Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mindmapping Software Shootout

Over the next few posts, I will be comparing and contrasting mindmapping software on the web, and on the Mac. The web sites will be separated into free and commercial, as will the Mac software. I plan to list all of the software under consideration today, then I will look at web mindmappers, followed by free Mac packages, and, finally, commercial Mac mappers. My apologies to Windows users, but I do not currently have access to a Windows machine, so I cannot do a proper evaluation. However, I will list a number of Windows options at the end of my overall list below, in case any of you would like to check into them yourselves.

Online Mindmappers:

Free Macintosh Software:

Commercial Macintosh Software:

Free Windows Software (
Will not be evaluated): Freemind, Mindomo, PersonalBrain, XMind Basic

Commercial Windows Software (
Will not be evaluated): Decision Explorer, iMindmap, I-Navigation, Mind2Chart, MindChart, MindGenius, Mindmanager, MindMapper 2008, Mind Visualizer, MYmap XG, NovaMind (Express, Pro, Platinum), SmartDraw, Solution Language Tool, Thought-o-Graph, Visual Mind, Visual Thinking, XMind Pro

Now that I've laid out the mindmapping tools that we will consider over my next three posts, I'll leave you with the list. Each of the tools listed is hyperlinked to its respective webpage, so that you may take a look yourselves, or even try them out, if you feel particularly motivated. Until next time, when I'll take a look at online mindmapping tools.


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  3. Hi Seth. I'm surprised not to see CMap from the U of Florida on your list. That's the software I use most for this sort of thing.

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  5. Hi Jack, I considered including CMap because I had used it myself as well. However, CMap is a Concept Mapping tool, rather than Mindmapping. Although they are often lumped together, I decided to keep them separate. However, there are some good Concept Mapping tools, and CMap is one that I particularly like. I may do a comparison of Concept Mapping tools not too far down the road. Thanks for the interest.

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  7. Fascinating article, I have been wondering about them. I think I have been confusing the concept map with mind map and joining the two together. I have used "the brain" and I find myself paying more attention to arranging the map itself than to letting the ideas simply flow and seeing what results. Any way it has not been too productive for me, however I have seen some excellent examples produced by others.

  8. Michael,

    Thanks for the kind words. Since I am going to be including theBrain in my comparisons, I probably should not give my opinions right now. However, I can make some observations. theBrain doesn't exactly fit into either category, Mindmap or Concept Map. The company presents it as a 3D Mindmap, but it seems as if crosslinks are as important as downlinks and the links have types, like a Concept Map. To me, it doesn't feel like a Mindmap, into which I can quickly and smoothly pour my thoughts or plans.

    Thinking about it, theBrain actually feels more like a Concept Map than a Mindmap. I don't think I would use it for flow of consciousness mapping like a Mindmap, but instead for rigorously recording knowledge about things that are in my mind. It seems to take a bit longer to enter knowledge into a Brain, but it gives a good representation of concepts, or thoughts, as the company claims.

    Although I do not use theBrain as a Mindmapper, I do like it for other tasks. I have put in information about my family, for example, and my current work. It is almost like a journal or data base of my life (or would be if I were more diligent in entering data). It is kind of fun to use, and in the future I would enjoy looking back at some of the contents of my mind in 2009. I would like to have more control over placement of nodes, but that is a minor point.

    In answer to the last part of your comment, I would not say that it has been a productivity tool for me, and I wonder how long it might have taken to implement those great, useful examples provided. However, it could just be that I have not used it enough to gain the proficiency necessary to put together these extensive examples in an efficient manner.

    If my posts here on Mindmaps and Concept Maps have not provided sufficient information for you to be able to see how the two relate to each other, I hope that my next post on when to use one type of map or the other for particular tasks can clear it up.

    I hope that this helped and thank for your interest!

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