MindManager 2002 Makes Mapping your Ideas a Breeze

This program has something to offer to novices as well as seasoned mind mappers

If you’re looking for a painless yet powerful way to organize your thoughts, brainstorm, develop plans, and structure information, MindManager software may be the tool you’ve been looking for.

MindManager 2002, developed in Germany and marketed in the U.S. by MindJet, LLC, allows you to quickly and easily create text-oriented mind maps for brainstorming – and for common business tasks such as organizing projects, task lists, and for outlining reports and plans. This unique, multi-purpose program also sets several new standards for business creativity software.

MindManager 2002 features a simple yet sophisticated interface that will appeal to novice and experienced users alike. A MindManager file begins with a main idea or topic, located in the center of the map. To add ideas to your map, simply tap the “insert” key (in the Windows version) and begin typing your idea. This “brainstorm mode” makes it easy to concentrate on generating ideas quickly.

As you add supporting ideas to your mind map, they are arranged on lines that radiate out from the main idea. The program makes it easy to attach text notes or hypertext links to any branch of your mind map. You can also designate elements of your maps as project steps or tasks, and synchronize them with Microsoft Project or Outlook. You can also export your entire mind map to a text outline, to a PowerPoint presentation, or to a Web page. These output options make it easy for you to share your maps in a variety of powerful ways.

To further individualize your map, you can easily add colors and highlights, and you can also attach symbols to your ideas. MindManager comes with an extensive symbol library, plus a symbol editor that you can use to create your own. Any branch can also contain a link to an external document or Web site – making MindManager the ideal visual mapping tool for today’s hyperlinked Windows desktop!

To reorganize your ideas, simply drag and drop a branch to another location within your map. Unlike other visual diagramming programs, MindManager automatically reformats your map as you add or move branches, repositioning other elements as needed. I found that this feature helped me to stay in a creative “flow” better than other mind mapping programs I’ve used, by letting me stay focused on my ideas, not on the structure of my maps.

MindManager makes it easy to share mind maps in a variety of powerful ways. You can easily export them as live objects or as bitmapped graphic images that can be incorporated into documents, spreadsheets and presentations. MindManager files can also be printed and exported as text outlines. You can also use MindManager’s built-in conferencing tool to share a mind-map and take turns editing it.

Novice mind mappers will be happy to know that MindManager 2002-is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office — including familiar toolbars and context-sensitive menus that can be accessed using right mouse clicks.

Applications of MindManager 2002

Business applications of MindManager 2002 include

  • Brainstorming
  • Project planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Developing unique, interactive presentations

MindManager is available in three different versions:

  • MindManager 2002-Standard Edition, which is adequate for most needs,
  • MindManager Business Edition, which adds the online collaboration and teamwork features mentioned above as well as improved integration with MS Office, and
  • MindManager 2002-Smart, a simplified version designed for use by educators and students.

MindJet also recently introduced a Mobile version of its popular mind mapping software that can be used on Palm handheld PCs, and a Pocket PC version of MindManager is also due to be introduced shortly.

Free trial versions of MindManager can be downloaded from the MindJet Web site at http://www.MindJet.com. You can also purchase MindManager 2002 online from the company’s Web site.

In summary, MindManager is a terrific program that makes it easy for busy executives to quickly organize and communicate their ideas in a powerful, visual manner — without a big learning curve. This intelligently-designed program also succeeds at extending the genre of creativity software in some exciting new directions, with its sophisticated Internet “hooks” and collaborative capabilities.