MindJet MindManager 7

MindJet MindManager 7

The latest version of MindManager has enhanced background tools to help make more sense of your mind maps.

 

MindManager 7 is a tool for creating mind maps on your Mac. The mind map was invented as a way to liberate note-taking students and professionals from strictly linear organization. Put your main topic in the middle and add layers of subtopics around it with liberal use of colors and images. Mind mapping hasn’t supplanted traditional note taking, but its adaptability has earned it a strong following.

 

When you first launch MindManager, you’re presented with a welcome sight: The Startup Assistant appears with options for learning about mind mapping, watching a tutorial, reading a quick-start guide, or just getting down to creating a map. The animated tutorial is a great way to get the basics of MindManager - whether or not you lunge for the mute button depends on if you think a Kraftwerk CD would make a great holiday gift. MindManager’s help resources have links to other tutorials that feature more down-tempo, Yanni-ish background tunes. Musical scores aside, the tutorials are instructive and well produced.

 

When you’re ready to make your own map, MindManager offers up 14 map templates as starting points. Each one is designed for a particular task, such as a meeting agenda or organization chart. Once we got underway with our first maps, we found that formatting didn’t come very naturally, however. Some actions caused unexpected results while others seemed to do nothing at all. We found the key to formatting was the Inspector palette. Upon grasping that little nugget of wisdom, prettying up our mind maps became a cinch. Using the Inspector, one can quickly change colors, shapes, line styles, and topic layouts. If the whole layout of your map isn’t working for you, MindManager has a range of map styles that will reformat the entire map in one shot. Once you’ve created your own mind map masterpiece, you can save it as a style and apply it to other maps.

 

New to this version is an outline view, to which our first reaction was, “What happened to rejecting the tyranny of linear thought?” While an outline view may be anathema to the mind-mapping hardcore, we found that it was a useful way to focus on the text when a highly adorned map becomes distracting. When it comes to embellishing your map, few things are more powerful than a good background image. MindManager has enhanced the handling of backgrounds in this version with more display options, including tiling and mirroring. Other new features include rules-based filtering and a presentation timer.

 

A few changes we hoped for didn’t materialize, however. MindManager 7 includes the same anemic graphics library that shipped with version 6 (3 out of 5 stars, Jan/07, p50). Almost all the image groups consist of a few simple line art drawings that repeat in four color schemes. Competitor NovaMind retains its solid upper hand in the graphics department. We were also disappointed that MindManager still offers one fixed canvas size. More serious was MindManager’s default location for saving files. It repeatedly offered to save our work inside the MindManager application package. The inattentive user who saves his work there may never find it again; Spotlight does not index the contents of app packages, and most users don’t know how to get inside them.

 

The bottom line. On balance, we liked MindManager 7 more than its predecessor. We also liked the price cut. At $129, MindManager 7 for the Mac is now competitive with NovaMind Pro ($149) and on par with its Windows sibling, MindManager Lite.

 

COMPANY: MindJet

CONTACT: www.mindjet.com

PRICE: $129, $69 upgrade

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4 or later

Enhanced export choices. View filtering. Lower price than version 6. Universal binary.

Some interface quirks. Confusing default save locations.

 

 

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