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Friday, 30 March 2012

OPTi-Word - Creating Word Documents from MindManager

In the past I've looked at ways of creating Word documents from visual maps created with MindManager (see: Creating Word Documents from Mind Manager).

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These discussions have focused on using the in-built export features of the software.

One alternative is to use the OPTi-Word add-in, which has several advantages over the in-built features.

OPTi-Word offers additional selective control over which topics in the map are exported and which Word Style is assigned to them. It does this using the existing Styles within the Word template you specify, neatly side-stepping the old MindManager problem whereby new Styles such as 'MM Topic 1', 'MM Title' are created as part of the export.

In previous posts I've discussed how it is important to structure the MindManager map prior to export, paying careful attention to the hierarchy of Topics.

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This is because the export routine assigns a Word Style according to Topic level.

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OPTi-Word let's you miss out this step by letting you apply different Word Styles to Topics at the same level.

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OPTi-Word is accessed as a Task Pane from the MindManager Task Pane Tabs.

The options are presented neatly and include:

  • Selection of Word templates
  • Application of the Word template to the map
  • Review of Word Styles assigned, changing these individually or by selecting groups of Topics
  • Ability to override the Word Style for a selected Topic, such as applying a one-off Bold face
  • De-selection of Topics to be excluded from the export
  • Export options - whether to include: Title Page; Table of Contents; Map Image; Topic Notes; Task Info; Relationships; Topic Image; Hyperlinks; Custom properties; Spreadsheets
  • An option to Validate the Styles assigned to the Topics prior to export.

Additional options exist for choosing colour schemes for Custom Properties and Spreadsheets.

By default OPTi-Word will assign Styles from the selected Word template to Topics based on the Topic Level, 'Heading 1', 'Heading 2' and so on. This is a great starting point as all Topics on the map begin with a Style assigned.

You can then navigate the map, amending the Style assignments to suit your needs. This is quick and easy.

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Once the map has been reviewed and marked up, it only remains to export the map. Select the Central Topic and click 'Export Map' in the OPTi-Word task pane and the Word document is created quickly.

It is possible to achieve great results using the Word export feature native to MindManager and I've spent years learning how to do this. Even then MindManager does some frustrating things, such as creating all those duplicate Word Styles. OPTi-Word helps you achieve results as good as or better as the MindManager native export in a lot less time, with a greater chance of 'first time' success and leaving you with a greater sense of control.

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Above: Word document created with native MindManager export function.

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Above: The same document created with OPTi-Word.

A free trial of OPTi-Word is available from Olympic Limited's web site.

1 comment:

Nigel Goult (Olympic Ltd) said...

Steve,

Thanks for a nice article. We are really pleased with the way that OPTi-Word has progressed over the last few months and it is proving to be a very popular addin for MindManager.

Thanks to all of those, including yourself, that provided feedback and ideas to get OPTi-Word to its current status. We will be adding more functionality in the future so please keep the ideas flowing.

Just for completeness this is available for users of MindManager from version 7 upwards and will work with Office (Word) 2007 and 2010.

Many thanks

Nigel