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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Powerful Outline Review Tool in MindView 5.0

Creating documents using mind mapping software is a great way of developing traditional, 'sequential flow' documents whilst enjoying many of the benefits of mind maps.

Typically the main ideas are refined to form the headings and sub-headings and moved around the map to arrive at an appropriate structure or flow.

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The ideas encapsulated by the headings are then described more fully and this body text may be added and developed as notes to each heading or sub-heading.

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When the time comes to review progress or a complete draft, the usual map view is a great for checking the key ideas, the headings, structure and flow.

Using the outline view mode will help you envisage the structure of the finished, 'sequential' document as it might look on the page.

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Most mapping software will also let you review the notes in this mode, although nearly all are constrained to only display one 'note' at a time - that belonging to whichever topic or branch heading you have selected. It can be difficult to see all of your text - headings and notes - in one view without having to navigate the topics one by one.

A new feature of MindView 5.0 Outline View is the 'Show Text Notes' button, found on the 'Outline Tools' tab.

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When in Outline View, clicking this button will display all the notes included in the map, each note underneath the topic to which it belongs.  This gives a unique view of the content of the map. 

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This is great for reviewing progress on the document or for checking the final draft.  You can see all the content in one go, displayed in the same sequential flow it will take in the finished document when the map is exported to Word.

You can even edit a note from this view and cut and paste between notes.

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MindView 4 Mind Mapping SoftwareMatchWare 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.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Creating Documents with MindView

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Select the preferred template, inclusions and attached objects.

Click 'Export' and add a file name and select save.

Review the resulting Word document.

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Final Word

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.

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MindView 4 Mind Mapping SoftwareMatchWare 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.