Mindjet MindManager 9 review
A powerful mind mapping program with industry-leading integration with Microsoft Office, but is this enough to justify the high price? David McKinnon organises his thoughts into a verdict in our review.
In its basic form mind mapping is an excellent brainstorming and note taking aid and is also useful for the illustration and communication of complex ideas. Starting with a central concept or idea, you add nodes and sub-nodes, digging down into the details without losing the overall picture. MindManager 9 is adept at these tasks, allowing you to create, edit and expand mind maps with a minimum of fuss. However, there are many other mind mapping applications, all of them considerably less expensive than MindManager 9.
MindManager 9 uses the basic mechanics of mind mapping to create a complete business process management tool. This is achieved by turning passive nodes into active tasks, which can be assigned start and finish dates, resources (people), progress and priority indicators as well as warning colours when the task comes close to, or passes, the finish date.
You can also send nodes to Outlook as tasks or appointments and assign contacts, which are added to Mind Managers list of resources and can be directly assigned to other tasks on the map. New to this version of MindManager is the ability to take this information and create Gantt charts. This is an excellent time saving function and furthers your capacity to keep track of and plan projects.
While most mind mapping applications allow you to attach files, pictures and hyperlinks to nodes, MindManager's tight integration with Microsoft Office means that, as long as Office is installed on your computer, you can edit documents and spreadsheets directly within MindManager. Further, Excel ranges and a hatful of Outlook components, including appointments, tasks and emails, can be inserted into your mind map. These are not static, but active components, meaning that if the original is edited, the changes are reflected in MindManager and vice-versa. While appointment and task integration is necessary for effective task management, the need to import emails seems less useful, and we expect that most people will still prefer to stick to their existing email application to manage correspondence.
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