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Visualizing Mindmaps with Markmap in Visual Studio Code


One of the challenges when working with large sets of data or complex processes is visually representing them in an easy-to-understand format. Mindmaps can help! If you’re a Visual Studio Code (VSCode) user, then you’re in for a treat. With the Markmap extension for VSCode, you can visualize mindmaps effortlessly. In this blog, we’ll explore how to get started with the Markmap extension and even dive into a practical example.


  1. Visual Studio Code: Ensure you have VSCode installed on your system.
  2. Markmap for VSCode: This is the extension we’ll be focusing on. You can find it in the VSCode Marketplace or here.

Installation and Configuration

  1. Open Visual Studio Code.
  2. Navigate to the Extensions view by clicking on the square icon on the sidebar or pressing Ctrl+Shift+X.
  3. In the search bar, type “Markmap” and find the Markmap for VSCode extension by Gerald Liu.
  4. Click the Install button to add the extension to your VSCode setup.

Creating and Visualizing a Mindmap

With Markmap in VSCode, you’ll create your mindmaps using Markdown, a lightweight markup language. The hierarchical nature of Markdown headers (#, ##, ###, etc.) translates perfectly to the branches and sub-branches of a mindmap.

Creating a Mindmap in Markdown:

    • Start a new file in VSCode (File > New File or Ctrl+N).
    • Save the file with a .md extension, indicating it’s a Markdown file.
    • Start creating your mindmap using the Markdown syntax. For instance:
					# Main Topic
## Subtopic 1
- Point A
- Point B
## Subtopic 2
- Point X
- Point Y


Visualizing with Markmap:

    • With your Markdown file open, click on the “Open as Markmap
    • This opens up a live preview of your Mindmap, rendered beautifully by Markmap. As you change your Markdown file, the Mindmap updates in real-time!

Case Study: Navigating the Microsoft.Graph PowerShell Module with Markmap

Navigating the Microsoft.Graph PowerShell Module can be challenging. Each command in the module has its specific attributes, permissions, and functionalities. And if you don’t set the right permissions for a command, it simply won’t work.

My Challenge

My goal was to understand the commands within the Microsoft.Graph sub-modules. The real challenge was the permissions. Each command might require specific permissions. If these aren’t set up correctly, the command will fail. Without knowing what permissions each command requires, using the module efficiently becomes a guessing game.

How Markmap Helped

I turned to Markmap in VSCode to help me visualize the commands and their permissions. By creating Markdown files that detailed each command’s specifics, I could then use Markmap to see a visual representation. This made it much easier to understand how the commands related to each other and what permissions they required. The visual map was clear and easy to follow, showing the relationships and requirements of each command.

Note to Readers

The Markdown files I used were based on the data from “C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Microsoft.Graph.Authentication\2.3.0\custom\common

\MgCommandMetadata.json”. While many of the commands worked correctly in my tests, I’ve not verified all of them. I’m sharing this as a part of my learning journey, and feedback from others who explore this is always welcome.

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