Importing map topic and sub-topics from Excel

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MindManager imports MS Project very nicely. I'd like to import text from Excel to create Topics and sub-topics. I don't want to import the data as tables. Is this possible?
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Posted 8 years ago

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Alex Gooding, Champion

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This is possible, but you have to structure the Excel data just right, with each subtopic level in the table in its own column and on a new line, starting one line below the "parent" topic.

The best way to understand this is to take a MM map with multiple levels of topics and export to Excel in Outline mode. The structure of the resulting Excel spreadsheet will show you how to set up other spreadsheets for import.

Once you have set up your table you can simply highlight the range to be imported, copy it and paste into a new MM map.

If however (and more typically) your Excel table has the equivalent of main topics, subtopics and subsubtopics etc all on the same line (for example, the first column showing organisation name, the second department names and the third staff names, etc) and you don't want to structure it into outline mode, you can import the table to Word, apply heading styles to each column and import it from there.

This isn't a simple process as you will still have to make some changes to the table. I've described the process in my blog (the post is based on MM9 and I haven't tried the technique yet with MM2012, but it should work the same way):
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Brittney Mazzetta

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Thank you for the response Alexsg. Tim - was this helpful? Please let me know if you have additional questions.
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Andrew Wilcox, Champion

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This Add In from aHa!Coaching may also help

I have also used the technique Alex mention successfully.
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Mayra Lopez

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I have tried this method, but for some reason, only the first column is showing up as a topic and all the other fields show up as a table inside the notes box. I tried having different heading styles for the first two columns, but this did not change anything. I am running Excel 2007 (32 bit of course) and MM2012. Please help!
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Brittney Mazzetta

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Hi Mayra. In order to best assist you, I would recommend opening a ticket with our support team. They will need to gather additional information regarding the issue that you are currently experiencing as well as your contact information. Please use this link: to open a ticket with our team. Thank you!
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi Mayra,

I'm not sure if you are having problems with the first approach I described in response to the original post, in which the subtopics are set below the main topics and the Excel table is copied into MM, or with the more complex method I posted on my Sociamind blog for importing a more table with a more conventional layout. This involves importing the Excel table first into Word and from there to MM.

If it is the first I suggest you experiment with exporting a map the other way, from MM to Excel, in outline mode and then reimporting the resulting Excel table to MM. If this works you should be able to substitute a sample of your material into the table and seeing if that works as well.

If it is the second then you may have missed a step, as the process is a bit more complex. Here's a step-by-step summary:

1. Import the table into Word.

2. If you intend to import the table sorted and grouped, for example employees grouped and sorted by organisation, put this column first, sort it and ensure that the employees (or other subtopics) are grouped appropriately. If required repeat this process for any sub-groupings.

3. Apply Word’s inbuilt heading styles to each column in descending order, for example heading 1 style to the first column, heading 2 to the second column and so on (it’s helpful to turn off Word’s heading numbering).

4. You will now have multiple entries for each organisation. Leave the first name of each organisation but replace each of the repeat names for the same organisation with a simple carriage return/line feed (it’s always handy in Word to make these visible) in the cells below. This should leave only one occurrence of each organisation name, which should appear in the first row relating to that organisation’s employees.

5. While retaining the Word heading 1 style for the organisation names, highlight the subsequent carriage returns in the table cells under each organisation name in this column and reformat them with Word’s default normal style.

6. If there are any sub-groupings, repeat steps 4 and 5 for each sub-grouping. Apart from those required for step 4 there should be no other carriage returns.

7. Save the table in Word then import it by highlighting all the required rows (without the header row) then pressing the MindManager button to import to MM. The data in any column which does not have a heading style (such as the phone numbers) will be treated as topic notes.

Good luck!


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