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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
I am a big fan of outlining and mind mapping applications. I have been using Inspiration since it was first introduced.

It is a solid application for the purpose and extremely well priced against more feature rich comperitors.

Several years back, Inspiration decided to pitch their product primarily to the school market, primarily grades 6 - 12. Apparently this has worked for them and as far as I know, they do no advertising or marketing to the business market. This may be a wise decision on their part, but as a result millions of people who favor the outlining and maind mapping approach are missing out on a very accomplished tool.

Inspiration allows you to explore concepts graphically and/or in traditional outline form.

You can drag symbols wherever, create text boxes with automatic links to one another, enter your ideas in rapid-fire fashion in either graphic or outline view. New in this version are a presentation tool to create PowerPoint-like slides and an external presenter application so you can show your work on computers that don't have Inspiration loaded.

The program is simple to learn and vey stable.

The pricing is extremely reasonable for a program of this power.

I've been using it for more than two decades, so I am obviously pleased.

Jerry
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2010
-- August 8, 2014 Update --

Hey-hey ... they finally developed an app for the iPad. And, I either figured out the license issue, or they changed their policy ... either way, no trouble.

-- original review from 2010 --

Love Inspiration. I really helps capture creative thought, but in a format that organizes the knowledge in a way that gets you to use it. Only missing 2 things: #1 mobile app (iTunes & Android), and #2 multiple machine use per license. Microsoft lets you use 3, Apple lets you use 5 computers for iTunes ... while Inspiration only lets you use 1 computer per license. At $70 a pop, that's so 1990s.

If their management team gets with the times, run and buy this stuff!!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Inspiration is a concept mapping/outliner tool that has been around for a while (20 years I've been told) and apparently has a wide audience particularly among writers. Inspiration may concentrate on the educational market but this edition seems aimed at the general market since they offer another version, Kidspiration. I have owned versions 7 and 8. This latest version 9, a new release that is now a Universal application for Mac, has some minuses and pluses. My comments below apply to the Mac version which was tested on new Intel Macbook Pro.

The first thing one notices, if one is a previous Inspiration owner, is that the user interface (UI) is the same as the last two versions (i.e. un-Mac like). This is a double-edge sword. Some may feel at home with a familiar look but new owners, especially ones familiar with most other Mac applications may be unhappy and confused. A pet peeve of mine which is continued here is with the setting of default fonts: they don't stick.

There are performance issues with version 9 that make it slower than v8 was. It is slower changing from outline to map views. Accessing the menu items is also slower. For instance, it takes 10 seconds for the font menu to appear and every time the Help menu is selected the spinning ball appears. I see none of this on the PPC v8.

I had hoped that the developers would have improved the map scaling. There are a small number of steps of zoom with the maximum of 200%. I don't find these satisfactory and it should be replaced by a slide and the maximum zoom should be increased considerably.

The maps themselves do not seem changed. The symbols can have shadows but the links can not. Don't expect to see nice liquid 3D symbols that you will find in other mind-mappers but only flat 2D shapes. The default links' straight arrows still seems amateurish. The new Map Document feature transforms the standard Inspiration map into - well - an ugly version of a traditional mind map ala Tony Buzan; the branch options are very limited - the ends can only be horizontal, the text can only be put on the ends, they can become so thin that they almost disappear, and adjusting the thickness is way too cumbersome. There is no option to add boundaries to branches and no way to add photos or texture to the background. You do get a good library of clip-art, which has been improved from the very pixelated ones in version 8. One begins to wonder why the developers improved the these but did nothing with the nodes or symbols. You will also get an assortment of templates, although most are limited by being aimed at the educational market.

Inspiration 9 has added an option to add symbols from the map to the outline topics. This does help somewhat but the small icons are hard to see. Another option for link text has been added but it only shows on the original links. If a link is drawn from one branch's node to another it won't show up in the outline.

Unfortunately for owners of the portable Palm version, Inspiration 9 has inexplicably dropped support for the Palm export, stranding those owners without a way to upgrade. Despite its so-called legacy status Palm applications can be still be run on other current devices by Nokia and the new Palm units. Inspiration has a history of supporting legacy applications such as Appleworks long after they've stopped development so why not support their own Palm app? This situation also means that Inspiration no longer has any portable option.

Portability among applications is also important these days. Inspiration has supported a few export/import options, none of which allowed much, if any, portability to other outlining or mind-mapping applications. This new version dropped export support for Appleworks and PowerPoint while adding iWork, OpenOffice and something called "Presentation Slides". But these don't allow you to exchange your information with other outliners or mind-mappers, such as OmniOutliner or MindManager. OPML, the definitive standard outline format included with most other mind mappers, is still missing from Inspiration's import/export options. Had OPML been added then work done on Inspiration 9 could have been exported to an already existing iPhone mapping app. But it wasn't...again.

Overall I am somewhat disappointed with this new release. It's really a mixed bag. They've added some new features, some not so good, and some new questionable export options. But more importantly they have not updated an ancient and aged UI, have still limited import/export options, dropped support for its own Palm app, and it has some new annoying performance issues. The maps themselves have not really been improved and they need polishing and modernization. Version 9 is also a missed opportunity to add tasks. They have had years to fix some of these issues, hence, my disappointment. The developers simply do not seem to be very interested in really modernizing this program. As such it has already been surpassed in a number of areas by the tough competition, especially on the Mac. In its favor Inspiration is a competent application with a outliner that is better than in most other concept/mind-mapping applications at a relatively attractive price. But at this point I can't see much advantage in my moving from version 8 to 9 since its future looks bleak.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2011
Inspiration was a product I used many years ago in my work in public schools. I found it to be so helpful that I bought my own copy for personal use in organizing my projects, clarifying my thoughts and visualizing the project or problem more as a process via a 'big picture,' literally. The product then disappeared from my radar. Just recently, I discovered that the company had focused almost exclusively on marketing to schools. I have the latest version, love it, and enjoy using it. Please don't consider this software to be for kids. Although it can be a lot of fun, it's serious software.

Inspiration 9
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2011
This is an excellent tool to develop papers or presentations, whether alone or collaboratively. It effortlessly moves between graphic, outline, and document view of your work. It also exports flawlessly into MS Word. But that isn't necessary, because you can present or print from this application natively.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
This product helped me so much outlining my essays, research papers, and now my story book I am writing. This product is essential for anyone looking to really map out their ideas and structure their writing in a neat and organized way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Mind mapping is brilliant. You don't even have to read the instructions to get started on creating simple mindmaps and converting them into outlines. I used it to map out my business processes (I have a home-based photography studio) and it was so incredibly helpful and instructive, I realized major gaps in my thinking and reorganized a few processes to be stand-alone as opposed to subsets of other processes, etc...

I do wish you could load this on more than one computer -- I had to buy one for the kids to use on their computer for homework and reports, and one on my computer for work brainstorming. I think one copy was about $40, and the second copy (purchased a few months later) was $30

Also, my oldest child has autism and is highly visual and this program has made writing MUCH less of a hated chore. But anyone in school would benefit from it (there is another version, KidSpiration, geared towards elementary kids)

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
I love this product! I've used a program in government work called Analyst's Notebook for years. It's an associated chart application. This is very similar with its ability to create concept maps. I also really appreciate that this program will automatically create an outline AND a powerpoint presentation for you if you start out with a concept map. I'm sure there are a lot of other functions that I haven't discovered yet. I say this is great for any teacher because, if the teacher buys the program for his or herself for use at home, he or she can then take the product, save it as a picture and then use it at school either in powerpoint or the equally fantastic online program, Prezi. Awesome tool!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2013
This product is even better than Inspiration 8! You can make graphic organizers and turn them into outlines and lots of other visual helps. Easy to install and works great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2014
This is a good program for anyone who likes to stay organized, . It's great for making lists, outlines, mind maps, lesson plans for teachers, etc. and can even be transferred to a word document when finished. So far I like it, but the controls are a little difficult to figure out. I would suggest watching the training videos provided with the software (or any found on YouTube. Some of those were actually better quality, and explained a lot more). The presentation mode was also a lifesaver for school projects, as it automatically puts your information in a PowerPoint-style slideshow. The only qualm I have is maneuverability. There were no shortcuts (or at least, none that I've found yet) for frequently pressed keys, which made the creation process a little more time consuming than I would have liked. Overall, a good product.
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