Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How to Use Question Sets...

MindGenius provides a selection of pre-installed Question Sets.
Question Sets are available for a range of subjects and purposes such as strategy, planning, essay writing and writing a business plan, among others.
Question Sets are key questions on a range of subjects designed to help you explore that topic more fully, and help you build your map quicker by prompting you with key questions that help to ensure a thoroughly explored topic. They also ensure your map is well structured and stays on track.
Question Sets also help you get the most out of your Template maps.
You can also create your own customised Question Sets.
This “How To” guide outlines how you can set up and use Question Sets… 
Where will I find and select Question Sets?

Question Sets are available via the Question Sets menu on the Home Ribbon:
• Switch to the Home Ribbon
• Click Question Sets to show the Question Sets Menu
• Select a Question Set
The selected Question Set will be loaded into the Question Set Task Pane on the left hand side of the screen Question Sets
How Do I Create My Own Custom Question Sets?

Question Sets are created via the Edit Question Sets command on the Tools Ribbon: 


To create a new Question Set:
• Switch to the Tools Ribbon
• Click Edit Questions Sets
• Click the New Question Set icon
• Enter a name for the Question Set, or select an Existing Question Set on which to base yours
• Click Create

Once your Question Set has been created, you can begin adding or editing Questions…
To add or edit Questions:
• Switch to the Tools Ribbon
• Click Edit Question Sets
• Select the Question set to edit by selecting it from the left panel
• Select a Question to edit or select the Set title to add a new Question, then use the Edit Question, Delete Question or Add Questions icons
• Click Save to finish editing

How Do I View Custom Question Sets: 

 To view your Custom Question Sets:
• Switch to the Home Ribbon
• Click Question Sets to view the Question Set menu
• Select from the Custom Question Sets sub-menu (as opposed to “Installed”)
• Select a Question Set to view
The selected Question Set will be loaded into the Question set panel of the Task Pane


Branch Properties Can Be Formatted and User-Defined

Map Branch properties can be formatted and user-defined to suit individual needs and to add colour and various properties to any/all branches. This provides visual enhancement, highlights areas of importance and enhances  learning experiences, among other benefits.  These properties include:
• Font properties
• Branch Shapes
• Fill colour
• Branch Connectors
• Auto Colour
• Branch Spacing
• Copying and Pasting Branch Styles


Where Can I Find the Branch Format Functions?

The formatting functions are located on the Format ribbon.

Font properties of branches are changed via the Font command group on the Format Ribbon. This includes Font type, size, foreground and background colour.
(Multi-select should be used to change the properties within multiple branches)
Branch shape and Fill colour can be customized through the Branch Appearance command group.
(From the Branch Shape tab of the Branch Appearance dialog you can change: Branch Shape; Line Style; Line Width; Fill Colour and Boundary Colour).
In MindGenius colour can be used to enhance the meaning of a map as well as to help it look good. Colour, for instance, can be used to code or categorize a map after a brainstorming session, to make a particular part of the map stand out or to create an association to aid memory.
Branch connector type and styles for the whole map are set via the Connector Type menu on the Format Ribbon.
Auto-colour is used to highlight each thought-path in your map by assigning a different colour to each Level 1 branch.
Auto Colour is turned on and off via the Auto Colour toggle command on the Format ribbon.

The spacing MindGenius places between child branches and their parent and between sibling branches can be adjusted. The horizontal or vertical space between branches can be increased or decreased.

To adjust Branch spacing:

• Ctrl+Shift + Up Arrow will increase vertical spacing
• Ctrl+Shift+Down Arrow will decrease vertical spacing
• Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow will decrease horizontal spacing
• Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow will increase horizontal spacing

The style of a branch can be copied and applied on to other branches in your map. Branch styles are pasted via the Paste Style command on the Home Ribbon.



Improving Life Skills – The MindGenius Way

Each time I take a look into our customer base profile to gauge the depth and breadth of MindGenius use and adoption, I can’t help but be amazed at the range of age groups, job roles, work disciplines, application, uses and benefits.

Recent discussions with a colleague around this issue challenged me to pause and think “beyond the product” about the wider, bigger picture around the dynamics of what is actually taking place in our customer base.

Continuous feedback from across our varied customer base confirms the basics of what we would expect from users who have carried out their own thorough research around their specific needs, requirements and how MindGenius can meet these. Not unexpectedly it points to confirming that MindGenius delivers in the key aspects and across a wide range of applications:
• Helps to manage information  overload
• Increase productivity
• Brings clarity and focus to tasks, activities, etc.
• Raises the quality of work and outputs overall

However, it could be argued that whilst important and impressive enough, that list could be interpreted as high level and quite general. If we scratch below the surface, we start to uncover some real and telling uses and benefits – ones that really impact on individuals and groups and contribute to wider and far-reaching benefits.
We in fact discover that the use of MindGenius actually impacts on people’s core skills – it acts as leverage and a catalyst to the way people actually…
• Think through problems and challenges
• Improve a range of planning and organisation activities
• Approach learning, studying and knowledge management
• Cope with, manage and work through change
• Research topics
• Generally perform in more efficient and productive ways

What we see happening is when users engage with the combination of the MindGenius functionality and the mapping methodology, it becomes an intuitive and effective “way of working” that provides visualization, clarity and focus that alternative  linear, static and less creative and engaging methodologies simply do not provide (in fact have the opposite negative effect).
So, whether you are young, mature, in education, in business, office based, in management / leadership, or whatever, the MindGenius approach will augment your own skills and approaches, and in most instances help you noticeably improve them.
Going back therefore to my original viewpoint of “beyond the product”, the use and adoption of the MindGenius methodology simply improves the way we tackle these everyday tasks, activities, challenges and plans, etc.
The map diagram above is a quick brainstorm of the various areas we can prove the impact as a result of some of the ways our customers apply MindGenius. These areas are vital Life Skill aspects. Think of how many times you, or someone you know, at home, in education, or in business need to display or even improve on these Life Skills… if our research and customer feedback highlights real and tangible benefits and results in each one of these areas / skills through the use and application of MindGenius, we surely cannot afford to miss out on availing ourselves of the opportunity to further improve the way we work, perform and generally apply our personal armoury of Life Skills?
If you feel you are possibly not getting the best of MindGenius in these all important Life Skills, or you know someone who could benefit from being introduced to or increasing their use of MindGenius, we have the experience, knowledge and practical Know-how to help – just get in touch – we’d be delighted to hear from you!
There are numerous Resources both within the MindGenius product Help and with the Resources Section of our website
We also provide advice and professional training and consultancy services to help you get the most out of MindGenius and its applications for many personal, business and education uses.
Contact us anytime on

Author Bio: Jamie MacDonald, Head of Client Development at MindGenius. Jamie is a highly experienced trainer, facilitator and coach with over 20 years’ experience in training, development, HRM and business improvement.