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:
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:
Next, go to Powerpoint and choose Insert Slides, and then choose Outline:
Once you’ve found the RTF file, you’ll see it populate Powerpoint with slides:
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:
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:
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:
…then run it on the OPML file we generated above:
Import the Markdown file to the Markdown editor of our choice like Medium or Ulysses, and we’re ready to write:
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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