MindManager maps are often used to reference information in other documents. Traditionally this has been achieved with a topic link to a file or use of "smart" map parts to incorporate information (Outlook & Excel) in the map. MindManager 8 introduces a "Browser" Pane to make working with external files far more fluid.
Word: Click on a .doc topic link and the browser pane opens to display the document and Word 2007 Ribbon within the MindManager interface. You can then work on the map and document without tabbing between windows.
If you use Office 2003 the Integrated Editor still works and loads the application Toolbars, but not the Menu bar.
Excel: Below you see Excel open in browser and the right click option to "Open outside MindManager". Using this option launches the associated application in a separate window like previous versions of MindManager.
PowerPoint: If I use PowerPoint at all the presentation invariably starts out as a MindManager map. I map out the structure, notes and gather resources in the map. I then export to PowerPoint and add graphics. From then on the map and PowerPoint can diverge so it's useful to review in context with the original source. However, it would be nice if MindManager had better presentation tools then I wouldn't need PowerPoint at all!
I must admit the first time I saw this feature I was underwhelmed. My initial reaction was: "Why would you ever want to work in this little edit pane?"
Then I actually used it and found dipping into documents without leaving MindManager becomes very natural. Having a wide format screen probably helps but I'm now convinced of it's value. You wouldn't want to compose a complex document in the Browser Pane but for reference, printing and simple edits it's a nice addition to MindManager. Even better, the Browser Pane is not just for Office but I'll cover that in future posts.