Anyone Into Mind Mapping?

Hi all:

Does anyone out there use mindmapping software?

I am on the 21 day trial of Mindjet and it seems to help me to see the big picture and to think things through.

Just wondering. Seems to be facinating.


As I transition into a new (totally different) position, this area will be one of great interest to me. I look forward to any evaluation you provide.

I had followed Ted Goranson’s series of articles on Outliners and MindMapping on ATPM.

Hi Howard,

I use mind mapping software extensively for all kinds of projects. There’s a whole range available for the Mac, so you shouldn’t go out and buy one before you test a few alternatives. Mindmanager is certainly the most widely used in business contexts, but there are less expensive alternatives. I have used:
NovaMind (it comes in 3 versions now: Express, Pro, Platinum)
ConceptDraw MINDMAP
These are desktop programs, but there are very good online alternatives, that are free for the basic functions: (which I prefer)
These online tools are great for collaboration.

Then there are specialized tools that also allow you to do mind-mapping or concept-mapping:
Inspiration (mind-mapping and concept-mapping)
Curio (combines visual information management with mindmapping, very nice)
OmniGraffle lets you do basic mind-maps
Flying Logic allows you to chart logical structures (such as plot-lines or arguments)
and finally the behemoth Tinderbox, which allows you to do all kinds of magic tricks (if you are a Tinderbox Magician) but also some form of concept mapping)
This is just a selection of Mind-Mapping tools I have tried and used. I use NovaMind for basic middle-of-the-road mindmaps mostly for use in my teaching (I decided not to upgrade to the current version because I think it just got too expensive for what I use it for). The nice thing about NovaMind is that it plays well with other programs, such as OmniOutliner and Merlin (Project Management). If you need to do Project management, that’s definitely an alternative to Mindmanager to check out. I only tested Freemind, but never used it much and can’t say much more about it except that I did not care to much for the user interface – but hey, it’s free and it does the job. I just bought XMind as part of a MacUpdate bundle and that looks promising too, though I would not buy it for the full price (299).

If you are just starting out with mindmapping, I think you should definitely play with the online options; they will probably do all you need to do for your basic mindmapping needs.

Good luck!

I can’t say much about mindmapping software but want to throw in the thought (in fact, my strong conviction) that mindmapping is something done best with a pencil on a sheet of paper when one aims not for a jolly picture but for best results and real problem solution power. There is still no such unintrusive and nondistractive user interface as a blank sheet of paper, and in case one has to confront a real problem, one cannot afford any intrusion or distraction.

Just my 2 cents. No need for long discussions here.

Well, I can’t help but throw in my 2 ¢ with AndreasE as well. Of course, paper! There are a lot of advantages to pencil-on-paper-mind-mapping in some scenarios. I would not pose it as an either-or though. At least I don’t in how I use mind-mapping. Sometimes on paper, sometimes on screen. Whatever feels right for the task at hand.

I guess I did not mention paper on my list since this is a thread on software. A sign of my limited imagination of what constitutes software, of course.

So, paper indeed! I love blank A4 sketch books and soft, colored pencils for mind-mapping. My current favorites: Staedtler ergosoft jumbo and a 2B Mechanical pencil for the finer lines and points.

But then again: it’s not about the gear, it’s what’s between your ears.


UPDATE. Thinking about this I was reminded of an Emily Dickinson poem, absolutely breathtakingly great (in fact, I will use it as my signature from now on). Not directly related, but perhaps related in spirit:

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

(Franklin 1779)

Not trying to create a long discussion :slight_smile:

I understand the benefit of a paper and pencil approach. At the same time I can see the benefits of using software, and not just to have a nice looking picture. For example, manipulating ideas, editing, using predefined formats to save time (e.g., XMind’s Ishikawa diagrams), integration with other software (e.g., NovaMind or Mindjet’s integration with Merlin or FastTrack Schedule), communicating ideas by sending other people a JPEG or PDF, etc.

For some group brainstorming sessions I did a couple of years ago using a computer and a projector would have saved a lot of time and effort.
But I can certainly see the benefit of the paper approach as well.

Personalbrain is very good too!

Over the many years I’ve been mind mapping I have found that sometimes paper is just what you want, and on others, using computer software is essential to practical use.

For quick, free-roaming idea herding, paper is hard to beat. For learning - children especially - it’s likely to be the best as well, because the act of writing, and thinking creatively about images, themes and colors all help with retention (according to Buzan, anyway, and it works for my kids).

Mind maps can be used to organise computer based information and files, and for that the software versions come off best. The same for the management of large projects and focusing discussions in meetings.

Horses for courses.

Someone mentioned trying the on-line sites. I’d go along with that, so here is a link to the place with details about all of them. This ads-free, non-commercial site pulls the information about them into one place, tells you which are free, how much the others chage and where they all are: (disclosure, it’s my site but I don’t make any money out of it).

Vic Gee

I use MyMind

which I like very much.


Me too. Easy to use, generates great looking diagrams, automatically adapts the drawing table, imports and exports in several formats.

And you are free to pay it as much as you like!


I started with mind mapping but soon began using MindManager about 10 years ago. They are very different - please take a look at my map:

Mind Mapping v Mind Mapping Software - Different but equally valuable

The left hand side was produced with MindManager and the other side with ArtRage2 an art package for the Tablet PC.

For the last four years I have used Tablet PCs for mapping. This is unintrusive and fluid when mapping meetings but I would not compare it hand drawn map drawn by a mind mapping expert.

The ink recorded at a meeting

The published map of the meeting with clickable areas on the map denoted by the IE icon.

You will find many forms of mind map on Mappio created by hand and in many different applications.

Have fun which ever route you choose.

My thanks to you all for your help with Mind mapping.

I am in the process of checking out a few of the programs.


2 cents, from a passing programmer:

Away from the desk, a lab notebook and pencil. (Agree with others, paper’s a excellent technology.)

At the desk, Emacs text editor with custom font-locking, and a home-rolled task/planning syntax. Here’s what I’m doing now:

I like the simple but free MindNode. Unlike MyMind (which hasn’t been updated in years) it runs fine as a Universal Binary.

The fool vic-ks mind, hasnt been updated since the day he was born :laughing: :laughing:

Le D :smiling_imp:

Very nice! Colors are used very well. Shame I cannot use it yet, since it runs on Leopard only.


For those interested, still for a few hours, MindNode Pro is on offer on MUPromo: … e+Promo%29


i use mindjet mind manager and flying logic. both are excellent, but for a writer flying logic may be best. inspiration is a simple mind mapping software for kids; works great. also curio has decent mind mapping and does a lot of other brainstorming things besides.

just for the record: i NEVER mind map on paper: bad eyes, terrible spatial skills. the computer is the only way i can draw anything. however, if i could see well enough, it might be a great way to work.

I use Mindjet as well as paper. The advantage of software is that you can create a template for particular tasks. I have one for developing characters which already has all the nodes in place that I need to complete. The other nice thing is that I can map my book (a map of all the character relationships rather than a plot outline) in it and then set it as the desktop on my iMac so that the current project is always in my face. That way I can just press the reveal desktop key while in Scrivener to get the big picture of what I’m working on. Mindjet is very expensive but has the best interface to my simple mind. I tried Novamind but it seemed to grow increasingly complex with different versions.