Microsoft Word Import: why doesn't it keep rich text (underlines, italics, etc?)

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When importing a Microsoft Word document into Mindjet MindManager 14, all of the rich text (underlines, italics, bold) are lost. Why does this happen? Why doesn't the import retain this basic formatting? Thanks
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Mark1978

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Posted 4 years ago

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Marian Kocmanek, Official Rep

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Mark, 

Thank you for your message. This is currently a limitation of MS Word Import/Export functionality. 

As a workaround, you can copy the rich text from your Word document and  then paste to either a Topic or Topic Notes in your Map. 


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Mark1978

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Marian --

Thanks for you prompt reply. I hope that capability will come very, very soon (like yesterday). The only way that Mindjet has to import maps from other mapping programs is via Word. Frankly, the inability of MJ to be able to import your competitor's maps is puzzling and frustrating. It is surely a huge barrier to prospective MJ customers who have dozens, if not hundreds, of maps created by your competitors, as well as open source mapping applications like Freemind and Freeplane.

In my case, I am coming from Freeplane (a dominant open source branch from Freemind). I have hundreds of Freemind and Freeplane maps. These maps are simple and straightforward. Nothing complex. They use simple formatting like underlines, italics and bolds. No bullets, no tables, no special indents. Mindjet cannot directly import Freemind maps or Freeplane maps, even simple ones. I know, I've been told, "you can do that that via Mindjet Android app. No you can't. It's even worse than the export-to-Word-import-from-Word approach. Why jump through all those useless hoops? That's very bad from a customer perspective. So, I "go with the Mindjet program" and export the map from Freeplane to the Microsoft Word 2003 XML (the only Word export available in Freemind and Freeplane) and what does Mindjet do? It strips out all simple in node text formatting (underline, italics, bold). That makes no sense at all. Even the Microsoft Word export file has all of the underlines, italics and bolds.

Please bring this concern to Mindjet top management. They need to see this and wake up. I guarantee you that if Mindjet would take the time and care to provide this basic functionality your sales would skyrocket. By ignoring this, Mindjet is effectively erecting a barrier to entry that keeps long time users of other mind mapping solutions from going with Mindjet. That makes no sense at all. I guarantee your competitors are not putting up such barriers to former Mindjet customers.

Thank you.
Mark
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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What occurs when a Word file is imported to MindManager depends a lot on the nature of the document and in particular how it is formatted, as well as the way the default template is set up in MindManager. If the Word document is formatted correctly and is not to complex it should import well, however there are some inherent limitations.

The most important thing is to use paragraph styles consistently in Word. If set up properly the Title paragraph style used in Word for the document title will become a mindmap central topic. Heading 1 style paragraphs will become main topics, Heading 2 style paragraphs will become the first subtopics and so on.

One interesting thing you might note is that if a heading style has been applied in Word but the paragraph formatting has been subsequently modified, the correct topic level will be applied in the mindmap but MM will attempt to replicate the alteration - for example, if a heading default of capitals has been changed for one heading to lower case, this heading should appear in the mindmap as lower case.

However for some features in headings (like for example, fonts) MM will apply its default fonts and ignore the imported typeface (though this limitation does not apply to non heading styles). However you can open the default template and edit the heading topic styles to match those you use for the Word heading styles.

Another thing that is not imported is heading numbering but this isn't a big deal as you can switch on MM's own numbering.

Normal or body text or indeed most paragraph styles that are not heading styles will be imported into the topic note attached to the topic which contains the preceding heading for the section as imported from Word. So if there are three paragraphs under a heading 2 paragraph in Word and none of them are headings these three paragraphs should end up in a topic note under the corresponding subtopic in the mindmap, retaining the paragraph formatting and fonts of the original.

On the whole MM does a pretty good job of importing and maintaining paragraph styles in MindManager and is even able to import tables into topic notes reasonably well. However one thing it does appear unable to do is import formatting applied to individual words or phrases, such as for example the italicised name of a book. These will revert to the style of the paragraph in which they are located.


(Edited)
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Mark1978

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Alexsg,

Thanks for  your thoughtful reply. I appreciate so much you taking the time to explain.

I am able to successfully import paragraph styles. However, my complaint is not with paragraph styles, but the complete loss of in-node font formatting. Simple stuff like underline, italic, bold. Nothing more than that. Poof it's all gone when Mindjet takes it in (I'm using Mindmanager 14 for Windows, latest and greatest). See my reply to Marian above for details.

Thanks again for your insightful reply!
Mark
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi Mark,

Yes, you're right, at least as far as topics go.

As you indicate formatting such as underline, bold or italics is not imported from Word to a topic in MM at either a paragraph or individual word level. About the only thing that does get carried over apart from the heading level is what case the text is in; as I noted in my previous post if the default heading style is overridden by a change in case this is successfully imported, even if the formatting was applied to only part of the heading in Word.

However I was wrong in assuming that the same limitation applied to topic notes. In these you can apply formatting to individual words as well as paragraph in the body text and in the main these will be imported to MM though there are sometimes errors, particularly in relation to tables.

To be fair to Mindjet, I think a lot of mindmap programs have similar limitations when importing maps from other programs or documents from Word (not that Mindjet allows any direct map imports, but that's another story).

There are a couple of fairly limited work-arounds:


  • If the map is very flat, ie all or most of the topics are at main topic level, you can try highlighting them in Word and sending or copying them to a new map in MM. This should preserve the formatting but unfortunately and annoyingly the topics will all be pasted at the same main topic level. You will then have to drag any subtopics to connect to the appropriate main topic. Turn off any automatic numbering in Word first and reapply it if required in MM.


  • If the map is too multi-level for the above method to be practical, you could try dragging the headings and paragraphs across from Word individually, placing them at the correct topic/subtopic level. This obviously could get very time-consuming, but the formatting will be preserved and this approach might be possible for smaller multi-level maps. Again, turn off any heading numbering in Word first and reapply in the map.

(Edited)