Saturday, 4 October 2008

More on Mind Manager Export to Word

Exporting to Word has been both a strength and a weakness of MindManager.  MindManager does a good job exporting the topics and notes, creating a hierarchical document structure based on the topic levels in the map.  However getting the formatting right without further editing in Word is less than intuitive.

A couple of preparatory steps and some mapping guidelines can be followed to ensure better results - first time. 

In summary:

1. Design and create a Word template before you map image

  • Edit the key Word styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2, Body Text
  • Think of a hierarchical document structure based on these styles
  • Create a simple one page document using all the required styles and following your hierarchy
  • Save this as a Word template.

2. Create a simple MindManager map and export it using your templateimage

  • Just one branch will do as long as it contains all the levels in your Word hierarchy
  • From the export options, make sure you select the template created in the first step
  • Export the map
  • Review the document and edit the additional styles created by the MindManager export - these all begin with MM such as MM Topic 1, MM Topic 2
  • Save this document as a new Word template

3. Now create the map with your actual product and export

  • Now start work on the map you are using to create your document, report or presentation
  • When ready, review the map and ensure the topic levels conform to the document hierarchy you created in your second Word template
  • Export the map, ensuring you use the second Word template - ensure you match the topic levels to the MM topics in this template - NOT the default Word topics such as Heading 1 and so on
  • Complete the export and review the Word document for any final formatting.

imageThis is all described in more detail in a map, which you can download here.  It also contains sample templates.  When you develop a template you like, it can be used over and over again - the first two steps above can be omitted.


I'm working on a more complete map covering Word styles for notes, relationships and attachments that will be posted soon.


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Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds convoluted - I'm glad that all this just works in NovaMind.

Steve Rothwell said...

Well, yes - with all the major mind mapping software it "just works". And that's the point I think - you "just get a list".

I want to be able to control the layout and format of the output so that I get a finished document that can be published without further editing or formatting. What I have seen so far are many options that will output the map at the touch of a button - but with little or no control over the format of the output. You just end up with the topics in a list and either variations in font or numbering to suggest the hierarchy - not a finished document complete with sections, numbered paragraphs, bulleted lists, headers, footers, page numbers and so on.

The closest I have seen to date outside of MindManager is XMind. XMind even goes so far as to provide you with a preview of what the Word document will look like, as well as some simple choices over mapping the topic levels to Word styles. This is the kind of feature MindJet should have put in to MindManager two years ago.

If XMind add similar template and style controls to those in MindManager then with their preview function they have a powerful lead for anyone who uses mind mapping software to create documents and who needs to publish them in Word format at the press of a button.

Markus said...

Hi Steve, great post! I'd really like to know more about your findings regarding styles for relationships. I want them to be formatted as a lista, but can't get past the default comma separated format.