tender you can also create an additional simplified map based on this map. And if things go your way and your tender is successful the project tasks branch will also form the basis for your final map – the one you will use to manage the actual project itself!

Map 3 Tender analysis and response summary

Importing from Word to MindManager

Monday, November 15th, 2010

I just noticed a comment on someone else’s blog about creating mind maps from documents.  MindManager has been able to open or import Word documents for a decade. You can use either the File > Open and select the Word document type or File > Import > Word. For this import to be effective the Word document must have the following styles in it:

  • Title becomes Central Topic Text
  • Heading Level 1 becomes Main Topic Text
  • Heading Level 2 becomes Sub Topic Text and Levels 3 onwards become Sub Sub Topics etc.
  • Body or Normal becomes Topic Notes

Make sure the Word document uses these styles before importing.

I have used this to import tender and contract documents.  Important elements can be copied from the notes and in to topics or call outs. Relationships between call outs and topics can be added to show where the document has conflicting information. Call outs to highlight sections of concern or where there are major cost implications or  links to related documents, emails and contacts can be added.

This process will increase your understanding of the document and can be shared with the supplier of the document to demonstrate your thoroughness in reading their document.