June 21, 2018

Map Your Thoughts With Freemind - page 3

A Mass of Conflicting Impluses

  • August 30, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

I started my new article mind map by highlighting the New Mindmap text (on the main Freemind screen) and typing in Freemind Story.

Next, I clicked on the Edit tab and chose New Child Node from the menu. That created a connection between the Freemind Story node and the new blank one where I could type in Lead Paragraph. I quickly repeated the process for the topics that I wanted to cover in the story.

I didn't worry about the order of the topics. The idea is to have a mind dump of ideas, that can be organized and prettied up later. It might be good to have one person designated as the moderator and another person manning the laptop, for group sessions. It's also best to resist the urge to discuss or evaluate the ideas as they are recorded. Remember, record it all first... then you can argue about it later.

After getting the big topics, I could highlight a node, then right click and add a new child node (subtopics). On large projects those nodes can get complicated. Left clicking on an existing node will collapse everything underneath, making the map easier to read.

Figure 1 shows my first pass at my article topics. Notice that order is useless. You'll have a similar mess after wringing all the ideas out of the team (or yourself) during the initial session.

Getting everything in order is done by left clicking and holding on a node (such as Installation) and dragging it over another node. Release the mouse and the node moves to the new location (see Figure 2).

The map still needed further order adjustment. I rolled over a node, right clicked and then chose the node menu item. I could then move a node up or down by choosing that command from the menu. Figure 3 shows how the topics and subtopics were re-ordered, for easy viewing.

You can add color, icons, or clouds around nodes by using the appropriate menu items. No sense in having boring black and white mind maps.

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