Friday, 30 November 2007

Exporting to Word from MindManager

Recently I was asked my thoughts on potential improvements to MindManager.  I decided to focus on the MS Word export feature as I feel it to has the potential to be very powerful. In business I sometimes find an overall culture of mistrust and misunderstanding of things visual and it is of great help to be able to issue proceedings of a meeting or workshop both as a map and a set of notes - to satisfy all types.

I am beginning to understand the Word export option better now but still find it hard to imagine what the results of an export will be like before I do it.

So, the ideas I came up with for possible improvements were:

a) a preview option - based on the selected Word template options, a preview to be generated rather than having to run the export in full to see the results
b) the document created to use the Word template styles and not clones of them created by MindManager
c) I would like to be able to export embedded images in addition to icon markers
d) A faster loading of user defined Word templates - this is slow currently
e) a two way interaction with Word such that an MM template may be designed/derived/built by interpretation of a selected Word template - in terms of levels, heading, topic and note formatting
f) More control and options over how notes are exported.

What are your thoughts and experiences with this feature?


Brian said...

In my opinion this presents one of the most significant barriers to wider adoption of MM. I am in a large company, and most haven't heard of MM. When I create a MindMap, everyone think it's cool, but then they want to have some data to quickly use elsewhere, and the out-of-the-box export to Word is very poor, looks awful. So they can use the free viewer and look over what I've done, but repurposing the information for those who don't have or don't want to use MM is difficult.
Also, I recently took a Sharepoint class, this seems to be a big thing in many firms. Right now all we can do is diplay a MindMap in Sharepoint, but how do we use the Mindmap to drive higher functionality?

Steve Rothwell said...

This is my experience also. It's ahrd to think of any situation just publishing the mind map is sufficient. Amongst other things, the concepts on the map need supporting with detail. We must also take into account the different learning and thinking styles of individuals - many are more visually oriented, many prefer the detail in words.

Steve Rothwell said...

p.s. any Sharepoint users out there? What are you experiences - how have you used thsi tool with Mind Manager?

CSSNY said...

This is a relatively old thread, but I stumbled upon it while trying to find a better solution for exporting from Mind Manager to Word - hoping perhaps someone has a good word template file. I have been a long time user of Mind Magager and think it is a terrific program. Yet it's usefullness is hindered by its poor export to MS Word. I completely agree with Brian's comments. I would use MM so much more, if I could easily take what I have done, Export to word, and just share it. Unfortunately, the best you can do, if you are in a rush, is send out an untidy "draft".

I am a fairly advanced word user and have played with both tweaking and fully creating Word templates to improve what MM produces. No matter what, I never get a good clean outline with clean indents. I always have to spend a fair amout of time doing post export clean-up. Sadly, once I have done all the clean-up and have a good clean Word doc version that I can share, the MM version gets abandoned. I rarely go back.

Steve Rothwell said...

Since this original posting I have used MM increasingly to create first and subsequent drafts of short and long documents - including reports up to 40 or 50 pages.

While some tidying following export is still required, I have had great success by investing some time to create Word templates. If you get these right and select the style options carefully when exporting you can get great results. It also pays to spend a little time going over the map and ensuring consistent levelling.

It does take an investment in time initially but I have found increasing productivity savings can be gained.

Brian said...

I would love to see an example of what is possible, you must have put in some serious time creating/testing!

Steve Rothwell said...

Brian - please drop me an email so we can discuss further. Send to:

steve at rothwell dot force9 dot co dot uk

I hope I haven't raised your hopes unnecessarily?

Anonymous said...

Exporting a MindMap to Word becomes very important in order to streamline efforts and reducing overhead when it comes to reporting.

An XML scheme would fit my needs best in order to avoid creating various templates for word, excel, visio and ppt export.