I sometimes use Freemind in the early startup process of projects for brainstorming with the project team. With freemind, it is possible to save the mindmap as an ODT file which then creates a WBS for all tasks.

I would like to use this WBS in Microsoft project without having to manually indent tasks as subtasks.

So: instead of marking all created activities i would like to copy/paste or import and get the hierarcy at start - as created from freemind export.

Freemind gives me:

  1. Activity 1

1.1 Activity 2

1.1 Activity 3

1.1.1 Activity 4

1.2 Activity 5

... and so on.

  1. Is this possible? Does anyone have experience importing pre-made WBS hierarcies for MS Project?

  2. List item

  3. Are there any alternative scheduling applications that I should look into with this possibility?

Best regards, Pär

  • Sorry, I've never heard of Freemind. Are the activities actually indented in Freemind? You may have success with pasting into Word and then copy/paste into Project. The word to Project paste does preserve outlining.
    – JulieS
    Jan 7, 2015 at 21:03
  • It is very easy (2 minutes) to change the exported text-file to an excel file with the WBS structure in one column and Activity names in a second column.
    – Pargus
    Jan 8, 2015 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


If you can export the data from Freemind to Excel with two separate columns some quick manipulation in Excel to translate the WBS codes into Outline Level, should allow you to import the Excel file into Project and have the task list created with the appropriate outline level.

This is what I am guessing you have from Freemind in Excel

A1 = WBS

The WBS numbers from Freemind are in cells A2 and on down the column

B1 = Task Name

The task names start in B2 and on down the column

In C1 add Outline Level as a column heading

In C2 add the following formula:


The formula translates the WBS codes into an outline level that Project can use.

Then, go to Project. Open the Excel file and map the Excel fields to Project fields as below:

WBS to WBS Task Name to Name Outline Level to Outline Level.

That should bring you the outline and list from Excel to Project.

I hope this helps.

  • Workflow: 1. Export Freemind to ODT 2. Copy ODT text into Notepad 3. Copy notepad into Excel 2013 result: i.imgur.com/EOtSdrK.png
    – Pargus
    Jan 19, 2015 at 15:44
  • Could i count the periods instead of the length? Having difficulties with e.g. 4.1.10 your formula would require a maximum of 4.1.9
    – Pargus
    Jan 19, 2015 at 15:50
  • Oh how I love google. Try this formula: =LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))+1
    – JulieS
    Jan 20, 2015 at 20:53

I use Mindmanager to build WBSs, which does this automatically.

However, if you're a bit handy with XSLT (or you know somebody who is), then the following solution might help: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Import_and_export#To_MS_Project

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