How to Make a Text Map

by Carl Hose

The concept of text mapping dates back to the mid-1990s. Text mapping is a method by which text is laid out, or mapped, to emphasize key words, phrases and concepts within documents using outlining, hyperlinking and text formatting features found in most word processors. Text mapping has several advantages. It can decrease study time, work as an effective teaching tool and increase reading comprehension, thereby shortening the learning curve of a subject. Text mapping is frequently Incorporated into employee training methods at large companies. Learn how you can develop a text map to take advantage of its educational potential.

Analyze the document you want to map. It could be one you've written or an article written by someone else. Find the key concepts of the article and determine the words and phrases most important to defining the subject of the article. You might want to make a list of these concepts to aid you when you begin the mapping procedure.

Determine the font formatting features you will use to emphasize information in your text map and make a reference key to hand out to those using your text map. Red might indicate information crucial to understanding the subject, while green might indicate a historical perspective on the topic. Italics could indicate reference material, and bold might indicate material related to the subject. Highlight key words, phrases and concepts to enhance topic understanding, and use hyperlinks to include additional information indicated by text formatting.

Use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word to write your text map. If you are mapping an article written by someone else, you might consider using OCR software to scan the article into text you can edit in your word processor, then apply your text mapping to the article.

Consider mapping your document in an outline format for better understanding. Use headings for main concepts, subheadings for topics specific to those concepts, and Roman numerals to indicate information to further define those topics indicated in the subheadings.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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