If you’re familiar with the process of mind mapping, you may already know some of the benefits it can have across all areas of your career. But did you know that regular, consistent mind mapping can have even greater benefits in your life? In this article we’ll look at some of the best mind mapping software online, before discussing some of the many benefits they can provide.
Best Mind Mapping Software Online
We’ve listed some of the benefits of regular mind mapping below. If you’re going to mind map regularly, you’ll want to move from hand-drawn mind maps (which are time-consuming) to using some of the better mind mapping software available online. These can help you unlock your creativity.
What Can Consistent Use of Mind Mapping Do for You?
- Increase your ability to see the larger picture
- Make complex information easier to remember
- Increase problem-solving
- Unleash unexpected insight into areas of your life
- Reveal creative associations
- Infuse fun into learning
- Increase concentration levels
- Assist with understanding of information by unlocking hidden connections
- Quickly see detailed information
- Create a photographic memory of details about a topic
- Boost memory and retention of information
- Expose habits and patterns of thinking
- Clarify goals and action plans
What to Look for in the Best Mind Mapping Software
Choosing the best mind mapping software can be a little overwhelming if you aren’t sure what features differentiate one program from the other. When considering a mind mapping software purchase, here are some features to look for:
- The ability to add notes to mind maps
- Free versus paid options and differences in features
- The capability to add hyperlinks and attachments
- Online or offline operation and storage
- Filtering or sorting of content
- Potential to import and export from other mind mapping and software programs
- Interface usability-how easy is it for you to use?
- Presence of keyboard shortcuts
- Visual look and appeal of completed mind maps
- Available templates which can save you time
- Potential and ease of collaboration and sharing with others
Although most mind mapping software is similar to how others work, there are some differences, primarily whether the program is desktop software or operates as a browser or cloud-based program. The main reason to understand this difference before you go looking at choices for the best mind mapping software online centers around collaboration, storage, and privacy.
Desktop mind mapping software is platform-specific which means you must purchase the version compatible with your PC, MAC, or Apple or Android device and its operating system. Also, Desktop software has limited capacity for collaboration without partnering or tapping into cloud storage through another vendor. The desktop software requires a download and in most cases, stores files on your hard drive. This can allow for increased file privacy and security.
Browser-based and cloud-based mind mapping software however typically includes the ability to collaborate in real-time on your mind map with other people via the Internet. The downside to the browser-based or cloud-based software, of course, is a greater risk of privacy breach.
Popular Mind Mapping Software
- iMindMap billed as a “digital thinking space” iMindMap ranks #1 with biggerplate and has over 2,500 mind maps available. It’s one of the only MindMap tools recommended by Mind Map founder, Tony Buzan. There are three desktop versions available for a one-time purchase fee.
- MindManager ranks #2 by biggerplate and offers over 3,500 mind maps. MindManager is available on Mac, Windows, and Enterprise platforms but perpetual license fees may be prohibitive for those who are on a tight budget.
- Scapple is offered by Literature and Latte, the makers of Scrivener. If you’re a writer and you own Scrivener, you’ll want to use Scapple for your mind mapping. Although more of a text editor than mind mapping software, Scapple allows you to create mind maps with complete freedom. Drag and drop, add background shapes to groups of notes and connect notes using drag and drop capability.
- XMind 8 ranks 4th with biggerplate and boasts over two-thousand available Mind maps. It’s a cross-platform program with versions for Mac, PC, iPad, or iPhone. Edit online in your browser and use XMind Cloud to store your completed maps.
- MindMap is offered by Mind Map Maker. It uses the cloud and support from cloud storage vendors such as Google Drive and DropBox. Attach hand drawn images or videos to your map nodes and share your public maps easily across social media sites.
- iThoughts is available from Toketaware. It makes the list for best mind mapping software online for Apple users. iThoughts supports over ten different languages and over fifteen different file formats for import/export to and from competitors and other software programs including MSWord, PowerPoint, MSProject, and PDF.
- Mindomo offers a free version that is public, allows the creation of up to 3 mind maps but does not support file attachments. It’s a desktop platform, so there is no real-time collaboration but the interface is user-friendly. Upgrade to the premium option which boasts privacy features and file attachments for an annual fee of $72. Mindomo does offer Mindomo Cloud.
Best Mind Mapping Software Online (Browser or Cloud Based)
- MindMeister ranks 3rd with Biggerplate and has over 2.500 mind maps available. It was developed by a team in Germany and is cloud-based, so it offers real-time collaboration with others over the Internet. Private maps and the ability to attach files are other great features. Cost per user is $49 annually.
- SpiderScribe is a cloud-based mind mapping software online for use to create both public and private maps as well as to collaborate with others to create and share maps. A 30-day free trial is more than sufficient for you to try out this best mind mapping software online before you decide to upgrade to the Pro version for just $5/month.
- Mapul is available for all web browsers and tablets with mind map results that resemble hand-drawn mind maps. Their free version is only for one map, so upgrade to a paid subscription for unlimited maps.
- Wisemapping is a web-based mind mapping program that uses HTML5. This is a popular one because not only is it among the best mind mapping software online, it’s also completely free to use! The program is completely supported by donations from users and not from any one company.
- Mind42 is a free browser-based mind mapping program. Most people won’t find the interface quite as user-friendly as other mind mapping programs, but you can share and collaborate with others in real-time.
Using mind mapping as a tool is a process that must regularly be practiced to for integration into your routine. My personal suggestion is to start out by using several free online mind mapping tools first. If you find that the mind mapping process is something that works well for your needs, then research some of the best mind mapping software online that we’ve covered to see which one is the best investment for you.