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Summary:

Do you mind map? Do you like to brainstorm with others using software that helps focus your ideas and prioritize project plans? Maybe you’re into Getting Things Done (GTD) and like to prioritize your tasks visually? If so, then read on my friend. The folks at […]

Do you mind map? Do you like to brainstorm with others using software that helps focus your ideas and prioritize project plans? Maybe you’re into Getting Things Done (GTD) and like to prioritize your tasks visually? If so, then read on my friend.

The folks at Matchware recently released MindView Pro 3.0 for the Mac. What was formerly called OpenMind has an all-new name and some nifty new features. So, what has changed in this new version? Well, it isn’t a significant upgrade, but here is the short list:

  • The product has been renamed from OpenMind 2 to MindView 3.
  • There is a new Top Down Vertical layout (see below).
  • There is a new Power Filter that has been added to the inspector area. Note, that filters are stored per document.

As a long time user of MindManager from Mindjet, I was eager to see how this product worked. I will say that MindManager on the Mac does not compare to its Windows brethren.

One of the reasons I went looking for a new mind mapping client is the ability to import/export the content and maintain file format fidelity. With MindView 3, I can accomplish that goal.

Of the new features in version 3, here is an example of the new Top Down Vertical Layout.

untitledMindView 3 Top Down Vertical Layout

Filters

Another new feature mentioned above is that you can also filter the data in mind maps (generally ones with lots of branches) so that you can see specific information quickly.

picture-25MindView 3 Power Filter

Import/Export

MindView 3 has exceptional export and import capabilities. I was able to export the above simple mindmap as a Word file and then reimport it without any loss in data. However, I did have to reapply the visual style chosen in the original mind map. Thankfully, it was an easy workaround as opposed to losing the actual data (or its structure).

The Export dialog box has many options for a variety of file formats.

untitled-3MindView 3 Export Dialog Box

Templates

Lastly, MindView 3 comes with a great set of pre-defined templates from timelines to bibliographies and much more. MindView 3 also has a vast library of clip art to use within your mind maps.

untitled1MindView 3 Template – Acknowledging Sources

Using this template, you can quickly map the related items when building a document that requires sources. MindView 3 automatically assigns the clip art and structure to the mind map, so you just need to enter the respective data – a very big time saver.

untitled-2MindView 3 Multimedia Catalog

As you can see, the catalog has a rich set of visuals from a wide variety of places. The best part is that you can favorite particular visuals that you use often within your mind maps.

Conclusion

If you need a solid mind map tool, then MindView 3 is an exceptional choice. It has a rich feature set, and for a cross-platform product, it is very easy to use. In fact, the product does an excellent job of adhering to Apple user interface guidelines. And, with its extensive export capabilities, you can get your data out easily and import it into a variety of other programs without a hitch.

So is there a negative? I would have to say the price. MindView 3 retails at $279, which is not cheap. Other competitors in the space are also not inexpensive, with prices ranging from $129-199. Regardless, you do pay a premium for MindView 3. Thankfully, the folks at Matchware have educational and volume pricing. So, if you are a student or you need more than five licenses, you can get a reasonable deal.

As an aside, I find that one major annoyance with the software vendors in the mind map space is that they do not import/export their competitors file formats. Thus, you better be prepared to export it to text and/or OPML (an outline format). Of course, if you are happy with your existing mind mapping tool, then this might not be an issue.

  1. I’ve been using Xmind (http://www.xmind.net/) which is based on Eclipse and so is cross-platform by design. Very nice UI, import/export isn’t a major concern for me, ut it does support a few formats. And it’s free… :)

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  2. @Jean-Francois – can’t complain about Free. I did look at Xmind – wasn’t really my cup of tea.

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  3. MindNode (mindnode.com) is a much simpler application that does the job cheaper, faster and better. No extraneaous bells and whistles; no lenghty tutorials, fits on a flash drive and is as fast as my thinking. Thought is a fast, spontaneaous and often random process. Over analytical order is counter-productive. Less is so much more!

    Finally, the outlined fonts on this blog gives me a headache. Not only is outlined fonts hard to read, but small type in outlines is ugly. On top of that, you combine black outline type with blue outline type — doubly painful and not worth reading.

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  4. @bmovie – thanks for the suggestion. In regard to the outlined fonts – do you mean the highlights? We’ll take that feedback to the team.

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  5. Is it the small market size of the nominal business purchase demographic that pushes up the price of Mind-Mapping software? I used MindManager on a PC years ago and have used X-mind since before its freeware days. Other than the graphic display what is it that separates this – in technology development from OmniOutliner or similar – so much so that the price has to be close to 4-5 times of what other comparable functionality delivers? OK, the export/import is tidier but I just won’t consider tools like this when a) Mind Mapping hasn’t been proven (quite) to really deliver the benefits purported and b) they seem to be on another level when it comes to pricing. While a student and therefore open to educational pricing, I can’t imagine the normal 30-40% off bringing this down to a workable offer for myself. While you’ve covered the normal mindmap functionality – visuals, blah, blah, I would have much preferred to see a stronger comparison with xmind (since you’ve used that and found it not to your liking) since, apparently, those differences are worth close to $300.

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  6. lol! The yellow highlights!

    Ya asking me if I like the fabric on the dress the pig is wearing.

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  7. I use mind mapping software quite regurlarly, this does look very user friendly.

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  8. [...] the Windows version for the purposes of this post. For more info on the Mac version, check out this post over at TheAppleBlog by Matthew [...]

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  9. @Mike – interesting points. One big difference of Mind Mapping tools is the speed in which you can create the content vs. something like OmniOutliner and/or OmniGraffle. I think OmniGraffle is actually the better comparison of the two.

    Also, I used MindManager, not XMind, and thus can’t compare the latter. If I were to make a simple comparison with MindManager, the new version of MindView blows it away with richer templates, ease-of-use and fantastic export options with round-trip import of near full fidelity. That alone makes it worth the price in my mind.

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