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The Best FREE Mind Mapping Softwares for Brainstorming

by | Jul 26, 2018 | Business, Productivity

7 min read

So you have a big project coming up, and you need to organize your thoughts. Something that will work with your other project management softwares, perhaps?

Enter mind mapping software!

A word document is definitely not going to cut it, and your Asana project or Trello board isn’t going to work either.
You need to be able to move things around to different areas, or maybe, separate timelines!

To get everything all down on paper would still not work because you want to be able to move everything around as you organize them into sections.

Solution?

Use a Mind Map!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This goes to help support me and The Success Mountain website – which I am so thankful for!

What are Mind Maps?

Mind maps are essentially a more adult version of the elementary Venn Diagram (remember thooose?!).

Other people like to think of them as trees, with different branches that break off. If you’ve ever seen an organization chart, that’s pretty much what it is.

5 Best Free Mind Mapping Softwares - What Are Mindmaps? | The Success Mountain
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You can use them for almost anything:

  • Brainstorming product ideas
  • School assignments
  • Project management
  • A knowledge bank
  • Goal-setting
  • Group brainstorming
  • Create infographics
  • Career planning

You can see a real example of a mind map that I did for this blog post with Bubbl.us (click to zoom)

Blog Post MindMap Software Mindmap - The Success Mountain
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Why use mind mapping software?

Mind mapping is a great way to think through a topic and allows you to write info into boxes or shapes. You can then drag those shapes around to rearrange your thoughts into new clusters or groups. It’s the best way to map out the thoughts in your brain into something of coherent order visually so you can see what you’re up against.

Mind maps actually work very similarly to how our brains work by linking concepts and linear lines together. In fact, the Mind Mapping Software Blog took a survey which showed that productivity increased, complex projects were easier to handle, and it caused people to work faster and more creatively!

 

How to effectively use mind maps:

There are a few ways you can do this.

You could use some post-it’s and move it around – this is the logical, old-fashioned way to do things. Put them on the back of a door or a wall, and it’s easy to break them into different nodes or trees.

 

Some other tips that help you effectively use mind maps:

  • Don’t stop the flow of brainstorming to rearrange. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to fix each little uneven bubble. Resist the urge! Do it at the end
  • Each point should have the main idea or category. Don’t write paragraphs
  • Use images whenever possible
  • Give it a birds-eye view after finishing your brainstorming sesh to see if you spot gaps or any errors

But if you’re looking for something more online or portable, how about picking one of the options below to see if they will work for you? Using an online mind-mapping tool is a great way to keep track of different data points, and is an efficient way to collaborate with a group online.

So, I scrounged the internet to find the best free options for mind-mapping. If you’re anything like me, you’ll hate a particular software strictly based on its appearance or user-interface.

That’s why I put a bunch of options on this list. Simply choose the one you like the best, and get to work!

 

Best Free Mind Mapping Tools:

Draw.io
If you don’t want to start out with a completely blank slate, Draw.io has plenty of options to choose from for whatever kind of project you’re working on.
From linear timelines to business organization charts, they’ve got you covered!

 

Bubbl.us
Perhaps my second favorite mind map software. It’s an online software, and very customizable.
The only problem is that you can get stuck “refining” your bubbles by rearranging them or resizing them when you should be focusing on the data itself.

 

Wisemapping
This one is my current favorite software to use at the moment.
The Wisemapping software lets you attach links, icons, and emoticons to personalize each node.

 

FreeMind
You do need to download this software, but it is free and has some excellent reviews online

 

TheBrain
Downloadable, free software. TheBrain is more interactive than the other software.
It allows you to select one node and focus directly on it. Watch this video on how it works

 

Freeplane
Downloadable, free software. This software has good reviews, however, it’s not as simple to use as some of these other options.
You can check out a video of what this software’s interface looks like here.

 

MindMup
This is a good online software to collaborate with your team.
However, it does require you to pay for MindMup Gold in order to save your maps on their site under an account.
The free part comes in when you save your map. You can actually save and edit your maps in Google Drive.

 

Google Drawings
Although it’s not an actual software specifically for mind mapping, you can use Google Drawings to create shapes and move them around.
Here’s a tutorial that shows you how to use it.

Best Paid Mind Mapping Software

If you can’t find the right software that fits your needs, try taking a look at these different paid versions.

Lucid Chart

Payment Type:
Subscription – Basic, Pro, or Team

Cost:
1 user starts at $5.95 a month, equal to $59.40 per year

Platform:
Web-browser

 

Scapple

Payment Type:
One-time Purchase

Cost: 
Windows – Standard License: $14.99
Windows – Educational License – $12.00
Mac – Standard License – $14.99
Mac – Educational License: $12.00

Platform: Windows & Mac

 

Popplet

Payment Type:
Subscription Pricing

Cost:
Monthly – $3.00
Yearly – $30.00
Volume Licensing options available

Platform:
Mac only

 

MindMaple

Payment Type:
One-time Purchase

Cost:
Windows: $19.99
Mac: $8.99

Platform:
Windows and Mac

 

MindManager

Payment Type:
One-time Purchase

Cost:
Windows: 349
Mac: 179

Platform:
Windows & Mac

 

MindView Online

Payment Type:
Subscription License

Cost:
1 Year – $180.00
2 Years – $324.00
3 Years – $432.00

Platform:
Web-browser

 

MindMeister Pro

Payment Type:
Subscription

Cost:
Free up to 3 Mind Maps
6 Months – $59.94
12 Months – $99

Platform:
Web-browser
Available on the AppStore and Google Play

 

Are you going to use a mind mapping software to brainstorm your next big idea?

To recap, we have covered what mindmaps are, how to effectively use mindmaps, and the various free and paid options that are currently available. You can use mindmaps for organizing your new project, to create a content map for your blog or website, to create a basis or plan for your business – the possibilities are endless!

I love to use mindmaps to organize my thoughts and ideas in whatever project I’m working on.

Have you ever used a mind map software before? What’s your favorite software to do this? Or are you happy with simple post-its on a wall? Send me a comment, I’d love to know!

Want to save this for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!

 

Brainstorming a new project or idea and need an organized way to lay out your thoughts? Check out the 5 Best FREE Mind Mapping Softwares for Brainstorming | The Success Mountain #brainstorm #chart #mindmap #template #software #study #studyinspo #organize #organization #planning
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