diagram generator

swirly design that was actually the side of an old rusty truck that had been sanded

I’ve released the software to generate a mental model diagram. You can feed your spreadsheet to it and a mental model diagram (the top half of an opportunity map) will appear on the page. You can export it as an SVG file to load into a drawing tool.

diagram format

The software produces a diagram that looks like the following. You can choose parameters for all the rectangles and fonts in the diagram.

thumbnail of dog mental model diagram

You can download the generated diagram as an SVG file. (My developer and I ran into a bit of an issue downloading a PDF due to the long horizontal nature of the image, and the existing apps would break it up into printable pages.) People who tested this file format were able to load it easily into Illustrator.

To print a PDF, you will need to load the SVG file into appropriate software, e.g. Illustrator. Use similar software to add items below the towers. Download thisĀ example spreadsheet to try out. (PDF plug-in for browser coming in 2018.)

Note: Apparently different browsers handle the SVG image generation differently. This generator doesn’t behave itself on Firefox with respect to line-wrapping, but it is fine on Chrome and Safari.

spreadsheet format

The software expects your data to be in a certain format. It looks for a spreadsheet where the first three columns represent the labels that make up the mental spaces, towers, and boxes of the mental model diagram.

In many people’s spreadsheets, the boxes are the summaries you’ve written to clarify what the participant was trying to convey.

excel spreadsheet with columns for mental space, tower, and summary.

You can also add a column if your data set is large, collecting several summaries into one box.

spreadsheet with columns for mental space, tower, and box, where the fourth column contains summaries

The rows can appear with spaces where you like them.

spreadsheet where the first summary for a box shares the row with that box label

I have tested it with Excel spreadsheets, but not with other types of spreadsheet.


I set up a GoFundMe page for you to chip in to offset the cost of building this software. I don’t have a corporation or association backing me, so the money came from my own personal funds.