MindMap 5 Professional

MindMap 5 Professional

MindMap’s flexible layout and serviceable art collections makes it easy to sort your thoughts.


It’s long been said that humans use only a fraction of their available brain power. Perhaps the key to unleashing some of that hidden brain power is with a mind map, a graphical technique for recording and organizing thoughts. Beginning with a main topic in the center of the diagram, related topics and subtopics branch out in all directions. Liberal use of color and images is encouraged, and the final product tends to look something like a neuron with rainbow-colored dendrites. Mind-mapping software choices are plentiful, and the folks who brought us ConceptDraw have a worthy contender with MindMap 5.


Open MindMap and you’re presented with an array of choices presented as a mind map. If you’re new to mind mapping, we suggest working through the tutorials. They’re a bit dry, though sufficient to get the novice up and running. Experienced mind mappers will want to get right to work. MindMap comes with 12 templates that, apart from the small number of choices, don’t do justice to the product’s capabilities.


MindMap’s standout feature is layout flexibility. MindMap doesn’t have limits on where topics can be placed and what can be placed on the map. MindMap offers a library of adornments, such as small icons designed to appear inside a topic, and sets of larger clip art for more general use. Both collections were quite serviceable, though neither was particularly abundant, nor were they inspiring. The app provides themes for quick and consistent formatting. Each theme defines how text, lines, colors, and the like are applied to the document. Users can add their own custom themes to the 13 provided. It’s a cool feature, but approach it with caution. Changing themes will obliterate all your previous formatting choices. You do back up your files, right?


Mind maps get big, and those of us without vast swaths of screen real estate can appreciate MindMap’s tools for coping with expansive documents. The bottom of the workspace has a handy zoom slider and a pop-up menu for choosing fixed zoom percentages from 25 to 400. Better still is the ability to keep multiple related mind maps in a single document. A drawer at the bottom of the window slides out to reveal a bank of pages in the file. MindMap’s linking feature allows for single-click jumps between pages.


Not every mind map is created of whole cloth. MindMap can create a mind map from a few file formats, including Microsoft Project XML, Outline Processor Markup Language (OPML), and ConceptDraw Project. It also supports a novel way of creating mind maps from plain text files. MindMap reads the text file and creates a topic for each line in the file. An indented line becomes a subtopic of the line above it. We tried this feature using BBEdit to create the text file. Our first attempt resulted in all the text being lumped into a single topic, but we eventually got the feature to work correctly by saving the text file with UTF-8 encoding. Export options are plentiful, and image types include PowerPoint, HTML, OPML, PDF, iCal—even iPod. Each format we tried worked to our satisfaction. OmniOutliner users will appreciate the OPML support for moving information between mind-map and outline forms.


The bottom line. For all there is to like about MindMap, it’s not enough to supplant NovaMind (4 out of 5 stars, Jan/07, p50) as our mind-mapping tool of choice. Even so, if you’re new to mind mapping, or if you have an investment in ConceptDraw Project or OmniOutliner, put ConceptDraw MindMap on your short list.


COMPANY: Computer Systems Odessa

CONTACT: www.conceptdraw.com

PRICE: $199

REQUIREMENTS: G4 or later or 1.6GHz Intel Core Duo or faster, Mac OS 10.4 or later

Flexible layout. Broad import/export support. Excellent options for managing large mind maps. Universal binary.

Lackluster image libraries. Paucity of templates. Dry tutorial and poor grammar in the manual.





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Good to see the film, in the past I have read

Very good movie, ILouis Vuitton just read yesterday, I now also want to see it



Thanks for the review. I found that some of the shortcomings that you noted (and various others) in MindMap just made it not as good as NovaMind. I have been using NovaMind for a while now, and am both very pleased with both the capabilities of the software and the speed at which they improve it. Their customer support is excellent too.

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