Instantly Convert Mind Maps Into eBooks, Presentations, and Content

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How To Transform Mind Maps Into eBooks, Presentations, and Content in an Instant.png

I love the power that mind maps give us to organize our thoughts. Unlike traditional outlining, mind maps let us rearrange our thoughts easily and see connections between different ideas. Mind maps are one of my secrets to productivity – I find I’m able to outline and plan much faster with them than other planning tools.

Here’s an example of this blog post as an outline, using the PEER framework:

peer framework outline.png

However, once the plan is done, what do we do with the map? Almost all mind mapping software products export to common document formats like OPML, Outline Processor Markup Language and RTF, Rich Text Format. Using these formats, we will import our outlines very quickly to jump start our content creation efforts.

For the purposes of this post, I’m using Mindnode on the Mac, but there are lots of different, excellent mind mapping software packages available for every platform.

Outline to Powerpoint Slides

Got a great presentation outline in a mind map? Export it as an RTF file:

export rtf.png

Next, go to Powerpoint and choose Insert Slides, and then choose Outline:

powerpoint insert.png

Once you’ve found the RTF file, you’ll see it populate Powerpoint with slides:

powerpoint slides are ready.png

From here, start designing your presentation around your outline. No more retyping!

Outline to eBook

I’m a fan of Scrivener, an eBook writing software package which makes exporting to formats like Kindle and PDF easy. To generate our eBook from our outline, we first export our mind map as an OPML file:

export OPML.png

From this OPML file, we launch Scrivener and choose Import file. Once we’ve imported, our book is fully outlined with pages for each section:

scrivener import.png

This is the power of a great mind map – we travel from outline to ready-to-write in just a few clicks.

Outline to Blog Post

If we write blog posts in popular formats like Markdown, we can use utilities like Azu’s opml-to-markdown to transform our OPML file. We install opml-to-markdown on our machine:

npm install.png

…then run it on the OPML file we generated above:

npm run.png

Import the Markdown file to the Markdown editor of our choice like Medium or Ulysses, and we’re ready to write:

blog post ready to write.png

Platforms like Medium and Github often require or strongly encourage Markdown, so this is a simple way to turn a mind map into software documentation or other Markdown-friendly content.

Use Mind Maps!

The power of mind maps to help develop content in a non-linear fashion is incredible. With these simple methods, we transform our maps into content outlines and structures in moments, helping us generate better content very quickly and with minimal re-work.

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4 responses to “Instantly Convert Mind Maps Into eBooks, Presentations, and Content”

  1. Mind maps for me were a total revelation on a par with discovering the power of mastermind groups. There’s so much gold in them thar hills – it’s just a shame most people need a map simply to find the hills…

  2. Quite useful for someone like me.
    I tend to have wandering thoughts and mind mapping or pictures is easier for me to string thoughts together with than working down a blog post or presentation from top to bottom.

  3. I see your note about building two sets of content in Scrivener from one outline — is there a way to make that link updatable (Is that a word? It is now.)

    So for example, if I’m building a single-source document, would I be able to push changes in the original mind map to the existing content? Or would that create a new set of content? I suppose that depends on the software I’m using, but have you come across anything like that in your experience? 

    Will Scrivener do anything like that? 

    Thank you, very interesting!

  4. Dan Shaurette Avatar
    Dan Shaurette

    A fine article, however, I should point out that for us Windows users, Scrivener does not (yet) import OPML. So, the best we can do is import an RTF of an outline. Which, is better than staring at a blank screen I suppose, but is not as useful as being able to import a full outline that makes scrivenings automatically.

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