Since its introduction by the Buzan organization several years ago, iMindMap has steadily improved, adding features and functionality at a steady pace. But with the introduction last week of iMindMap 5, ThinkBuzan has clearly taken this program to a whole new level, endowing it with some serious business functionality and some “sizzle” as well.
In early March, I gave you my first impressions of iMindMap 5, based upon an early beta version of the new program. Even at that point, I was impressed with how much the developer has done to give its flagship mind mapping program some serious street cred for business applications. The final release of iMindMap 5 contains a few more new surprises:
Presentation view: As I described it in March, presentation view is a well-designed tool that displays a thumbnail of the current slide, topic notes and a timer in your view, while simultaneously displaying an interactive version of your mind map to your audience. This view has been tweaked to display both your current slide and the next one – which gives you a much better idea of what’s coming next, so you can verbally transition from one topic to the next.
Interactive presentation export for PowerPoint and Impress: The shipping version of iMindMap 5 now enables you to export your mind maps in interactive form to either PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress. I tried this with the mind map I created that is pictured above. What it does is exports your mind map as a single slide, but with each topic as part of a “build” – in other words, with each mouse click, another branch is added to the current slide. iMindMap utilizes a horizontal “wipe” effect to make it look like each branch is growing. You also still have the option to export your mind map as a series of slides containing bullet points. It’s nice to see this kind of flexibility.
Wizards: For new users of iMindMap, version 5 includes 4 interactive “wizards” that help you to build basic mind maps. These are focused on a generic mind map, performance coaching, goal setting and organizing your day. It does this via a pop-up dialog box where you fill in some blank fields and iMindMap generates your mind map based on the data you entered.
Freehand branches: New since the beta version of iMindMap 5 is freehand branches. If you want to give your mind map a really unique look, this is certainly one way to do that!
Expanded export options: iMindMap 5 now offers 11 options for exporting your mind maps, including:
- Exporting your audio notes separately
- PDF and document
- Interactive presentation
- OPML (a hierarchical outline format)
- Pack and go
- SVG exporter
Of these, I was pleasantly surprised to see the SVG (scalable web graphics) option. This enables you to export your mind map to a graphics format that can be easily resized (made larger) without any deterioration of the image’s quality.It’s good to see that ThinkBuzan realizes that many business users need to be able to take the ideas they have created and organized in their mind maps and move them to other formats for further development.
Import options: iMindMap 5 can import files from MindManager, Freemind and NovaMind.
For all of the details about what’s new and improved in iMindMap 5, I recommend that you visit the comparison chart on this web page. I think you’ll be very impressed by the progress they have made with this application!