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.

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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.

 

 

Introduction to BigPicture FREE Webinar on 2nd September 2015

BigPicture is Palisade’s new mind mapping, diagramming, and data visualization add-in for Microsoft Excel. 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. After seeing how simple and flexible BigPicture is, you should be able to start trying it out on your own problems.

To register, click here.

 

BigPicture Example Series: Adding pictures to topics

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.

BigPicture is an excellent tool for adding pictures to topics – pictures can add just the right personal touch to any data map or org chart.  Below are three ways to add pictures in BigPicture.

Add a picture inside a topic:

You can add a picture inside a topic via the Topic pane or via the BigPicture pop-up menu. Click on the Topic button in the View section of the BigPicture ribbon to display the Topic pane to the right of your workbook. Then click on the desired topic in the map to select it. Click on the Picture option in the Topic pane and click in the Include Picture checkbox. (Alternatively, you can right click on a topic and Add Picture.) After the default BigPicture image has appeared in the topic, right click on the image and chose Change Picture. Note: After a picture has been added to a topic you can change its properties via the Topic Pane.

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Add a Picture as a Marker on the Outside of a Topic:

Markers are smaller pictures that are displayed just outside the Topic. Markers are selected from lists of related markers, like Countries, Numbers, or Progress. BigPicture comes with a set of pre-defined markers you can use. To access these pre-defined markers, click on the Topic button in the View section of the BigPicture ribbon to display the Topic pane. Then click on the desired topic in the map to select it. Click on the Markers option in the Topic pane. Next to the desired marker list, click in the Marker column and use the dropdown list to select a marker. (Alternatively, you can right click a topic and select Markers from the BigPicture pop-up menu to see the available marker lists and markers you can add.) In this example we chose 2 markers from the Smiley category.

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Add a Picture to Represent a Topic:

To give a little more whimsical look and feel to your Topics, you can make the Topic appear as an image itself vs. an image within the Topic. Right click and choose the Excel “Fill” option (Format Shape > Picture or Texture Fill option in Excel 2010). Then browse for a picture that you would like to use. Note: In Excel 2013 there is also an option to search the internet for royalty free images.

 

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For more information on BigPicture visit our website.

 

 

 

 

BigPicture Example Series: Data Map of Power Generation in the Midwest

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.

BigPicture is an excellent tool for generating a Data Map from a set of example data. For example: check out this  data set of major electric power plants in four states in the US Midwest:

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A Data Map is created by grouping values in selected columns in a data set. In this example, grouping is made by State and Primary Energy Source. The map includes a topic for each state, with subsequent child topics following each state representing the possible Primary Energy Source values in that state. In BigPicture, these parent and child topics are called “Grouped Topics”.

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A set of end topics will follow the grouped topics for each State and Primary Energy Source. These end topics represent those electric power plants that have the same State and Primary Energy Source values. You can select the data you want to include for each end topic. In this example we’ll display Plant name, Operating Company name and the value for Capacity (MW).

In a Data Map, end topics are usually displayed in End Tables, instead of in actual map topics. By using tables, the number of topics required for a map is minimized, while still allowing the graphical display of the data. However, if desired, you can create an individual topic in the map for each end topic, resulting in a larger map with more connectors and topics.

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The capacity value for each plant can be subtotalled up through the grouped topics that precede it. For example, the grouped topic for the state Illinois will show the total Capacity for all plants in Illinois. These values are “live”, so if you change a capacity value in the data set , the map values will recalculate.

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Markers and pictures can be added to enhance the map. For this map, BigPicture adde a company logo to each plant’s entry by matching a picture file from the Photos folder to the listed company name. A hyperlink was also added to the table to provide a link to a web location that has additional information on each plant. BigPicture reads this hyperlink from the Detailed Description column of the data set and displays the Hyperlink in each plant’s entry in the End Table. Illustrative pictures are also added to grouped topics to highlight each State and Primary Energy Source.

 

Check out the full example model in BigPicture’s ‘Example Spreadsheets’ section under the Help menu:

 

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Rave Review for BigPicture from Mind Mapping Software Blog

Rave Review for BigPicture from Mindmapping Software BlogBigPicture has garnered an in-depth and enthusiastic review from the Mind Mapping Software Blog, a leading source for news, trends and resources related to visual mapping. Chuck Frey, widely regarded as one of the leading experts on visual mapping and visual thinking, explored the software’s numerous features and says, “You’ll be very impressed.”

Frey investigates BigPicture’s basic diagram-building capabilities, noting that it has “a unique capability that leverages the inherent strengths of Excel” and  that BigPicture enables “a fast way to build your diagram from scratch or to leverage existing data. Very cool! This is a capability that you won’t find in any dedicated mind mapping or diagramming program.”

Frey then delves into data mapping–‘where the real power is’–exploring the software’s ability to take reams of data and convert them into diagrams. “If your eyes glaze over when you look at a large number of columns and rows of data in Excel like I do, you’ll immediately appreciate this aspect of BigPicture,” Frey writes.

He is also impressed with BigPicture’s automated and elegant organizational chart functions: “This promises to be a big time-saver for human resources managers!” and its convenient slide-show mode: “quickly build presentations that have excellent continuity from one slide to the next.”

Frey concludes: “If you’re looking for an affordable, easy-to-use diagramming and mind mapping tool and you already use Excel, then you owe it to yourself to check out BigPicture. I think you’ll be very impressed with its excellent toolset and ease of use. This is backed up by a help file and videos that actually do an excellent job of explaining how to perform common tasks. That’s all too rare today!”

To read the full Mind Mapping Software Blog review, click here.

Download your free trial of BigPicture.

Why Use BigPicture?

There’s always some new software product coming out–how can you know if this one is worth your time?  We’re convinced that BigPicture can make your work and life easier and more organized.  Check out our demo video to see how it can make your tasks and projects that much more efficient:

 

 

Don’t miss out on your chance to try BigPicture for yourself:

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Meet BigPicture

BigPicture - Mind Mapping and Data Exploration for Excel

Mind mapping, diagramming, data maps, and org charts – right in Excel

Palisade is pleased to introduce BigPicture, the diagramming and data mapping software add-in for Microsoft Excel. With BigPicture, you can create mind maps to organize thoughts and ideas, or create dynamic data maps from any type of spreadsheet data. You can even create automatic organizational charts from your personnel data. BigPicture is now available for download in beta!

For 30 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.

Download BigPicture Today