MindGenius Ltd. recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its flagship mind mapping program with the release of a new version, dubbed MindGenius 20. It features a number of usability and productivity enhancements that are worthy of a closer look.
The first thing you see when you open MindGenius 20 is a new dialog box that invites you to create one of four types of maps: a map, GANTT chart, slides or a brainstorming tool called the “solution finder.” This is a great reminder that you can do more than create mind maps with MindGenius 20. Meanwhile, a vertical panel on the right side of the workspace displays a set of getting started articles and videos, styled as large, rectangular buttons.
When you’re building a mind map, its new “one-click” functionality enables you to add a sequence of ideas to one parent topic quickly, with a minimum of keystrokes. You simply type your topic text and hit the return key – twice – to add them. It felt odd at first, but once I got used to it, it became very intuitive. It enables you to add a large number of sibling topics to your map quickly, using only the keyboard.
Where MindGenius 2019 was focused on helping you easily export and share your maps in a variety of ways, quickly and efficiently, this new version is more focused on streamlining the process of producing professional-looking mind maps.
Fast mind map formatting
For example, MindGenius 20 contains two new commands that enable you to quickly restyle your map. Once you apply a set of characteristics to a single topic, such as topic shape, color and font size and style, you can then apply it to all topics at the same level or to the entire map. This doesn’t sound like that big of a deal – only it is, if you’re trying to give your map a unique look and feel, something other than your program’s default settings.
I’m very fussy about the appearance of the mind maps I create. All level 2 topics must have the same font, size and style. Same with all of the level 3 topics, and so forth. It’s normally very time-consuming to change all of the map’s default topic settings to look the way I want. This is a big time-saver for me!
Even better, you can save any mind map as a template in a single click. This is especially valuable if you tend to create the same types of maps frequently, say for a recurring project at work. Just create it once, save it as a template and then it’s only a few clicks away. This eliminates the need for you to reinvent the wheel each time you create a mind map. Your topics, in your favorite arrangement, with your styling and branding, just waiting to be customized to meet your immediate needs. Nice!
Another new map-level command enables you to do live previews of 15 map layouts by hovering over a representation of it in a new, expandable menu. When you find one you like, you simply click on the button and the program applies it to your mind map. I’ve only seen this done once before, but I really like it. Seeing a tiny icon in a toolbar, it’s hard for most people to envision how it will look when it’s applied to the mind map they’re building. This functionality enables them to play “what if” with the appearance of their map without committing to it.
Another small but appreciated improvement in MindGenius 20 is the way in which it handles images attached to topics. Most programs enable you to resize attached images manually, by selecting each one and dragging a corner of it to proportionally resize it. This new version of MindGenius enables you to adjust all of their sizes at once – small, medium or large. You can play around with this setting until you’re satisfied with the overall look of your mind map.
Flexible categories help streamline work
In addition, the developer has customized MindGenius 20’s categories/icons to make the full palette of them – all 15 categories – viewable at a glance from the format section of the toolbar. Since it’s been a few versions since I have reviewed MindGenius, I’d like to take you on a deeper dive into this part of the program, because its developer has gone deeper than most in making its symbols and icons an integral part of how work gets done.
First, its approach to the categories of icons is very task- and work-focused. No esoteric categories like “people” and “transportation” here. Instead, MindGenius’ categories are focused on more practical things like brainstorming, impact, difficulty, risk, decision and SWOT. Has the effect of revealing to users and expanding universe of possibilities for utilizing its icon collections. One category can even be used to send tasks to Microsoft Outlook – nice!
Within the edit categories dialog box, you can create new icon groups, rename the existing ones and change the order in which they appear. This enables you to create highly personalized icon collections that appear at the top of the expanded icon selector – speeding your work. I experimented with this and was very impressed at the flexibility it provides.
MindGenius 20 also includes these improvements:
- You can open all linked maps with a single click. This can be quite helpful when you’re working on a large, complex project.
- You can export your maps to bulleted lists in Microsoft Word. That’s ideal for preparing reports, agendas and talking points.
- You can rank tasks in the program’s status-centric view
MindGenius 20 does an excellent job of helping users to streamline the map production process, using a well-refined set of easy-to-use tools. Its flexible categories, centric views (which function like a Kanban board with columns for topics that meet specific criteria), solution finder and formatting options, it’s an eminently powerful and flexible thinking and planning tool.
MindGenius 20 has 2 licensing models: The subscription model gives you access to the latest version of MindGenius 20 and MindGenius Online, with an annual renewal fee of US$160 for the first year and US$56 for eaach year thereafter.
The perpetual model enables you to make a one-time purchase of the program for US$256 plus a free 12-month subscription to MindGenius Online.
You can also download a free 14-day trial version of MindGenius 20 for Windows here.
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