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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

15 Best Brainstorming And Mind-Mapping Tech Tools For Every Creative Mind

15 Best Brainstorming And Mind-Mapping Tech Tools For Every Creative Mind

In order to be able to see a relationship between various ideas and information, we use mind mapping. This includes gathering thoughts, coming up with new ideas, project planning, and more to solve problems or have novel ideas. Today I compiled thea list of 15 mind-mapping tech tools that will help every creative mind be even more creative. If you like one particular tool I check out sites like Techradar, PCmagTechriggs and CNET that have many insightful user reviews to get more information.

1. XMind

xminf

    XMind is an open source tool that helps users to really understand their thinking and manage ideas. You can use this tool to export your mind map to many formats, including TXT, PDF, and HTML.

    Cost: There are free accounts available but if you want to have extra features, you will have to pay as much as $79 per year.

    2. Wisemapping

    Wise

      Individuals and businesses can take advantage of being able to share ideas with collaborators. You can embed files in blogs, and import and export them easily. As with any online tool, security may be an issue. To overcome this problem, you can download Wisemapping onto your own server.

      Cost: Free

      3. Mind42

      Mind42

        This browser-based tool lets you manage everything on one convenient platform, so you can access anything quickly. You can create, manage, and edit your data easily. Simply create an account and you are ready to go. This is a free tool, but it doesn’t have as many perks as the paid services.

        Cost: Free

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        4. LucidChart

        Lucid

          This service offers a wide array of tools for organizing your ideas, including Google image search. There is even a chat feature, and you can collaborate with others in real time. While this is a popular service, there are fees involved.

          Cost: Free account for basic users. Pro account for advanced users is $8.33. $21 per month for team accounts.

          5. MindMeister

          Meister

            This tool has an interface that is easy to use, and you can collaborate with others in real time. You will be able to use mobile devices to bring up your projects. MindMeister is cloud-based. The one disadvantage is that there is a fee to use this tool.

            Cost: Personal accounts start at $4.99 per month, going up to $14.99 for a business account. You can also check out MindMeister on AppStore and MindMeister on Google Play

            6. Mapul

            Mapul

              This web-based mind mapping tool is from Microsoft Silverlight. You never have to leave your browser to create a mind map. While it is one of the better tools out there, it is expensive.

              Cost: A 10-user account will cost $360 each year. A single user account for six months is $30.

              7. Coggle

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              Coggle

                This tool allows you to create notes, collaborate, and more. Drag and drop images, and see all of your edits. It might be too difficult for those who aren’t computer friendly.

                Cost: Free

                8. Scapple

                Scapple

                  This was created for OS X users, and it is mainly for writers. This is a great tool for authors who want to make sure that they never forget any idea they come up with.

                  Cost: There is a one-time software download fee of just $14.99.

                  9. SpiderScribe

                  Spider

                    You can connect events, files, and notes in freeform maps to organize your thoughts. Maps can be public or private, and you can collaborate with other people. This is another cloud-based tool. Create stencils and customize them.

                    Cost: Personal accounts are free. Pro accounts are at $5 per month and business accounts at $25 per month.

                    10. Popplet

                    Popplet

                      Popplet allows users to have many devices connected for the same projects. Users can record ideas, upload texts and videos, draw, and more. The only real problem with this tool is that there is no version for Android users.

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                      Cost: $4.99 for iOS

                      Check out Popplet on AppStore

                      11. MindMap

                      MindMap

                        This is an extension of Google Chrome, and users enjoy support from Cloud, Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox. You can add images and text, change fonts, and more. Save your work into local storage or in the cloud, and print or export finished mind maps as an image.

                        Cost: Free

                        12. FreeMind

                        Freemind

                          This open source mind mapping tool is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While there are many features like location-based mind mapping, collaboration tools and restore session support, it can get pretty complex, and may not be the best for those who are looking for something simpler. Maps can be exported from FreeMind as HTML, PDF, OpenDocument, SVG or PNG.

                          Cost: Free

                          13. Bubbl.us

                          Bubblus

                            This makes mind mapping easy. Create a tree, and it will change as you add ideas. You can also customize the tree by changing fonts and colors. The one negative thing about Bubbl.us is that others on your team need to have their own accounts to collaborate on the same tree

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                            Cost: Free. Premium is $6 per month. Annual is $59 a year.

                            14. Freeplane

                            Freeplane

                              This open source application can be used on any system that has Java installed. It can also be run from a removable storage device. Your mind maps will be password protected, and there are drag and drop functions. You can order, group, connect and share easily.

                              Cost: Free

                              15. CoMapping

                              Comapping

                                You can use this mind mapping tool online and offline. There are keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop functionality, change alignment of maps, colors, borders, and more. There is also a chat feature.

                                Cost: Accounts range from free up to $612 per year.

                                Featured photo credit: Paul Foreman via flickr.com

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                                Jane Hurst

                                Writer, editor

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                                Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

                                25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

                                Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

                                Or even better:

                                What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

                                You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

                                Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

                                How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

                                The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

                                In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

                                • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
                                • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
                                • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

                                As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

                                Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

                                Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

                                But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

                                his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

                                5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

                                Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

                                But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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                                1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
                                2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
                                3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
                                4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
                                5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

                                Who can use Excel shortcuts?

                                There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

                                • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
                                • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
                                • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
                                • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

                                Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

                                With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

                                25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

                                Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

                                1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

                                If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

                                2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

                                If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

                                If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

                                3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

                                Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

                                =sum(

                                …and then press F3.

                                When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

                                4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

                                Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

                                =match(

                                …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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                                When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

                                But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

                                5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

                                If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

                                • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
                                • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
                                • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
                                • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
                                • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

                                6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

                                By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

                                The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

                                For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

                                A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

                                7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

                                When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

                                8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

                                When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

                                9. Use filtering

                                Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

                                It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

                                To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

                                10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

                                Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

                                Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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                                To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

                                11. See formula results with F9

                                If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

                                Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

                                12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

                                If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

                                13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

                                Here’s how to use EDATE:

                                =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

                                =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

                                14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

                                Here’s how to use EMONTH:

                                =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

                                =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

                                15. Remove spaces with TRIM

                                TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

                                16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

                                In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

                                17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

                                When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

                                And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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                                18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

                                If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

                                19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

                                Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

                                You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

                                20. Use data validation

                                This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

                                • Create dependent drop-down lists;
                                • Create drop-down lists;
                                • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

                                21. Use conditional formatting

                                It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

                                22. Use formula auditing

                                This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

                                The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

                                23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

                                Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

                                It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

                                24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

                                INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

                                25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

                                OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

                                The bottom line

                                As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

                                That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

                                If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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