Softpedia Editor's Review for XMind
Designed to be a global leading visual thinking tool, with a clean and friendly user interface
Written by Mihaela Citea on June 1st, 2012
Read an in-depth analysis in our professional review for XMind
XMind is an advanced, yet easy to use mind mapping utility that can help you offer visual support to your ideas and organize tasks.
First of all, the program provides you with a user-friendly interface, where you can organize and save each brainstorming session as a different workbook. You can also use this utility to make interactive presentations, as you can bring ideas into maps and add them audio notes.
The application enables you to generate your own mind map in no time. The map can be as large as you want; you simply have to start adding the topics, ideas and tasks and edit the relationship between them. A tree-view sketch is permanently displayed, allowing you to view and modify the structure at all times.
There are various ways to visually organize and prioritize item relationships. Adding priority numbers, smileys, flags and stars are just a few of the symbols that you can place on the topics in order to highlight them. Moreover, you can add status markers to the topics, thus enabling you to know if the task is started, paused or completed.
But text boxes are not the only item that can be used in order to make the mind map more comprehensible. The program also enables you to insert file attachments and hyperlinks. Also, every item you add to the mind map can have its own note and label. Almost for every mentioned action, you just have to double click on the map or access the context menu.
One other advantage that this program brings you is the mini web browser, which can be useful in brainstorming processes, when trying to gather information and associate ideas.
Brainstorming includes carrying out various ideas and managing information in a fast and efficient way. XMind allows project teams to innovate, as it represents a viable solution for producing and organizing ideas.
Here are some key features of "XMind":
· All the information can be structured in XMIND! Topics are automatically positioned by structures which users can choose from the 6 widely used kinds, including mind map, logic chart, org chart, tree chart, 2D chart and fishbone chart. Even more, any single branch in the map can have different structures.
· The Mind Map structure contains a root in the center, with main branches radiating from it. This structure works especially well in brainstorming sessions, where users can collect ideas related to a central topic, but do not need analyze, organize, or prioritize them
· This tool, also known as a Cause & Effect diagram , Ishikawa diagram, or, fishbone pattern, is highly effective for solving quality problems by logically organizing them by branches. The direction of these branches resembles the shape of a fish bone.
· Fishbone charts help users visually organize the causal relationships in complex ideas or events. They also increase awareness of cause and effect, and more simply organize learned materials or theories.
· Markers represent some attributes as image icons, and are widely used in project management, planning, and others. XMind provides a wide array of markers, or allows users to add their own images as markers.
Concept Map Support:
· Concept maps graphically illustrate relationships between information. In a concept map, two or more concepts are linked by words that describe their relationship. XMIND provides abilities that allow users to put varieties of concepts into floating topics and rapidly build relationships with descriptions between them by several simple operations(e.g. keyboard shortcuts). And more attractively, users can cut one relationship into two by inserting a topic.
· Floating topics are not attached to any other topic and free to locate within the map. Users can create floating topics to keep some wild ideas or start new threads of thinking. Use drag-drop to attach any floating topic to another topic as its subtopic, or reversely separate any topic from its own branch to become a floating topic. By the way, a floating topic can also have subtopics.
· It is a well accepted manner to group several topics with familiar information or concepts together within a boundary. In this case, boundaries are used not only as an emphasis, but also as a weak category of the specified topics. Decorated with colors and/or line patterns, different boundaries would be distinctive and clear.
· When two topics has relationship between each other, we usually illustrate this as a line linking them on the map. And we call it a 'Relationship' in XMIND. Users can then write some text on the line as a description of that relationship, e.g., 'gives rise to', 'results in', 'is required by', etc.
Rich Text Notes:
· Rich text notes are used to record complementary details of topics. Users can place more information about the topic, insert images for illustration, or change the appearance of the text, e.g., font size, color, etc. It's also enabled to view and edit notes even in presentation mode.
· Theme is a collection of colors, shapes, line patterns and other coordinated attributes of a map. Users can choose from a variety of professional themes XMIND provide to apply to their maps in one easy step. For convenience, XMIND allows users to extract a theme from an existing map and save it for future use.
· Marker represents some attributes of a topic as an image icon, and is widely used in project management, planning, etc. Besides the markers XMIND provides, users can add their own images as markers. Once added to a map, a marker can be renamed to express some specific meaning on that map.
· Legend is a floatable box on a map which shows all the markers used on that map with their specific meanings behind them, just like legends on ordinary geographical maps. Users can place a legend anywhere within the map by drag-drop, or decide whether to show or hide the legend. Legend is very useful in presentation, planning, printing, etc.
· Labels are like small tags stick on topics, typically used for simple annotation and category. A topic may have multiple labels separated by commas. When typing a label, XMIND will suggest labels from the existing labels on this map. Users can choose one from the list and pressing 'Enter' to auto-complete with the selected one. By the way, there are still advanced usages of label relating to Filter and 2D Chart.
· Powerful Filter brings tremendous productivity improvement when users face a large, complex map. Basically, filtering enables users to make some contents of a map visible and others not. Users can determine which topics to show by elements representing topic attributes, e.g., markers and labels. XMIND provide a quick marker filter at the bottom of editor area, where users can choose one marker from the popup list to filter out topics on the map with the same marker. This ensures instant filtering and accelerated map review. In addition, there is a full list of markers and labels used on a map in Filter view, where users can choose multiple markers and/or labels as a combined filter.
· What makes XMIND's filtering more powerful is that the result of filtering is no longer to hide the invisible topics completely, but to gloom the whole map while the visible ones are much brighter. In this manner, users can highlight the key points without losing the entire view of map.
· Attachments are represented as topics in XMIND. External files can be attached to a topic as its subtopics or on the map as floating topics. These attachments can be renamed, moved, deleted just the same as other topics. Users can change these attachments' color, shape, line patterns, etc., and even add subtopics or more attachments to them. Attachments traval with XMAP files during distribution and sharing. Viewers are able to open an attachment directly or save it out as a local file. It's easy to drag-drop files from users' local folders into a map as attachments. By the way, when dragging an image file, users can drop it either on a topic as the topic's image or to create a topic with that image.
· Hyperlinks can be used to connect to websites, folders, or files such as Excel or PDF documents. Each topic can be a hyperlink when given a URL. A hyperlink are able to be modified or canceled, but not to accept more URLs. Users can open a hyperlink by simply ALT-clicking the topic. When drag-dropping a hyperlink from a web browser on a topic, the hyperlink's URL will be inserted into that topic or replace the topic's former URL if it's already a hyperlink. Similar with attachment, hyperlinks can also be drag-dropped into a map as subtopics of a topic or floating topics. Then users can change these hyperlinks' description, position, color, etc.
· Printing a map in XMIND is similar to printing in most of other applications. Use the printer options to select the printers, print range, etc. Users are able to add a page header and/or page footer on it, or to decide whether to print with map background and/or border lines. It's a good way to print a map out on paper and stick it on the wall as a notice.
· To achieve a full scale of compatibility, XMIND is seamlessly integrated with a wide range of third-party applications. Users have a free choice to export maps into a variety of formats, e.g., Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, PDF, RTF, etc. If they only want images, they can export maps into a single image or multiple images with a certain image format(JPEG/BMP/PNG/GIF).
Import from FreeMind/MindManager:
· For users used to work with FreeMind or MindManager as their previous thinking tool, XMIND provides the ability to import their former work of these two types into XMIND without losing anything important. Then users may continue their work in XMIND. This allows users to open these types of maps obtained from others, which protects everyone's efforts and investment.
· Every XMAP file is a workbook that can contain multiple sheets, each containing a map. Users can create maps with different contents or styles for different usages within one workbook. This facilitates storage, distribution and sharing in common project management. Moreover, any single map can be saved out as an independent workbook as required.
Drilldown & Drillup:
· Drilldown enables users to focus in on a specific branch. The focused branch will be displayed as the central branch in the map. Users can then modify the details of this branch and go back to the former level by a simple click. If users don't want some information to be shown in higher levels, they can put them into floating topics which will not be seen after 'drilling up' to full map, yet still can be found by 'drilling down' to this branch later.
· The spelling check automatically works as users type text in XMIND. Misspelling words are marked with a red underline. Right-click on the word to correct it, or choose a suggeted one from the popup menu. Users can also add the word to dictionary. More options about Spell Checker can be found in the Preference dialog.
· XMIND includes a variety of templates for business, educational and personal use. Once users have created their maps using one of these templates, they can easily tailor it to meet their specific needs. Ideas and suggestions for expansion are provided in various notes. To help getting started, XMIND also includes many ready-made project plans for common business activities, such as organizing a tradeshow, producing a publication, launching a product, etc. Users can use these ready-made plans for training purposes or as a basis for their own project plans. Users can also design some particular templates to meet their requirement in work and save them for future use.
· A 800Mhz or greater processor.
· 256M RAM or greater, recommend 512M or greater.
· 100MB free disk space for downloaded file and installaltion.
· Internet connection for certain features (like Share) and XMind Pro.
· Microsoft Word/Powerpoint for certain features (like Export).
· Java Runtime Environment 6
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· Korean Language pacakge. Now, XMind has English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Danish, and Slovenian version.
· Auto-update support on Windows and Max OS X.
· View/clear activation information in the license dialog.
Bugs fix and Improvement:
· Upgrade to Eclipse 3.8.1
· Increase the file saving speed tremendously
· Re-designed “New…” Tab
· Drag the file/folder into XMind as a local file hyperlink
· File hyperlink pointing to a location in local area network is regarded as a broken relative link.
· Some bugs causing startup crash on Windows.
· Pressing ‘Enter’ key to type literal words using some input methods finishes topic title editing on Mac OS X.
· Hyperlink in notes causes failure of exporting to Mindjet MindManager.
· Debian package contains ‘bad permission’ files.
· Automatically recover to original state in case of failure to save a .xmind file.
· Many other minor improvements and bugs fix.