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.



Why Map with BigPicture Instead of Just Excel? It’s Easy to Change and View!

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:

Changing Shape Type

In BigPicture, if the type of a shape is changed (say from a rectangle to a circle), existing connectors stay attached to the new shape type at appropriate connection positions. When using Excel-alone, all connections are lost when the type of a shape is changed.  The user must then manually re-attach connectors to the new shape type.

Changing Shape Type

Collapse and Expand

In BigPicture, child shapes may be collapsed and hidden from view when the Collapse shape is clicked at a connection point, and expanded when the Expand shape is clicked. When using Excel-alone, there is no capability for “folding” or collapsing and expanding connections.

Collapse and Expand
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!

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