Of all the mind-mapping software on the market, MatchWare’s MindView 5 Business Edition ($379) is one of the most expensive you’ll find—but it’s expensive for a reason. MindView 5 Business integrates tightly with Microsoft Office, both conceptually and technically. MindView could easily pass for an Office app, with the same familiar interface you’d expect from Microsoft’s suite, but more importantly, it can import and export data from Excel, Word, Project, PowerPoint—even Outlook Task Lists are supported.
What separates MindView from its competitors is in how it breathes new visual life into your business’ data, documents, and ideas. You can sketch out a complex business proposal, meeting agenda, timeline, or project with ease, then change its layout from an image to a document or a chart, or any other number of formats, depending on the that’s data behind it. MatchWare lets you repurpose, recreate, and redistribute existing data like no other mind-mapping software does. Because it so effortlessly makes business data more alive, MindView 5 Business Edition is PCMag’s Editors’ Choice among mind-mapping software for business.
Thoughts on the Page
Install MindView 5 Business Edition, and you can either get started drawing out your ideas straight away, or watch some helpful tutorial videos to learn the basics of how to use the software and shortcut keys.
As with most mind-mapping software, like MindJet’s MindManager 9 (3.5 stars, $349) or Mindomo 5 Premium (4 stars, $6 per month), MindView typically begins with a brainstorm. When you start a new document, you can choose from six options: mind map, top down, left/right, timeline, outline, or Gantt. You can change the layout at any time with amazing flexibility and no data loss when you switch. Everything updates in real time so there’s no guesswork as to how the new styles or format will look. Don’t like it? Control-z to undo, with multiple undos supported.
The kernel of any brainstorm, called a root, shows up in orange by default, although you can customize the colors, shapes, and other visual aspects with a few simple tool bar buttons. Anyone familiar with Microsoft Office products will have no problem finding and using these options, as MindView’s toolbar and vocabulary mirror those used across various Office products.
As you build on a root, you can right-click to add new branches to an idea, or hit the Enter key to have any actively selected element duplicated. For example, if you create a branch off of a root and hit Enter, a new branch equal to the previous one in terms of hierarchy will appear. New ideas populate the screen clockwise around the root (or previous branch), although you can drag and drop them to change the order at any time.
In noodling around with the core features, I created two visual resumes, one as a timeline and another as a classic mind map. I attached text notes to some of the branches to fill out bullet points that I could show at the bottom of the screen or suppress at any time. Changing the format from timeline to outline put all that additional text in the main viewer to more closely resemble a classic resume. Changing the format again to mind map flipped it into a little diagram. Neat.
Additionally, MindView welcomes attachments. Unlike other mind-mapping products, MindView supports multiple files per branch.
Further experimenting, I started from scratch with a top-down chart reminiscent of an org chart but actually filled in with family trees from Game of Thrones. The family trees didn’t work perfectly (I was co-opting the software to do a task it’s not meant to do, after all) but I found it surprisingly easy to hack a few workarounds to show marriages and parentage, and essentially get the tree to look how I wanted.
A collapsible bar on the right with tabs lets you quickly dive into three areas: task/timeline, multimedia catalog, and calculation. The first gives you access to some overview details if you’re using your document for project management or as a timeline (more on project management in the next section). The second contains more than 2,000 royalty-free images that you can embed into your map, although you can also insert your own pictures if you prefer—which I did, as the included assets are the typical and unimaginative clipart you’d expect in any Office product. The third tab lets you run calculations on data associated with the map.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2425854,00.asp
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