A master map is a map of all of your mind maps. In other words, it’s a single mind map that enables you to organize and quickly access all of the visual diagrams you have created with your mind mapping software. It enables you to organize your knowledge and projects in a way that makes the most sense to you – in other words, a visual representation of your work. This simple repository of links to your mind maps (and other files) can provide you with a quantum leap in productivity.
Why use a master map?
You’re organizing your knowledge and projects in a way that makes the most sense to you – in a sense, you are creating a visual representation of the way you work. Compared to the “file cabinet” metaphor, which users of both PCs and Macs have been struggling with for years, this personalized, organic repository of links to your mind maps (and other files) can provide you with a quantum leap in productivity.
Making this strategy work requires a certain amount of discipline, because in order for your master map to be complete, you need to add any new maps you create to it. But the rewards are worth it.
How to set up a master map in MindManager 7
Here are instructions on how to set up a master map in the world’s leading mind mapping program, MindManager for Windows. I have decided to highlight it here because it offers (via several add-in programs) a simple process that you can use to implement a master map:
1. Click on the MindManager “button” (the big round icon in the upper left corner of the program’s screen. Click on the “MindManager Options” button at the bottom of the drop-down list, and select the “general options” section. Change the default document to the file pathname of your master map. That way, every time the program starts up, it will automatically load that map.
2. Give the central topic of your master map a name, and while you have it selected, add the File Explorer Map Part (accessible via the task pane menu on the right side of the screen) and select the folder where all of your maps are stored. For most PC users, that would be in the C:\Documents and Settings\My Maps\ directory. MindManager will then create a topic called “My Maps” that displays hyperlinks to each of your mind maps in that folder. If your maps are stored in several folders, you will need to repeat this process for each folder you want to be displayed in your master map.
3. When you create new maps, make sure they’re also stored in this folder. To update your master map to include any new files, simply click the F5 (refresh) key. Your new maps will appear at the bottom of the list. In order for this to work correctly, you must leave all of these hyperlinks attached to the “smart” folder topic.
Mindjet also offers a Map Linker smart part, which is designed to pull the latest contents of other maps into your master map. The master map uses hyperlinks to point to the subordinate maps and imports the latest data from them each time the master map is refreshed. This functionality may be valuable if you have a number of maps stored in a shared directory on your corporate network, and you want to pull the latest changes made by your colleagues (such as project updates) into your master map. But if you have a large number of maps, these automatic updates could cause your master map to become cluttered rather quickly.
Here are a few more tips on creating effective master maps, compiled by Mindjet:
- Keep your master map focused on a handful of top-level issues; let the power of linked sub-maps enable you to drill down as needed for the details you require.
- Once you have all of your maps linked together, use MindManager 7’s Multimap View to display the master map and all of its linked sub-map files in one view. It displays preview images of the current map and all the maps that it links to. You can choose to display only the first-level maps – those directly linked to your master map – or maps at the second, third, or all levels.
Why not create a master map to streamline your work today? If you have any tips on how to set up a master map for other mind mapping programs, please describe them in the comments section of this post. Thank you!