As noted in previous posts, mind mapping software is great for creating documents. Why not use the software to not only assemble ideas in preparation for writing a finished document but to go on and draft the document (contents and structure).
This post summarises an approach to document creation using MindView 5.0 and how to preview the document prior to exporting to Word.
First begin by collecting ideas and notes in MindView, creating topics as and when ideas form. Don't be too concerned about structure and the hierarchy of topics to Word Styles at this stage
Reorganise the notes, grouping them under Level 1 Topics that will form the major sections of the document. These will map to the 'Heading 1' Style in Word
Create and maintain Level 2 Topics that will form sub-headings under each Level 1 Topic. These will map to the 'Heading 2' Style in Word
Add further levels of sub-heading if required. Assemble the topics containing the main text under the headings, use drag 'n' drop. Add and edit the text.
Any branches that form the body text of the document (i.e. branches that are not section headings) may now be converted to Notes.
MindView maps Notes to the 'Normal' Word style however it retains and exports the formatting applied to the Notes text, either by the MindView defaults or any formatting you apply. Before creating any Notes, set the 'Default Font' for the Notes text editor by selecting 'File > MindView Options > Preferences' and editing 'Default Font' under the 'Note Text editor' section.
Then cut the topics containing the text and paste as Notes to Topics/Headings at the appropriate level. Edit the resulting Notes, add further text.
Don't add any Font formatting to the Notes unless you want to highlight a particular piece of text in some way. If you want Numbered or Bulleted lists use the MindView formatting options within the Notes editor pane.
Review the document content, continue adding ideas and text.
Review the structure and order. Re-order Heading Topics, insert new ones.
Now it may be time to preview what you have created. Select 'Outline' mode from the 'Home' tab in the ribbon. To include your body text in the Outline view, click the 'Select Text Notes' button on the ribbon.
Review the structure and content - get a feel for what the finished document might look like and how it might flow down the page.
Edit or add text from with the 'Outline' view or switch back to 'MapView' to do this.
Add a Numbering Scheme to map or outline to review how the section headings might appear and be numbered.
Go to Word and open the template you wish to use. Review the Styles in the template, especially the 'Heading' styles and the 'Normal' style. Review styles that are 'based' on the 'Heading 1', 'Heading 2' and so on. Save the Word template and note the name you save it as.
Select the Export Option, then the 'Advanced Word Export' option.
Select the preferred template, inclusions and attached objects.
Click 'Export' and add a file name and select save.
Review the resulting Word document.
If you like to create documents using MindView before moving to Word this is a great way of doing it.
A little time spent refining and understanding the Word template will save time when it comes to export
The only real constraint of this approach is that to achieve consistent results you must edit and organise your mind map into the strict hierarchical structure of Headings that will most directly map to the Word hierarchy of styles.
MatchWare have recently released version 5.0 of MindView. To see what is new in the latest Business Edition click here to visit the MatchWare web site.