The theme editor is currently in beta testing. You can use the beta version including the theme editor by downloading it from http://downloads.novamind.com/novamind5/mac/NovaMind550b1.dmg . We will be releasing the updated version with the theme editor through the normal channels as soon as the beta testing is finished. To use the beta version, you must either have a NovaMind license key or be able to use it as a non-expired trial.
Transcript is as follows:
Themes give you control of the overall look of your Mind Map in a single simple setting. This allows you to very easily create great looking, consistent Mind Maps. They allow you to easily experiment with different looks for your Mind Maps.
When you apply a theme to your Mind Map, it will introduce a new default color set and font set, as well as setting the styles of the topics, callouts, floating topics, connections, and so on, but only where you have not explicitly overwritten the standard styles with your own custom settings. In other words, if you have changed something, then that change will be honored.
So if we create this Mind Map and set the fill color of this topic, then if we were to change the theme, the color would stay as you have set it.
Let’s have a look at how to change the theme used on this Mind Map.
We can either use the Format / Change Theme… menu item, or click on the Theme icon on the toolbar. You will be shown a list of the available themes like this…
What you see is a sample Mind Map styled using the theme, and the default color set for that theme.
You will see that the theme that is in use on the currently displayed Mind Map is drawn with a darker background, and a yellow border. Also, if the theme is the default theme used when creating new Mind Maps, it will have a check mark at the top right corner.
There are four categories of theme:
Firstly, built in themes. Built-in themes are the themes that come with NovaMind. It is possible that we may add new themes over time, so you may want to check back here after updates, even if you aren’t usually using the built-in themes.
Favorites are themes that you have marked as favorite. The newest favorite theme will be presented first in the list, with the others in reverse order of when they were made favorites.
Custom themes are available in NovaMind Pro and Platinum. These are themes that you have either created, or imported.
The themes in the “In Document” section are the themes that are used in your current document. Note that if you got a document from someone else, or created the document with a theme you don’t currently have on your system, the theme will appear in this list, but you wouldn’t be able to apply it to other documents, since you don’t have it on your computer. However, if this is the case, you would be able to use the option to save it as a custom theme, if you are using NovaMind Pro or Platinum.
To use one of the themes, click on it to select it. It will be applied to the current Mind Map. You can see that the look of the entire Mind Map changes when we change the theme.
To see the options for working with the existing themes, click the action button with the gear on it. You will see a menu like this…
Let’s just go through the actions.
Firstly the Favorite option: You can make built in themes and custom themes favorites, but if there is a theme which you have in a file, but it is not either a custom or built in theme, then you won’t be able to make it a favorite, because it only exists in the current document. Selecting the menu item will toggle its favorite status. If it is a favorite, it will be listed in the favorites section, with the newest favorites at the start of the list. If it is already a favorite, it will have a check mark beside it, and if you uncheck it, it will be removed from the favorites.
Set as Default: This will be disabled if it is already the default theme. The default theme is the one that is used for your Mind Maps when you create a new Mind Map or a new document. The default theme has a checkmark in the top right corner of the theme image.
The Save… option is only enabled when you are looking at a theme which exists in the current document, but is not either a custom or built-in theme, and you are running NovaMind Pro or Platinum. When you choose the Save… option, the theme will be saved as a custom theme, and will be available for you to use as you would any custom theme. This provides you a convenient way to grab a theme that you don’t already have, from a document, so that you can reuse it later.
The Edit… option opens the theme in a theme editor window. We’ll talk about editing themes shortly.
The Delete… option is only available for custom themes. When you delete a custom theme, it is removed from your list of custom themes, but if it is used in any existing documents (including the one you have open at the time), it will remain in those documents.
The Export… option allows you to share themes with others by exporting them as a file. This option will allow you to give the exported theme a name, and it will be exported as a theme file with the extension .nmtheme.
Also on the theme panel, there is a slider which allows you to say how big you want the theme shown.
There is also an action button, with a menu of options:
Firstly, Reset to Theme… allows you to reset the current Mind Map to the theme defaults. This is particularly useful in two situations: firstly, if you have been playing around with lots of custom colors and topic shapes and just want to reset everything to the theme settings so as to take advantage of the automatic formatting that comes with the theme system. The second situation is if you have imported a document (e.g. from NovaMind 4), and you need to reset the settings so you can take advantage of the power of the themes. Choosing this option will remove all the custom settings for the map background, and all the custom formatting of shapes, lines, fill colors, children coloring, effects and connection lines. All are returned to their default values (calculated based on the selected theme).
The Import Themes… option allows you to select themes that you want to import as custom themes. Note that each theme has a custom identifier, and can only be imported once, and when you edit a theme, it is given a new identifier, so that existing documents that used the theme as it used to be defined are not affected by your editing of the theme, and so that everyone who opens the document gets exactly the same view of the Mind Map. If someone is sharing themes with you, they can send you the .nmtheme files, and you can import them into your system. This option is only available for NovaMind Pro and Platinum.
The Create Theme from current Mind Map… will take the Mind Map you are working on and extract the settings from it to create a theme, and will open the theme in the theme editor. Note that the theme defines some settings but not others. In general terms, it takes the styling information on a level by level basis, and if there are multiple settings at a single level, it will take the first one it comes across with subtopics, or if there aren’t any with subtopics, it just takes the first subtopic and creates the theme from that.
All of the theme editor functionality where you are creating or editing custom themes is in NovaMind Pro and Platinum only.
The theme editor allows you to take an existing theme, or a newly created theme, and edit it. The theme editor opens up a window that looks pretty much the same as an ordinary document, but you will see that some of the options are disabled, and some work slightly differently. You will find that in order to show how the document will look as a theme, when you start editing it, it will create three subtopics at each level, and subtopics will be added off the center topic to make it easier to see what the theme would look like when applied to a Mind Map.
Various options like layout angle, and moving topics to specific positions are disabled, as is task information like checkboxes, start and finish dates, outline numbering, and so on, since they do not relate to a theme, which is for the overall formatting of the Mind Map.
You can edit the theme Mind Map to suit your needs, adding as many levels of subtopics that you want to define the formatting for. Generally speaking you’ll just want to use the two or three levels, and set the styling of each topic as you would like it, but to get the most out of your themes, let’s just go over some of the things you can do with the different settings.
For floating topics, the theme just represents one floating topic, so there is no point having more than one in the theme editor, but in addition to setting the style of the floating topic itself, you can add a callout and style that differently than the default callout style if you want, and you can add subtopics, and use the full range of styling options for those subtopics, if you want to use different styling than the default subtopic styling used on the Mind Map itself.
For callouts, normally there will be a callout on the root topic, which can be styled the way you want it, but again, you can create subtopics on the callout and style them the way you want if you want callouts to have a different style of subtopic than the default. You can also add callouts to subtopics and style them differently if you want to have callouts styled differently at different levels. As there is just one callout style per level, and the theme editor will just use the first one it comes across when extracting the theme from the Mind Map in the theme editor.
Shapes automatically use the callout styling, so are not defined independently of the callouts.
Two levels of boundaries are defined in the theme, so if you want to define both, you will need a boundary embedded in a boundary on the Mind Map. This is set up by default on the theme editor for you. When you embed multiple levels of boundaries inside each other on your Mind Map, it will alternate between using the first level and second level boundary settings from the theme by default.
There is just one setting for link lines, so the settings will be taken from the first link line found in the Mind Map. By default the theme editor creates a link line for you. The link line styling that is saved in the theme includes the line color and thickness but not the terminators.
We strongly recommend that you select or create a color set that represents the colors you want to use in your theme, and only use those colors for your theme. This means that when you use the theme (or someone else uses it), and change color sets, all the related colors get updated, keeping the entire Mind Map looking good, no matter what color set you are using at the time.
As with the color set, we also recommend that you select or create a font set that suits your needs, and use that throughout your Mind Map in the theme editor, and that you use the named theme fonts for their intended purpose, so that if someone switches to a different font set, everything adjusts appropriately. You should be aware that the font set just defines the font face, and not the font styling or size – that is done on the Mind Map in the theme editor.
For the fonts on your topics, we recommend use the typefaces defined in the font set, but you can set the font styling, including the font size for any level on the Mind Map. Note that the actual font styling that is used is the first character of the topic at that level which the theme editor uses when it is generating the theme from the Mind Map in the theme editor. For this reason, we recommend that you select all the sibling topics and change the font settings using the inspector like this:
Right click on a topic, and choose the context menu option “Select this topic and its siblings” then use the text inspector to make the required changes to the font.
For the text color, we recommend that you stick with the automatic text coloring, unless you have a specific reason to set a specific color for the text. Doing this will ensure that when the text is drawn over a dark background it uses white text, and when it is drawn over a light background it uses black text. And similarly for the link line settings, we recommend that you use the automatic coloring there for the same reason, unless you have a specific reason why you want to set the color to a specific color.
You’ll also see that on the text inspector there are two buttons that only show up when you are using the theme editor.
Clicking these buttons increase or decrease the size of the text on all topics on the Mind Map. These buttons are there as a convenience when you have an existing theme and just want to change all of the font sizes at once. These buttons are set to repeat if you hold them down, so if you want to make the text a lot bigger or smaller click and hold the button; otherwise just click the button. The actual font size doesn’t usually make a huge difference since the whole Mind Map is scaled when you print out, but there are a few circumstances where you’ll want to set it explicitly.
You will see that there is a note on the root topic. To change the default font for notes, change the font settings to whatever you want. Again, we would recommend using the font set to define the font face, and the rest of the font settings are extracted from the way you have the text formatted (or more specifically, the first character of the note).
Remember that the canvas settings are included in the theme too, so you can set a solid or gradient color, and have a texture image if you want. The usual recommendations apply as to keeping the background from being too overpowering, and using the texture opacity if necessary to make sure it looks good.
As you edit your theme, any style changes that you make to a topic will be reflected on its siblings, so that it maintains a look as close as possible to how the theme will look. So for instance if we select this topic and change its shape, its siblings will be updated too.
Once you have your theme the way you want it, you can save it, either by using Command+S or just closing the theme editor window, and if there were any unsaved changes, you will be asked if you want to save your changes.
When you save your theme, a panel is shown like this:
The top part of the panel shows a preview of the theme. We ensure that this is exactly accurate by extracting the theme information from the theme editor and creating the final theme, and then generating a showcase Mind Map using the actual theme. If it isn’t what you wanted, you can click on the Cancel button and it will return to the editor.
The theme name is the name that will be shown in the theme chooser. If you are editing an existing theme, it will default to the name of the existing theme. If you are creating a new theme, or editing a built in theme, you will want to edit the theme name so that you don’t end up with multiple themes with the same name.
The Save As New Theme option will always be enabled, and will add the theme to the custom themes available for you to select.
The Save option will only be enabled if you are editing what is already a custom theme. What happens when you save an existing custom theme is that behind the scenes it is saved as a new custom theme, and any open documents that are using that theme are updated to use the newly saved theme. This is done so that if you have any other documents that were using the theme as it was, they will still look the way they were, and also if you have shared the a document with that theme in it with someone else, they will see it as it was too. Of course if you edit a custom theme, and then open another document that was created with the previous version, it’s a simple matter of clicking on the theme to update its use to the latest version.
So that’s about it as far as theme selection and editing is concerned. Themes are very powerful and should be used wherever possible to do the majority of your formatting of your Mind Maps, so that you don’t have to manually adjust settings on lots of topics.