MindManager 9 was released recently and brings significant changes to my favourite mind mapping application. In fact, too many to cover in one post! This highlights my first impression of MindManager 9, based on experience with the pre-release version, and leaves the detail for future posts.
User Interface Refinements
MindManager adopts an Office 2010 UI “feel” with a File Tab replacing the version 7/8 Application Button. Some map items and views have been renamed to better indicate their behaviour for new users. Text Markers are now “Tags” (but work much the same). Ribbon/Tab layout has been refined, supposedly based on user workflow, and there are two major Tab changes.
A new Developer tab contains the Template, Macro, Custom & Database tools. It is off by default and enabled in Options>View.
The “Export” tab has disappeared as its tools get a new location back stage.
Functions that are not related to creating and formatting the map are found in the new File Tab>Backstage View. If you’re an Office 2010 user this will be familiar but may take some adjustment for new/upgrade users. To quote the Mindjet Help:
Think of MindManager as a dramatic production - the map corresponds to what the audience sees, and the Backstage view corresponds to what happens "behind the scenes", or backstage.
This is a mixture of the Application Button and Export Tab whose options are now found in File > Save & Send > Export. I find this a bit “buried” compared to the old tab and not really an improvement.
A new view of MindManager
I think the View Tab reveals most about the changes in MindManager 9. Long established Map and Outline views live on as does “Presentation”, now renamed “Walk Through”. This does explain its function more accurately but, I suspect, also reflects it will likely to see less use for presentations due to the arrival of Slides.
“Slide” Presentation View
Slides are a completely new map presentation mode. You can regard them as a filtered view of map branch which can be saved and recalled in a click. The resulting series of Slides can be rearranged in the slide viewer (irrespective of their map location) to suit your presentation narrative.
You can view them in the MindManager editor or a full screen slide play mode. It’s great for combining the “structured” nature of an export to PowerPoint with the flexibility of a live mind map when you want to go off script. My only regret is the presentation of topic notes hasn’t been improved beyond the existing tooltip/panel display options and some limitations in the layout of slides. The slide thumbnails are not “live” but can be easily refreshed and you can print slides with a variety of output options. I foresee far less use of the Export to PowerPoint button and the “Walk through” mode due to this new view.
Integrated Gantt Project View
Previously an external application, JCVGantt Pro, or export to another package was required to see a Gantt View of your MindManager map. MindManager 9 has an integrated Gantt panel which allows viewing, editing and printing. This doesn’t offer the power, or complexity, of a full project management application but is more than adequate for simple time, resource, task timeline aspects of a project map. It can be used with a full map or branch enabling your project map to combine conventional topics and tasks which define a Gantt timeline. This is a huge advance for MindManager as a project management tool.
A new Outlook, and mixed feelings
Outlook Queries are another powerful new feature. The legacy Outlook map topics remain and are used by this feature. Queries allow MindManager to interact with Outlook and create topics automatically based on your specification. You can query Outlook Tasks, Emails, Appointments and Contacts using a variety of criteria and display options.
Mixed feelings? The behaviour of the legacy “Categories” Text Markers (which synchronized to Outlook Tasks) changed in the preview. This won’t be a problem for new users but I found it impacted my MindManager > Outlook Task workflow. I need to review this with the release version but recommend backing up & testing your legacy synchronized maps before committing to MindManager 9.
Try it or Buy it?
Mindjet have a 30 day trial and, from my experience with the preview, it will not impact an existing MindManager 8 install. I have run both simultaneously, often editing the same map in both versions.
Click the link below for more detail and link to 30 day trial or purchase options at Mindjet:
We are very proud to announce that the highly anticipated release of MindManager Version 9 for Windows is now available