Mind mapping tools – 11 examples of ready-made tools to create mind maps

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Mind mapping tools – 11 examples of ready-made tools to create mind maps

July 22, 2021

Mind mapping tools – 11 examples of ready-made tools to create mind maps

Mind mapping tools (also called concept mapping software) allow you to create professional diagrams to present your ideas. The mind map maker lets you design concept maps that illustrate the hierarchy and connections between different ideas. We prepared a list of 11 top mind mapping tools you can use either at your work, school or in private life.

Benefits of mind mapping tools

All of the pre-built mind mapping tools have many benefits in common. The most important are: 

  • No size limit (as you would have with a sheet of paper). 
  • Flexibility you can easily rearrange ideas (click/drag functions). 
  • Co-authoring multiple users can collaborate while working on the same online diagram. 
  • Visual presentation the available formatting tools allow you to create professional diagrams that can be shared and presented.

It has been proven that all mind map tools can increase work pace by 44%, stimulate creativity by 30% and reduce the time spent on work by 7 hours a week 

Top 11 Mind Mapping Tools 

Here is a list of the most interesting ready-made mind mapping tools. The list below illustrates what they offer, how they differ and what types of projects they are best suited to. 

1. Zen Mind Map

It’s the most effortless free online mind mapping and brainstorming software.

Zen Mind Map features:

  • minimal, intuitive user interface;
  • very fast and efficient work – a whole mind map can be done with a few clicks or keyboard shortcuts; 
  • having fun with memorable emoticons; 
  • export and publish functions that allow users to present and share their work easily live or as a PNG file.

2. ClickUp

It’s software for planning and organizing projects, ideas, and more with mind maps.

ClickUp features:

  • drawing relations between projects and tasks; 
  • visualization of workflows and project or task structures; 
  • easy task creation and management directly from the visual map; 
  • creating and combining a task on a mind map using the “drag and drop” function;
  • sharing your mind map with your team and other colleagues for real-time collaboration. 

Pros 

  1. the free version includes 100 mind map applications 
  2. frequent updates with new and improved functions
  3. easy conversion of map nodes to tasks 

Cons

  1. unlimited mind maps in Business and Enterprise plans 
  2. the mobile application can be a bit slow 
  3. editing rights are not available with the free subscription 

3. MindMeister

This cloud-based mind mapping tool has a thoughtful interface. It integrates with the MeisterTask task management app that transforms your mind map into a project, as well as popular tools like Microsoft Teams, GSuite, Confluence, and Dropbox. In addition, it offers a comprehensive online help centre with video tutorials and fast email support. 

MindMeister features:

  • capture ideas through visualization, develop and share ideas; 
  • present from anywhere, collaborate with ease and comment in real-time; 
  • attach images, videos, files; 
  • quickly sketch concepts using the drawing function; 
  • turn a map into a presentation with the automatic creation or drag-and-select presentation feature.

Pros 

  1. easy, quick to use and adapt 
  2. simple controls with attractive output 
  3. a wealth of templates, themes and styles to suit 
  4. ready-to-share mind maps 

Cons 

  1. too little detailed text editor 

4. Ayoa

This cloud-based tool has an intuitive interface that allows you to navigate the app easily and quickly switch between display styles. It provides an all-in-one platform where you can create and monitor projects and to-do lists.

Ayoa features:

  • adding fun visualizations and graphics to your mind maps to illustrate essential topics; 
  • a unique variety of styles inspired by a traditional hand-drawn map; 
  • the newest function of the so-called radial map that allows you to present your ideas and goals in a visual pie chart and structure it; 
  • real-time collaboration and link sharing even with people who do not have an account they can still add their ideas to a given map; 
  • “auto-hide” feature allows you to focus on selected branches and hide the “clutter” for professional presentations. 

It integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and Google Contacts. With Google Calendar, you can automatically sync your Ayoa projects. Email2Task allows you to send an email directly to Ayoa which will appear as a task. 

Pros 

  1. combines graphic organizers and to-do lists 
  2. creates tasks directly from an email
  3. automatic branching to capture ideas quickly 
  4. integrates well with iMindmap

Cons 

  1. difficult to move tasks between the mind map and the task board 
  2. limited template library

5. Milanote

It’s a concept map maker for organizing ideas and projects on visual boards.

Milanote features: 

  • adding multimedia to boards next to the concept map (images, videos, links); 
  • a drag-and-drop interface, including a diagram wizard that allows you to place your work side by side on an infinite virtual array; 
  • template library to help you start new projects faster; 
  • real-time collaboration ideal for brainstorming workshops in collaboration with remote teams. 

Pros 

  1. you can easily save links and take notes 
  2. good combination of notes, boards and pictures 
  3. light and fast user interface 

Cons 

  1. no live sharing without registration 
  2. only 100 items on the free plan 
  3. it is not possible to hide comments (deletion only) 

6. Microsoft Visio

It is a visual diagramming tool for mind maps and other graphical representations. Visio is a good choice if someone is using Office 365 you can get data from the platform and visualise it in real-time with charts set up in Visio. This feature sets it apart from other tools because Visio lets you bring your data to life in dashboards that display diagrams linked to your data.

Visio features:

  • provides ready-made templates for creating flowcharts, timelines, floor plans, engineering projects and diagrams in a specification and description language (SDL); 
  • supports AutoCAD drawings; 
  • enables many people to collaborate on a given mind map at the same time; 
  • allows users to share their diagrams as links, attachments, images or PDF files and use the comment and annotation feature. 

Pros 

  1. extensive template library 
  2. best for writing UML diagrams 
  3. over 250,000 shapes to choose from 
  4. ready-made blocks and data flow diagrams 

Cons

  1. slowdowns on older computers 
  2. complicated UX and feature list
  3. no customization of predefined shapes 

7. MindGenius 

It is a tool that transforms mind maps from simple brainstorming documents into project and business management tools. MindGenius is intended for use in an educational environment as well as for freelancers, small businesses and agencies.

MindGenius features:

  1. drag-and-drop mind mapping, complete with project planning features such as Gantt charts, Kanban task views, and reporting tools; 
  2. mind map usability features with filtering, highlighting and labeling devices to help organize and present your maps; 
  3. integration with Microsoft Office so you can easily export project data and mind maps to Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Microsoft Project; 
  4. sharing information in real-time thanks to integration with MindGenius Online, Twitter, Facebook and Dropbox, One Drive and Google (MindGenius 2019 version). 

Pros 

  • easy transfer of MindView maps to MS Project 
  • quick switch from MindMap to a Gantt chart or timeline
  • user-friendly interface 

Cons 

  • RTF editor for notes can be cumbersome to manage 
  • templates with embedded graphics can be complex 
  • a shallow learning curve compared to other applications 

8. Miro 

This app helps engage remote teams across various formats, tools, and channels with digital workspaces that enable asynchronous and synchronous collaboration.

Miro features:

  • infinite canvases for mind mapping; 
  • a solid set of widgets and ready-made templates; 
  • toolkits for user history or customer journey maps; 
  • building frameworks, road plans or sprint planning, flashbacks etc.; 
  • integration with Dropbox, Box, Google Suite, JIRA, Slack, Sketch, OneDrive, Zapier and others.

Pros 

  1. has a free version 
  2. great template library 
  3. tactile movement of objects without a net 
  4. quick prioritization tool 

Cons 

  1. the disc export process can be difficult 
  2. not very simplified design tools 
  3. loading delays

9. SmartDraw

This presentation and sharing tool is positioned as an alternative to Microsoft Visio. It is just as powerful a tool but more intuitive to navigate and easier to use for a layperson.

SmartDraw features: 

  • an intuitive interface with functions that can be used in virtually any industry, from landscaping and design to IT; 
  • 4,500+ templates for 70+ diagram types including flowcharts, infographics, landscape designs, engineering diagrams, CAD, etc.; 
  • the possibility of simultaneous online work and drawing for multiple users; 
  • automatic correction to maintain the layout of the diagram. 

It integrates with MS Office, Google, Jira, Confluence, Dropbox, Box, WordPress and Trello applications. 

Pros 

  1. easily adjusts color and input dimensions 
  2. importing Visio files 
  3. has tons of support videos and tutorials
  4. easy photo insertion and hyperlinks 

Cons

  1. low functionality in the free version 
  2. you cannot reverse the workflow from horizontal to vertical 

10. Lucidchart

It is one of the best mind mapping software for those wanting something easy to learn, use and implement. It’s a concept map maker suitable for small businesses and corporations that visually represent data.

Lucidchart features:

  • easily and quickly create online mind maps as well as flowcharts and organizational charts, floor plans, process maps, ER technical diagrams; 
  • color-code mind map branches to show related information; 
  • easily export projects to various file formats, version history and hundreds of templates to speed up the diagramming process; 
  • embed diagrams on your website or blog they will be automatically updated; 
  • intuitive drag-and-drop interface; 
  • integrate projects with Google Apps, Confluence, Jira, Jive and Microsoft Visio facilitating synchronization with existing tools. 

Pros 

  1. easily share with others in real-time with editing permission 
  2. predefined industry standard templates 
  3. extensive list of diagram export options 

Cons

  1. a small number of objects in the free version 
  2. missing some common shapes 
  3. the interface seems a bit dated 

11. Coggle

It is one of the most intuitive and aesthetic programs for people who haven’t used mind maps. Although it doesn’t offer a template stack, nor is it sufficient for more technical diagrams, such as network, engineering, and architectural diagrams; it is a simple and beautifully designed tool.

Coggle features:

  • real-time online drawing together, 
  • co-creation of mind maps and flowcharts by many team members, 
  • automatic branch arrangement, image upload/attach, an entire history of changes, 
  • downloading mind maps as PDF files or image files,
  • exporting as .mm and text, and also to Microsoft Visio,
  • sharing maps as embedded diagrams, i.e. display Coggle diagrams on a website and make any changes to them from within the mind mapping tool. 

Pros 

  1. great free version of the tool 
  2. seamless integration with Google services 
  3. stylish map animations 
  4. easily add content and branches 

Cons 

  1. no automatic sorting of branches 
  2. larger maps have distorted visibility 
  3. maps on free accounts are public 

Summary

Mind mapping tools can be helpful both for visually arranging and presenting your own ideas and for creating complex engineering, architectural plans, organizational charts, and project schedules. Moreover, you can import and visualize live data from business applications in the form of graphs, diagrams, etc.

Finally, if you want to find out more about the mind map creation process and how to use them in practice, see: Mastery of mind map – examples of use and how to prepare it step by step.

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