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Mind mapping software allows you to visualize concepts and relationships to view the context of entire systems.
Rather than writing on a sticky note or jotting things down on a piece of paper, mind mapping apps take brainstorming to the next level.
Mind maps are a great tool to view central topics and understand their subtopics and related ideas.
For example, suppose we are looking at heart attacks as a central problem. We could then draw a map around the central problem to show the allied fields associated, or subtopics like the hospitals, doctors, age group of patients, patient diets, and more.
Here’s an example mind map format, for instance:
Whether you’re a marketer, designer, or business owner, mind mapping software is a great way to brainstorm new ideas and collaborate with team members.
This guide will cover the top 21 mind mapping solutions, covering their main features, pros, and cons.
Here is a list of the 21 best mind mapping software to look at this year:
Padlet is a cloud-hosted mind mapping software used by millions of people across the globe. It is ideal for small and medium businesses, as well as for classroom teaching.
- Content designing – It offers beautiful attachment previews, themes, gorgeous typography, and a wide range of wallpaper choices
- Extensive privacy – Offers extensive security and privacy and allows you to choose many modes, including Public, Secret, Password protected, and more
- Portfolio management – Use it to display your best creations and collaborate better
- Offers a 30-day free trial
- Provides copy-paste and drag-and-drop feature
- Changes are auto-saved
- Uses 29 languages for increased compatibility
- Supports a wide range of files like image, video, music
- iOS, Android and Kindle compatible
- User management control, with allowing and revoking access
- Embed content from anywhere on the web, like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and more
- 24/7 customer support available
- Doesn’t offer content filtering currently
- On-site deployment not possible
- Not very compatible with Internet Explorer browser
Padlet offers three pricing plans, namely the ‘Backpack,’ ‘Briefcase,’ and ‘Pro.’ The plans start at $12 and range up to $8.25 per user per month. You also get a discount on annual payments.
XMind is a full-featured, cloud-hosted, mind map software and brainstorming tool. It is perfect for generating ideas and spur creativity and enhancing efficiency at home & in the workplace.
- Project dashboard – Allows you to look at several ideas and options together on the same page
- Image export – Allows you to export all image sheets at the same time with better control
- ZEN mode – This feature enhances focus on a single mind map
- Brainstorming module – Available in 8 Pro, you can easily segregate and classify different ideas
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- In-built Fishbone charts, Matrix, Timeline, org charts for in-depth comparative analysis
- Compatible with laptops and mobile devices
- Extensive customer support via email and phone
- Gantt charts available
- Compatible with Windows, Android, Linux, and iOS
- Allows you to export in formats like PNG, SVG, PDF, markdown, and more
- Doesn’t offer online support
- Available only in English
- No onsite deployment
XMind comes with two pricing plans, namely ‘ZEN and mobile’ and ‘8 Pro.’ The former costs $59.99 per year, and $34.99 per year for students/ teachers. The 8 Pro costs $129 for lifelong use.
Coggle is an online tool for creating and sharing flowcharts and mind maps. It is a browser-based tool, which means that you don’t have to download or install it. Moreover, it helps you map your processes, systems, and algorithms easily.
- Powerful flowcharts – Wide range of in-built powerful flowcharts and process maps for better expression
- Private diagrams – Create and access private diagrams at any time. Also allows you to loops and join branches easily
- User and data management – Available in the ‘Organization’ plan, it allows for comprehensive and holistic data management
- Real-time collaboration with co-workers and clients
- Drag-and-drop feature
- The changes auto-saved
- Add floating text and images
- Free plan available
- Provides Enterprise-level customer support
- On-premise instances for deployment behind your firewall
- Email and ticket support
- Compatible with Windows, Android, iOS
- Customer service is only available in English
- Doesn’t provide online support
- No free trial period for paid subscriptions
Coggle offers three pricing plans. The first plan is entirely free of cost, and the paid plans start from $5 per member per month.
Mindomo is an all-in-one visual tool for mind mapping, concept mapping, and outlining. It’s a pioneering mind map software that first enabled the transformation of mind maps into diagrams. The best part is that Mindomo offers multiple solutions for all user segments.
- Diversified formatting – Allows high customization for fonts, themes, maps
- Web image search – Students can make use of this feature and add images from internet
- Native mobile apps – Has iPad and Android native apps for online and offline mind mapping
- Offers an excellent freemium plan
- 30-day money-back guarantee for paid plans
- Supports multiple formats like PDF, XML, PPT, TXT, HTML
- Direct audio recording
- Provides multi-branch color and a rainbow palette
- Wide range of integrations like Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard, Clever, Schoology
- Topic resizing is a bit challenging
- The dashboard can be difficult to use
Mindomo offers four plans. The first one is a freemium plan, and the paid plans start from €6 per month and range up to €25 per month.
Cacoo is a cloud-based mind mapping tool and drawing tool, used by over 2,500,000 over the world. From flowcharts to wireframes, it offers everything to create every type of diagram.
- Holistic dashboard – Allows everything on a single platform for easy management and organization
- Revision history tool – Tracks editions and saves latest versions of diagrams
- Create dynamic charts – Create your own chart by direct import from spreadsheets or direct input
- Automatic update feature – Embed your diagrams in website or blog where they are automatically updated
- Wide range of integrations with Google Drive, Adobe, and more
- Allows AWS import
- Export files in formats such as SVG, PDF, etc.
- Unlimited diagrams sharing
- Comes with a smooth drag-and-drop feature and Gantt charts
- The robust and feature-rich free plan
- Real-time feedback from the entire team
- Extensive collection and usability of wireframes
- 14-day free trial
- Offers comprehensive customer support via Live Chat and email support
- Video tutorials available
- Keyboard functions can be improved
- Generation of flowcharts from CSV may be problematic
Cacoo offers four pricing plans, namely ‘Team,’ ‘Pro,’ ‘Education,’ and ‘Enterprise.’ These plans start from $5 per month. You also get 2-months free if you opt to pay annually.
Canva is one of the more recent mind mapping and graphic design tools. It is most suitable for web and print media design. Moreover, it is one of the most popular mind mapping tools on the internet, used by over 15 million people across the globe.
- Range of templates – Wide range of designer-made, free templates
- Photo straightening tool – holistic application of rotation effects to straighten every photo
- Image cropping – Ensure you have every picture just the way you want
- Photo enhancer and transparency tool – Enhance and add transparency feature to any photo
- Offers a freemium, open-source plan
- Wide range of charts available, including area chart, bar graph, pie chart, T chart, and more
- You can easily add text to photos
- 30-day free trial period and free subscriptions for non-profits
- Comes with a drag-and-drop feature
- Allows you to embed graphs in presentation mode, infographics and more
- In-built speech bubble maker
- Options to design grids and photo frames
- Enables creation of web wireframes
- Supports only English and doesn’t offer live support
- Changing of image dimensions is sometimes problematic
- Content combination for export is difficult
Canva offers three pricing plans, namely ‘Free,’ ‘Pro,’ and ‘Enterprise.’ The paid plans start from $9.95 per user per month (paid annually).
MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool used by millions across the world. It is suitable for professionals from all walks of life, including artists, students, and teachers, to visualize and present their thoughts.
- Mind map editor – Award-winning feature that allows you to create, share and present mind maps direct from the web browser
- Project management – Turn ideas into actionable tasks, assign them to collaborators, set deadlines and priorities
- Excellent templates – Make use of in-built templates and avoid creating ones from scratch
- Publishing and editing – Publish your mind maps directly on the web, social media or embed it on website
- Offers an excellent free plan
- Enables real-time collaboration
- History view allows you to see contributions
- Supports multiple file formats like PNG, PDF, TXT
- Multiple integrations like Dropbox, Drive, Confluence, Evernote
- Available in iOS and Android
- No onsite deployment
- No live chat support
- The freemium plan offers three mind maps only
MindMeister offers four plans, namely ‘Free,’ ‘Personal,’ ‘Pro,’ and ‘Business.’ The three paid plans cost $4.99, $8.25, and $12.49 per user per month, respectively.
Stormboard is a highly flexible and easy-to-use mind mapping software and drawing tool. The best part is that it allows you to use shared workspaces to generate excellent ideas, organize, and then work on refining those ideas.
- Real-time whiteboards – Brainstorm on the go and never miss out on ideas
- Priority support and training – Ensure your employees or students leverage their potential
- Pre-made templates – You get attractive pre-existing templates to help you save time and efforts
- Task management – Ensure holistic project management throughout your organization
- 100% data encryption with TLS
- Extensive integrations with Zapier, Trello, Slack, Pipedrive, and more
- Direct use from a web browser, no need for download and installation
- Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows
- Excellent customer support with live chats, email, and telephone
- Invoice billing in paid plans
- Paid plans offer legend color palettes
- Offers a free plan
- Incompatible with Linux
- The freemium plan could be made more feature-rich
- No free trial period for paid plans
Stormboard offers three pricing plans, namely ‘Individual,’ ‘Business,’ and ‘Enterprise.’ While the first is a free version, the latter two cost $10 and $16.67 per user per month when billed annually.
SimpleMind is the world leader when it comes to cross-platform mind mapping. On top of that, it comes with impressive features, including virtually unlimited page size and a number of elements, intuitive mind mapping, automatic map layout, and more.
- Free layout – Helps you analyze your thoughts and structure due to unlimited page size and elements
- Task management – Offers holistic and inclusive task management
- Crosslink – create crosslinks to connect two topics you want
- Single pager – create multiple mind maps on the same page for an inclusive view
- Allows you to make use of checkboxes, progress bars, and auto-numbering
- Comes with built-in stock icons, live checklist, and to-do list
- Add links to mind maps for reference
- Enables the use of a color palette or custom colors
- Merge paths and create summaries
- Multiple selectable mind map types
- 30-day free trial and one-time purchase
- Offers a free plan
- Seamless sync with apps like Dropbox and Google Drive for paid plans
- The free trial is restrictive, and you can’t use it on iOS and Android
- The free plan lacks multiple features
SimpleMind offers two segments, including the ‘Free’ and ‘Pro.’ The Pro plan has prices based on three slabs: €24.99 for Individuals, €39.99 for the Team pack, and €79.95 for the 10-user pack.
SmartDraw is a diagram and mind mapping tool that is used all over the world. Some of its most prominent features include intelligent formatting, Visio import & export, extensive integration, and more.
- Intelligent formatting engine – Allows you to build and edit diagrams easily
- Visio import and export – Allows export and import from Visio
- Development platform – In-built platform to create an instant diagram from data
- Automatic spacing, alignment, sizing and color finish for professional outlook
- Extensive integrations with Office, Jira, etc.
- Use over 34,000 symbols for a wide range of disciplines and 4,500 templates
- Engineering prowess on lines of CAD
- Extensive collaboration between and inside teams
- Offers comprehensive customer support by phone, email, live chats
- Runs on a web browser, which means you don’t have to install it
- Share files with non-SmartDraw users
- Doesn’t offer a free trial
- Gantt chart provides limited columns
- Multi-user collaboration can be difficult sometimes
- Customer service can be improved
SmartDraw offers two plans, namely the ‘Single user’ and the ‘Multiple users.’ The former costs $297 and is a one-time purchase. The latter is for more than five users, and costs $595 per month, billed annually.
Milanote is an extremely easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects and project them on to visual boards. It is perfect for professionals like designers, creative directors, marketers, writers, and agencies alike.
- Mood boarding – With its unique features, create the perfect mood boards
- Extensive templates – Choose from a wide range of templates
- Task management – Organize all your projects into visual boards for ready reference
- Online whiteboard – Make use of this feature to add notes, images, files and more
- Allows you to add a minimum of 100 notes, images, or links
- You can share unlimited boards and upload unlimited files if you purchase the paid plan
- Provides easy collaboration between teams and team members
- Perform storyboarding with visuals, narration, and sequencing of each scene
- Provides features like task reminders and custom colors
- Compatible with formats like PDF, ZIP file, and more
- Offers a free trial period
- Native app for iPhones
- No built-in chat
- No native app for android platform
Milanote offers two pricing plans. The first one is a freemium plan, and the second one is the ‘Professional’ plan that costs $9.99 per person per month, billed annually.
Slickplan is basically a website planning system that helps you with boosting creativity and designing the specifications that you require. It is perfect for writers, agencies, start-ups, teachers, students, and artists.
- Sitemap builder – Create a sitemap helps you plan and execute the information architecture design process
- Productive content planner – Centralize your on-page content and unify content types
- Diagram maker – Create the perfect diagrams with the in-built diagram maker
- Offers a 30-day free trial period
- Comes with prominent features like drag-and-drop features, extensive templates, third-party integrations, and more
- Auto-saves changes
- Provides connector keyboard shortcuts
- Allows easy planning of navigational wireframe
- Fully GDPR-compliant
- Create sitemap shadows and gradients
- Enables you to add multiple/ external links, add, clone, create and remove symbols
- Incorporates Google analytics for data-driven insights
- Doesn’t offer a free plan
- Can be challenging to use for novices
- Graphics and collaboration functionality could be improved
- Separate views for each client require individualized accounts
Slickplan comes with four subscription plans, starting from $8.99 and ranging up to $89.99 per month. There’s a 10% discount for annual billing.
Lucidchart is a visual workspace that combines elements like diagramming, data visualization, and collaboration to accelerate understanding and drive innovation in the form of mind maps.
- People management – Coordinated and comprehensive people management enabled
- Project management – Holistic management of projects on a single platform
- Business process mapping tool – View all business processes together on the same platform and make informed decisions
- Value stream mapping software – Take advantage of it and identify the steps of your business process that add the most value
- Free plan available
- Use over 500 templates in-built and wireframe software
- Provides concept maps and Venn diagram maker built-in
- Comes with in-built ER diagram and UML diagram tools
- Extensive integrations with Drive, JIVE, Google apps, and more
- Only available in English
- No live support
Lucidchart offers two plan segments; ‘Personal’ and ‘Business.’ The ‘Personal’ segment has two parts, the free plan and the ‘Individual’ plan at $9.95 per month (annual billing). The ‘Business’ segment has a ‘Team’ plan at $20 per month for three users (yearly billing), and a quote-based plan.
MindMup is a mind mapping tool that allows hassle-free creation, publishing, and sharing of mind maps & diagrams. Moreover, it’s an excellent tool for note-taking, collaborative planning, and classrooms.
- Project management – Manage project progress easily with icons and priorities
- Economical diagramming tool – Explore and develop your concepts your way
- Organization administration – Manage your organization and individual access and security from a single platform
- Offers a free plan
- Provides features like an unlimited number of maps, powerful keyboard shortcuts, online publishing and map sharing, and more
- Easy conversion of maps to formats like PDF etc.
- Allows smooth addition of documents and images to mind maps
- Email and ticket support
- Provides efficient storyboarding
- Enables social media integration
- It’s a browser-based tool, so one doesn’t have to download and install it
- Available only in English
- No phone and live support
- Sometimes slow to load
MindMup offers three pricing plans, starting from $2.99 per month. The first one is a freemium plan.
GoConqr is a comprehensive and integrated suite of content creation tools for every step of the learning journey. Moreover, it is replete with flashcards, quizzes, mind-maps, notes, flowcharts, and diagrams.
- Project management – allows you to plan, execute, and control work and ensure completion
- Task management – Holistic management of tasks throughout the lifecycle
- Course builder – Customize courses easily and build the way you want
- Note-taking software – Assimilate a topic and express it in your own words. Add images and videos to notes
- Offers an excellent freemium plan
- Online flashcards allow unlimited sharing
- Create mind maps, quizzes, and flowcharts for greater collaboration and information facilitation
- Integration with Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail
- Provides seamless data sharing
- Doesn’t have a phone or live chat support
- Integrations could be increased
- Can be challenging to grasp for beginners
GoConqr contains two plan segments. The first is ‘Individual,’ which has a basic free plan and a ‘Premium’ one at $4.95 per month. The second segment, ‘Groups,’ has four plans, starting from $1.49 per member per month.
Scapple is one of the most prominent mind mapping software and diagramming tools in the market. It helps you get all your musings and thoughts on the paper effectively.
- Scrivener integration – Directly drag notes into Scrivener
- Project management – Make use of its features to connect with team members to plan and execute processes
- Double-click start – That’s right, just Double click anywhere and start writing
- Inspector window – Stylize your notes with bubbles, color, font, alignment, and more
- Offers 30-day free trial period
- Excellent drag-and-drop feature
- Full-screen mode to have a better view of your work
- Easy export and print of ideas
- Comprehensive video tutorials
- Highly customizable background shapes and notes
- Stack notes in columns for ready referral
- Import range of formats like text, PDF, images
- Available only in English
- No phone or live support
- Third-party integrations could be enhanced
- No in-built templates
Scapple offers two pricing plans. The ‘Standard license’ plan costs $14.99, and the ‘Educational license’ plan is $12.
MindNode is an award-winning visual brainstorming and mind mapping application that allows you to connect your thoughts and emphasizes better clarity.
- Quick entry – Capture your thoughts directly from the menu bar
- Progress tracker – Transform your nodes into tasks real-time
- Focus mode – Use this feature to block out distractions and focus on one track
- Smart Layout feature – Fully automatic layout for the organization of branches and easy view
- 14-day free trial period
- Excellent customer support via phone, live chats, and email
- Export to plain text, RTF, docx, pdf, image, markdown, or TaskPaper
- More than 250 stickers for customization
- Wide range of in-built themes to choose from
- Integrations with apps like Things, OmniFocus, Markdown
- Provides customer service in multiple languages
- Not available for Windows
- Can be difficult for novices
There are two versions for Mac and iOS. The subscriptions cost $2.49 per month or $19.99 for a year.
MindMaple is one of the most popular mind mapping software in the market right now. It is excellent for brainstorming and collaboration and is most suitable for teachers, students, and corporate leaders.
- Project task management – Holistic management on all fronts for your project
- Boundary makers and relationship builders – Analyze topics, break them down and draw the correlation
- Personalization tools – With an array of tools, personalize your maps the way you want
- Task scheduling and prioritization – Schedule tasks as per their importance and deliver on time
- Comes with a natural, user-friendly drawing interface
- Highly customizable spaces and maps
- Enables you to add video, picture, and text to mind maps
- Offers an excellent color palette, easy customization of themes, and fantastic drag and drop feature
- File export and import
- Paste hyperlinks on mind maps for easy access and ready reference
- Enables task progress tracking
- Integrations could be more extensive
- Doesn’t offer phone support
- Not compatible with Android platform
It offers a one-time purchase of license at $19.99 for Windows, $9.99 for Mac, and $2.99 for Pen.
Ideaflip is a mind mapping software that enables teams to turn thoughts into ideas to be shared and refined. It is a simple web app that is perfect for group brainstorming and individual ideas.
- Project and task management – View all your projects and tasks on the same platform for planning, ideation, and execution
- Status ranking – Rank your projects as per their completion or importance status for ready reference
- Idea ranking – Rank the ideas according to their importance for future brainstorming
- Provides a 14-day free trial
- Enables End-to-end data encryption
- Allows you to create your own templates for better flexibility
- Upload images, PDF, CSV, and build mind maps
- Export and import files in a range of formats
- Efficient creator tracking
- No need for download and installation
- Free to use for guest users
- Doesn’t offer email support
- Incompatible with the Android platform
- Available only in English
- Doesn’t provide a free plan
There are two segments: ‘Individual’ and ‘Enterprise.’ The former has three plans, starting at $9 per month. The second segment starts at $145.
MindManager is a product of MindJet that helps individuals and teams collaborate and work faster. Moreover, it transforms unstructured data into a structured form and allows people to draw easy conclusions.
- Task management – Ideal for small, medium and large businesses by allowing you a holistic view of all projects, along with organization, planning, and execution
- Information & knowledge management – Makes sharing information, collaboration and communicating extremely easy
- Visual project planning – Visualize, organize and track all your projects comprehensively
- Offers a 30-day free trial
- Provides a wide range of videos and whitepaper
- Comes with highly interactive and customizable visual maps
- Improved collaboration increases productivity
- Sort-and-filter feature
- Extensive integrations with Google Calendar, Excel, One Note
- Solve problems like missing data, redundancy, and miscommunication by central integration of data
- Allows you to capture and contextualize data instantly
- Incompatible with Android
- Doesn’t offer any freemium plan
MindManager offers three pricing plans, starting from $349.
Miro is a cloud-based mind mapping tool that is most suitable for small and medium businesses. It comes with a collaborative whiteboard to bring together your team and work efficiently.
- Product development – Create a central hub for strategy, planning and shipping fast
- Infinite canvas – Zoomable canvas and web whiteboard lets you unleash your creativity
- Enterprise-grade security – So that you can rest easy with enhanced compliance
- Extensive integrations with tools like Dropbox, JIRA, Slack, and more
- Offers an excellent free plan
- End-to-end design workflows
- Allows you to create empathy maps, customer journeys, and service design blueprints
- Comes with an extensive built-in template library
- Collaboration boost with voter and timer features
- Seamless video chats, screen-sharing, and live chats
- KPI monitoring, along with milestone tracking & road-mapping
- Video adding is a bit challenging
- Mobile version could be improved
- Upload file size limit is low
Miro comes with five pricing plans, starting from $8 per user per month, billed annually. You also get a freemium plan for basic requirements.
Note: tools not yet included on this list include Freemind, Bubbl.us, iMindQ, TheBrain, and iMindMap
Mind mapping software gives you a graphic way to view complex ideas and concepts. It provides you with a graphic-based platform to generate, formulate, re-formulate, synthesize, recall, structure, and understand your own ideas better.
Compared to a paper-and-pencil based environment, which entails tedious drawing, deletions, and re-drawing, and can hamper the creative spirit, mind mapping software makes it easy for you to make simple changes with the click of a button.
With the help of modern mind map templates, you can create special effects, make use of symbols, add links to pages containing your inspiration, and a lot more.
Mind mapping software has multiple benefits that you can’t get out of tools like Microsoft Office, Powerpoint, or other tools. Here are some of the key benefits.
Meaningful learning is different from non-meaningful or rote learning. Rote learning doesn’t allow students to make any connection between something they learn and something that they already know. They exist as disparate silos in the mind of the student.
Mind mapping software, in this case, can present a solution. It allows the students to recall information quickly, and find connections between silos of information. On top of that, it leads to meaningful learning.
Retaining something you’ve learned is just as important as learning something new. And mind maps can increase the efficiency of learning and retention over other forms of learning.
The learning pyramid also suggests that visual and demonstrative teaching methods, like mind maps, can provide far more active modes of learning than lectures or reading.
Moreover, group discussion, teaching others, and practicing by doing are all examples of areas where you can mind maps to significant effect.
Human beings find simple things easier to comprehend.
A 2017 study further reiterated this point when it found that:
- 92% of respondents found faster clarity via main maps
- 83% of respondents stated that mind maps help them share information faster and more effectively
- 67% said that they could identify the root cause of a business problem quickly with the help of mind maps
Mind maps help you break down information, simplify the various aspects, and enable faster & more efficient learning on all levels.
Productivity is central to the success of any business. According to the 2017 Mind mapping survey, the productivity of various segments of workers increased when they started using mind mapping software at work.
It found out:
- 10% of productivity increase for beginners
- 50% productivity increase in the case of experts
When you look at it from the perspective that a 20% increase in productivity is roughly equivalent to getting the job of an entire day done, using mind maps could get you the advantage of an extra day every week!
It goes without saying that time is money. And the 2017 Mind mapping survey conclusively proves that using mind maps can lead to saving time and getting things done quicker and more effectively.
The survey suggests that 41% of professionals saved 1 to 3 hours every week using mind maps. The study also talked about how 50% beginners can save up to 2 hours every week using the maps, and 47% of expert users can save up to 7 hours every week, which can drastically improve the productivity of a company.
The time you save using a mind map tool could be put to use in an area that requires attention.
The mind map tools help in the smooth facilitation of ideas, collaboration, and enables quick learning. But there are so many of these tools in the market, which makes it challenging to choose the right one.
These tools are straightforward to use and mostly need little to no experience at all. Some tools will have a higher price; some will have better functionalities, some will offer better collaborative abilities, while others still will provide added benefits.
Your choice would depend extensively upon:
- Variables in your business
- Business deliverables and outcome
- The trade-off between price and features
- Number of users
- Educational use vs. creative use vs. corporate use
It’s down to you to make the right choice, taking every characteristic and feature into consideration.