Custom properties and spreadsheet are not compatible within same topic

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  • Updated 2 years ago

I've found a minor problem that is just a major opportunity in disguise.  :)

I've noticed a behavior in MindManager 2016 in which the built-in spreadsheet is unavailable (greyed out in the "Advanced" ribbon) for some topics.  Until now I wasn't sure what was causing this issue.  What I found out is that if you add ANY custom property to a topic, you cannot also add a built-in spreadsheet to that topic.  However, you can still attach an Excel spreadsheet. 

I'm not sure if this behavior is "by design" (i.e. due to some technical constraint or incompatibility between custom properties and built-in spreadsheets) or just a bug.  In either case, it's not an ideal behavior. 

What would really be great is if custom properties "showed much love" for the built-in spreadsheets.  Ok, I'm being a bit sarcastic here, but it would be extremely useful if custom properties could actually reference values stored in the cells of built-in spreadsheets.  This would open all kinds of doors in terms of allowing more complex dynamically-calculated custom property values.  That scenario would could nicely augment the already existing, but somewhat limited, formulas (e.g. sum, count, etc.) available for custom properties.

That would be much nicer than the current situation which seems to be that custom properties refuse to co-exist on the same topic that has a built-in spreadsheet.  I've posted a separate idea recently suggesting the ability of being able to access custom properties from Excel.  But I'm guessing that getting MindManager's custom properties to work with built-in spreadsheets might be easier than the Excel idea.  Of course, my assumption is that custom properties and built-in spreadsheet functionality is included natively within the MindManager application code and therefore completely accessible to Mindjet's developers (as opposed to Excel functionality which must be accessed through the Excel object model/API).


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Ashok Kumar

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Posted 2 years ago

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Nick Duffill, Champion

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I think this is by design, as a BusinessTopic can be one of three mutually exclusive types: Custom Properties, Table or Custom. I believe the "Table" type is used for the built-in spreadsheets. So the spreadsheet and Custom Properties will not coexist on the same topic. However there would nothing to prevent custom properties on subtopics feeding up to a spreadsheet on the parent. In fact it would be beneficial for spreadsheets to call out custom properties from other topics, like a off-sheet reference in Excel. The contents of the tables (built-in spreadsheets) are accessible to the API. A nice coding project for someone!
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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With the MAP add-in you can create custom properties which can be used to access numeric values (but not text) in an Excel spreadsheet. This facility also allows two-way syncing, ie, you can change the value in the custom property and it will be changed in the spreadsheet and vice versa. Currently there is a minor bug with this feature which is that Excel thinks linked spreadsheets haven't been saved properly but it still works.
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Nigel Goult (Olympic & MIVAP)

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Alex,

Can you email specifics about the "bug" you are getting. I have checked this and am unable to replicate this behavior.

Could you confirm MS Office version and a sequence that I can replicate?
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi Nigel, thanks for responding. I'm using Office 2010. I'll try to document the sequence and send you something on the weekend as I'm a little tied up at the moment. As I said it doesn't stop the feature from working - it's just that Excel seems to regard the amended file as a temporary one that wasn't saved properly.
(Edited)