MindManager Version 7 announced

May 10, 2007

MindJet has (finally) officially announced the upcoming release of MindManager version 7 (aka MM7), so beta-testers like me are finally allowed to talk about it publicly! I take my beta-tester responsibilities seriously, so kept it under my hat.

They say it’ll be available for purchase on May 30th, for both PC and Macintosh.

This is the software tool I use the most at work, some days even more than email! It’s great for managing lots of information in various forms and places. If you’ve never seen a mindmap, think “graphical outline.” If you’ve never seen a MindManager mindmap, think “visual organizer with tons of power for integrating, sorting, finding and organizing your information”.

As for what’s in the upgrade…

The good news:

  • Good collection of new functionality for us power-users
  • It’s very stable. I’ve been running the full-time since I got it, and nary a crash!
  • All files are compatible between MM5, MM6 and MM7.

The not-so-good news:

  • They totally changed the menus to the new “ribbon” interface of Microsoft Office, which as a power-user I find uses up too much screen real estate for the stupid ribbon. Thankfully you can set it to auto-hide, until you mouse-over that section. You’ll either love this or hate it.
  • There aren’t that many new features that I’d urge anyone to rush out and pay for the upgrade.
  • Part of the “ribbon” interface includes a quick-access bar, which functions like the old standard toolbar, thankfully you can customize it. That’s taken me a little time to get used to, as the interface seems a little more cluttered.  In previous versions, I had my favorite features on the toolbars, so I rarely used the menus, but I have to for some features in MM7.

    For example, I like the Topic Comments functionality and always used its button on the old toolbar. But now it’s on the Review menu, which I never would have open. So now in order to easily add comments, I have to leave the Topic Comments mini-window open all the time.

    Yes, I know there’s the “Quick Access Ribbon” – a toolbar by any other name!

  • Some of the add-ons still have to be upgraded to work with this version, for instance Gyronix.

Favorite new features:

  • Saved Queries – Filter objects, then saved the filter by name, so you can quickly find only the topics w/ undone Task Completed boxes.
  • Saved Views – Save the current expansion/collapse/zoom factor of topics by name.
  • Show Branch Alone – This is pretty slick and very useful for focusing on details. You select a topic, click F4, and it hides all the parents above that topic. It’s a toggle button, so you can always get back to the “big picture”.
  • Split Topic – Select some text in a topic, RMB->Split Topic->As Subtopic makes the selected text into a subtopic.  Great when you realize you have additional details for a topic and want to move part of the main topic to a sub.  There are even accelerator keys for it, like Shift-Alt-Right for Subtopic, Shift-Alt-Down as topic.  But I still find it a little cumbersome to use.
  • Since I’m not running Microsoft Office 2007 yet, I can’t take advantage of the new abilities to open a mindmap from within Office, but it sounds pretty slick.

If you have an older version of MM (or the free MM file viewer), you can view the complete list of new features with this MM file: What’s New in MM7.mmap

Underused Existing Features:

Topic Comments mini-window.

I think this feature is underutilized by most. I love that I can add multiple comments to a topic. I use them for updating the status of a ToDo item, so I can keep a running status and have a time-stamped note telling me how things have changed.
The cool part is you can “unpin” the window, so it minimizes when your mouse isn’t over it. Here’s the pinned view, or when the mouse is on top and it’s open:

Topic Comments - pinned

Notes on image:

  • You can see the little “sticky note with pointing hand” icon next to the “Split topic” topic, that indicates you’ve added comments to the topic.
  • On the Topic Comments mini-window, you can see the pushpin in the upper right corner (underlined here, though not in MM itself).

Here it is unpinned and automatically minimized.Topic Comments - unpinned

You just move your mouse over the mini-window to open it again, to view, add or edit your comments.

Right-mouse to pan map

I’m always panning across my maps, but don’t like using the standard Windows scroll bars. But MM makes it easy. Just point your mouse over the blank area where there is not a topic, then right-click your mouse and drag the map to where you want it.

I should mentioned that in MM7 you can also click on the Central Topic and drag it to move the map.

In Conclusion

I think most people’s decisions about whether to upgrade to MM7 will be based on:

  1. If you work with the new Microsoft Office products that use the new ribbon interface and you like that.
  2. If someone else is paying for the upgrade, so it’s not out of your pocket.  🙂

But if you’ve never used MindManager, you really owe it to yourself and your productivity to check it out!


One Response to “MindManager Version 7 announced”

  1. CJ Says:

    Great post. I recently became hooked on MM, but would not yet call myself a power user. You answered my central question of – is there enough functionality to force me to go pay for the upgrade. I will say that based on this post, I may have to consider it though. Thanks.

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