Create an outline whenever you want to work on the blueprint of your plans, ideas or projects, and have a clear overview of their key points.
The outline allows you to organize your ideas before starting a project. Use it in the prewriting process of your papers, or if you simply want to illustrate the connections between concepts (cause, effect, example, etc.). Support your research by creating an outline with the information you found.
Creating an outline
Click on the Create button on the top-left corner of your dashboard and select Outline.
Structure of an outline
The title of your outline has the largest font size and the style of its text is bold, by default.
The main topics of the outline look like a bulleted list, on the same indentation level. Their text style is also bold, but with a smaller font size. Subtopics have a higher indentation than the main topics and their text style is regular.
Explanatory notes are added right below a topic; they have the smallest font size, a grey text color, and they're not bulleted.
The outline is organized under the form of headings and subheadings. If you turn your outline into a mind map, these will automatically become your main topics and subtopics. The title of the outline will be your central topic in the mind map view.
Editing an outline
The text of the outline can be edited in a way that is similar to how you normally would edit text in Microsoft Word, for e.g.
- Add more topics to your outline with ENTER or from the context menu that opens up when you right-click next to a topic.
- Use the TAB key to increase the indentation level of any topic.
- The outline's nested hierarchy allows you to collapse all the subtopics of a certain topic with the - icon. Click on + to expand them.
- Add an explanatory note to any topic with the SHIFT + ENTER key combination.
- Use ENTER inside an explanatory note to add a line break.
Drag & drop topics on your outline to quickly reorganize its layout. Hover over the bullet point in front of the topic to select and move it.
The line you see when you hover over another location allows you to choose the place the topic will occupy in the outline's hierarchy. Drop the topic wherever it suits you best.
Drop it on the same indentation level as the outline's title to remove any relationship of subordination and turn it into a floating topic.
To focus on specific content, go to a topic line and select the drill down button (or F6). This will allow you to focus on the content of the topic, by hiding everything else. Go to Home on the top-left side of the window to return to the full outline view.
Adding additional information
The comments panel (1) allows you to add larger bodies of text or guidelines to your topics. Here you can vote the topic, assign it to someone, set its due date or attach files from your computer/Google Drive/Dropbox (under the attachments icon).
Add icons to your topics from the Mindomo gallery (2).
From the Hyperlink & Attachments panel, you can add URL links, files previously uploaded to Mindomo, or links to another map/topic (3).
In the outline view, any attachment, URL link or comment you add to a topic will only show up as resources' icons (a globe for attachments, a text box for comments), next to the topic's text.
Clicking on the globe icon will open up a miniature view of your attachment.
Managing tasks with outlines
Set topic as task (Ctrl + K) and a checkbox will be added in front of the topic (3). Check off the box to set the task as complete. The completed task will now be visible under a checklist icon, which also shows the number of completed tasks it contains.
If the main topic has the option Set as task checked off, all its newly added subtopics will automatically inherit it and become subtasks. You can always remove the check mark to keep the newly added subtopics from turning into subtasks. A topic can have both subtasks and normal subtopics hierarchically below it at the same time.
You can also manually insert a task subtopic from the Insert panel (Alt + SHIFT + ENTER).
The context menu allows you to assign a topic to someone (instantly turning the topic into a task), and choose a start date/due date for the task (2). A task can be assigned to one or more people (1). Each of the assignees will get notified by e-mail on changes related to task.
Setting a priority for a task and monitoring its completion and duration can also be done from the context menu of each task topic (3).
Turning an outline into a mind map
- Go to the mega menu icon on the top-left side
- Click on View as mind map. The outline will open in the mind map mode.
You also have the possibility to keep the mind map view:
- Go to the menu icon on the top-left side
- Click on Tools
- Select Keep as mind map. From now on, the map will not automatically revert to the outline view.
Any mind map can be switched to the outline view as well, while still maintaining the visual hierarchy of the topic-subtopics.