Monday, 30 January 2012

Import a Word Document - Why?

Many mind mapping software packages contain a Word import feature.  I wonder how many have used it and why.

From experience, I have found a number of benefits from using this feature:
  • the map provides a summary of the document, making the content easier to assimilate
  • the document becomes much easier to navigate, it's contents are laid out on a single page
  • detail can be hidden where not required or expanded where of interest
  • the software provides alternative approaches to review and highlighting; ideas can be added; review comments; icons; highlighting
  • the document can be filtered, provide a cut down version containing only the content of interest
  • the document can be exported back to Word again, with filters, changes and mark ups added, providing a richer Word document for sharing.

I will use the rules to a complex game as an example. It's a 37 page document, with content in three columns per page. The table of contents runs to a page and a half, also in three densely packed columns. I've worked with business documents far larger this.
Toc
3 Cols
Now how would you get a quick impression of content and subject matter without printing and physically running over the document by eye?

Importing it into, say, MindManager or MindGenius, provides an instant overview. I am fortunate the document is well structured in terms of heading and sub-headings and makes good use of Word Styles (Heading 1, Heading 2 and so on).
MG
MindGenius.
MM
MindManager.

Once in this form, I can begin editing, marking, flagging and filtering.
MG filter
MM filter
When I've finished I can either publish the map or export to Word. When I export to Word I can use the same template used to format the original document, thus retaining continuity of appearance.
MG export
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image
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2 comments:

Andrew Wilcox said...

Ex ellent example of how to use these tools to analyse large documents.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I use mindgenius. When I wanted to create a table of contents for my thesis, I imported all 300 pages of the thesis into mindgenius. That gave me a summary of all the headings. I exported the result to another word document, opting to exclude the notes and branches without notes from the export and using word formatting. This produced a table of contents in a word document,to which I then only had to add to page numbers. Finally I added that document to my main thesis document ready for printing. Having done all that, I still had the mindmap of the thesis which I could use to concentrate on specific sections.