Olympic Ltd., a Mindjet reseller, has launched a new MindManager add-in that offers a suite of 10 utilities to extend the functionality of this popular mind mapping program. When installed with MindManager version 7 or 8, Olympic Utilities is added to its ribbon toolbar, for fast, easy access to all 10 tools. Here’s a summary of what’s included Olympic Utilities, and a look at what’s next from this developer:
Link2Attachment: This utility converts a hyperlinked document (located external to your map) into an attachment (embedded within your MindManager map file). The utility gives you two options: to keep the original hyperlink and add the attachment to your map, or simply replace the hyperlinked document with the attachment. This utility should be especially useful if you are going to be sharing maps with others, because you can provide them with a file that contains not only the map but all of the documents to which it refers.
Topic Text Lock/Unlock: This utility enables you to select a topic and then lock its text, so it cannot be changed by others. When a topic is locked, the utility places a padlock symbol on it to indicate that its text is read only. The topic can still be deleted or moved, however. If you’re collaborating on a mind map with others and you want to restrict which topics they can edit, then you will probably find this utility to be very useful.
Topic+Topic: This utility enables you to take numerical values in topics and calculate the sum of them. The results can either be displayed to you or added to the map for later use. I personally didn’t find this to be very useful, but if you produce mind maps that contain numeric values, you may find this of some value.
Topic2CallOut/CallOut2Topic: This utility changes map topics to call outs and vice versa. This tool may be useful if you have groups of topics that relate to the map’s central topic, but you want to create another sub-topic tree for different information, while keeping both sets on the same level of your map.
Topic2Date: This utility inserts the date into a topic.
Map2Left: This utility enables you to create a new map with all topics positioned to the left side of the map, plus all topic text left aligned. Surprisingly, MindManager natively supports right-facing maps, tree and organizational chart formats, but not a left-facing map. This tool makes that possible.
Topic2Notes: This tool is the one I found to be the most useful during my brief review of Olympic Utilities. Topic2Notes takes the subtopics of a selected topic and converts them into notes. I created a topic with 2 levels of subtopics, and then clicked on the Topic2Notes button in the Olympic Utilities toolbar. The program added these subtopics as a nested, numbered outline in MindManager’s notes window. If you are working with a large map that is getting a little too complex, you might find it useful to “hide” some of the topics within notes. This is a very effective way to “declutter” your large maps!
Topic2Resource: This utility takes the selected topic and its sub-topics, creates a new map marker group and adds the topics as resources. These resources can then be added elsewhere in your map by clicking on them in the map marker pane of MindManager; each resource appears as a yellow rectangle below the topic to which it is assigned. How is this useful? Let’s say you have a meeting that you’re going to manage with a mind map. One branch of your map called “attendees” contains a list of sub-topics, one for each person participating in the meeting. In one click, you can convert all of these attendees into resources, so as you brainstorm ideas, you can assign them to your team members quickly and easily.
Topic Calculator: You can use this utility on a numerical topic to perform different types of conversions, such as converting from miles to kilometers inches to feet and so forth. All of the source numbers for your calculation are entered into a dialog box; the utility performs the calculation and adds the result to the map.
Topic2Vertical: This utility takes a selected topic and orients its text vertically. It enables you to select the spacing of the characters (1-3) and also whether to add a summary “elbow” next to the topic. Where would this be useful? It could be employed where you have a map that is focused on a single topic subject that flows from left to right, or where many sub-topics relate to the main topic. I could foresee this being used when you’re trying to map process flows.
Olympic Utilities is available in English and German (as well as French and Japanese, as soon as Mindjet releases localized versions of MindManager 8 in these languages) for US$30 from the developer’s website; until March 31, 2009, you can purchase it for a special introductory price of US$22.50. You can also download a 7-day trial version for evaluation. Also, because Olympic Ltd. Is a Mindjet reseller, if you purchase MindManager 8 by March 31 through them, you will receive Olympic Utilities free of charge.
Once you purchase this Olympic Utilities, you will receive updates when new tools are added, free of charge. The developer is also encouraging its users to provide ideas for additional functionality.
What’s next from Olympic Ltd.?
I asked Olympic Ltd.’s managing director Nigel Gault about what’s next from his team of developers. Here’s what he had to say:
Olympic Ltd. Plans to launch three solutions for MindManager 7 and 8, for release throughout 2009. Each of these new add-ins focuses on an area of business management. The key objective of these new add-ins is to be simple and accessible to users of all levels of both MindManager and the area of business to which they are addressed, he explains. The first add-in to be released will focus on project management and is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2009.
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