Have you seen a diagram on a computer screen with a central idea or keyword and many other items radiating out from it? Does it make sense to you when you learn that such diagrams are used to visualize ideas so that people and organizations get to solve problems and make decisions? What you’re seeing is the output of a mind mapping software. Here are 10 of the best mind mapping software that you should try out if your job requires a lot of brainstorming.
Mind mapping is supposed to bring coherence to one’s thoughts. When planning any project MindNode has the capacity to represent an idea as a node that may be pushed around the computer screen. This software is for the exclusive enjoyment of Mac users who are provided with a very friendly user interface. You’ll definitely enjoy seeing your thoughts represented onscreen.
9. Edraw Mind Map
Windows users can opt to use Edraw Mind Map, a freeware that requires no time at all to learn. The templates and very informative examples provided help the user “collect his thoughts” and develop ideas. Flow charts and diagrams may be maximized to facilitate the flow of ideas. Since it is very easy to use, you’ll have the hang of it in no time at all.
Blumind is considered small but terrible, or in today’s parlance lightweight yet powerful, and best of all it’s free. This tool requires Windows 2000 or higher. It has multiple language support and at the same time, it supports a variety of chart layouts and export formats and it features more than enough built-in themes for the style conscious. If you think charcoal gray is too dull a background, you can customize the background color. Pink maybe?
MindRaider can be used for mind mapping and as personal outliner and notebook on Windows, Java, and Linux. This tool is great at organizing ideas and is known for its ability to represent them very concisely. Navigation is no issue at all, and this means that you can devote your time to thinking the thoughts that you need to organize with the software.
For those who do not wish to be bothered with complex software MindMeister is the ideal choice. It is literally very simple to use and has a readily accessible navigation window. Two of its more advantageous features are its export function and history function. In addition, you can choose to upgrade so that the mind map from MindMeister can be exported to other programs (e.g. FreeMind).
This one is a web-based browser application. If you are always online and have a tendency to lose track of your thought processes, better visit Mind42.com and see how this mind mapping tool can help. One advantage of the tool is that you don’t need to download and install it.
4. Mindjet MindManager
This software is not available for free but you can use it for 30 days (trial version) and see if you’d want to invest a few hundred bucks. It is really a few notches higher than your typical mind mapping program. It is designed for the needs of corporate groups that have regular brainstorming sessions on their monthly calendars. You will get a sophisticated and detailed tutorial after installation.
iMindMap is developed by Tony Buzan. Who? Buzan is the inventor, so he says, of the mind map – at least the one we’re talking about here. This application has a different approach to nodes, and we leave that to your adventurous side to find out. iMindMap outputs may be exported as text outline as well as PNG, JPG, and PDF file.
The very intuitive user interface and navigation features of XMind make it one of the more popular of mind mapping software. There are available versions for Linux, Mac, and Windows. There is a free version with a great set of features. And there is also a Pro version worth $49 that expands the use of the program for online use and for collaboration. If you should decide to try this out, expect to find devices that you can use to make many different types of charts.
FreeMind is an open source program written in Java. We recommend it to those who shun the mouse. It’s very keyboard-friendly, but that’s not all that it does well. The icons and nodes are may be customized and the outputs can be exported in many different file formats.
Though the best mind mapping software may not be for everyone, having a tool on one’s PC to represent your ideas and flow of thought is very useful especially in set ups that require you to share your ideas and make others understand what you mean. There’s no better means to do this than graphical representation, and that’s exactly what mind mapping gives you.