I tried a number of different pieces of software to create mind maps with, and most of them were quite disappointing. However, one of them stood out from the rest — it is called MindManager X5 Pro. It can be found here: MindManager X5 Pro. After using it for a while it became apparent that a lot of effort has gone into producing this software.
Things I like about it are:
- it looks good
- it is stable
- it allows you to add task-related information to an item
- it allows you to synchronise tasks with Outlook
- task-related information can be exported to MS Project, apparently, although I didn’t try this yet
- the multimap feature enables you to see all linked-to mind maps
- in the multimap view you can web export to any directory for web/wiki publishing — very powerful indeed!!
- filtering based on things like task priority, percent complete status etc
- map collections — enables you to collect various related mind maps under one name
- add relationship — enables you to link two nodes by a dotted arrow-headed line, and you can optionally add a callout with text describing the relationship
- attach note — you can attach notes to a node and these will be visible under the heading for the node in the exported file — in Word, Powerpoint or as exported web pages
- add hyperlink — this is really powerful as it enables you to link documents, presentations, spreadsheets, web links etc to any node
- presentation mode — this mode enables you to give a presentation and click on nodes to expand them and explain them in detail
- there are many add-ins to complement the application, if required
- review mode — others can comment on your mind map content by leaving named comments associated with any node(s) in your mind map
Things I don’t like about it are:
- one can’t change the map style (i.e. you can’t alter the default style where all main topics radiate from the central topic) — however this is not a major problem
- the price — at around â‚¬300 this was the most expensive of all the packages I looked at — however if you don’t need some of the more advanced functionality then you can get the standard X5 version for around â‚¬200, although if I was buying it, I would pay the extra â‚¬100 as you get a lot of useful stuff for your extra â‚¬100
Publishing your work
To share your work with others you have various options:
- use web export to make your mind maps and links navigable via a web browser
- ‘pack and go’ — although I haven’t used this yet, it appears this can be used to copy all content and optionally linked content into a single file
- File->Send to->Mail recipient (as attachment) — there is a free viewer available for others to view your work who haven’t bought the software (Ã la acrobat writer/reader situation)
- if you use Web export you can link to the HTML directories that are generated from existing information structures like a wiki
- export to Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or PDF format (via File->Print… menuitem and then changing the printer to ‘PDF-XChange 3.0’)
New version coming soon…
It seems that there is a new version coming out soon — possibly late September or October 2005, as they talk about doing a roadshow covering some European cities on their website.
The other mind mapping applications I looked at briefly were:
|Mind Genius||Not bad, but limited support for web publishing||http://www.mindgenius.com||Â£ 147|
Question: Are you being paid to write this?
No, unfortunately not. Also, it’s not usual that I devote so much time to writing about a piece of software unless I think it merits it. When you are my age, and you have seen so much bad, incoherent or incomplete software, when you find a really great piece of software it is quite refreshing — and MindManager X5 is really a very well-conceived and written product and deserves praise. So, congratulations Mindjet!