Mind mapping is the great way to present ideas their connections and relationships with each other. It helps to visualize, structure and analyze your thoughts.
All it takes is two simple ingredients: a great tool, which actually does half of the work for you and a pinch of creativity.
It’s no surprise that a good software allows you to create wonders with the simplest ideas in the most limited time.
So, this past month I’ve been on a hunt for a good mind mapping tool. Although I haven’t looked through them all, I actually do have a few that I would like to share with you.
But first, let’s get started with why do we love mind mapping:
- Note taking, brainstorming and memorizing — it might not be as organized as bullets and points, however mind maps help us in organizing stuff that is related to each other by one way or another. Plus it has been proved that it’s a very effective way to memorize things.
- Problem solving — mind maps give you a precise but very informative overview of the problem.
- Planning — mind mapping made the organization of things in relevance to each other more effective and easy.
- Presenting information — it is easier to comprehend and understand new information visually with mind maps.
- Goal setting — they say that looking at your goals regularly will help to achieve them, mind maps allows you to see how your tasks and plans work together.
Keep in mind that there’s probably even more benefits of mind maps, however from the above purposes I have highlighted for myself a couple main criteria of a great tool: Design, Functionality, Access and Price.
Ok, without further ado, here is my list of great mind map tools that deserves your attention.
Coggle is mainly clear and easy to use. It’s right at your door steps to help you, all you have to do is sign up with your Google account (unless, you don’t have one). The makers even promise that you’ll learn the control in just a minute and can master the whole tool in five minutes. Well, it took me a little longer, but I managed to get used to it.
Design is very clean and simple.
The notable functionalities of Coggle include Real-time collaboration, Images, Links, Joining branches, Comments on items and LaTeX support.
My personal favorite feature is the shortcuts. Once you’ve learn them they’re really come in handy.
Unfortunately, Coggle available only online via their web application.
As for pricing, there are completely free plan with only three private maps and unlimited public maps, Awesome and Organization plans, $5 and $8 a month respectively. Considering the other mind map tools it’s a more affordable option.
Another tool here is MindMeister a collaborative mind mapping software.
In addition to simple notes, it is also easy to create and manage links, files or to-dos. You can even make a detailed project plan, if you wanted.
The interface looks good, but I find the process of adding a branch a little inconvenient.
They have a lots of features like Cloud storage, Webcam Avatar, Text import, Activity stream, Two-factor authentication and Different templates. But I was really fascinated with the presentation mode. You can literally make slideshow of your mind map with transitions and stuff. Cool, huh?
MindMeister is a web-based application and is also supported by both: iOS and Android.
They offer several different plans, free basic one with up to 3 mind maps available. You can upgrade to Personal, Pro and Business plans ranging from $5 to $12 per month.
XMind is a very flexible app. It has been around for quite a long time and it won’t be news for some of you, but I think it’s worth mentioning too. Despite the fact that it was built for older operating systems, XMind still perfectly works in Windows 10.
Flexibility is the biggest power of XMind. It has variety of graphical options for creating diagrams, and other graphical designs. You can choose various styles for putting your ideas on the screen. Whether it’s a simple mind mapping style, or a ‘fishbone’ flowcharts style, or even a ‘rocket’!
But everything comes at a price…The broad functionality makes it hard to learn.
The design, I think, is too cluttered. I found myself staring at the screen for too long trying to figure out the next step several times.
XMind comes in free, Plus($79) and Pro($99) plans. On the bright side, if you’re a student you can buy a Pro version for $59.
I personally prefer more simple tools, and don’t need to make a complex mind map, so I wouldn’t use it, but it’s a great quality tool.
Last but not least — Iris. This is the interesting one. I found it on some website where they review new software tools and was drawn by the beautiful interface. I thought to myself “Finally something looking modern!”
So, basically it’s another mind mapping tool, but they are new on the market and have been there only a couple months or so.
What I liked about Iris is the simplicity and cleanness of interface.
They don’t have lots of features, simply creating the maps with it nodes, changing the colors, inviting members for collaborative work. It’s more of a goal setting tool and it tracks your progress, as you mark your nodes as done.
My favorite feature was Mantra! Very interesting approach. If you have set the goal, you can add some motivational quotes for yourself or your teammates.
It’s completely free, but they have only web-based version. Sometimes it feels a bit inconsistent, however they have very frequent updates.
Will keep an eye on this one as I think it has a good potential.
So, that’s pretty much it. Grab your laptops, iOS or Android devices and get these tools, test your creativity and be organized.
I hope you’ll find this post useful. Feel free to comment and share this with your friends!
What is your favorite mind map tool?