Convert a topic to a flow chart item

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  • Updated 2 years ago
I just wanted to share a solution I found to a problem after some major troubleshooting. 

I was trying to convert a standard topic to a (MM Desktop 2016) flow chart item. But there was no apparant way to convert a standard map to include a part that was a Flow Chart.

According to a video that I found after some research, I was just supposed to select an existing item and select Flowchart in the Layout setting. It turned out that this was correct, but the Flowchart layout is ONLY availible if the topic is a Floating Topic!

I suspect I'm not the last person to experience this problem so I wanted to share the solution with the community.
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Lars-Erik Mickos

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Posted 2 years ago

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Lars-Erik Mickos

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Additionally I just found out that the Floating topic may not have any Child topics.
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Lars-Erik Mickos

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And if the Floating Topic style is applied on the Central Topic (only feasable without subtopics) it disappears (making room for your chart). Make sure you have at least one visible chart item to build your chart from. If you forgot you can still create a floating topic that you convert to a flow chart layout (as described above).

One quite easy way to convert an empty map to a flowchart map is

  • Start from an empty map
  • Add a floating topic
  • Select all (Ctrl-A)
  • Apply the Flowchart Layout (Design>Layout>Flowchart)

I still have not found a way (except undo) to retrieve the invisible Central Topic once converted into a flowchart. However it is possible to convert a flowchart item into a standard floating topic and use it as if it was a Central topic (except for formatting styles and the similar).


(Edited)
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Lars-Erik Mickos

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(Maybe should have posted this as a question or anouncement, but I don't know how to change...)
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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The interaction between the "traditional" MM map elements and the new flow chart and concept map features is interesting. As I said in a couple of earlier threads on this issue, flow charts and concept maps appear largely to be cosmetic overlays which apply special formatting to what is really a set of floating topics linked by relationship lines.

This becomes clearer when you copy either and paste into a standard map, where the relationships between the flow chart and concept map elements are turned into conventional relationship lines. This also seems to happen when I follow the approach you suggest above.

It seems the best way to integrate either with a standard map is to go the other way - ie, start with the flow chart or concept map, add at least the primary level of concepts or flow chart elements and then select either the start topic/concept and/or any of the other elements and change the layout from flowchart (which is the default for both flow charts and concept maps) to one of the standard MM mapping layouts.

This turns the chosen topic(s) into floating topic(s) to which all future additions will be standard subtopics, but does not affect the other existing flow chart or concept map topics or their relationship line formatting. In addition the flow chart or concept map formatting will still be applied to any topics or concepts added to topics which have not been "converted" in this way.

You have to be careful though moving any of these concepts or topics around as there is a tendency for the topics which have been converted into floating topics to "grab" the topic and subsume it into one of the added conventional subtopics (play around with this on a map and you will see what I mean).

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Lars-Erik Mickos

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@Alex:

I agree with you in most comments and have made the same interpretation of the "under the hood" implementation. It is quite obvious. Not that I complain much though.

There is a point at starting with a chart or concept map as you say. However, you loose the formatting and other benefits of the Central topic which cannot be retrieved again, to my knowledge (appears to be made permanently invisible when turned into a flowchart). And moving later on to another map is also made impossible due to the copy & paste limitation.

I appreciate the warning about moving around! Will keep that in mind.

I would also want to say that I was fooled by the Mindjet YouTube presentations falsely indicating that a chart or concept map could be included as subtopic just like tables (E.g. see https://youtu.be/bM3zZWaeoDw?t=11m1s).

I suspect they used screenshot images in their presentations to show them in this way. As soon as they start interacting with the flowcharts they switch to a full flowchart page. I would really appreciate if someone knows a way to include them as presented (Within a boundary topic flowing with the mindmap). However, due to the probably implementation mentioned above, I suspect that to be impossible (except for the screenshot image technique).