Wed, 17 Dec 2008 MindMap Pro 5.5 review
Freeform brainstorming tool emphasises experimentation and fresh ideas
- Manufacturer: CS Odessa
- Pros: Simple and elegant interface, accomplishes the brainstorming goal
- Cons: Minor glitch with Arrange button, expensive
- Price: £139
- Star rating:
When a new idea springs to life, jotting it down usually means searching for a pen and paper. MindMap Pro can help you capture the thought just as easily. The current version streamlines the MindMap interface so you can find clip art, tools, and document viewing options faster.
MindMap aims to mimic how the brain works, creating ideas by pulling together bits and pieces of information as though assembling a puzzle. The program has two main modes, which can be used simultaneously: one for clip art and the other for an outline. In clip art mode, you can drop objects and text onto a blank page and move them around. Outline view lets you write a text outline, as you would in the outline mode in a word processor.
This version of MindMap also allows you to create relationships between objects and text so that they’re connected as a group. You can label any artwork or text with a hyperlink too, using the Hyperlink button, so that clicking on the object brings up a web page, a new email, or a file or folder.
Themes in MindMap are a fast way to completely reformat a document in just one click. You hold down the Map Theme pop-up button at the top of the screen and select a new theme, changing the text and style of all objects. A freeform drawing tool lets you draw any object, and a bevy of alignment tools mirror the options in Adobe Illustrator.
There’s a handy Brainstorming mode that runs in a full-screen mode with a timer – the default setting is for ten minutes. In a group, you can jot down notes, create objects, and adjust relationships. There’s also a page viewer positioned at the bottom of the screen so that you can create multi-page brainstorming documents and switch quickly between them.
MindMap reveals its power by supporting OML and XML data sharing (which means that if you update your data in a program such as Filemaker, it also updates in MindMap and vice versa), and even the ability to export outlines to an iPod (for outline notes) or iCal (for tasks and events).
MindMap 5.5 is included as part of the newly released ConceptDraw Office for £339, or as the standalone MindMap Pro 5.5 for £139.