Thursday, 24 March 2011

Writing Business Reports with MindView

When creating a business (or any other kind of) report a good place to start is to note down your thoughts and ideas using a mind mapping tool, such as MindView 4.  Normally you will want to end up with a nice text document that you can issue, using MindView you can export your mind map to Word very easily to achieve a finished product.
Once the initial ideas are entered you can then move them around, establish a sequence and consolidate ideas.  New ideas will occur during this initial process and can be added quickly to the map.
Text placement
Having established the report structure, text can then be added to each element. You might begin by adding the text as sub-branches to the the report headings.  If you can, rather than creating sub-branches, add the text as text notes.  This makes the export to Word very simple and results in very little further editing being needed. 
Text notes
MindView works with Word templates by assuming that branches equate to headings and sub-headings in the report - assigning Word "Heading" styles to these in hierarchical fashion ...."Heading 1", "Heading 2" and so on.  If you leave any text as a branch this will be assigned a Word heading style. 
For efficiency and near perfect results on the export first time, make sure your text is held as text notes against the relevant branch.  Text notes are normally exported as the Word style "Normal".  This means that you can add text at any level of the report and have it come out formatted consistently throughout the document.
So when creating a business report using MindView, remember:
  • Headings at any level - create as branches
  • Text - create/paste as text notes attached to the relevant branch.
If you do create body text as sub-branches you can cut and paste these as text notes.  This is a little tedious but saves lots of time fiddling with Word styles later.  MatchWare might want to look at the process of converting branches and multiple branches to text notes to make this restructuring of initial ideas even easier.

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