One of the primary goals of MindManager is to help our users solve is what we call “The Information Problem.” Information – lots of it – is essential to success. But all of that critical information is also overwhelming to process and manage.
Case in point: Excel spreadsheets. Excel is, of course, ubiquitous in the workplace, one of if not THE primary way information and data are aggregated, housed, shared, and analyzed. But the flat, linear structure that makes it so good for those things can also be extremely challenging when you want to find a specific set of information, or understand that information in a larger context, or draw connections between different areas of information … or just really get your mind around it and discuss it and work with it.
Many users have asked us to build integrations to help them use MindManager to work more effectively with Excel. In MindManager 2020, we’ve delivered. This release includes two NEW features that will help you leverage the data-housing, data-crunching power of Excel, while leaving its complexity and rigidity behind.
Let’s take a look!
Excel Data Mapper: A clearer view of complex data
The first of these new features is our Excel Data Mapper. This tool enables you to quickly and easily import data from an Excel spreadsheet into the flexible, dynamic environment of a MindManager map.
Imagine you’re the Sales Director at LAN Corporation, and you just ran this Opportunity Report in Excel:
You want to do a little discussing and strategizing around this information with your team. That could be hard if you’re all looking at a big, messy, noisy spreadsheet.
With a MindManager map, it’s a lot easier.
To make it happen in MindManager 2020, you simply create a new map, click the Advanced tab on the top menu, and select Excel Data Mapper:
Then, when prompted, choose which Excel file you want to import:
The Data Mapper gives you precise control over what information you’re importing from your spreadsheet, and how it’s going to be structured in your map. You can select the range and data you want to include, and exactly how you want the rows and columns to display:
In just a few seconds and with just a few clicks, you can go from the spreadsheet above to a map like this:
This same information is contained in the Excel spreadsheet. But you’ve tuned out the noise and narrowed it down to what you really want to focus on in the moment. You’ve connected that data to your immediate work and helped your team connect to it, so that you can make connections about it in a much more powerful way.
Plus, now that this information lives in a map, you can take it in all kinds of different directions:
- Open up a Co-Editing session and have your team brainstorm around it
- Add priority and progress markers
- Evolve it into a presentation or an executable plan without even creating a new document
- And more!
Now let’s take a look at the second exciting Excel integration included in MindManager 2020: Excel Export.
Excel Export: Spreadsheets with substance AND style
Our new Excel Export works in a similar way, only in reverse. It lets you quickly transform a MindManager map into an Excel spreadsheet that is visually engaging and instantly meaningful and understandable.
The Product Manager at LAN Corp has built the map below to track one of his team’s projects, and loaded it up with all kinds of metadata so that he and anyone who looks at it can get an at-a-glance sense of what’s going on, what’s important, etc.
Now he needs to share this information with his boss in a meeting tomorrow. And she prefers to work with spreadsheets.
Fortunately, this is the work of a few seconds with the Export tool.
With a single click on “Quick Export”, he can instantly send all of the map content into an Excel document:
Or he can select “Custom Export” and, with just a few more clicks, create something very specific and targeted:
Both options deliver a spreadsheet that maintains the map’s structural and visual meaning, so the information it contains is immediately clear and easily digestible. And now it can be sliced and diced as only Excel can.
MindManager + Microsoft Excel: Better together
The Excel integrations built into MindManager 2020 unite the analytical power of Excel and its ability to house huge quantities and breadth of data, with the power of flexible, dynamic visual working. Together, they enable you to do things and make connections with data that you might not be able to otherwise.