There are many online and offline tools for creating mind maps and many of them are excellent. Microsoft Word is one of them, and has a pretty solid mind map creation tool as well. Your only limit is your creativity when using these tools. Basically, you can create mind maps in any version of Microsoft Word. MS Word 2010 is different because it offers more possibilities due to its improved picture-cropping functionality.
Creating mind maps is extremely easy. Mind maps are perfect when you want to organize, visualize, classify, or structure thoughts, ideas or concepts into a simple graphic. It can help you study better, or present ideas to others more effectively.
If you are a teacher and you want to summarize lessons to your students, or you’re holding a presentation and want to point out certain key points, mind maps come in handy as well.
Here is how you do it. Open Microsoft Word and set up the Page Layout to be Portrait if you want a bigger map, but if you want a smaller one, Landscape will do.
Then choose the Insert – Shapes option or Insert – SmartArt. You’ll see a great number of shapes to choose from. By using Shapes you can combine circles or rectangles and way you’d like. As you see in the picture, you can connect the shapes by using arrows.
When you choose a Shape you can adjust size, color, borders, among other things, and you can insert text into every shape as well.
With SmartArt, everything is premade so that you don’t need to make many adjustments yourself.
What is new in Microsoft Word 2010 is that you can crop pictures and turn them into shapes very easily.
Go to Insert – Picture, then select a picture to see all of the cropping possibilities. Crop the part of the picture you need for your mind map. Crop to Shape is also useful, because you can shape the cropped picture and make it a part of your mind map that way.
You can use clipart as well if you do not have your own photos. Check our previous article on how to insert and find new clipart for Office documents.