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Open Thread: Mac Mind Mapping, and how you use it

I've recently revived my interest in doing mind mapping as a way to capture ideas and plan out projects.

Back in the day, I'd use Inspiration (which registration regrettably died a few years ago), and in more recent times I've played with free apps like My Mind and FreeMind, as well as tested more costly apps like NovaMind and MindManager.

If you also like to mind map, I'm curious to hear which of these you and your Mac are using, how you're using it, and what made you choose one app over another. Got a preference? Prefer regular old paper and markers? Using lots of images in your mind maps? Which pay app is most worth the dough, and why?

And for folks who are new to mind mapping, here's a few links to get you started:

  • Mind map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "A mind map (or mind-map) is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making."
  • Mind Maps [peterussell.com] - "Mind maps were developed in the late 60s by Tony Buzan as a way of helping students make notes that used only key words and images. They are much quicker to make, and because of their visual quality much easier to remember and review. The non-linear nature of mind maps makes it easy to link and cross-reference different elements of the map."
  • Learn how to draw Mind Maps with Mind Tools - "Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up one side of paper. This helps you to make associations easily. If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, then you can easily integrate it with little disruption."
  • how to make a mind map - "Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the 'random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on"
  • Uses of Mind Maps [peterussell.com] - "Whenever you are confronted by a problem -- professional or personal -- mind maps help you see all the issues and how they relate to each other. They also help others quickly get an overview of how you see different aspects of the situation, and their relative importance."
mc's picture

I post every now and...

I post every now and then and mention my Newton every time. Well, here goes again...

I write outlines on my Newton as fast as I possibly can - just slamming down ideas wherever I am. Using new tools (written by two software developers after I requested the feature, though it turned out one had already done so before I asked on a public forum), I can now download those outlines as OPML files using either my ethernet connection or the bluetooth connection software.

I have OPML files set to open automatically in MyMind.

In MyMind, I create a map, rename the root node appropriately, use color, adjust the thickness and "loss of thickness per step in your map" setting.

Boom, done. In about 45 seconds, my Newton outline (written anywhere, any time) has turned into a nicely presentable map/outline/tree diagram that I can easily share with others.

In summary, I use mind mapping software to make graphically concise summaries of ideas, not to collect them. I find the process of working graphically to be too slow when on a computer - I use paper or a chalkboard for that!




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