Help Center/Tutorials/Advanced shapes

Mind mapping

Brett B
posted this on May 24, 2013 03:29 PM

Mind mapping is a unique feature of Lucidchart, available to Basic, Pro, and Team accounts. Create a mind map to expound on a single idea to create a web of thoughts, innovations, and conclusions—all without ever using a mouse.


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Hotkeys

  1. Open the Mind Mapping library from the More Shapes window (File ">" More Shapes or bottom left corner of editor)
  2. Drag the Mind Map shape onto the canvas
  3. The text is immediately highlighted to enter custom text, press enter when finished
  4. Use keyboard shortcuts to begin building out your mind map!
    • Tab : Create child idea
    • Enter : Create sibling idea
    • F2 : Edit text
    • Shift+Enter : Carriage return
    • Arrow Keys : Navigate through map
    • Z : Collapse or expand children ideas
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  1. Click and drag the parent of a branch to move a section of the map
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  1. Collapse children branches of a node by selecting the parent node and either pressing 'Z' or clicking the '-' symbol in the bottom right corner of the node
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  1. Select Auto Layout from the Shape Options panel to reorganize all the branches back to the center
  2. Modify the color of each mapping level with the Shape Options panel
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  1. To enhance the mind mapping experience, hide the Title and be sure auto-pagination is on.
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Import Mind Map Outlines

If you have an existing text outline you can now easily turn it into a Lucidchart mind map! Click 'Import' inside the mind map library and you'll be presented with two options, select a .txt file or paste in a text outline. 

  1. Importing .txt file: Plain text files can be created by any major text editor but is usually not the default. From Microsoft Word, choose 'Save As' and change the format. In Google Docs, choose 'Download As' > Plain Text.

    Sample .txt file

    .txt file from Microsoft Word
    Word_txt.png

    .txt file from Google Docs
    GDocs_txt.png

  2. Pasting a text outline: If your outline is within a larger document then it is often easier to copy the outline from your source file and paste it into the text field area.

Formatting: Lucidchart recognizes tab or space indented outlines. We recommend choosing one indentation style for a single outline. Below are examples of both styles that you can copy (Ctrl or Command + C) and paste (Ctrl or Command + V) to test.

Tab indented mind map outline

Root

            Parent 1

                        Child 1a

                        Child 1b

            Parent 2

                        Child 2a

                        Child 2b

Space indented mind map outline

Root

 Parent 1

  Child 1a

  Child 1b

 Parent 2

  Child 2a

  Child 2b

Export Mind Map Outlines

Lucidchart quickly converts any mind map into a text outline that can be copied and pasted into another document. In addition to plain text, your outline can be displayed in HTML so it is web-ready!


Troubleshooting

Import problems

  • Bullet or numbered lists: Currently Lucidchart does not support outlines with bulleted or numbered lists. Your outline must use either Tab or single space indentation.
  • Copying from Google Docs: There is an odd behavior in Google Docs where tab separators must be created as you build your outline. If all text starts on the same indentation and then you add Tab spacing, it registers it as still being on the previous indentation. 

Export problems

  • Multiple parents: One idea can be connected to multiple parents, however when the file is exported to a text outline, Lucichart only adds the idea to one of the parents.
  • Multiple mind maps: If there are multiple mind maps on the page then Lucidchart will still create one text outline but there will be as many separate outlines for as many mind maps are on the page.
  • Non-mind map shapes: It is possible to draw lines from mind map shapes and connect them to non-mind map shapes, however those shapes will not appear in the text outline.
 
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