Bulletproof of Mind Mapping: Overview, Benefits, Tips and Tools

written by aext on May 5, 2010 in Popular and Tools and Web Design with 76 comments

Many people these days feel that their minds are being flooded with various bits and pieces of data or information and they quite naturally find that it is more and more difficult to organize many of their thoughts. Along with this lack of logical thought the people start to experience moments of time where they find they are forgetting relevant facts, dates, events and similar data. During important meetings these same people may find that it is difficult to even take simple notes. The problems that I have just mentioned are typical of those that many people have been experiencing lately in their daily activities.

The process known as mind mapping has proven itself to be a helpful and very useful instrument for both individuals as well as corporations from all areas of the globe. In this article we’ll talk about mind mapping, why you need it, how to produce effective visual mind maps and the tools.

Mind mapping in perspective

Mind mapping is a technique which is performed individually in order to produce visualizes makeup and categorizes these arrays of different ideas. It was created as an aid to help people in their efforts to achieve effective study habits, to clearly organize their thoughts, to perform problem solving procedures, to write in an understandable manner as well as to do well in their daily decision making regardless of the particular thinking circumstances which may be involved.

Mind mapping in perspectiveFrom Ben Heine

What’s more, they are very quick to review as you can often refresh information in your mind just by glancing at one. In the same way, they can be effective mnemonics: Remembering the shape and structure of a Mind Map can give you the cues you need to remember the information within it. As such, they engage much more of your brain in the process of assimilating and connecting facts, compared with conventional notes. If you’ve already made your list, try turning it into a mind map.

Further reference

Visual mapping types

Mind Mapping is just one of several methods of mapping out information and ideas that one can utilize. Our brains think in unique and exponential ways. Each and every piece of information is best studied and memorized through a structured process of learning that assimilates each chunk of information in the most effective and efficient manner that naturally mimics the brain’s cognitive thinking patterns. Within this branch of the IQ Matrix we will discuss some of these types of maps and their purpose. We will also delve into the computer generated and hand drawn methods of Mind Mapping that you can utilize on a daily basis.

Visual mapping typesFrom Will UK

The following is a quick break down of 7 unique mapping types that can be utilized to effectively represent the information. How you apply these maps will vary in accordance to the structure of the information you are learning, and upon your purpose, objectives and goals.

  • Cyclical Maps
    Are used to represent key terms within stages in a cyclic process.
  • Radial Maps
    Are Mind Map type structures with sub-topics radiating from a central image or word.
  • Converging Maps
    Are used to represent causes that lead to a single effect.
  • Hierarchical Maps
    Are used to represent key terms as smaller and smaller parts of a larger topic.
  • Interacting Maps
    Are Concept Map type structures that interlink with each other in a variety of ways.
  • Comparison Maps
    Are used to compare two or more things with each other. The central interlocking part represents the object’s shared components or characteristics.
  • Linear Maps
    Are Flowchart type structures that represent linear stages of a process that has a beginning and an ending.

Benefits of mind mapping

Link to the original post of Benefits of mind mapping and 10 reasons why mind mapping software should be the foundation of your personal productivity system. Click here.

Common mistakes that you should try to avoid.

Common mistakes that you should try to avoid.An Honest Mistake by artzy.viva

Link to the original post of 10 mistakes to avoid with mind mapping software Click here.

So, where the tips to produce effective visual mind maps?

mind mapping tipsMind Mapping by sirwiseowl

However I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me that they were first introduced to Mind Maps in two minutes on some course or other and that as a result they just didn’t “get it”. That is a real shame, because, although they are easy to use, a few guidelines and directed practice means that people get far more benefits from the technique. The following suggestions may help to increase effectiveness when you making a mind map.

  1. Just focus
    Start your session in a quiet, light environment where you will not be disturbed until you are finished. If you are doing your mind map on your computer, turn off your chatting client (YM!, gTalk, MSN), email, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and everything else that you have running except the mind mapping software. It is too easy to “take a small break” that turns out to waste 30 minutes. If you are using paper, make sure your desk is clear, except for the paper and your writing materials.
  2. Start with good question or idea.
    Think about what you want to accomplish during your session, and start with an idea that is precisely defined, so it will help you work towards your goal.
  3. Write down every thought or idea that comes to you.
    Do not judge your ideas too heavily before you put them down, because you may change your mind later and regret throwing them out.
  4. Set your goals, but feel free to deviate from it.
    As your brainstorm grows, follow your creativity and expand it however you like. Don’t feel constrained by that bubble in the middle, because it is only there as a starting point.
  5. Leave yourself enough room to expand.
    Don’t expect to fit everything onto one piece of paper. Make sure you have extra paper, and draw your branches generously far apart, so you have room to expand on ideas. Obviously this does not apply to brainstorming software on your computer, as you can move stuff around easily. Color code, doodle, scratch out and do whatever else you want to your brainstorm, if it will help you get a better understanding of it. Again, you don’t have to be neat and tidy. Think of your brainstorm as art, and act creatively.

Once you understand how to make notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions to take them further, just like the way I use this when start up.

  • Use single words or simple phrases for information.
    Most words in normal writing are padding: They convey facts in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In your own Mind Maps, single strong words and meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the Mind Map.
  • Print words.
    Joined up or indistinct writing can be more difficult to read.
  • Use color to separate different ideas.
    This will help you to separate ideas where necessary. It also makes your Mind Map easier to remember. Color also helps to show the organization of the subject.
  • Use symbols and images.
    Where a symbol or picture means something to you, use it. Pictures can help you to remember information more effectively than words.
  • Using cross-linkages.
    Information in one part of the Mind Map may relate to another part. Here you can draw in lines to show the cross-linkages. This helps you to see how one part of the subject connects with another.

Which is the best tools for mind mapping?

What’s “best” depends so much on how you use mind maps. Some people use them for study, some for planning projects, some for organizing information, some for sparking ideas and facilitating brainstorming sessions, some for planning the writing of a report or blog. Some mindmap alone, others mindmap in groups. Most of us probably do all of these from time to time, so we need a quiver full of arrows to choose from.

So, it could be up to you. Every tools are great if you know how to do. There are several software products available for mind mapping. I personally use MindManager on my desktop computer and have also used it on my Windows XP laptop.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of good options in this area. Here are 30+ very powerful mind mapping tools (applications & web services) that you can use for brainstorming, strategizing, project planning, and even for managing tasks.

01. MindMeister


MindMeister is by far the most simplistic mind mapping tool in the top five, but its simplicity is definitely an asset. Once you’re logged into the service, you can create a fully functional mind map using little more than the directional arrows and the Insert key to add new nodes to your map. Additional customizations like font size and node colors are available for when you want to go beyond the basics. In the upper right corner is a navigation window, handy for when your mind maps become larger than the display space.

Exporting is also a strong point for MindMeister; you can export your files to a text outline, PDF, JPG, PNG, or GIF. MindMeister’s history function lets you view past versions of your mind map and revert to them if you desire. You can share your maps for public collaboration or hand-select collaborators.

Official link

02. Mindjet MindManager


Mindjet MindManager isn’t cheap by any means, but you get more than your share of value and sophistication for the hundreds you spend on the program. The interface and feature set of MindManager are very polished, and the primary menus are set up like the Microsoft Office Ribbon. After the initial installation, MindManager walks you through the creation of a sample mind map—helpful both to familiarize you with the interface but also to show you features you may have overlooked.

MindManager is definitely oriented towards corporate environments, including extensive integration with the Office suite and support for linking your mind maps directly into common database formats like MySQL and Access.

Official link

03. XMind


XMind is the kind of free application that makes you forget you’re not paying for the privilege of using it. The interface is simple and intuitive to use. You can quickly move through your entire mind map with only a handful of keystrokes or jump over to the outline view for even quicker navigation.

In addition to a basic mind map you can also create fishbone, organizational, tree, and logic charts. You can export charts as HTML, images, or text, and XMind comes a free account on XMind.net which allows you to share your charts online and embed them into blogs and web sites.

Official link

04. FreeMind


One of FreeMind’s strongest selling points is a Java-based implementation. Whether you use it on Ubuntu or Windows, the features and user interface remain consistent. FreeMind is keyboard friendly with the core functionality well covered by keyboard shortcuts.

The visual elements of your mind maps are highly customizable, including custom icons for flagging nodes on the map, color coding, grouping, and more. Mind maps created with FreeMind can be exported as HTML, PDF, and PNG files, among others.The support wiki for FreeMind is extensive and goes well beyond simply explaining how the application functions, covering things like how to add your own keyboard shortcuts and how to make the application portable.

Official link

05. iMindMap


iMindMap can claim two distinctions among the top five tools. First, it’s the biggest download (weighing in at 135MB). Second it’s the only application on the list developed by Tony Buzan (who lays claim to being the inventor of the mind map). iMindMap takes a different approach to mapping than the other applications in the list.

Rather than create new nodes off the main idea by adding boxes, nodes are created by clicking in the center or the main idea and drawing away from it with the mouse. Each new idea is a branch off the center. Strangely, many of basic feature available in free mind-mapping software are only found in the more expensive versions of iMindMap, like the ability to expand and collapse branches. Mind maps created in iMindMap can be exported as PDF, JPG, PNG and text outline.

Official link

06. WiseMapping


Wise Mapping is the web mind mapping tool that leverages the power of Mind Maps mixing new technologies like vectorial languages (SVG and VML) and the power of the whole Web 2.0 concept. No pluggin required.

Official link

07. CmapTools


Cmap Tools: Free to universities, students, federal employees, and individuals for personal use.

Official link

08. Mindomo


Mindomo is perhaps one of the best free web-based mind mapping applications. Mindomo comes with a very elegant interface which mimics Microsoft Office. Flash-based, the service offers many different export options and formats, alongside a rich choice of layouts to arrange your ideas. Mindomo supports multimedia files and image uploading, as well as organic style maps. The free version is ad-supported but you can switch to one of the available pricing solutions.

Official link

09. Bubbl.us


A flash based brainstorming tool that you can share with others and also embed in to your site.

Official link

10. ConceptDraw MINDMAP


ConceptDraw MINDMAP is a powerful business and personal productivity software application that provides visual organization and access to information for individuals and organizations

Official link

11. Curio


Curio is another application that looks like it was designed for the OS X platform, with a fairly advanced interface allowing several complex features. These include in-built searching of popular image website, encryption, a “dossier” screen to help track the requirements of a project, and a full-screen presentation mode.

Official link

12. Semantik


Semantik is a KDE Linux application for creating mind maps, though they can be viewed in different formats, such as a linear tree view with retractable and expandable branches.

Official link

13. Mindplan


Free for all who don’t need MindPlan as a groupware tool. Get the personal edition for your private life or your business.

Official link

14. Recall Plus


RecallPlus is software designed specifically for students who want to learn faster and improve their marks. RecallPlus goes beyond simple note-taking and organizing – it actually tests students on their notes so they can learn the information. RecallPlus is the only true study software because it is the only software that combines concept mapping of notes with testing.

Official link

15. DeepMehta


DeepaMehta is a software platform for Knowledge Management. Knowledge is represented in a semantic network and is handled collaboratively. DeepaMehta combines interdisciplinary research with the idea of Open Source to generate a true benefit for workflow as well as for social processes. At the same time Deepa Mehta is an indian movie director.

The DeepaMehta user interface is build according to research in Cognitive Psychology and accomodates the knowledge building process of the individual. Instead of handling information through applications, windows and files with DeepaMehta the user handles all kind of information directly and individually. DeepaMehtas user interface is completely based on Mind Maps / Concept Maps.

Official link

16. Mapul


Would you like to create a mind maps in Web from anywhere at anytime with no complex software to install or maintain? With MAPMYself you can just do it because it is a free Web-based online mind mapping tool. MAPMYself is unique web based software allows you to create completely organic looking mind maps. We integrated the own and an your ideas to helps more when 2000 peoples to accelerate learning, improve your memory, increase your productivity and save your time.

Official link

17. MindView 3 Business – Professional Mind Mapping Software


MatchWare’s MindView 3 Business is a professional Mind Mapping® software application that allows users to brainstorm and visualize ideas quickly and easily. MindView 3 Business makes meetings more productive, accelerates project planning and helps turn ideas into action faster than ever before!

Official link

18. Edrawsoft


Mind mapping (or brainstorming diagram) involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas which radiate out from the centre. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.

Official link

19. MyThought for Mac


MyThoughts for Mac Creates Fluid, Organic, Curvy Mind Maps that work in a way that the human brain enjoys!

Official link

20. Mind42


Mind42 is a totally free mind mapping web app and it is one of my favorites. The interface is a good one, and it has some excellent features such as easy navigation for large mind maps with zoom and birdview (and branch hiding, but that’s pretty standard these days), and the ability to attach notes and images to branches, which isn’t always allowed in “pure” mind mapping software. You can also link branches to other sites and see a preview when you rollover the link, which I think is probably the only appropriate use of those preview rollovers anywhere on the net.

Official link

21. Gliffy


Diagram Software for the rest of us! With Gliffy online diagram software, you can easily create professional-quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, and more. Our online diagram editor makes it easier than ever to create great looking drawings.

Official link

22. Wikka Wiki


WikkaWiki is a flexible, standards-compliant and lightweight wiki engine written in PHP, which uses MySQL to store pages. Forked from WakkaWiki. Designed for speed, extensibility, and security. Released under the GPL license.

Official link

23. Labyrinth


Labyrinth is a lightweight mind-mapping tool, written in Python using Gtk and Cairo to do the drawing. It is intended to be as light and intuitive as possible, but still provide a wide range of powerful features.

Official link

24. Pimki


Pimki is a PIM (Personal Information Manager) loosely based on Instiki’s Wiki technology. This is the place to dump your brain, organise your thoughts and Get Things Done. The ease of use and immediacy of a wiki combined with extended view to slice and dice the data give you a unique power to store, manage and retrieve all loose bit of information in your life.

Official link

25. Xmind Pro


XMind Pro makes it easier to express your ideas and share your information using its Presentation function. Launch your XMind Pro, where you can draw a mind map or open existed maps. One click enters you into Presentation mode, where your map will be shown on the full screen. You can just use the navigation toolbar within Presentation mode or Spacebar, Enter, Tab, or Arrow keys to navigate through topics. Every time a new topic is selected, it will be highlighted and positioned in the center of screen so your audience can concentrate on it.

Official link

26. Visual Strategist


Visual Strategist – founded by Kyle McFarin to assist Entrepreneurs and Organizational Teams in Strategic Management.

Official link

27. Blackbelt mind map training


Black Belt MindMapping teaches you mindmapping in 5 days. Every day has its own color. We go from yellow to orange to green, blue to brown. You receive the black belt after sending in the completed final assignment. You receive this

assignment at the end of day five (brown).

Official link

28. DropMind


Choose to use a desktop or web-based version of DropMind for real-time collaboration or the ability to add hyperlinks and images.

Official link

29. Mindcad


Organize your ideas using a tool that complements the way you think. Drag in text and images from Safari, Word, the Desktop and most other OS X applications. Place them anywhere on multiple worksheets within a single document.

Official link

30. Wridea


Wridea is an idea and content manager marketed towards writers but can work for any individual or group wanting to organize projects, papers and more.

Official link

31. Dabbleboard


Dabbleboard is an online white board that lets you create mind maps, sketches, project outlines and more with your group.

Official link


Mind Mapping is an extremely effective method of taking notes. Mind Maps show not only facts, but also the overall structure of a subject and the relative importance of individual parts of it. Lastly remember that the use of mind map is not just limited to inspiration and creativity. Instead use this “power tool” to develop projects, make better decisions, learn effective time management and manage information efficiently. Mind mapping software tools can be used in different ways in your personal and professional life to yield beneficial results.

Now it’s time to get your feedback about this post – Please feel free to leave your comments if one of you had experience about mind mapping or maybe I’ve missed another tools. I think, share would be very good for everyone and communities.