The Matrix

MindManager provides a great environment for group brainstorming on issues and ideas and for organizing information. While you may start out in an unstructured way, you will often find your final product has a 3-level deep structure such as in the Pro/Con analysis shown below.

Example map to be converted to table by map2table

In these cases it can be handy to convert this into a tabular format for sharing or review as shown below.

Example table created by map2table

The tabular format can be particularly appealing to map-averse "list people".

The map2table macro can do this conversion quickly for you. The resulting html file can be shared on a web site or easily imported to Excel or Word. It creates the table by compiling a list of the main topics under the selected topic (usually the central topic) and then searching each branch to accumulate the 2nd dimension of the table. You have the choice to set the 1st layer topics as the row to column headings.

The tabular format is also useful when you want a new way to look at a custom ResultsManager dashboard like "Committed Projects and Next Actions" and assess the balance across your areas of responsibility (see earlier blog entry).

Note that the macro will capture a 4th level of detail by combining the text of the underlying topics into the title text of the table hyperlinks so they can be view if you hover on the entry. It also adds hyperlinks associated with the topics by default. More details are available on the macro's wiki page.

7 Comments »

  1. untulis said,

    February 11, 2008 @ 3:06 am

    Hi AO,

    This is really great and I will use it to make information in a format that many people will find easy to read.

    Thank you for contribting so much to the MindManager, Gyronix and GTD communities.

    Chuck

  2. Marco said,

    May 27, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    Hi AO,

    How did you manage to include bullets and not have hyperlinks in the HTML?

  3. ActivityOwner said,

    May 27, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

    Hi Marco — I'm not sure what you mean — the markup for each is separate. Is it not working for you?

  4. Marco said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 8:26 am

    I'm using the macro on the Relationship Central branch of the Poweruser dashboard. My output has the action items for each user as hyperlinked text (referring to the map), and they don't display bullets. Since all action items for one user are listed in once cell, this means all actions are displayed as one line.
    I would like to get the output you're getting, the bullets would really make things clearer when I start sending this table to other people.

    Note: i'm running version 23Sep07 of Map2table; I believe this is the latest version.

    BTW: I also noticed that if I remove the hyperlinks from the action items, the are no longer extracted to the table. The same thing happens when I change the include_link variable to "False". Is this as designed?

    Thanks!

  5. Marco said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 8:33 am

    Hmm, while collecting info to get you all info you need, I figured out I was still using the macro as originall installed with the AO pack ….:(

    Sorry bout the noise, it is running fine now.

    BTW: You added some nice features, thanks !

  6. ActivityOwner said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

    Great — it has improved a bit over time. I really enjoy using this macro on maps to provide a fresh look at things.

    You got me looking at it so I just uploaded a new version that sorts the 2nd layer items. The previous version put items in the order it discovered them, which could put things out of order if your first topic didn't have a full set of subtopics.

    I also just updated ao_next_action_analysis to include a tasks by area and priority branch (under the focus main branch). If you run map2table on that, you get a nice overview of your work by area and priority.

    I currently seems to have quite a bit in the unprioritized/undefined-area box, so time to fire up mindreader for some markup…

  7. Ben said,

    June 8, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    Wow, exactly what I've been looking for for months!
    map2table and map2excel are both very useful.
    Thanks a lot for your efforts!

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