English Literature Analyses with MindMaple

School has been in session for about a month. How are you/your students/your children doing with their assignments? If they are anything like me when I was a kid, writing assignments are put aside until the last possible moment. As a student, writing about books you’re told to read for class is not fun nor easy. However, students of today have what I did not when I was a student: mind mapping software.

I did a quick analyses on “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald using MindMaple, just to see how long it would take. I analyzed the characters, their roles, their relationship with each other, and the themes of the story. Essentially, I would be using the half hour or so I would be using trying to organize my notes on creating a mind map. Of course, if you want your mind map to look as intriguing as the story is, you need more time. On the plus side, if the assignment was to summarize “The Great Gatsby”, I already have it done and looking pretty.

Have a look and let me know what grade you think I would get if I had submitted this mind map as my homework. You can download the mind map template here. If you haven’t downloaded MindMaple for your computer or device yet, visit our website for free and premium mind mapping software.

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MindMaple for Mac (Beta) Available for Download

After meticulously testing our new Mac product internally, we’re finally ready to share it with our users. Our Mac mind mapping software is now available for download at MindMaple.com, or by clicking the button below.

Download MindMaple for Mac (Beta)

We’re always eager to hear feedback from our users, so please send any comments, questions or bug reports to mac -at- mindmaple.com.

Color Code Your Mind Maps

Mind mapping itself is considered an effective way of organizing your thoughts. But there’s another thing you can add to your mind map to make it a very effective visual map of your thoughts. Color coding.

You might start thinking of that time when all of your notes became a jumble of colors. That’s one form of color coding, just not the best example. When done in moderation, color coding your notes can help you and your information be even more organized.

Take a look at this Civil War Timeline template for example:

Civil War Timeline template using MindMaple

Civil War Timeline template using MindMaple

 
Victories and significant events in favor of the Confederates are in blue, while victories and significant events in favor of the Union are in red. Neutral events with significance are marked in gray but emphasized to differentiate from additional information added for depth. MindMaple’s various style options allows you to customize the colors and styles of the information in your mind map to your preferences with ease.

What’s the most effective color code for your mind map?

Balancing your MindMaple mind map

Mindmaps are great tools for organizing, whether you’re organizing plans, notes, or ideas. However, sometimes mind mapping can get messy.

For me, that’s part of the fun. When I’m brainstorming, if I spend too much time thinking about how to structure the map, making sure it looks perfect and orderly, I diminish the organic thought process that makes mind mapping effective. Instead, I usually just continue mapping until all my ideas are out on the screen, and organize afterwards. Thankfully MindMaple has some features that make it easy to organize your map.

At first, your map might look like this:

Select “Balance map” from the “Format” menu…

…and MindMaple will automatically organize your map for you.

Your map should look more symmetrical and balanced. However this organization is not perfect. The Floating Topic has not moved, the arrows are in an awkward position, and the map looks a bit cramped overall.

Adjust the space between topics

First, let’s space the topics out. Select the Central Topic and then select “Increase” from the “Format” menu. You can choose to increase the Sibling Spacing (vertical spacing) or the Child Spacing (horizontal spacing). You can also decrease the spacing between topics. In addition, by selecting a specific Subtopic you can adjust the spacing of that Subtopic’s child topics.

Here’s my map after respacing the topics and moving the Floating Topic.

How to adjust relationship arrows

Now let’s adjust the relationship arrows, some of which are hidden behind the topics. Select the arrow you wish to adjust. Two guidelines, each with a green dot and a red dot, will appear adjacent to the ends of the arrow.

The red dots anchor the arrow to a specific location on a topic. By clicking and dragging the red dots, you can adjust the starting and ending points of the arrow.  By clicking and dragging the green dots, you can adjust the curvature and length of the arrow.

While an arrow is selected, you can modify its style and appearance by selecting “Relationship” from the top menu ribbon. For example, by selecting “Relationship Shape” you can change the arrow style from curved to angled.

The mind map with angled arrows:

Change the growth direction of your map

MindMaple can also change the expansion direction of your map. Select the Central Topic. From the top menu ribbon, select “Format” and then select “Growth Direction.” You can choose the orientation of topic growth.

The result of choosing “Left Map”:

Use gridlines to organize your map

I often prefer organizing my maps personally instead of using the automatic organization tools. A valuable feature are map gridlines, which you can turn on by selecting “View” from the menu ribbon and then selecting “Gridlines.”

A crisscross of faint lines will appear on the background of your map, which you can reference in order to align your map topics.

Good luck with your mind mapping!

The MindMaple Blog Sets Sail

Greetings reader! Thanks for joining me on the maiden voyage of the MindMaple blog. Sorry, I’ve already smashed the champagne bottle.

To get this started, take a look at the following mind map, which I made using MindMaple. It’s a large image with small text, so you might want to open it in a new window to get a better look. The mind map describes how I envision the growth and purpose of this blog.

My vision for the MindMaple Blog

As you can see, one of my major hopes for the blog is that it can be a tool for interaction between us, the MindMaple team, and you, our users. We want to answer any questions you have about our product , so feel free to ask! And we would be thrilled to get feedback from you about MindMaple. We want to hear both the good–such as ways you use mind mapping to accomplish your goals, or mind maps you’ve made and that you think others will appreciate–and the ways we can improve and help you better.

Another goal I have for this blog is for it to be a site for sharing our ideas and inspirations related to mind mapping. I am continually amazed by the versatility of MindMaple as a tool. It can used by executives at powerful corporations to organize presentations and meetings and by children in school learning language and vocabulary. I’m sure each one of us has unique ways we use MindMaple. Let’s share our ideas!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Jabe