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Even it's easy to understand flowcharts or maps that describe complex systems or concepts, it isn't always as simple to build something intuitive from a convoluted mishmash of ideas, concepts, and goals. That's where mind mapping software, like ConceptDraw Mindmap ($199, 30-day free trial), comes into play.
Mindmap is a tool that lets you take freeform data--everything from a company structure, to tackling problems with a product, to the topics you plan to discuss at a meeting or presentation--and organize that information to help you brainstorm and better plan for, prepare for, and manage large or small projects. Think of a mind map as an infinitely large whiteboard where every idea or concept you put on the board has a relationship to one or more other ideas,.The more you add to it, the more it helps clarify and define those ideas and their interrelationships.
The tool's complex interface gives you a lot of control over the way your map works, the way that relationships between ideas appear, and other formatting preferences. But the essence of the tool is the big white space that takes up most of the application's window, where you create and modify your maps as ideas come up. Building a map is as simple as double-clicking the white space and building little "idea blobs" which automatically glom together. Unlike the whiz-bang graphical effects in 3D Topicscape Pro, for instance, Mindmap's map-building mechanism becomes intuitive quickly, and power users can simply skip the mouse-clicking, opting for keyboard shortcuts as a way to build branches of subtopics off of the main topic trunks.
ConceptDraw Mindmap's 30-day demo offers users a full featured version of the product, including online and phone support--a surprisingly helpful and welcome addition in an era in which support isn't always available even for paying customers. As one of the premiere tools for business planning and organization, MindMap offers users comprehensive, powerful features in an application that doesn't demand the latest CPU or gigabytes of memory in order to function well, which will appeal to laptop-toting business users.
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