Merge file brief

Merge file integrates an external file with the currently open model. It will retain a BrainStorm (.brn) file's structure, intelligently blending its contents with the existing model. It will also do its best with a text file: if entries are indented, they are stored at lower levels.

Tip: one way to create a structured text file out of another program which can print outlines is to print to file.

In 'Printers and Faxes' in Start/Settings or Control Panel, Add printer with the settings Print to File and the Generic / Text only driver. Then when you want to create a text file which can be imported to BrainStorm, simply choose Generic / Text only from the Printer name: in the Print dialogue.

BrainStorm comes with a PowerPoint AddIn which helps you extract information from a presentation in a form acceptable to BrainStorm (and other programs). *See notes at the foot of this page.

The incoming Title, Namesakes and colours can be acknowledged or ignored. Merging can start at the Title or at the current entry of the incumbent model. It is a great way to blend the work of a team.

A dialogue box controls the exact process.

Use:

See Merge file for more detail


*Notes on the PPT2TAB.ppa AddIn for Microsoft PowerPoint.

This converts the textual content of slides into a tabbed outline which can be read by a variety of programs. One of which, of course, is BrainStorm. BrainStorm treats the tabbed indents as successive levels.

On Windows XP, put it into the Microsoft AddIns directory:

[Drive:]/documents and settings/[user]/Application data/Microsoft/AddIns/

You may have to lower your security settings before you can install an AddIn

Open an empty PowerPoint presentation and go to Tools/Add-Ins/ then click on Add New and navigate to PPT2TAB.ppa

A new button will appear. It might show a pig icon or it might read PPT2TAB. With your PowerPoint file open, just click on the button, tell the program where you want the output file to be stored, press OK, and you're all done.

Then, in BrainStorm, select File/Open, choose 'All file types' then browse to the file you just saved.

If you don't like the pig, open Tools/Customize then right click on the pig and select Edit or Change


Corollary

Getting slide notes out of PowerPoint is somewhat less easy. The workaround we use is to use Send to Word to put the PowerPoint and notes into Word, using links for the graphics. The result was a Word version of the presentation with smallish images. Share your screen between Word and BrainStorm, switch on Magic paste and simply promote each slide name in BrainStorm, then select and copy the notes from the Word document.