Tue, 26 Sep 2006 MindManager 6 Mac
Mind map whose claim to fame is corporate cross-platform standardisation
Boasting more than 750,000 users on the Windows platform, MindJet’s MindManager 6 for Mac is designed to make it easier for users to organise their thoughts using mind maps and organisational charts.
To create a mind map, you simply open a new document and start typing. MindManager gives you a central topic, with the title pre-selected ready for you to type over. Press enter to set the label, and then enter again to create a main topic and repeat the process to create further topic siblings. You can create subtopics via C-enter, and navigate up and down your hierarchy using the cursor keys.
Topics can have flags assigned to them so that you can label them with priorities, completion status, required resources and so on. You can attach notes to topics, as well as files and hyperlinks to web pages.
You can also collapse the diagram, rather like an outliner, and focus (show) on one particular topic if you want. Images can be added to topics from the library palette.
The results are palatable, no doubt, but the amount of available formatting options, and the ability you have to customise the presentation is severely limited. For instance, there are just eight topic shapes to choose from (and no custom option), boundaries can be drawn around a topic and all its subtopics but not around two sibling topics, and adding images to the library involves grovelling around in the Finder.
In comparison with, say, OmniGraffle Pro 4, it comes a poor second: no multipage documents, no outline view, no tables, poor selection tools, no style templates, and no auto layout. Design-wise, MindManager presents a mixed message: be creative, but do it our way. You may want users to conform to a corporate style – but OmniGraffle’s style templates make this much easier to achieve. MindJet claims that having a proprietary cross-platform format, and being able to export to PDF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, (unstructured) RTF, and plain text, “makes working in teams easy”. OmniGraffle’s export offers plenty of graphics options (SVG anyone?), as well as structured data formats: OmniOutliner and more importantly, Visio.