Is BigPicture the right tool for you? Learn more at an upcoming webinar.

  • Are you a DecisionTools Suite user that has yet to experiment with BigPicture?
  • Do you work in the Human Resources Sector?
  • Are you an entrepreneur or involved with network marketing?
  • Do you have data that needs to be summarized?
  • Are you a mind mapper?
  • Do you like to track your progress?
  • Are you looking for a tool that will help keep you organized?
  • Do you want to improve your productivity and build your business?

If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, please join us for an upcoming webinar to see how BigPicture can be a powerful tool to help you.

BigPicture for Human Resources
In this webcast, we will demonstrate how BigPicture works, and how it can aid you in your everyday tasks. From mapping out your “to-do” list to creating organizational charts, there are plenty of ways that BigPicture can help streamline your day, week, month, etc. Join us for this webinar to learn more!
 » April 21st – 1pm NYC Time

BigPicture and PrecisionTree: A collaboration of two products
In this webcast, we introduce you to BigPicture – Palisade’s mind mapping, diagramming, and data visualization add-in for Microsoft Excel – and how it can be used in conjunction with Palisade’s PrecisionTree software.
 » May 12th – 1pm NYC Time

BigPicture for Entrepreneurs and MLMs
In this webcast, we will demonstrate how BigPicture can be applied to the everyday tasks of Multi Level Marketers, Direct Selling Associates, and Entrepreneurs. From mapping out your vision board, to visualizing your team/organization; tracking your activity and sales to presenting to others; BigPicture is extremely versatile can help streamline your day, week, month, etc. to help you focus on income producing activity for your business.
 » June 1st – 11am NYC Time

Introduction to BigPicture
In this webcast, we will show you how BigPicture works, and how it can aid in strategic planning, human resource analysis, data exploration, and more. We will walk through the basics of setting up a BigPicture diagram (or “map”), and illustrate several real-world examples of different applications.
 » April 6th – 10am NYC Time
 » April 12th – 10am London Time

 » April 26th – 5pm NYC Time
 » May 4th – 10am London Time
 » May 18th – 10am NYC Time
 » May 26th – 10am London Time

If you are unsure which webinar to attend feel free to reach out to us at, and we will guide you in the right direction.

Looking forward to sharing BigPicture with you!

Examples of Mind Mapping in NYC with Biggerplate

biggerplateBPUNRecently I had the pleasure of sharing an entire day with a tight-knit group of mind mappers from around the globe. They are a friendly group, willing to share ideas of how mind mapping has improved productivity in their personal and professional lives. The Biggerplate Unplugged Conference that I attended was held at Civic Hall in New York City on an unusually warm day in March. The diversity of applications that centered around mind mapping was a beautiful site to see. From entrepreneurs and consultants, to writers and educators, to medical professionals and tech leaders, there was something to be learned no matter the field.

The mind mapping software packages used to create such mind maps were also quite diverse. BigPicture, of course, is a perfect tool for creating mind maps directly in your Microsoft Excel workbook. However, truth be told, it does not matter the means by which you create your mind map – it is the principal behind it that is basis of this post.

For instance, have you ever created a “to do” list? Or had to gather information for a presentation? Or break down a larger project into smaller projects? Or chart your progress?  All of these applications, and many more, would be perfect scenarios of how a mind map could reduce the amount of time that people spend trying to organize and reorganize their thoughts.

Here are a few other ways that were covered at the conference:

Dr. Pablo Buitron de la Vega shared how he used mind mapping for medical education and for patient interaction. Via mind maps, Dr. Buitron de la Vega and Dr. Wazir Kudrath have created a specialized and integrated study companion that helps future doctors prepare for the USMLE examinations. In addition, Dr. Buitron de la Vega has had some of his patients create mind maps to map out their disease, symptoms, triggers and solutions to help keep them on track when things are in their control. By having the patient go through the exercise of creating a map, they are triggering a variety of neurons in their brain that will help them to remember why and what is causing them discomfort.

Madeleine Philippe from the Universite Saint-Louis Bruxelles and Toni Krasnic of Concise Learning, and author of How to Study with Mind Maps, took the stage to demonstrate how mind mapping  can help develop essential thinking and learning skills. Mr. Krasnic said it best when he said that he teaches students and educators to use mind maps to move away from simply collecting information and instead connecting information.

Writers Roger Parker and Stephanie Diamond demonstrated how they use mind mapping to map out their projects, whether it is a simple blog post such as this one, or an entire book. A mind map can help you focus on your target audience, what you want to cover, and how to engage your audience more effectively.

Brian Sodl of Navigator Management Partners and Larry Wolfe of Boeing each presented  on how mind maps can be useful in larger organizations such as Boeing, Deloitte, and Bearing Point. They discussed how there are occasionally challenges that may arise when trying to convince upper management that mind maps are a viable tool. Mr. Wolfe touched on the benefits of self-organized mind map user groups to help overcome the hurdle and to prove that mind maps improve efficiency in the workplace.

David Hill was also in attendance. For those that may not be familiar with David’s work, he had an integral part in helping to keep all of the details organized for the rebuilding lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. His tool? A mind map.

To  drive home how imagery can help people retain information, Nora Herting and an artist from her company, ImageThink, delved into the science behind how the human brain works. While Nora presented, her artist stood on the sideline drawing a summary image of her talk. (See summary images for all of the talks below.)  As described on ImageThink’s website, these masterpieces drive discussions, create lasting records of free-flowing ideas and provide actionable documents to continue the conversation long after the event.

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In summary, it was great to share this day with Liam Hughes, founder of Biggerplate, his staff, and fellow mind mappers. And now I am sharing with you, so you can see that there are endless applications for using mind maps!

Now, if only I could spend a day or two with a few tight-knit strategic mapping, organizational chart creating, flow chart diagramming, data mapping evangelists – I might be able to cover all of BigPicture’s features!







BigPicture to attend Biggerplate Conference in NYC this week

What is Biggerplate, you ask?BiggerPlateAdClean is THE community for mind mappers. They are the home of mind mapping content and learning resources regarding mind maps. They host a range of meetings, workshops and their annual Biggerplate Unplugged Conference which is TOMORROW at Civic Hall in New York City. This is the only conference in the world dedicated entirely to mind mapping! Tomorrow’s speakers include authors, tech leaders, professors, medical professionals and more. The primary focus for this year’s conference is how mind mapping software, such as BigPicture, is the missing link and the must have tool for knowledge workers in business and education.

Why are we so excited?

By attending this conference we will be able to network with mind mappers from around the globe for a full day of mind mapping ideology. Even though mind mapping is only ONE of the MANY features that BigPicture provides, it is one that can be an incredible addition to what you may already be doing with Palisade’s other DecisionTools Suite products. Mind mapping in BigPicture can help streamline your processes and improve efficiency in your daily projects.

Palisade Corporation is always looking to learn what our audience is doing and what their wishes are. These situations provide an insight for us to be forward thinking and to take a look at the Big Picture…and BigPicture to see where we can improve functionality in future releases, such as what we did with our most recent release of BigPicture that went live last month.

Two thirds of the population are visual thinkers. We are looking to learn how those two thirds of the population can benefit from using BigPicture!


BigPicture 2016 v1: Users Spoke – Developers Listened

BigPicture - Mind Mapping and Data Exploration for Excel

New Features in BigPicture — at Users’ Request

Palisade is pleased to announce that BigPicture has a new release! BigPicture 2016 v1 was released  this week with a plethora of new features. The new features were a direct result of  feedback throughout the past 6 months since BigPicture was first introduced to the public.

Here is a short list of some of the new features.

Additional Data Map Calculation Options
Our users requested that developers expand on the calculation types that were made available in Data Maps. In addition to the original calculations (Total, Average, Min, Max) BigPicture can now display and calculate rollup calculations including, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Average Deviation, Variance, Range and a variety of Percentiles.

Improved Data Map End Tables
To improve screen real estate and the ability to sort on multiple end tables, BigPicture now displays End Tables in an End Table Pane. Now you can stack and sort multiple tables by selecting the Display Multiple End Tables option.

Data Cleaning for Data Maps, Linked Maps and Organizational Charts
Have you ever had an extraneous “space” or capitalization difference in an entry of your data that wreaked havoc on getting the results that you were looking for? If so, you can now click on the Check Data button and BigPicture will scan your grouping variables to see if there are any extraneous, spaces, commas, etc.

Automatic Mapping of Conditional Formatting
BigPicture has improved support for coloring topics with conditional formatting from linked cells. Map topics can pick up both conditional format cell colors and conditional formatting icons from linked cells. In true BigPicture style, topic color and icons change when the format of linked cells change.

Are you looking to format your topics in your map based on set criteria? With BigPicture’s new Tags feature you can! Create custom Tags, or use the ones that are built-in, to color, shape and style your topics based on a tag name.

Outline to Map Capability
How much easier does it get? Import an outline and BigPicture will create the map for you!

For 32 years, Palisade software tools have been helping decision-makers gain powerful insights in their spreadsheets; now, BigPicture adds a new, visual diagramming platform to your decision-making toolbox.

We hope that by seeing and experiencing these improvements you will be encouraged to send your feedback our way!

Learn more about BigPicture and download a Free Trial here.


Case Study: First Principles Consulting Improves Operations for Mining Clients with BigPicture

Mining is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. First Principles Consulting focuses on improving management and operational effectiveness for clients in the mining sector.

First Principles helps clients put systems in place that enable managers to do their jobs more efficiently, from the operational level to mid-management to the C-suite. An effective approach will have everyone participating in a similar process of planning and getting work done, and then checking and adjusting plans to suit.

As part of the process of making an effective management plan, Patrick Mullen of FPC creates Value Driver Trees using BigPicture.


“Previously I drew the Value Driver Trees with great difficulty using the drawing tools in Excel –grabbing cells, highlighting, and putting boxes around them,” explains Mullen. “It was an enormous job.”

The finished product would be a fairly static map with no linked data. All future adjustments were a laborious, manual process. Because some of FPC’s maps are gigantic with hundreds of topics, updating the Value Driver Tree consumed a lot of effort. And because the hand-drawn maps had limited functionality, the best use of them was to print them out on large format paper, with the myriad of detail barely readable.

BigPicture gives First Principles Consulting a powerful toolset to make Value Driver Trees dynamic – automatically updating as source data changes – and flexible for presentations and demonstrations with clients.

“There has been a gap in the market for a tool that isn’t just a visual tool like a mind map, but has calculation powers behind it,” says Mark Franklin, owner and principal of First Principles Consulting. “We were pretty happy to find BigPicture.”

“The payback on BigPicture is a no-brainer,” adds Mullen. “Payback comes in less than a day.”

Read the full case study here to learn more.

BigPicture Example Series: Investment Decisions

In the BigPicture Example Series, we’ll show you different ways you can make BigPicture work for you.  You can check out all these example files with your copy of the BigPicture software, which you can download here. Get BigPicture today and start playing with these fun and informative example models. The possibilities are limitless.

The BigPicture map below illustrates the investment decisions a company must make over multiple time periods. The purpose of such a map is to help the decision maker understand the various aspects of the problem. These include the inputs to the problem (monetary values and other inputs), the decisions involved, any uncertainties, and important outputs. Each of these is represented by a topic (an object of some color and shape), and the topics are connected logically by arrows to show what affects what.

Screenshot 2015-09-15 15.55.58


Normally, problems like this one are represented, and solved numerically, by Excel tools and possibly add-ins such as Palisade’s Evolver optimization add-in. However, a map like the one shown here is useful as a preliminary step to a formal analysis. It lets decision makers see the important issues in the decision problem and how they are related.

By studying the map (and using the Topic Key at the top left), the elements of the problem should be fairly clear. However, if this isn’t enough, you can Play the slide show that accompanies the map. This shows how the analysis unfolds in steps, and text boxes explain each step in some detail.

Once you create the basic map with BigPicture’s tools, you can then use Excel’s Shape tools to reshape or recolor topics or connectors.



Take Your Concept Maps To The Next Level with BigPicture

If you’re a mind mapping or concept mapping enthusiast, you know how effective these tools can be.  Ideas, processes, and decisions are clarified and presented with powerful visuals–something BigPicture for Excel software does with ease:

hypothese bp map closeup

BP chart image

But BigPicture can go beyond these diagrams. One of the software’s stand-out features is its ability to link to Excel spreadsheet data, and automatically reflect any changes in that data should it change–creating what we call a ‘live-linked data map’. This feature allows you to automatically display your data as visual maps that can be manipulated, customized, and hyper-linked to other resources.

That means you can take data, such as a compiled list of the final MLB (Major League Baseball) standings, plus other information, for the 2014 season:

mlb data sheet

This data sheet has one row for each of the 30 MLB teams. It lists the team name, division, league, location, and two hyperlinks for team information. It also lists the number of wins and losses, the winning percentage, and total runs scored for each team.


That information can be easily converted into a map that looks like this:

mlb data map


This map displays  League and Division, and features end tables of the teams in a given division, along with their wins, losses, winning percentage, and runs scored. The end tables also show markers and hyperlinks for the teams and their locations.  All that data from the spreadsheet is now shown in a visual, logical map that can be easily read and understood.

Want to learn how to do this yourself? Head over to our BigPicture Help Manual, and check out the step-by-step guide, “What is a Data Map and how do I create a Data Map?”