Combine the power of mindmaps and flashcards with XMind2Anki


Mindmaps are fantastic to show you the structure of a course, an organization or a group of concepts.  Flashcards are great when you want to study details, definitions or formulas.  With XMind2Anki, combine the power of mindmaps and of flashcards to study even more efficiently!

If you are a regular mindmap user, you already know how efficient they are to study : they are a fantastic way to find the links between concepts and to show the structure of any set of thoughts.   You already found out how the association of keywords, pictures, branches and colours helps you to better understand and memorize.

If you use flashcards to prepare for your exams, you already know how helpful they can be to memorize very quickly a huge amount of new words in your own language or in a foreign idiom, definitions or maths and sciences formulas.

What if you could combine the powers of those two fabulous tools?  If you could use the links, the structure, the global view of a mindmap as well as the powerful details memorization of flashcards?

Of course, it would take a lot of time to gather the elements of your mindmap to turn them into a deck of flashcards!

But, imagine that an application could automatically turn your mindmap into a deck of flashcards?  You could take advantage of both techniques without wasting your time copying items from one medium into the other…

how to combine the structure of a XMind mindmap with the memorizing power of Anki ?

Combine mind map & flashcards

XMind2Anki : the power of mindmaps and flashcards

Such application exists : it is called XMind2Anki and it has been developed by my friend Bruno Martin who is finishing his PhD thesis in Paris (you can follow him on Twitter : @itc4efficiency)

It is a small application that you can download and use entirely for free : no bad surprises!

Download also XMind and Anki if you don’t have them yet.

Draw your mindmap as usual.  In this article, we’ll see the simplest method : one question and a set of answers per branch (or topic, in XMind lingo).  In another article, we’ll see how to use filters to export more complex mindmaps.

I made a mind map about the French Presidents of the Fifth Republic.

An XMind mind map about the French Presidents to be exported as a deck of Anki flashcards

A simple 2 level mindmap

This is a very simple 2 level mindmap : the first level – Premier, Deuxième, Troisième, etc. – will be our question.  Who is the fifth French President of the Fifth Republic?

The second level – for instance, Jacques Chirac, 29-11-1932, etc. – will be the answer.

Nothing very complicated!

Using XMind2Anki for the first time

Once you have downloaded your application, you get a .rar file.  You have to decompress it in order to launch it.  Then, click on the xmind2anki.exe file, if your OS is Windows ; click on the .jar file, if you work with Mac OS or Linux.  Xmind2Anki can work with the three operating systems.

When you launch XMind2Anki, the following menu pops up on your screen :

A window pops up on your screen with the different options of XMind2Anki

XMind2anki window

Turn your mindmap into a deck of flashcards

First, click on the red button, in the superior left corner of the menu.  This will indicate to XMind2Anki which XMind mindmap you want to export to Anki.  In this case, I select my French Presidents mindmap.

Then, choose a name and a location for your Anki file.

When it’s done, simply click on the green button, on the right.  XMind2Anki starts to export your mindmap as a new deck of Anki Flashcards!

XMind2Anki Menu showing the achievment of the exportation to Anki

Exporting to Anki!

Since I have only 8 topics, the exportation takes only a few seconds!

If I look closely at my XMind mindmap, I’ll find out that a tiny icon appeard in the central topic : it is the Anki icon and it is a hyperlink towards the desk of flashcards I just created.

Anki hyperlink towards the new desk of flashcards

A tiny icon appears in my central topic

If I click on that tiny icon, I’ll open my new desk of Anki flashcards!

Here is a sample of my new desk about the French President : this is the fourth topic of my XMind mindmap and the fourth flashcard of my Anki deck : François Mitterand, who was the fourth President of the Fifth French Republic.

The word “Quatrième” – fourth in French is my question.  So, who was the French president ?  The answer is François Mitterand and I can see his picture.  All the subtopics the branch François Mitterand became parts of the answer, listed in a bullet list under the picture.

An Anki flashcard resulting of the exportation of my XMind mindmap topics

A new flashcard

Now, I can study the presidents of the Fifth French Republic combining the structuring powers of the XMind mind map and the memorizing powers of the Anki flashcards.

And you : are you also using this kind of techniques ?  Or do you study with other tools ?  Which ones ?  What kind of results do you get ?

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Search and summarize all your web pages with XMind Summarizer (tutorial)


Context Discovery has created XMind Summarizer, a new extension to XMind: a great tool for searching on the Internet!

Lisez cet article en français !

How to summarize a web page quickly? How to find material relevant to my work on the web without losing too much time to read everything?

Context Discovery has found a very satisfactory answer to this question: XMind Summarizer.

 We already knew Web Summarizer, the online device that summarizes web pages as mindmaps. But Context Discovery, the Canadian company specializing in automatic text summaries, has taken a step further by proposing an extension for XMind.

(Click on the picture to make it bigger.  You can also download that XMind Mindmap and many others from my Profile on Biggerplate).

Xmind mindmap showing how to use the Smart XMind Extension to summarize any web page

How XMind Summarizer works

This is the Polish company Smart XMind Extensions which broadcasts on the web: it is also the designer of XMind extensions for Outlook or systems time management and project that I will have the opportunity to talk.

In the meantime, here’s a tutorial on XMind Summarizer:

An automatic summary of interesting web pages

What is the XMind Summarizer extension ? It runs a web page, marks the relevant keywords, copies the sentences in which these keywords appear and organizes all in a mindmap.

With the smart extension XMind Summarizer, all this happens automatically in XMind, as summarized in the video below.

To install the extension XMind Summarizer is very simple: go to the XMind Summarizer page and sign up for the 30-day trial license: it’s free, but mandatory. Then, if the product appeals to you, there are several possible starting at $ 2.99 per week subscriptions.

Finally, download the small program. Start your XMind, and you now have two more icons in your menu bar at the top of your screen: Summarize by topic, which takes the form of a red W in and white square and Summarize synthesized by a simple red W .

Summarize a Wikipedia page with Summarize by Topic

The first icon allows you to automatically summarize any Wikipedia page. You type the keyword you are looking for as a central topic of your XMind map.

Then click on the icon Summarize by Topic or right-click your mouse at the bottom of the menu, click Summarizer and then Summarize by Topic, as shown in this video:

Summarize any web page with Summarize

The good news is that XMind Summarizer works in several languages, including French: so you can summarize any web page in English, French, German and Spanish.

Let’s do the experiment with two web pages in French on content marketing. I open a new XMind map and I type “Content Marketing” as the central subject.

But this time, I do not click the “Summarize by Topic” icon, but on the other icon: Summarize.

XMind Summarizer shows me a dialog with a field. I stick the URL of the first page that interests me. And XMind Summarizer starts to search. After a few seconds, I have a first branch on my mindmap with a series of keywords that match my search.

I repeat the process with a second page and I get a second branch on my mental map XMind, with a different set of keywords for the page.

When and how to use XMind Summarizer?

Please do not use this XMind extension to study! I wrote several articles on the subject and I am convinced that what facilitates learning by mindmaps, is the act of building the map itself. Because it uses different cognitive skills.

If you use XMind Summarizer to do this job for you, you have no chance to understand and / or remember anything!

By cons, this extension seems very interesting if you are a researcher, librarian or student. And you need to research on the web.

Because, as I showed in the videos of this article, you can quickly access content from Wikipedia and other pages. And more, XMind Summarizer synthesizes the page content as keywords for you!

It therefore seems very promising for those who must synthesize large amounts of information, which should conduct research on keywords, or should organize knowledge bases.

This application does not summarize either a text or a course in your place. To do this, you should also summarize yourself with a mindmap. But this extension will provide a working basis on which to build your resume. And that’s a lot!

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