TheBrain Technologies recently released an ambitious upgrade to its free PersonalBrain product. Version 5.5 of this powerful visual mapping and knowledge management application contains numerous improvements, including:
Easier, more powerful reports with display filtering: A new reports quick-pick menu enables generating most reports with just two clicks. Powerful custom reports using multiple criteria can now be defined utilizing multiple types, tags, and attachment criteria. In addition, custom reports can be named and saved for future use.
Faster, more flexible visualizations, including improved animation and maintaining a memory of the last view that was in use when the file was closed. In addition, on mouseover of a link, if either one of the links is off-screen, it is displayed on screen while the link is highlighted. Also, the layout stabilizes and reacts faster to input such as repositioning of thoughts or linking and unlinking of thoughts.
Streamlined user interface: Many menus and other user interface elements have been cleaned up and refined. Version 5.5 also offers a new tags user interface that displays tags in multiple columns for more efficient use of dialog box real estate. In addition, default notes styles let you easily modify colors and fonts for all notes within your Brain.
Revamped calendar with recurring events and more: The event creation and editing user interface has been overhauled and the entire events system rewritten to enable additional capabilities, including recurring appointments and additional fields on every event to record the appointment location, description and percent complete. In addition, reminders in version 5.5 are now optional and can be set to occur at a customizable amount of time in advance of the event.
Keyboard shortcuts for virtually every command: Most commands in PersonalBrain 5.5 can be accessed by keyboard commands, which are now user-configurable.
Integrated screen-capture capability: This is a convenient method for grabbing any portion of your screen for use as a Thought icon. From the Thought menu, select Capture Thought Icon. PersonalBrain minimizes and a selection target appears on your desktop, which you can then use to select any area of your screen. I used this feature to select a desktop icon, which was instantly added to the presently selected topic in PersonalBrain.
Thought spellchecking: In the new version of PersonalBrain, when you create a thought, misspelled words are automatically highlighted and can be right-clicked to view. Words can be added to the program’s dictionary, which is also used to spell-check thought topic notes.
Expanded preferences: Expanded preferences allow fine tuning of the user interface, including options for wander speed, size of “distant” thoughts (when this option is turned on, you can view two levels of child thoughts instead of one), spacing between thoughts and much more. PersonalBrain 5.5’s export capabilities are also improved; you can now export thoughts, attachments and notes into a flat or hierarchical set of folders with a single command.
There are many more updates included in PersonalBrain 5.5, which is a free upgrade for users of version 5.0. For more details, please see the PersonalBrain 5.5 updates page.