BigPicture uses Excel shapes and connectors for its free-form maps. Those same shapes and connectors can be used to create maps and diagrams in Excel without BigPicture. So, you might ask, what’s the difference?
A lot, actually. In this series of blogs, we take you through some of the key benefits to using BigPicture vs “Excel-alone” for free-form diagramming in Excel:
Adding New Shapes and Connectors
In BigPicture, a new shape and connector can be added to a map simply by dragging the mouse from a connection point and releasing the mouse. In Excel alone, a multi-step process is required. First, the new shape must first be added. Then a connector has to be added and attached manually to the original shape and the new shape.
Both BigPicture and Excel (alone) support using cell references to label shapes. Accessing “live” Excel content in a diagram is a major benefit of making a mind map in Excel. The labels of shapes update automatically as the values of cells they reference in Excel change. However, only BigPicture supports using multiple cells to label a single shape. With Excel alone, you can only reference the contents of a single cell when labeling a shape.
Auto Labeling of Shapes
Shapes can also be automatically labeled by BigPicture when they are added, with “auto-labels” updating as labels are added to shapes. Excel alone has no facility for auto-labelling shapes.
Connector labels are automatically positioned by BigPicture and adjust properly when shapes and connectors are moved. If a label is placed on a connector when using Excel alone, Excel does not move or position the label properly when shapes and connectors are moved.