ThinkBuzan will release iMindMap 5 with some major new features next month, plus a new map sharing website called iMindMap Online. Here is a summary of the most significant new and improved capabilities that will be part of iMindMap 5:
3D view for mind maps and presentations: iMindMap 5 adds the ability to view your mind maps with a 3D perspective – not true 3D, where a mind map would have topics extending in all directions, but rather the ability to rotate your 2D mind map in 3D space, with some depth effects on topics and lines (see the image above right). This new view is also available in the program’s presentation mode, which promises to add greater visual impact to your iMindMap-based presentations.
iMindMap Online: Online collaboration environments, where you can easily share your maps with others or simply keep a backup of all of your mind maps in the “cloud,” have become increasingly popular. When iMindMap 5 is released, ThinkBuzan will also launch iMindMap Online, which apparently will contain a web-based version of its mind mapping software. The developer’s marketing materials say that you will be able to “use it as a standalone product or as a partner to your desktop version.” It looks like iMIndMap 5 will also support real-time collaboration on mind maps within this web environment. No word on pricing at this time.
Multimaps: iMindMaps will enable you to create multiple mind maps – each with their own central topic – on a single page. You will be able to link them together as well. At this early stage, when I haven’t been able to see the program in action or play with it, I’m not sure if this will be as useful as the ability to link between a main mind map and linked sub-maps, but we’ll see.
New SmartLayout capability: iMindMap 5 replaces separate mind map and speed mind map modes with a single SmartLayout mode, which enables you to let the program draw new topic lines for you, or to insert them by hand. In addition, SmartLayout will automatically arrange topics for you, preventing overlaps between them. Past versions of iMindMap enabled you to select layout styles that were organic looking or more corporate and linear. SmartLayout promises to simplify this and give you a greater level of control over the appearance of your mind maps. It sounds like the developer has been trying to make iMindMap even easier to use, especially for first-time users. But without a copy of version 5 in hand yet, I can’t say whether or not they succeeded.
New ribbon toolbar: The toolbar of iMindMap 5 has been updated to look like the Microsoft Office 2010 ribbon interface in Windows. The Mac version of the program will also support the latest Mac user interface.
Smartcells: iMindMap 5 will enable you to incorporate spreadsheets, flowcharts and sketches within your mind maps, expanding the types of information that you can include within them.
Filters: It’s nice to see that iMindMap 5 will add a filter tool, enabling users to show or hide map content based on a number of criteria, including unfinished tasks, links to files and branches containing certain words. In my opinion, if you’re going to be working with large, complex maps, filtering is a must.
Project management: While iMindMap 4 offered some basic project management tools, version 5 builds upon that with a new Gantt view. You will also be able to view task information from within map view using a new side panel.
For more details on the other new features of iMindMap 5, please visit the new product page on the ThinkBuzan website.
To promote the upcoming launch of version 5, ThinkBuzan is running a special promotion: If you purchase iMindMap 4 now, you’ll get a free upgrade to version 5 when it’s released, plus a free 3-month subscription to iMindMap Online. Click here to take advantage of this great deal.