MindMap Pro 5.1.2 full review

Since the 1960s, mindmapping has been a popular method of linking words and ideas to a central, key item. ConceptDraw MindMap Pro is one of the main applications to offer this for Mac OS X and, having been around for five years or so, it has matured into a stable, feature-filled program.

MindMap Pro makes no assumptions as to whether you have mindmapped before, offering an eight-stage tutorial that takes you from creating a document right through to quite complex situations. A mindmap starts with a main idea that is added to with topics and sub-topics. At any time, this can be viewed in the main workspace and also in outline mode, something that PowerPoint users will be used to.

Another way to create a mindmap is in Brainstorm mode. This has been improved from the previous version – now, ideas are treated as topics, with a countdown clock available making this far more like a real team brainstorming session.

The new user interface makes creation and editing easy, and all aspects of it can be customised, including toolbar editing and hiding or showing the various panels. Task information can be entered for each topic or subtopic including start/use dates, duration time of the task and the percentage completed so far. Add a relationship tool for connecting together topics by a dashed line and you have a comprehensive mindmapping tool.

High-quality bitmap images, vector graphics and freeform drawing are on offer, adding a professional touch to the final diagram. Once complete, it can be exported in a number of formats including Microsoft Project, PowerPoint, HTML, PDF, PNG and RTF, and directly to an iPod with iPhoto synchronisation – which makes the mindmaps useful not just to yourself.

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