The price point is also very fair. For power users who really like to make their software dance, iThoughts is the logical step up. It offers some really cool features like editing in Markdown and x-callback URL support. And, if you need to collaborate with others, MindMeister is a great albeit limited web-based option. What is a Mind Map, Anyway?
We really like this definition of a mind map by David Sparks aka MacSparky : A mind map is visually looking at ideas and their connections and relationships with each other. In our opinion, Brett Terpstra encapsulates this concept perfectly: With a mind map, scattered thoughts begin to solidify before my eyes.
Here are just a couple of practical uses of mind maps: Note Taking : Mind maps offer a non-traditional and non-linear way to take notes in meetings or lectures, allowing you to make connections between separate thoughts and concepts more easily especially if you use a digital tool that allows you to rearrange them.
Other mind map software to consider
Brainstorming : One of the most popular applications of mind mapping is for brainstorming because it makes it easier to see the big picture. Writing : Mind maps are great for content creation like when writing this article. We started with the topics and points of interest and fleshed out all the details, which made the process of writing the article much easier. Creating a mind map can help you overcome the fear of sitting down to an empty page as it provides direction and structure for knowing exactly what to write. Problem Solving : Mind maps can be a great way to solve problems because they allow you to analyze different parts of a complex problem to highlight new and creative solutions.
As you write down different aspects of the problem and expand details where necessary, the answer often becomes clear. Book Summaries : One of the best ways to retain what you learn when reading a book is to write down the basic book structure in the form of a mind map.
This also provides an easy way for you to review the information at a later date. Being able to visually see how your tasks are related might help you see your to-do list in a new light and help you get more done. Goal Setting : Setting goals is very powerful as it creates a plan and a vision for your week, month, year, etc. There are many books that talk about the importance of setting goals and making sure that you look at them regularly.
Why not put those in a mind map that makes it easy see how everything ties and works together? Since mind mapping is a visual activity, the app has to look nice. Ease of Use : Nothing disrupts the flow of creative juices quicker than having to consult a technical manual.
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The best mind mapping app is one that allows you to focus on the exercise of creating your mind map as the application fades into the background. It should be simple, intuitive, and user-friendly. A good mind mapping app should allow you to start building your mind map on your Mac and pick up on your iOS device or vice versa. Data Portability : Mind mapping is usually where ideas start, but seldom where they end.
A pop-up window will appear where you can paste your URL: You can even attach files to nodes in MindNode by simply dragging them over the node. You can also share mind maps in a variety of places through the Share extension. OPML is a fairly standard format, so support for this file type is essential. FreeMind : FreeMind is a free mind mapping application built on the Java framework for both Mac and Windows that has been around for awhile, and MindNode can both import and export FreeMind files if you need to work with someone else who uses this format.
Best for Power Users: iThoughts If you find yourself needing a bit more from your mind mapping application, iThoughts could be for you. Other Candidates MindManager MindManager has been around for a long time and has long been considered the go-to power user app. MindMeister MindMeister is a web-based mind mapping app that aims to alleviate the difficulty of collaborative mind mapping.
As it is an activity that requires you to write and draw it is both fun a fun and engaging project to undertake. Mind mapping has many fantastic benefits over more traditional note taking or brainstorming techniques. These include, but are not limited to For this reason, you can easily assimilate the information just by glancing at the diagram.
As you get more accustomed to the technique you will find the process easier when you start adding sketches and make good use of color throughout. Adjusting from more traditional linear methods to this one can take some practice but is worth the investment in time. As this process makes heavy use of keywords or short phrases it does require you to have at least a basic knowledge of the task at hand. This can, however, be seen in a positive light as it will serve as a great way to expose the areas where you need to improve your knowledge of the problem at hand. They take up a lot of space on a piece of paper.
For this reason, it might be better to create your mind maps on larger paper sizes like A3 rather than A4. You can, of course, just use mind mapping software where size is not an option more on these later.
6 Free Mind Map Apps for Mac to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
We've already included some examples in the introductory sections above but, as with any new subject, it is always useful to show some worked examples. The following range from basic hand-written ones to some more aesthetically pleasing examples. These are far from exhaustive, as you can imagine. The following 5 are great examples but you don't need to make them as 'pretty' as these if you don't want to do. It's your brain and your mind map so, make it how you want it.
The following example just goes to show that your native tongue is irrelevant when it comes to creating mind maps. Granted you'd need to know the language to understand the finer details but the use of images helps you get the gist of it. The following example of a mind map shows that you don't need to make them super-decorative.
This simple handwritten one will be the kind of example you'll generate as you learn the process through trial and error. Of course, these are also the kind of mind maps you'll create if time is short and you just need to jot down the basic concepts.
What are the disadvantages of mind mapping?
You can always 'beautify' it later. This example of a mind map for a business just goes to show how complex, and large, they can get. You don't need to aim for this level of complexity but if your mind takes you there follow it. The following is a great example of one created using a purpose-built software application. It also serves as a good example of the range of topics that can be adressed using this technique.
As your skills and confidence grow using this technique you will be able to produce practical works of art. This one is a prime example. It might look crowded to amateur eyes but the creator has truly mastered the technique and, if you take the time to study it, you will really begin to understand their thought process. As you can see the limit of this technique is your imagination. You can create overly complex and crowded mind maps of your own but remember the time and tested principle of The following are a selection of great free online mind mapping tools. These are far from exhaustive and are in no particular order.
By using this app you can gather your thoughts together in a more coherent and easy-to-understand format.
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It has over 22 layouts to choose from with 33 theme designs and over stylish clip arts to make your mind map stand out. It also has a handy brainstorming mode that can be used collaboratively with others. Edraw Mindmaster is cross-platform and can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux. All mind maps can be exported and shared in various output formats too.
17+ of The Best Mind Mapping Tools (Online, MacOS and Windows)
Since we mentioned Coggle earlier in the article it would be remiss of us to omit this great tool. As an enterprise-focused program MindManager is capable of integrating with Microsoft Office and indeed the overall interface will be very familiar to Word and PowerPoint users, right down to the built-in text editor and spreadsheet program.
Users are introduced to this gradually, as on first launch MindManager only displays a virtual whiteboard from where you can easily add ideas, then drag them into place. Maps are accessible via an easy to use dashboard. The general look and feel is extremely professional, meaning the finished map would be suitable for all purposes, from notes for a book to a presentation at a board meeting. This professional pedigree doesn't come cheap.
This is especially important if any users are unfamiliar with Microsoft Office. It was originally released in November and the project website now claims over 1 million users. Like MindManager, XMind seems to be more focused on enterprise level solutions. The 'Idea Factory' is a great place to start listing items and there's even a useful built-in countdown timer to help regulate your mind mapping sessions. The dedicated brainstorming module allows you to group items and concepts, as well as create links between them.
Business users can also make use of the presentation mode which can display maps as slides, as well as list tasks in chart form e. X Mind has been singled out for praise online for its clear focus on business users, as well as its minimalist interface which allows for easy mind map creation through a series of templates. Other respectable features include 'XMind cloud' which can sync your mind maps across devices and 'day and night' mode which dims the screen to protect your eyes.
We've only featured five of the best mind mapping software solutions above, but there are plenty more to consider. Here we'll list a number of others worth considering. And as we mentioned that Scapple at the start, which was built for writers, we're going to open with what is the most popular dedicated writing platform:.
While this may have been built for a single writer to develop a novel, there's no reason why it can't be used for any other type of project. The way it allows you to bring notes together and organize them around a central document can seem a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it it's difficult not to imagine working on a project without it. It's a simple app that's easy to use, as all that's require is for you to put down and join together ideas and the connections between them.
You can then export your work as an image file or PDF as required. A handy feature is that the software continually autosaves so it's easy to roll back to an early version. Even better, the software is free to download. It can also be used collaboratively, and your finished mind map can be shared easily, including to online blogs.