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Map Markers: Power Your Process with Custom Markers (Part 2 of 2)

Have you ever shared your maps with others with the greatest of expectations only to have the map readers return confused and quizzical expressions?

Customizing map markers is one giant step you can take to make your maps easier to read, understand, and use.

Yesterday, we reviewed how to rename your markers and set a marker group up to be mutually exclusive. Today, you will learn how to customize the default markers to make your maps more intuitive to read and use.


Add or Remove Icon Markers:

Whether you’re researching a new subject, planning a project, brainstorming or perfecting your presentation content, you will save time visually tagging your content.

New icons can be created by your team, found on the web, or added from the set provided within MindManager. Select icons that visually represent the stage or status of your process to improve how you visually scan your maps, apply filters, make selections, and even sort based on the assigned icons.

Removing icons from the map to make it easier to take advantage of the mutual exclusive feature where you can click to advance the topic’s marker to the next available status. For instance, you may want % complete to be either 0% or 100%. By removing the additional percentages, it’s faster to click on the topic’s marker to toggle between complete or not started instead of cycling through 25%, 50%, 75%, etc…

Add icon markers from MindManager’s current set of available icons:

  1. In the map marker’s pane, right click on the marker group name.
  2. Select the option New Icon Marker.
    Note: for some special marker groups, the option may be named differently (e.g. add new task priority).
  3. In the New Icon Marker window, enter the new marker’s name and use the drop down list to select an available marker.


Add new icons into MindManager:

  1. Go to the Library pane, select the Map Marker Icons section and click Add icon
  2. In the dialog, navigate to and choose an .ICO file.
  3. Follow steps 1-3 above to add the new marker into your map’s marker list.


Remove a marker from a list:

  1. In the map marker’s pane, right click on the map marker.
  2. Select delete.
  3. Note: If the marker is currently used in the map it will still appear on the topic(s). The marker will appear in the General Icons or General Text Markers section of the Map Markers Groups. You could use the select or filtering to find all the instances where this marker appears within the map if you want to remove.


Add or Remove Text Markers

It’s possible to add text marker groups and text markers. I find this option incredibly powerful but most users are not yet aware of this feature. It requires a few steps to setup but will be well worth the effort. Check it out; these markers give you practically unlimited flexibility to tag your topics with additional layers of context.

There are two methods. I used to always use the Map Marker pane to setup my text markers but just read the online help to see that there is a much easier and faster way to add text markers. It’s called the dynamic add which means you need to have a topic selected in order to add the markers. You can create a dummy topic before the process and delete it afterwards. The markers will still be setup for later use in your map (after you save the map).

  1. Select a topic or topics.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Map Markers group, click Text Markers.
  3. If the marker already exists, you can select the group and then apply it to the topics.
  4. If you don’t see the marker you want to use, select add new text marker.
  5. Select or add a new group and then add the marker name.
Additional notes & considerations:
  • Text markers currently have to be unique in the map. In other words, if you create ‘high’ as a text marker in one marker group, you cannot add another marker called ‘high’ for a different group.
  • If a marker group is mutually exclusive, only one text marker from that group can be added to a topic. If you add a second marker from the same group, it replaces the first marker.
  • If you apply a marker to a topic that already has it assigned, it will actually remove the marker from the topic. This works as a toggle, so a second click on the markers will add it to all selected topics again.


Create a Map Legend

If you share your maps with others, you will dramatically improve their ability to understand of the content when you add map legends.

Provide the keys to understanding your organization and tagging process. The generated legends display map marker list groups, and all the named markers within those groups.

Add a Map Legend:

  1. Select the topic to attach the legend to. The legend is added as a new main topic or subtopic by default, but you can detach it to make it a floating topic.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Map Markers group, click the Map Markers dialog launcher to open the Map Markers task pane.
  3. Under Organize, click Insert legend into map.
  4. Choose whether to show all markers in the legend, or only those that are used on the map.

A new set of topics will be added to the map showing the map marker groups and meanings. Markers in the General icons group will not appear in the legend. If you want to include these markers in the legend you must name them.

Note: The legend is not automatically updated, so if you rearrange the markers in the list or rename the groups the legend will not be current. Delete the existing legend topic and then add the legend again from the Map Markers pane to create a current legend.


Related posts in this series:

Now it’s your turn! Add your questions and comments about Map Markers below! I’ll continue to address them in this series.

About the Author: Michael Deutch is Mindjet’s Chief Evangelist, content contributor for the Mindjet Blog and the Mindjet Connections newsletter. Get more from Michael on Twitter.

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