Have you ever had a brilliant thought, but had no access to anything to write it down on, and when you did, the idea was gone? Sadly, this is a phenomenon that plagues the human mind. Jotting down ideas that you have on a piece of paper can help you to keep those ideas from being lost.
But what if you were trying to map out multiple ideas, especially interrelated ones? Writing them down on a piece of paper won’t be enough, you would need to thread them together in some fashion, perhaps interconnect and link them to show how your thought process progressed. This process is called mind-mapping.
These ideas will need to be organized and processed. With a mind mapping strategy, you will be able to build out concepts, structure your ideas, and simplify seemingly random or disjointed thoughts into sensible connections. This will help you to visualize the ideas that you’d like to explore from the general sense into the specifically broken down details and nuances.
Thanks to the advancement in technology, your mind mapping activity no longer needs to happen as scribbles and shapes on a piece of paper but can be assisted by mind mapping apps. Mind mapping apps can help you visualize, organize, and structure your ideas more efficiently.
Here are the top mind mapping apps that you should consider for digitally organizing your thoughts.
20 Best Mind Mapping Software
Note: Click the links below to jump ahead or continue to scroll through to learn about all the best mind mapping tools around.
MindMaster is arguably the number one mind mapping tool in the world. It is available across many platforms including PCs, tablets, smartphones, and the web in case you do not feel like using an app.
MindMaster is a collaborative tool allowing you to share and streamline the ideas and content with your teammates. It offers versatile features that are great for students, teachers, contractors, project managers, and anyone in need of a way to organize complex groups of ideas.
The app has 12 different map styles (radial, timeline, bubble, sector, circle, fishbone, etc), hundreds of clip-arts to decorate the mind maps, more than 30 predefined themes, and many other customizable features.
All Platform: $59 / year, $145 lifetime license, $99 for 2-year plan
Desktop only: $79 / year, $129 lifetime license
Team/Enterprise: Contact for aquote
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
iMindQ is a premier mind-mapping software that comes with preset map styles in different main categories such as business, educational, and personal use.
Beyond just mind maps, it has abundant features that can help you to improve productivity such as WBS charts, concept maps, flow charts, and other diagrams types that lay out your thoughts in a comprehensive, understandable, and memorable format.
iMindQ won’t force you to build a map from scratch as it offers 50 free templates for you to choose from.
Supported Platforms: Web, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
LucidChart is mapping software for those who want to visualize their ideas more effectively.
The app is preloaded with multiple template types to get you started in organizing thoughts, groups, workplace operations, sales data, process flows, and anything else you could imagine mapping out.
This visual workplace aids the mind mapping with data visualization, diagram creation, as well as collaboration to streamline the project within your internal teams. It is a cloud-based solution that is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Basic: $4.95 / month per user
Pro: $9.95 / month per user
Team: starting $20 / month, 3 users minimum
Enterprise: contact sales for a quote
Supported Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
Mindmeister is a versatile mind mapping software that offers an ample selection of multi-mode mind map generation features that can ease you in structuring and visualizing your complex ideas.
The users can display their project planning through the mind map layouts, flowcharts, data diagrams, as well as visual objects.
Utilized by over 13 million users, this award-winning mapper will enhance your brainstorming, project planning, note-taking, idea sorting, and any other creative task types.
XMind is a full mind mapping and brainstorming tool designed to help users easily generate their ideas and visualize them in a more fantastic way. It also offers collaboration to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Basic: Free, 3 mind maps per user
Personal: $4.99 / month, unlimited mind maps per user
Pro: $8.25 / month, unlimited mind maps, 1+ users
Business: $12.49 / month, unlimited mind maps, 1+ users
XMind allows you to not only generate mapping layouts but to also export them with a transparent background into other tools for inclusion of mind maps in other projects. It also allows you to link up specific files as being associated with particular map points.
If you need to find the file, you just need to click on the topic it was associated with, and it will port you over to the file you seek. The app is available on Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, as well as Android devices.
Mindomo is a visual mind tool that helps the user to create a mind map or a concept map, as well as the ability to create mapping outlines to form blueprints of your thought process.
This mind mapping app is a fantastic choice for students as it not only assists in a clear idea layout, it also helps to develop experience with brainstorming, analysis, idea generation, problem-solving, questioning, synthesizing, and logistical planning. Maps can even be converted into or included in presentations.
Work & Personal: Free, $5.5 / month per single user (Premium), $13.5 / month per user + guests (Professional), $16.5 / month min 3 users (Team)
Education: Free, $3 / month per single user (Basic), $4.5 / month per teacher + students (Teacher), $16.5 / month min 2 teachers + 80 students (Classroom & School)
Supported Platforms: Web, Google Chrome Extension
Cacoo is an online drawing app that is designed to create high-quality diagrams. Through this tool, you can generate charts, site maps, wireframes, mind maps, and many other exceptionally useful mind mapping methods.
It comes with collaborative features so that you can streamline the tasks with a team of people and allows third-party integrations with services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and many others.
The pricing starts with $5 / month per user (minimum 3 users) when paid annually and $6 when paid monthly. Individual users can sign up for Cacoo at $4.95 per month. There’s a free trial for all plans.
MindManager, published by Mindjet is a mind mapping tool available across various platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, as well as web.
It is a useful tool for brainstorming, structuring ideas, making presentations, project management, and generating comprehensive flowcharts. Users can create timelines to schedule and organize their tasks more effectively.
One Time Cost: $349 perpetual license
Annual Subscription: $169 per year per user
Organization of 5 or more: Request a demo
Supported Platforms: Web, iOS, Android
Coggle is a web-based mind mapping tool that allows users to share and create mind maps and flowcharts, so there is no app installation needed.
The Coggle tool’s goal is to simplify brainstorming, planning, taking notes, and structuring ideas, while still offering a vast array of editing features.
Mind map projects can be shared with teammates simply by adding them as a collaborator. Once someone is added, they can see edits to the mind map by any other collaborator that occurs in real-time.
Free: 3 private diagrams, unlimited public diagrams, over 1,600 icons
Awesome: $5.00 per month, unlimited private diagrams, high-res image uploads, and more styling options
Organization: $8.00 per member per month, bulk export, user & data management, branded diagrams
Supported Platforms: iOS, Web, Android
MindMup is a web-based mind mapping software that gives you a perfect canvas to visualize your ideas. MindMup has a clear medium and straightforward interface that easily converts users’ ideas into visual mapping representation without distractions.
MindMup’s goal is to permit you to generate your mind maps at the speed of thought. Every branch off of the central theme of the mind map gets assigned its own color, and the font of any branched out elements automatically gets reduced, making for less post-creation editing work.
The maps can be shared with other collaborators, and MindMup is free to use, and generated maps can be saved off to the cloud, then accessed instantly from any device.
Personal Gold: $2.99/month or $25/year.
Team Gold: $50/year for 10 users, or $100/year for 100 users.
Organizational Gold: $100 per year for all users.
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS
MindGenius is a versatile tool that can help you to structure your ideas in bite-size fragments so that you can map your plan effectively helping break down your ideas and share the mindmap with teammates.
MindGenius comes with six tools that you can use to conduct the collaboration project, which eliminates the necessity of working with multiple apps.
These six tools are Mind Maps, Charts, Resource Management, Categories View, Priority View, and Status View, and they cover a wide territory of potential mind-mapping approaches one can take.
Perpetual: $256, one-time cost with free subscription to MindGenius online
Subscription: first year $160, then $56/year onwards with 12 months free subscription to MindGenius online
Upgrade to MindGenius 20 (from an earlier version): $80 per year
MindGenius for Education: $91, perpetual license
Supported Platforms: Web, iOS, Windows
SmartDraw is a diagram drawing software designed for users who need to make a visual representation of their ideas while maintaining a level useful to both lamens and experienced professionals.
It comes with hundreds of ready to use templates. The maps operated on an intuitive click and drop method, where any shape on the map can be altered or dragged to a different part of the map.
If the keyboard is your choice of operation, SmartDraw permits achieving your mind mapping needs with the use of just the keyboard alone as well.
SmartDraw’s main appeal is that the elements of the maps are logically sorted and the generation can be automated, giving it one of the most sophisticated mind-mapping resources to leverage for optimal planning uses.
Single User: $9.95 per month, billed annually
Multiple Users: $5.95 per user per month (min 5 users), billed annually
Enterprise: $2,995 per year
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
SimpleMind offers an unlimited amount of canvas space for creating mind maps. With this tool, you have the freedom to create as many mind map elements as you want.
You can use many shapes and icons through SimpleMind’s platform to easily manage many tasks in one place.
You can share your collaboration while adding images, photos, voice recordings, and videos associated with the particular map members.
SimpleMind Free: Limited functionality, just to get started with mind mapping
SimpleMind Trial: 30-day license full functionality for Mac and Windows
SimpleMind Pro Single user: €24.99 for Mac & €39.99 for Mac and Windows
SimpleMind Pro Family/Team pack: €39.99 for Mac & €75 for Mac and Windows
SimpleMind Pro 10-user pack: €79.95 for Mac & €159.90 for Mac and Windows
Supported Platforms: Mac, iOS
MindNode is a premium mind mapping tool exclusively available through macOS and iOS. With this tool, you can create mind maps and structure them through easy layouts and organizational procedure flow.
MindNode’s free editor allows the organization, outline, and collection of your ideas, including importing existing information from other files, other mind mapping tools, and permitting the ability to export them to a variety of file types.
The premium version (MindNode Plus) offers many additional enhancement features including visual tags, themes, stickers, focus mode, dark mode, task sharing to Apple Reminders, and even supporter casting to a second screen.
iOS: $2.49 per month & $19.99 per year
macOS: $2.49 per month & $19.99 per year
Trial: 2 weeks free trial with limited functionality
Supported Platforms: MacOS, Windows
Scapple is available in macOS and Windows. If you are looking for flexibility and unlimited mind mapping possibilities, you may find your ideal tool in Scapple.
Scapple, known for its flexibility and vast customization, allows you to put together ideas and connect the dots without any complex rules.
The interface is simple and straightforward so that you won’t have any distractions when using the tool for mind mapping.
You can thought-dump a slew of ideas into a rough draft, then draw the necessary connections between the elements. Elements can be placed anywhere, dragged to anywhere else, stacked, or layered on top of area-specific backgrounds.
Standard License: $18
Educational License: $14
Trial: 30-day free trial with full functionality
Supported Platforms: Web
If you have ever looked into free design mediums online, chances are Canva is one of the top choices you have come across. There is a good reason for its fame, as its amazing final results for designs speak for themselves.
Mind mapping through Canva is no different. Canva is intuitive and can be mastered quickly. This short learning curve makes it more popular than other complex mind mapping tools, making it a perfect choice for those who are just getting started.
The map can be structured through a wide variety of prebuilt templates or a blank canvas. The elements can be color-coded, connected, and enhanced with images, icons, and illustrations.
When completed, the mind maps can be downloaded, embedded in other projects, or shared with a team of collaborators.
Free Forever: 1GB storage, 8,000+ free templates
Canva Pro: $9.95/user/month, billed yearly
Canva Enterprise: $30/user/month, billed yearly
Canva for Education: Free Forever
Canva for Non-Profit: Free (Must meet the requirements)
Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Kindle, Web
Padlet is a mind mapping tool that comes in the bulletin board format, which is a unique approach by comparison to other mind mapping tools.
The bulletin board can be used to share information in real-time with your collaborating parties or teams.
There are even several pre-built templates that you can choose so that you won’t need to make a mindmap from scratch.
The collaborative features include custom permissions, user management, branding, and many others. You can attach the files from multiple platforms with most existing file types supported.
Backpack for Schools: $2000 per school per year (includes 500 teacher and student accounts), custom plans are available
Briefcase for Businesses: $12 per user per month or $99 per user per year
Pro for Individuals: $8 a month, unlimited padlets, domain mapping, and more
Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
FreeMind is an open-source mind mapping software which is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux for no cost.
It might not be for beginners because its interface is a bit complex. But the learning curve is short so it wouldn’t take a long time to master the platform. Don’t let the very basic initial appearance of the tool fool you.
This is a powerful mind mapping model that may look a bit dated, but dive into its features, and you will find a vast collection of powerful tools to help you construct a mind map that is useful to any of your needs.
Completely free, yay!
Supported Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
The GoConqr app is available for Android, iOS, and your favorite browsers. GoConqr comes with an easy and simple interface that helps you to navigate various features to help you brainstorm ideas while collaborating with fellow users.
This is an especially useful tool for students and teachers. GoConqr provides the ability to create mind maps, quizzes, flashcards, notes, and calendars.
The content can be organized and curated into bundles and shared with others. It is conducive to testing knowledge and enhancing learning potential for anyone who engages with it.
TheBrain uses visual aids to map out the relationships between ideas. TheBrain attempts to mind map in the same way as our brain would, creating complex maps of connections, but ones that are intuitive to the mind of the organizer and creator.
Unlike one’s brain, however, TheBrain allows any element to be quickly found and can be appended with supplemental additives. TheBrain is available in Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, as well as the web.
TheBrain Pro License: $219 one time fee (Perpetual License)
TheBrain Pro Combo: $299 first year, then renew at $159 / year (License + Service)
TheBrain Pro Service: $16 / month or $15 / month, billed at $180 / year
Which mind mapping app should I use?
Mind mapping is indeed a powerful tool to preserve and expand upon your ideas.
These apps will help you save and secure your thoughts so that you can refer back to them to help you with your project, process, or organization.
Many people are visual learners, and the apps outlined above allow for a high degree of enhanced visualization for a more constructed thought structure.
What mind mapping tools have you used? Did we miss your favorite one? Share your ideas in the comments below!
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