News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ConceptDraw MINDMAP v7: The Importance of Importing Slides

The Presentation Exchange Solution for ConceptDraw MINDMAP adds the capability to import Microsoft® PowerPoint® slideshows and display their contents as a mind map. To see how this feature can benefit you in your everyday work, consider a few possible scenarios…

Scenario 1: Proposal Review

A major proposal to your company includes a PowerPoint slide deck. Clicking through the whole presentation will take far too much time, and in the process you can lose or obscure its meaning. With Presentation Exchange and ConceptDraw MINDMAP, you can easily extract the content and see how it fits together in a single view.

Olga: The entire management team needs to review those proposal slides before the end of the week. I just glanced at the file and there are over 50 slides! There’s no way we’ll have time for all this.

Jeff: You know, ConceptDraw MINDMAP just added this great ability to import from PowerPoint. We can just import that presentation into a mind map, and then distribute the map to our management team for review. You will save them so much time and headache; you might just get a promotion!

Olga: Brilliant, Jeff! You keep this up and you might just get that promotion.

Scenario 2: Presentation Revision

You have to give an important presentation to the Board of Directors on Friday. They picked apart the last presentation you gave, saying it was poorly organized and hard to follow. They felt you needed to do a better job of supporting your critical points. Why not try looking at your presentation in a new way: as a mind map?

Mary: I have to give the most important presentation of my life to the Board of Directors on Friday! And the last time I was in front of them, they were less then pleased.

Ignacio: I heard about how you went down in flames; it wasn’t a pretty sight. How about when you have the presentation completed, you import it into ConceptDraw MINDMAP? In a single view you can look over your slide content, see how the slides support one another, refine the story – the end result is that you’ll look much more professional.

Mary: Ignacio, you are a life saver! I never thought of doing that.

Scenario 3: Academia

The professor for your class has distributed slide presentations that contain lots of study content. Your challenge is to incorporate all the class materials to better leverage your study time. With Presentation Exchange, you can easily pull all that content into a mind map that illustrates the relationships between study topics.

Oscar: I think am going to fail the midterm tomorrow for our Supply Chain class. I’ve been studying from the PowerPoint slides the professor gave me, but it’s taking so long just to get organized. There are extensive notes on every slide! Thinking about it, I just know I am going to flunk that midterm. There’s not enough time left!

Elizabeth: The test for that class is going to be so easy. I finished studying for it yesterday.

Oscar: Yesterday?! How did you manage that?

Elizabeth: I have this cool program called ConceptDraw MINDMAP. I just imported the PowerPoint slides and all of the content appears in a mind map. It makes it super easy to organize. It brings all the notes from the slides in and everything. Then I can add more notes and even hyperlink to a web page or a supporting document. It cut my study time in half. It’s almost like magic!

Oscar: Oh man, that sounds great! I’d better go download it right away.

The Tip of the Iceberg

These are a just a few scenarios we imagined for how the Presentation Exchange Solution can make your daily life and work easier. How will YOU use it? Let us know via email to (Rest of World, or follow us on Twitter @ConceptDraw.

21 day free trials of ConceptDraw MINDMAP, Presentation Exchange Solution, and all ConceptDraw products are available on

Friday, December 23, 2011

Computer & Networks Solution, Part 1

The Computers & Networks Solution has been one of our most popular Solutions since the launch of ConceptDraw PRO v9. Designed with IT professionals in mind, but easy enough for anyone to use, this Solution provides library objects, templates and examples for documenting network installations of any size. Documenting your network is critical for planning changes and growth: you need to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going. Now you need look no further than the templates in the Computers & Networks Solution for help creating documents that describe the structure and location(s) of your network.

Cisco Sample Library in ConceptDraw PRO v9

First we have the Network Logical Structure Diagram. This is a high-level conceptual tool for visualizing your network. It’s important to understand the flow of data from outside your network to the various places in your organization before you get down to the nuts and bolts of which hardware goes where. Using the provided library objects and sample diagrams, you can create a flowchart that very accurately describes the zones of your network and how information enters and moves through them.

The next step is creating a Network Communication Plan. This diagram illustrates the physical location(s) of your network devices. This template is best implemented in two phases. First, map out the floor plan of the network location. Then draw in your network communication lines, wall sockets, etc. Closely related to the Network Communication Plan is the Network Layout Diagram. This is another floor plan type template the documents the positioning of the actual networked devices. Using these two templates in conjunction will create a very detailed depiction of your network’s physical makeup. Try using different layers for communication lines and hardware devices; then you can view one or the other by toggling layer visibility.

The Rack Diagram template is necessary for larger network installations. Using the template you can diagram server racks and the connections between devices in them. The basic rack object in the template can be resized by selecting it, then clicking the Action button (blue arrow) that appears. Add new pages to the document for each different rack. Then you can add hyperlinks to your Network Layout Diagram that jump directly to the diagram for each rack.

This first batch of templates is a great starting point for documenting your network. That will be plenty for you to chew on this week; next week will pick up where this left off and discuss the rest of the Computers & Networks Solution’s templates and some tips and tricks for implementing them. Stay tuned!

Free 21 day trials of ConceptDraw PRO and the Computers & Networking Solution are available on