MindManager for Mac 13; great for managing projects

MindManager for Mac is not a simple idea collection tool like there are so many for the platform. It is a full-scale project management tool, complete with Gantt charts, project costing, resource allocation, a choice between simple mind maps and flowcharts, and more.

Lets’ first start with the new templates. One new template is the Kanban template which is a sort of task management system invented by some Japanese company. In MindManager for Mac 13 it has both its own view and tags. Now, the beauty of the way it’s been implemented lies not so much in the fact that you can organise things the Kanban way, but that you don’t necessarily need to organise your mind map in a Kanban view. If you tag a few topics as Kanban, the Tag view lets you switch between Kanban and ordinary views quickly and easily.

A second new feature is the MindManager Snap function. It allows you to capture content from anywhere, using your iOS (or Android) device and add it to the queue for later use in any mind map. I tried it and it really works incredibly well; fast and with a user-friendly interface on iOS. Once you’ve captured the data, it is immediately sent to the Mac. What’s been sent or used is also instantly trashed on the iOS device to save storage space. Very well though out, this feature, but a pity it’s not available on the desktop. Snap is part of MindManager Go which gives you cross-device access to your mind maps, synchronising through Box, Dropbox, Google, OneDrive or SharePoint.

Also new is that you can extend your desktop with Sidecar (couldn’t test that; haven’t got a sidecar-capable iOS device). Very important in my opinion is that you can insert calendar events. Either you create new ones or insert them from existing events in your Apple Calendar. What is nowhere mentioned as far as I could tell is that, if you change the event in Apple Calendar or Fantastical, it automatically updates in MindManager. Automatic synchronisation doesn’t work the other way around, though. If you adjust the time of the event in MindManager, it won’t automatically ripple through to your calendar app.

If you want to add any MindManager task to a calendar, you can drag it from MindManager to Calendar or Fantastical and it will appear where you drop it. However, those dropped events — which, as far as MindManager is concerned, aren’t events but just elements of a mind map — won’t synchronise at all. The events feature works a little slow as it collects all calendar data from Calendar every time you add an event. That should definitely be sped up in an update.

Calendar synchronisation might be important, but as you can now use MindManager as a project management tool, it may matter less than it did before as you’re bound to spend more time with MindManager than you used to. Version 13 has a Gantt view, a quite basic one, but the Gantt capability comes with the cost and project time functionality that you will find in every project management app.

Having said that, I do think you’ll need a more powerful app such as OmniPlan or Merlin Project for large, complex projects. Most software developers will find MindManager useful enough, though. You can export your MindManager map to OPML and import that into Merlin or OmniPlan.

Less important perhaps, but you can now also make your diagrams richer in information and more engaging with image thumbnails. The shapes and SmartShapes have been enhanced as well.

There are a lot of other, perhaps less obvious improvements in this new version. For example, you can better manage and make sense of complex maps because of the more powerful sorting capabilities. The flowcharting tools have been enhanced, as has the ability to organise and update topics with drag and drop.

In short, MindManager for Mac 13 is like a brand new mind mapping annex project managing app that you can use for anything from small business to large-scale projects and task management.