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Magical Map Parts: File Explorer

Magical Map Parts

One feature that I love to utilize in dashboard mind maps is the File Explorer Map Part.

The File Explorer Map Part is a MindManager 8 for Windows feature that automatically creates a branch inside your maps by reading one or more folders on your computer or network that you specify. The new branch contains topics for each file in the folder with hyperlinks to the file. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to add a series of links to files into your maps.

Here are a few ways you could use the File Explorer Map Part:

  • Dashboards: If you build a master dashboard to provide visibility into your projects, objectives, and reference materials, it’ll be useful to have links to important files that you frequently access
  • Projects: If you want quick and easy access to link to any and all files related to your projects
  • Sales: If you keep a map for each client, you could link to all of your client’s related files
  • Marketing: Link to all of your marketing collaterals
  • HR / Admin: Create a branch for all of your company forms and administrative documents


Three File Explorer Map Parts

  1. All Files and Folders creates links to all files and subfolders under the target folder.
  2. All Files creates links to all files within the target folder.
  3. All Folders creates links to all subfolders under the target folder.


How to Add a File Explorer Map Part

  • Select an existing topic or create a new topic to act as a root topic for the Map Part.
  • On the Insert tab, in the Map group, click Map Part.
  • In the Map Parts task pane, navigate to the File Explorer Map Parts folder.
  • Select one of the three displayed Map Parts (see options above) and drag the Map Part onto the map.
  • Select the folder that you want the map part to link to, then click OK.

After a short pause, the Map Part will be populated with links to the files or folders on your system.


Illustrated Example

Personal Dashboard (Before Using File Explorer Map Part)

Above, you see an example dashboard map. The topic ‘My Files’ is selected and then a File Explorer Map Part is applied to create the content for this branch.


Personal Dashboard (After Using File Explorer Map Part)

In the image above, you see the results of applying the File Explorer Map Part. MindManager reads the folder that I specified and then created all topics in the branch linking to both folders and files inside each branch.


Taking Advantage of Your New Branch

Now that you have quick and easy access to the files in your computer, you can start using these topics. In the image above, I’m viewing a PDF file from within my map. You can also access and update Microsoft Office files.

Another powerful way to utilize file links is to track ‘meta data’ for each file. What I mean is that you can add map markers to your new topics so you can visually track:

  • % Complete
  • Who the file is assigned to
  • Date due
  • Priority
  • Etc…

Also, you can apply filters (e.g. show me everything assigned to me) to find and focus on the files that need your attention.

Note: These are ‘living’ branches. The links will be updated (reflecting any files or folders added or removed) when the Map Part is refreshed (e.g. pressing F5 refreshes your Map Part when its’ topic is selected).


Now, it’s your turn to share. Are you using the File Explorer Map Part? Let us know how!

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