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'I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.'

(Three Men in a Boat)

To state the painfully obvious, modern life throws work at us in ever-increasing quantities.

As a writer and co-editor of Cadenza Magazine, I found I had an awful lot of work-related information (much of it self-generated) to process, file, act upon, juggle and sort. However, like the character in Jerome K Jerome's novel I have a tendency to spend far too much time simply looking at the mountain rather than trying to climb it. I needed something that could help me stop looking and start doing, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to review MindManager 6 a couple of years ago.

My review appeared in Cadenza 14. It explained how I'd begun to use the program for planning articles, fiction, critiques, information-exchange, contact-management and just about every other aspect of my writing life. It was soon helping me organize my non-writing life, too, and I commented that I'd begun to wonder how on earth I'd managed without both the mind- mapping technique and the Mindjet software I use to create my interlinked maps. That was true then and it's even more true today, so the fact that Mindjet have released a new version of the program - MindManager 7 - that makes the process of mind mapping not only easier and more intuitive, but also more productive, is good news indeed.

If you're familiar with the previous version of the software you'll notice many small but invaluable improvements in MindManager 7. Amongst other goodies you'll find:

A re-designed User Interface.

The main program display now has a ribbon at the top of the screen similar to the ribbon Microsoft has incorporated into Windows Vista. This gives the user tabbed browsing, and the tabs can be customised, making it easy to have the most frequently used items just a click or two away. The ribbon is rather wide, but it can be set to auto-hide, providing more space for map-viewing.

Saved Views.

Many of my maps are large, complex beasts and for the sake of clarity it's often useful to collapse certain topics, expand others and select a particular zoom level. In MindManager 6 it wasn't possible to save such settings, but the new Saved Views option available in MindManager 7 allows me to arrange my maps however I like and recreate that view at any time with just a couple of clicks.

Improved Topic Styles.

It's now possible for a user to create styles for particular topics, name them, and then apply them wherever s/he sees fit in a particular map. 

Single Branch View.

In large maps there's now a particularly useful feature - the ability to focus on a selected branch and hide everything else. This makes it easier to concentrate on what you need to see, but ensures that the big picture is only a click away. If you haven't used Mind Manager before, and if you need a powerful tool to help you organize your thinking, planning and workflow, take a look at the trial version. It's free for 21 days.  


Mind Manager really is one of my most frequently-used software tools, and even though I've been an avid Mapper for quite a while now, version 7 is so feature-rich I'm still discovering new tricks.

Try it. You'll like it.