Last updated on July, 27

🏆 Best Mind Mapping Software for August 2021

Arrange your thoughts as you turn them into reality. A mind mapping software will help you make an organized presentation wherein you can visualize your ideas and further create well-thought of plans.

What is mind mapping software?

A visual representation to summarize a body of knowledge and make sense of information is called mind mapping. A mind mapping software is an illustrational management tool designed to organize, present, review, and learn information using visual diagrams. With the support of mind mapping software tools, you can assimilate your ideas efficiently. 

Why do you need a mind mapping software

Mind mapping software is an excellent tool for brainstorming. It helps you work through your mind mapping techniques efficiently so that others can get a better grasp of different concepts you’re trying to tie together. Moreover, here are some other benefits that you can get out of using the best mind mapping software.

Efficient Mind Mapping

Instead of starting from scratch, you can save time by using mind mapping software. Many mind mapping software includes free templates that you can apply for different tasks. You can also reuse these templates, so you don’t have to make a new one all the time. 

Data Storage

Although you can draw mind maps on paper, the risk of losing or misplacing a piece of paper is high. On the other hand, with mind mapping software, you can easily store, backup, and retrieve information on any computer. There’s no need for you to worry about losing your data!

Organized Ideas

Connecting concepts and ideas can get overwhelming and messy since new ones can pop up anytime as you go along. Working with mind mapping software can help you arrange the flow of thoughts and ideas systematically. You can make changes quickly, and most importantly, you can keep your mindmap structured and neat at all times.

Improved Teamwork

Most online mind mapping software allows multiple user access to the same mind map.  You can share information through the software on a face-to-face meeting or even when you’re miles apart. So, developing and sharing ideas with your team members are far more convenient with this software.

Productivity Boost

With the top mind mapping software, you can facilitate meetings efficiently without constantly erasing written notes on a whiteboard. Members can easily add comments, and everyone on the team can view them instantly. Moreover, applying mind mapping techniques lets you tackle more tasks at hand with everyone on board. 

Convenient and Accessible Software

Instead of mindlessly jotting down notes about everything you need to remember, you can listen while transcribing with a free online mind mapping software. Input notes using keywords and short phrases. You can do this conveniently on a laptop or a smartphone, which makes everything ultimately convenient.  

Transparent and Accurate Planning

Clear communication is crucial in the planning phase—Any confusion or misinformation during this stage can cause significant problems in the future. But, your mind mapping software will ensure transparency that eliminates unwanted mix-ups. You can correct errors in real-time, and everyone can review your developing map anytime.

Increased Information Retention

Developing a mind map engages everyone involved in it. You can go back and retrace the connections when you don’t understand something. In the process, you get a comprehensive and more precise overview of what’s going on. Additionally, the graphic illustration helps the brain process the information better for easier recall. 

Effective Idea Management

It’s common to get off track in a brainstorming session since people usually blurt out what they’re thinking of randomly. Luckily, mind mapping software can help you handle such meetings by grouping relevant ideas together. Rearrange suggestions, drag an entire branch to a different section, and more—you can do all these tasks in one platform.

Core features of mind mapping software

Since the art of traditional mind mapping provides you with plenty of benefits, digitizing the whole process makes it even better. So, finding the right mind mapping software that suits your needs is vital. Essentially, here are its key features you shouldn’t miss.

Cross-Platform Support

Versatility in a mind mapping tool is essential. This feature allows you to switch from one device to another with ease. You can use your laptop, personal computer, tablet, smartphone, and other compatible devices to access the same mind map. 

Intuitive Interface

This feature allows you to navigate and explore the software’s different features easily. It’s a must-have, especially for non-tech savvy individuals and those new to mind mapping. Tabs for essential mind mapping tools, like file attachment and customization tools, should also be easily accessible. 

Public Sharing

Work seamlessly with other people and let others know what you’re thinking by publicly sharing your mind map. Setting your mind map to “public” allows you to share the link to your map. That way, anyone can view your project with or without an account.

Communication Platform

Since mind maps are used extensively in strategic planning, real-time collaboration with other team members is essential. Sending individual files between members, adding comments, or upvoting ideas are useful collaborative tools to consider. See changes instantly, work simultaneously, and connect with other team members via chat, video calls, and mentions. 

Extensive File Type Support

Besides adding images to your mind map, this feature lets you attach spreadsheets, documents, PDF files, weblinks, and charts. You can also embed content from the web, like music or videos. Streamline your workflow process even more by having access to everything in one place.  

Task Management

Some of the best free mind mapping software is integrated with task management apps that further improves work efficiency. You can create groups, assign tasks, and sync seamlessly between apps. Other integrations include cloud storage services and popular team workspaces that can boost your team’s productivity.

Educational Resources

Some mind mapping software provides blogs and video tutorials explaining how mind maps work, how you can make diagrams, and other relevant topics. In-app onboarding is also offered by some providers to walk you through an app’s features. These are all important, especially if the concept of mind mapping is new to you.

24/7 Customer Support

Extensive online help is also an essential feature to avoid unnecessary delays. Some mind mapping software has user guides to assist you with basic troubleshooting needs. Still, 24/7 customer support should be available through various communication channels, like social media accounts, email support, and live chat, so you can always ask for assistance whenever.

Complete Security

Keep your files safe and protected with security features, like data encryption, regular backups, and payment protection. Additionally, you can also restrict what others can see by managing user roles and permissions. With this, you can ensure that your confidential projects are safe and secure. 

Customization Tools

Access to numerous templates, extensive icons, images, colors, text styles, themes, and other creative tools is essential since mind mapping promotes enhanced learning. Plus, the ability to display your organization’s logo is necessary for credibility and branding purposes. That’s why it’s essential to look for the one that can provide you with these tools. 

Template Variety

Handling several projects and tasks is challenging and time-consuming. So, the availability of various templates used for standard organizational processes is a must-have. Aside from its timesaving benefit, editing a template is effortless than creating a mind map from scratch. It’s hassle-free! Plus, it saves you from tedious processes that come with mind mapping!

Offline Capabilities

Sometimes, your internet connection can be unavailable. So, your mind mapping software should have offline capabilities, so you can use the software even without connecting to the internet. That way, you can do your work anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is ensure that your device is compatible with your chosen software.

Additional Features

Besides having the basic mind mapping tools, some companies offer other useful and more advanced features. Some of these features include spelling checkers, calendars, to-do lists, and Gantt charts—all of which can help you render your work efficiently. If you want to create the best mind map for your project, choose the software that can provide you with such tools.

Types of mind mapping software 

Many mind mapping software offers a variety of brainstorming tools that cater to your specific needs. Below, you can read about the two types of mind mapping software, what each type offers, how they’re different from each other, and what tasks they’re best suited for. 

Desktop Mind Mapping Software

Desktop mind mapping software is installed locally on a single computer or laptop to perform mind mapping tasks. This type of mind mapping application runs on a desktop or laptop alone, and what’s best about it is you can access it even without an internet connection.

Pro #1: Full-Featured 

Most desktop mind mapping software offers a complete range of features and services, such as offline access, importing and exporting, etc. Some of these features are not always present in many web-based mind mapping software.

Pro #2: Tailored to Your Needs

Desktop-based mind mapping applications are usually customized according to your needs, unlike its web-based counterpart, built with a one-size-fits-all mindset.

Pro #3: Offline Access 

Since desktop mind mapping software is not dependent on an internet connection, you can access and work on your mind map even when you’re offline.

Pro #4: No Recurring Fees

Once you paid for your software, you don’t have to worry about getting charged with recurring fees for using your provider’s servers. Since your mind mapping software is installed on your computer, it uses your computer’s storage and network.  

Pro #5: Privacy

Desktop versions of mind mapping software offer privacy when it comes to storing data and other information since you’re saving it on your computer and not on the web. 

Con #1: Pricey

Many desktop-based mind mapping software charges full-featured programs on a per desktop basis, which can be expensive if you have several computers using the software.

Con #2: Inconvenience

Desktop-based mind mapping software is usually designed for computer or laptop use alone. So, your work is limited to the computer where the program is installed. This type of work setup can be inconvenient, especially if you want to work on-the-go.

Con #3: Limited Collaboration

Not all desktop versions of mind mapping software support simultaneous collaboration. Adding or editing any information in the mind map is done one at a time.

Con #4: No Data Recovery

Most desktop-based mind mapping software uses your computer’s internal storage system to store data. Losing your laptop or damaging your computer also affects all your stored information. 

Cloud-Based Mind Mapping Software

Unlike the desktop type, cloud-based or web-based mind mapping software can be accessed through a web browser with an active internet connection. 

Pro #1: Portability

Creating your mind maps using a web-based application means you’re storing it online. This enables you to access your mind maps remotely as long as you have internet access. Other than desktops and laptops, you can also use your software on your tablets and smart devices.

Pro #2: Real-Time Collaboration

Using web-based mind mapping software, you can work together with other colleagues in real-time. Multiple people can view or edit a particular mind map simultaneously, no matter how geographically dispersed you are.

Pro #3: No Downloads Required

Fortunately, a web-based mind mapping software runs entirely on your internet browser. There’s no need for you to download, install, or upgrade the application.

Pro #4: Access to Web-Based Integrations 

Since you’re using cloud-based software, you can integrate useful web-based task management applications to your mind map.

Pro #5: Budget-friendly 

Payment modes for web applications are usually subscription-based. Some companies also offer affordable and customized deals for group or business subscriptions. Additionally, you can terminate your subscription anytime.

Pro #6: Automated Data Backups

Permanently losing any unsaved data is probably one of the most dreaded mistakes. Luckily, most web-based mind mapping software is designed with an automatic backup feature that continuously saves data while you’re working.

Pro #7: Shareability

Because web-based mind mapping software uses the internet, information can be easily shared, embedded, and sent to other team members using plug-ins and different web integrations.

Con #1: Active Internet Connection Required 

To run your web browser, you need to be online. Because your software resides in the cloud, working offline is not always possible. You need to have an active internet connection to access your web browser and your mind mapping software.

Con #2: Security Concerns 

Since the application is web-based, all your information is stored online. This makes you vulnerable to hacking, which is quite rampant online. 

Who needs a mind mapping software?

Students

Compared with traditional learning methods, like note-taking, many mind mapping software online allows students to express creativity while learning. Students can add images, change colors of texts and branches, and even put emojis on their maps. Since they are highly engaged in making the maps, their brains are more receptive to absorbing new ideas and retaining them. 

Educators

Teachers also benefit from mind mapping techniques as a practical approach to teaching that students can easily understand. Teachers can download free mind mapping software to help them in classroom presentations. Moreover, the software provides enough flexibility that teachers can also use it to devise lesson plans and prepare class lectures.

Freelancers

As freelancers, staying organized and productive at work can be a tedious task since your work environment continually changes. Mind mapping can help you organize daily activities and prioritize your tasks. There are many free mind mapping software with the best tools that give you the freedom to create a mind map that suits your needs.  

Healthcare Professionals

The healthcare industry is usually overwhelmed with large amounts of complex information. Mind mapping software can help simplify the managing process. You can also use mind mapping software in conducting thorough examinations of complicated medical conditions that need meticulous medical management. 

Finance Managers

Mind mapping software helps finance managers keep track of various tasks and financial projects. Since many mind mapping software for personal computers offer extensive features, financial managers can complete other tasks using the same platform. manage monthly.

Web Designers and Software Developers

Some mind mapping solutions are equipped with advanced diagramming capabilities that facilitate the creation of sitemaps and wireframe diagrams. For example, web designers can visually design their sitemap and share it directly with a client or within the team using the software.

Entrepreneurs

Mind mapping software is mostly used for project planning, meetings, and presentations. Businesses can also use mind maps for solving problems, making decisions, and mapping out resources. That way, they can proceed with their deals, projects, and transactions seamlessly.

Public Speakers

Speaking in front of a large audience can make you nervous and forget essential details of a speech. Mind mapping software can help you prepare your mind map for a speaking engagement or presentation. Your mind map serves as a structured guide that ensures you don’t forget to discuss crucial points in your speech. 

Project Managers

When starting a project, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with different options and ideas from everyone involved. But, using mind mapping software can help project managers work systematically to prioritize the best way to go about tasks at hand before starting a project. This way, you avoid wasting time by getting stuck in the initial phase.  

Step-by-step guide on how to choose a mind mapping software

Step1: Specify your requirements. 

Do you need mind mapping software for personal use or business reasons? Although the process of mind mapping is the same, providers have different product features. Establishing your purpose for purchasing a mind mapping software is crucial in deciding what type of software you’ll need since it helps narrow down your choices.

Step 2: Know your budget.

Deciding which mind mapping software to get usually depends on how much your budget can afford. However, don’t let the price determine your decision. Buying mind mapping software is an investment. If you’re not sure, check out different product features and compare prices.

Step 3: Check functionality and feature. 

Once you know your mind mapping software requirements, you can dig deeper into each company’s product offerings. Find out which of them provides the best mind mapping solution in terms of features and functionality. You can also use the free trial versions to get a firsthand look and feel before finally committing.

Step 4: Opt for a user-friendly interface. 

Choose a mind mapping software that you and other members of your team can easily understand. When using the software, your focus should be on the tasks at hand and not on clicking different tabs looking for a mind mapping tool you need. Furthermore, an interface that’s easy to use can also help you save on training costs for employees.

Step 5: Purchase your software from a trusted brand. 

Buy your software from a reliable or well-known brand to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Shop around and check mind mapping software reviews to see other people’s experiences with certain mind mapping products and services. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A mind map is a collection of ideas arranged in a visual diagram. It begins with a central concept or topic drawn in the middle. Different themes and concepts associated with the main idea will branch out from the center, represented by short phrases, keywords, and images.


 According to research, the radiant structure of a mind map copies the flow of the human brain. By using connections and triggers, your thoughts are mapped out and stimulated to generate more ideas. The unique combination of imagery, visual-spatial arrangement, and keyword associations significantly improves memory recall, creativity, critical thinking, and learning.

Mind mapping is composed of the following principles:


-A central image or idea that represents the topic you want to explore. It will trigger your brain to draw associations and stimulate memory related to the subject.


-Curvilinear branches that flow from the central image depicting the order of ideas. Branches are continually added as new ideas and associations are formed.


-The use of colors distinguish topics from each other.


-Keywords represent large quantities of information compressed in as few words as possible.

There are lots of freeware versions of mind mapping software online. Others offer free trials or a free tier that you can check out before committing. Keep in mind that most free mind mapping software only provides limited features for personal use. So, if you want a full-featured application with all the bells and whistles, a paid version is recommended.

Yes, but with limited features. Some mind mapping software has offline capabilities, allowing you to work without connecting to the internet. If you’re working with a cloud-based app, you’re required to log in first. Once logged in, you can start using the app.


However, features that need an internet connection will not be available, such as access to file attachments, playing a video, opening a web link, etc. Moreover, you still need to go online to sync and save your data to the servers since web-based mind mapping software stores your data in the cloud. 

Unfortunately, some mind mapping applications have features that are not compatible with particular devices or operating systems. For example, the drag-and-drop feature may work on your desktop and browser but not on your smartphone. To ensure that your mind mapping software download works on your preferred platform, don’t forget to check their list of features and app availability.

You can create as many mind maps as you want on a paid mind mapping software plan. On the other hand, if you’re using a freemium account, there’s a limit to the number of mind maps you can make. However, some providers will allow you to make unlimited diagrams, but you won’t keep the flow charts private.  

The maximum limit of users in a mind map depends on your chosen platform. Technically, working simultaneously on the same mind map with several people is not a problem. However, note that it can be confusing if everyone is editing at the same time.

If you’re using a web-based mind mapping software, you can recover deleted maps through the following methods:


-If you deleted some topics on your map, check your ‘History View’ to see the full list of modifications.


-Click ‘Undo’ to reverse or cancel the most recent changes you made.


-Check the ‘Trash’ or ‘Recently Deleted’ folder to recover a deleted file.


-Some apps also have a ‘File Cache’ where you can retrieve erased files.


However, note that not all mind mapping software can restore files, and the steps needed to be done depending on your chosen platform. Some providers also don’t have access to your mind maps. Therefore, they cannot restore lost data.

Most mind mapping software can export mind maps to different formats such as word document, PowerPoint, image file, document outline, portable document format (PDF), etc. However, these features are usually available for paid subscriptions. Check with your provider for further details. 

Some mind maps are great for brainstorming, while others are more useful in planning and boosting retrospectives. Choosing a mind mapping technique is personal since people have different needs. You can select from the following types:


-Simple Mind Map

This visual diagram is drawn in a tree’s shape or a spider where a central concept is placed in the middle. Major categories associated with the central idea will branch out from the center, and subcategories under the major ones.


-Concept Mind Map

This mind map shows how different concepts are connected. A concept mind map can be illustrated using charts, tables, timelines, and diagrams.


-Flowchart

Flowcharts describe the step-by-step process flow for better visualization. Various shapes like diamonds, ovals, and rectangles are drawn in sequence using arrows.


 -Problem-Solving Map

A problem-solving map involves using diagrams to choose the best possible solution amongst the ones available. Since different options have their advantages and disadvantages, a problem-solving map lays out the problem, goals, and possible solutions until you come up with the best answer.  

Making mind maps traditionally with pen and paper and mind mapping software is mostly the same. Below is a list outlining the benefits you can get with each method:


Advantages of using pen and paper:


-You can write your thoughts quickly without opening an app or a browser.


-Physically mapping out your thoughts and drawing the branches engages all your senses and helps recall connections.


-Because the map is hand-drawn, it reflects your individuality and is an art form itself.


-You don’t need specific tools to make a mind map. You can make your mind map anywhere as long as you have a pen and something to write on. 


Advantages of using mind mapping software:


-You can collate ideas from multiple sources by adding links and other attachments. Add an email from a team member, a web page, or a folder to complement your idea.


-Unlike handwritten notes that eventually get cluttered as you go along, mind mapping software automatically organizes your notes and hides it from the map’s visible section.


-Mind mapping software is also capable of sorting contents according to your chosen filters. You can see pending tasks, assigned people, and other details.


-A virtual mind map evolves with you. You can add anything with just a few clicks. You can also drag and drop branches, so you don’t have to rewrite the whole map. 

Generally, most mind mapping open source software is free of charge. In most cases, skills in programming and troubleshooting open source code software is a must-have. Otherwise, you need to pay programmers for software services and support.