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.

 

What’s New in BigPicture? Attach Custom Shapes

The BigPicture development team is always working to improve our software, which means regular updates.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve added to our latest deployment of BigPicture Beta on May 5, 2015:

Attach Custom Shapes

This option is available under the Attach Shapes category, and can be found via Attach Shapes > Custom. This is simply a way that you can add Excel shapes to the selected topic(s).

By utilizing the Custom command a default light yellow call-out shape will be attached to the selected topic(s) and will move with the topic(s). Simply select that topic(s) that you would like to attach an image to, right click and choose the Attach Shapes > Custom > Add New command. (NOTE: You can also access this command from the Topic Tools icon in the BigPicture ribbon.)

Here are some additional notes describing how this command can improve your maps:

  1. The default light yellow call-out shape will appear above top-most topic selected.
  2. You can customize your shape by utilizing Excel’s standard capabilities of changing the color, shape effects, size, font, text, etc.
  3. If you decide to move the topic(s) that the custom shape is attached to, the shape will move also.
  4. Custom shapes can overlap.
  5. Multiple custom shapes can be added to the same topic, or group of topics. All of which can be moved and re-sized. (NOTE: To access any custom shapes that may be hidden behind another one, simply right click and utilize the Send to Back and Bring to Front commands from the pop-up menu.)
  6. If you collapse (hide) any of the topics that the shape is attached to, the shape will collapse (hide) with it.
  7. A custom shape can be to a single topic or multiple topics.

If you would like to use the same style custom shape (or any other existing “non-BigPicture” Excel shape) that already exists:

  • Select the topic(s) that you would like to add that custom shape to FIRST
  • Choose the Attach Shapes > Custom > Copy Existing command.
  • At this point a dialog will appear asking you to select the shape that you would like to copy. Click on the existing shape that you would like to duplicate.
  • Click OK.

NOTE: To remove a custom shape, just click on the shape and hit your delete key on your keyboard.

screensteps2Click here for a complete overview of BigPicture updates.

What’s New in BigPicture? Attach Boundary Shapes

The BigPicture development team is always working to improve our software, which means regular updates.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve added to our latest deployment of BigPicture Beta on May 5, 2015:

Attach Boundary Shapes

BigPicture now has the ability to Attach Shapes to your existing topics. There are two commands that have been added under the “Attach Shape” category. The first is the Attach Shapes > Boundary command which will typically be attached to a group of related topics. The second is the Attach Shapes > Custom command that would be more applicable with a single topic. These new commands are incredibly flexible and will help you add some additional pizazz to your maps!

By utilizing the Boundary command a default shape will be placed behind the selected topics and will move and re-size with the topics. Simply select that topics that you would like to “group” together with a boundary and right click on a topic and choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Add New command. (NOTE: You can also access this command from the Topic Tools icon in the BigPicture ribbon.)

Here are some additional notes describing how this command works and how it can improve your maps:

(Note that the numbers correspond to the image below.)

  1. The default shape will appear behind the selected topics.
  2. You can customize your boundary shape by utilizing Excel’s standard capabilities of changing the color, shape effects, size, font, text, etc.
  3. If you decide to move one of the topics in the boundary shape, the shape will re-size automatically.
  4. A boundary can be placed around a single topic.
  5. Boundaries can overlap.
  6. Multiple boundary shapes can be added to the same topic, or group of topics. All of which can be moved and re-sized. (NOTE: To access any boundaries that may be hidden behind another one, simply right click and utilize the Send to Back and Bring to Front commands from the pop-up menu.)
  7. Boundaries can even be manipulated so that they do not surround the topics – yet will still collapse and open with the topics that they have been “bound” to!

You can change the topics included in an existing boundary:

  • Click on a Topic in the group that has the boundary that you would like to edit.
  • Right-click and choose Attach Shapes > Boundary > Edit Existing command. A dialog will come up that lists the topics that are currently included.
  • To add topics simply click on the topics that you would like included.
  • If you would like to remove a topic click on any of the white space in your spreadsheet to clear the listing and then select only the topics that you would like included in your boundary.

If you would like to use the same style boundary shape that already exists in your map:

  • Select the topics that you would like to add a boundary to FIRST.
  • Choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Copy Existing command. At this point a dialog will appear asking you to select the Shape that you would like to copy.
  • Click on the existing Boundary shape or attached custom shape that you would like to duplicate.
  • Click OK.

All in all, you will now be able to add a lot of other supporting shapes to a map and they will conveniently move and hide with the topics they are attached to.

NOTE: To remove a boundary, just delete the shape in Excel by clicking on it and hitting your Delete key on your keyboard

screensteps1Click here for a complete overview of BigPicture updates.

Why Map with BigPicture Instead of Just Excel? Customization, Navigation, and Presentation!

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:

In BigPicture, supplementary attribute shapes (such as markers, notes and hyperlinks) can be attached to a shape. These  attribute shapes move with the shape as it is repositioned in a map.  In addition, the contents of these attributes can be easily edited in BigPicture.  If attribute shapes are desired when using Excel-alone, they must be manually grouped with the shape, and ungrouped when they need to be changed or edited.

Attributes such as Pictures, Markers, Notes and Hyperlinks

BigPicture has an Outline Pane where all shapes in a map are listed by their label.  You can navigate through shapes by clicking on entries in the outline.  In addition, you can search and replace label text throughout shapes in open maps. In Excel-alone, a Selection Pane can be shown which list shapes by their internal name, such as Rectangle1, not their label.  No facility is available in Excel to search or replace text in shape labels.

Navigating Free Form Maps

Slide Shows

BigPicture allows you to create slide shows where the map unfolds in any way you like. This is especially useful if you are presenting the map to an audience and you want to explain it in steps.  These slide shows can include supporting text and images that are displayed by slide.  Excel-alone has no facility for presenting shapes and diagrams step-by-step.

Slide Shows
Want to see more reasons for using BigPicture rather than just Excel?  Check out our other blogs that explain how our software makes concept mapping that much easier!

Why Map with BigPicture Instead Of Just Excel? Adding and Labeling Shapes!

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.

Labeling Shapes

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.

Labeling Connectors

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.

Labeling Connectors
Want to see more reasons for using BigPicture rather than just Excel?  Check out our other blogs that explain how our software makes concept mapping that much easier!

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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