Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Visio Mind Map

Today I have been investigating how to communicate a mind full of notes to my project team.  Previous companies have allowed the use of mind mapping software, either in house or on-line.  My current client is a bank and limits the use of the internet and does not allow users to download software of use various web site, especially web applications.  We are a heavy user of the Microsoft Office suite (with the exception of email) and I am limited.   

I am planning to present my current thoughts on the project approach, initial architecture design and implementation phases to my management.  I was going to create a mind map in Powerpoint, but discovered that Visio has a mind mapping template.  I have successfully created two linked mind map pages within one Visio file, which is really useful.  this was achieved by using the double-click behaviour of the shape within Visio. 

I may break down my project onto separate pages within the single file, which is much easier than using my usual mind mapping software with many files.  Does anyone else use this approach? 

One question I do have.... Can you attach some text to a box within the mind map and then print all of the text out as a document, rather than a mind map?  That would be really useful. 

Here are some simplified instructions for those how would like to try. 

1.  Open Visio and from the menu select "File -> New -> Choose Drawing Type..." 
2.  (Using Visio2003) Select Category -> "Brainstorming" and Template -> "Brainstorming Diagram" 
3.  Drag a Main Topic into the centre of your page and rename the text caption 
4.  Make sure you have the "Brainstorming" tool bar and then start adding sub tasks by highlighting the Main Topic and then clicking on the "Sub task" button in the tool bar. 
5.  Continue to add sub tasks to the Main topic, or even to the Sub-Tasks to make a hierarchical mind map. 



  1. When you upgrade to Visio 2010 you can do even cooler stuff. Visio 2010 supports shape data and data graphics, and you can do this with or without linking to an external data source (like a spreadsheet). So, for each blob on your mind map you could assign a status or % completion value, and then colourise the blob or add an icon depending on the status or completion. If you link to a spreadsheet it's easy to keep track of the items and put a value against them (but you can do it completely in Visio).

  2. Wow - that sounds good, but upgrading my current client site to 2010 is a big challenge, but I will take a look at home. Thanks.