The Mindmapping Toolbox: 100+ Tools, Resources, and Tutorials

Thursday, November 29, 2007 at 1:56am by Site Administrator

Sometimes the difference between a successful project and one that spirals out of control is getting all your thoughts and ideas laid out before you even get started. One of the best ways to do this is with mind maps, which act as a visual representation of all that stuff you’ve got floating around in your head. This kind of radiant thinking can be a great way to start out working on anything, from redecorating your house to landing a huge project, and there are loads of resources out there to make mind mapping even easier. Here’s a list of 100 tools, resources, blogs, articles and everything else you might need to get started making a road map of your mind.

Free Visualization Tools

Here’s a collection of tools that can help you get your thoughts in order without costing you a thing.

  1. Bubbl.us: This easy to use online application allows users to collaborate online, embed and share mindmaps and make colorful printouts to pass around the office.
  2. Cayra.net: This PC desktop app lets users visually represent any of their ideas, concepts and projects, making brainstorming fast and easy.
  3. MindPlan.com: Add to the usefulness of your LotusNotes with this mind mapping program. You can also use it for project management doubling its usability.
  4. Mindomo.com: Map your mind with this web-based tool which allows you to create, share and edit your mind maps without installing any software.
  5. Cmap Tools: This tool from IHMC, a university affiliated research institute, gives users the ability to create, share and critique mind maps.
  6. Compendium Institute: The Compendium Institute is a free and open forum for users to gain access to the Compendium methodology and tools which are designed to share ideas and help users make things together. Check out their free program for organizing projects and digital information.
  7. RecallPlus: Give your learning potential a boost with this powerful online mapping tool. You can even install it on a flash drive, making it easy to take anywhere with you.
  8. Debate Mapper: Have an argument you need to win? Get your thoughts in order with this free debate mapping utility.
  9. Gliffy: Use Gliffy to draw and share colorful and image-laden diagrams and mind maps right online.
  10. WiseMapping: This web-based mind mapping program allows users to share their mind maps with anyone over the Internet by importing, exporting and embedding them in a webpage.
  11. Mind42: This free browser-based program allows users to create mind maps, make notes on individual nodes, add images, links and more.
  12. Mapul: Spice up your mind maps with over 6,000 free images in Mapul. This web app comes in two levels of service, and requires Silverlight and Java, both of which you can download for free.
  13. Bookvar: Make mind mapping easy and fun with Bookvar. Users can create full-color maps and add images and even chat with collaborators.
  14. FreeMind: This popular Java-based mind mapping software makes it simple to create mindmaps that can be "folded" and integrated with web links.
  15. Deep Mehta: DeepMehta is a "knowledge management" program to help users collaborate and network data. The program is open source and totally free to use.
  16. WikkaWiki: Use wikis to map your thoughts with this program. It’s lightweight and PHP based to help you quickly and easily map anything you need.
  17. MindMeister: Collaborate on mind maps with coworkers online using MindMeister. The basic level is free, but you can upgrade for a nominal fee to mapping utilities designed for groups and creatives.
  18. Labyrinth: This lightweight mapping tool appears simple, but contains powerful tools, allowing users to create useful mind maps within their own browsers.
  19. View Your Mind: This tool is great for creating and editing maps that truly visually represent your thoughts and ideas.
  20. MindRaider: MindRaider is a Semantic Web outliner, meaning it makes it easy to create maps and outlines of information found on the web, your hard drive, social relationships and more.

Pay and Subscription Visualization Tools

If you need more powerful tools or abilities that free programs just don’t offer, try out these tools instead.

  1. Aibase: Aibase is a comprehensive knowledge builder, brainstorming and learning assistance program. As a bonus you’ll also get tools to create vector drawings, tables and images as well.
  2. MindMapper: This Windows program can help you integrate with Microsoft Office to create a wide variety of styles and looks for you mind maps.
  3. MindVisualizer: Get started thinking visually with this simple mapping tool. You can draw images, create GTD lists, customize the look and even get spell checking.
  4. MindJet: Whether your mind mapping for education, business, or just yourself, this tool can give your maps a little zing. Partnered with Microsoft, this tool can also be integrated right into your existing desktop.
  5. MindGenius: Keep track of what you want to get accomplished using MindGenius. You’ll find versions of the program catered specifically to businesses and business owners.
  6. iMindMap: This well known cross-platform program from mind mapping guru Tony Buzan attempts to use the brain itself to make mind maps by embracing a non-linear thought process.
  7. MindCad: Don’t make mind mapping harder than it has to be. Work with your natural thought processes using MindCad for the Mac. Features include linking to web pages and documents, annotations, and more.
  8. i2Brain: Visual people will benefit from using i2Brain. This program allows users to create "dimensional" mind maps to distinguish status and importance.
  9. HeadCase Mind Mapping: Stimulate your brain with this mapping program that relies heavily on images to help you map what you’re thinking.
  10. Spark-Space: This versatile program comes in both business and education versions as well as several different languages.
  11. TheBrain: Businesses can use software from TheBrain to provide better customer care, manage projects, collaborate on mind maps, and even help with IT management.
  12. Gyronix: This program works with MindJet to give it even more functionality, especially for group use.
  13. TopicScape 3D: Create mind maps in 3D with this program that can help you better understand and organize your information.
  14. Inspiration: Designed primarily for students, this mapping program can also be useful for business owners wanting to create visual representations of data.
  15. Nova Mind: Who says a mind map should only be functional? Use Nova Mind to create maps that are not only useful, but aesthetically pleasing as well.

Tutorials and How-Tos

Mind mapping isn’t complicated, but it can be a little intimidating if you’re new at it. Check out these guides to get some of the basics.

  1. 10 Tips for Highly Effective Mindmapping Sessions: Want to make the most of the time you spend mindmapping? Then check out this article to find suggestions for staying focused and what to include.
  2. Using Mind Maps for Creativity, Note-Taking and Productivity: Mind maps are useful for a lot of different things, and this article gives some guidance and suggestions on the best ways to use them.
  3. How-to Mind Map: Beginners to mind mapping will find this basic how-to helpful in getting started.
  4. Blackbelt Mind Map Training: Get professional training and become a mind map master with this company’s site.
  5. MindMap Training: Here you’ll find professional training solutions to help you learn to manage your information through mind maps.
  6. How to Make a Mind Map: Find detailed instructions as well as an example on this site that can help you get a head start on creating masterful mind maps.
  7. Note Taking: A Beginner’s Guide to Mind Mapping Meetings: Have you ever gone to a meeting, taken notes, and then later discovered you don’t quite understand how one point leads to another? Try using a mind map at your next meeting instead, and this guide can get you started.
  8. What is Mind Mapping? (and How to Get Started Immediately): This site provides a basic tutorial about mind mapping as well as several colorful examples.
  9. How to Use MindMapping in Setting Goals and Managing Time: GTD gurus will appreciate this article on how you can use mindmapping to improve your productivity.
  10. Mind Mapping: An Easy Beginning Tutorial: Don’t know a thing about mind mapping? This simple step-by-step will help you get started drawing your way to clearer thoughts and ideas.
  11. How To Use Mind Maps To Teach Difficult Grammar Points: Read this article to find out how you can use mind maps to teach and represent just about anything. Grammar may not directly apply to your business, but it can help you think of new an inventive ways to use mind maps.

Resources

Get loads of information on mind mapping with these useful resources.

  1. MindMapping.org: Find all the information you ever needed to know about mind mapping at this website and learn all about the software that is out there to help you make the best mind maps.
  2. MindMappingStrategies: Learn all about various ways you can use mind maps, like strategic planning, project management, event planning and more with this site.
  3. iMindMap: Here you’ll not only find the previously mentioned software for mind mapping, but news, tutorials, videos and educational tools about mind maps as well.
  4. About Mind Mapping: Here you’ll find an introduction to mind mapping as well as links to resources and software on the subject.
  5. Innovation Tools: Innovation Tools has put together a resource center for mind mapping with links to information, articles and training.
  6. Mindtools: This article from Mindtools goes through the basics of mapping, as well as an offering of tips on how to improve your mind maps.
  7. JCU Study Skills: Even if you’re no longer a student, you will find this guide from JCU helpful. Learn about mind mapping, how to read maps, and how to map writing and speeches.
  8. Illumine Training: Illumine Training is a company that helps businesses train employees on how to mind map. Their site is full of free resources, however, that anyone can take advantage of.
  9. List of Mind Mapping Software: This list on Wikipedia offers a guide to all of the mind mapping software out there.
  10. The Graphic Organizer: This website is dedicated to resources that help users to organize and use information visually.
  11. Mind Map Template: If you’re the hands on type, print out this template and start building your mind map around it.
  12. Mind Mapping Examples: There are tons of ways to make a mind map, but if you’re looking for guidance, check out this site loaded with examples.
  13. Mind Mapping on Wikipedia: Get the basics straight about mind mapping with this informative Wikipedia article.
  14. MindMap Search: If you need more information or resources on mind mapping, check out this site. It brings together the best websites and articles about mind mapping on the Web.

Articles

Keep up with the goings on in the mind mapping world wby using these educational articles.

  1. Mind Mapping for Project Management: This article from Innovation Tools can give you some insight into how you can better use mind mapping to manage your next big project.
  2. Mind Mapping at 43 Folders: This post and its accompanying comments can give you some great ideas on where to begin with mind mapping.
  3. Mind Mapping on the iPhone: You knew the iPhone was cool, but it just got cooler. Learn to take your mind mapping capabilities with you everywhere you go.
  4. Helping Children Learn with Mind Mapping: Mind maps aren’t just great for helping children learn; they can also be used to teach employees, clients or even yourself. Check out this article to get some tips.
  5. Three web-based mind mapping tools reviewed: Not sure what program to go with when it comes to mind mapping software? This article examines three of the most popular and gives useful advice.
  6. Comparison of mind mapping applications: Here you’ll find more reviews of top mind mapping software applications.
  7. Mind Mapping in 8 Easy Steps: This quick-start guide to mind mapping from Innovation Networks will have you creating great mind maps in no time.
  8. Guerilla Marketing with Mind Maps: Didn’t think mind maps had anything to do with marketing? They can help greatly, and this article will show you how you can use them in your next campaign.
  9. Mind Mapping for Web Instruction and Learning: The internet is an incredibly useful tool for learning just about anything. Check out this article to see how you can use mind maps to increase this learning potential whether for employees or customers.

Videos

These videos can help you learn about the brain, mind mapping, or even how it can help your business.

  1. Vilayanur Ramachandran: A journey to the center of your mind: Behavioral neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran talks about how the mind, phonemes and visual data all work together, just like in mind maps.
  2. Tony Buzan on Mind Mapping: One of the most well-known advocates of mind mapping, Tony Buzan, discusses how to tap into your internal mental power in this video.
  3. How to Draw a Mind Map: Get a visual lesson on drawing mind maps with this short but informative video.
  4. Mind Mapping for Your Business: While not the most exciting, this video will give you some helpful information on how you can and should use mind mapping in your day to day business operations.
  5. Mind Mapping by Stephen Pierce: Stephen Pierce is a business optimization specialist, and in this video he discusses how mind mapping can be used to your business’ advantage.
  6. Thirty Day Challenge: Mind Mapping: This video is about how you can, in 30 days, use mind mapping to improve your business or personal productivity. The author of the video shows his personal maps.

Blogs

Get some advice and information from other mind mappers out there with these blogs.

  1. Effective Ways to Mindmap Blog: Get some simple tips on improving your mind mapping with this blog.
  2. Activity Owner: This blog was created to share information and experiences with using Gyronix, GTD, MindManager, and Mindjet.
  3. Eric Blue’s Blog: Blogger Eric Blue shares his thoughts and opinions on productivity, mind mapping, creativity, visualizations and more.
  4. MindMapping Blog: Like the name suggests, this blog is full of posts about mind mapping, primarily focusing on software and web applications.
  5. Erik Mack Online: Eric Mack’s blog contains all kinds of posts on productivity, planning, getting things done, and of course, mind mapping.
  6. Idea Mapping: Jamie Nast, author of Idea Mapping, shares her thoughts on mind mapping in this blog.
  7. Beyond Mind Mapping: Want to learn how to get the most out of your mind mapping software? Then check out this blog focusing on Mind Manager and Gyronix.
  8. Mind Mapping Software Blog: This blog is dedicated to providing businesspeople with all the information and resources they need to find the best mind mapping software for their business.
  9. The Mindjet Blog: Keep up with the latest in mind mapping and software updates with this blog from the makers of MindJet.
  10. The Underlying Blog: Kyle McFarlin, a visual strategy expert, uses his blog to write about mind mapping and whatever else comes to mind.
  11. MindMapping 2.0: This blog discusses how and where mind mapping and web 2.0 meet, as the blogger works on his own mind mapping software.
  12. Peace of Mind: Blogger Steve Rothwell gives his two cents on everything mind mapping, including applications and examples.
  13. My Mind Guide: Here, you’ll find tons of useful links and informative articles on how you can find and use the best mind mapping technology out there.
  14. For People Who Love Ideas: This blog focuses on topics that concern ideas and how to organize and make the most of them.
  15. Innovation Weblog: This blog from Innovation Tools has articles on the newest innovations in brainstorming and productivity software.

Books and eBooks

Check these books out at your local library or give them a read online to learn about some great techniques to improve your mind mapping experience.

  1. The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Unlimited Potential: This book by well-known mind mappers Tony and Barry Buzan is the mind mapper’s ultimate guide to learning how to make the most out of a simple map.
  2. Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping: Written by Nancy Marqulies and Nusa Maal, this book addresses a number of issues on how you can teach and learn how to take notes visually.
  3. Use Both Sides of Your Brain: New Mind-Mapping Techniques, Third Edition: Tony Buzan uses more recent information about the brain to create step-by-step guides that show you how to take advantage of how your mind works to get more done.
  4. Idea Mapping: How to Access Your Hidden Brain Power, Learn Faster, Remember More, and Achieve Success in Business: This book by Jamie Nast is designed to show business owners and entrepreneurs how to use mind mapping to be more successful in business and in life.
  5. Mind Mapping: How to Liberate Your Natural Genius: Written by Michael Gelb, this book discusses how you can make mind maps that are uniquely yours and help you to be more productive.
  6. Power Tips for Mind Mapping Software: This ebook promises to give you the information to allow you to make the most of mind mapping software. It includes chapters on strategies, interviews, case histories and even a section about asking the experts.
  7. How to Select the Right Mind Mapping Software: No doubt about it, with the proliferation of software out there, choosing just one can be a challenging task. Get some advice on choosing the right software the first time around with this ebook.
  8. Mind Mapping Power Pack: This ebook claims to help you to create better and more powerful mind maps.
  9. Mapping the Mind: This Google book discusses the idea of the mind as "domain specific" challenging the old view that the brain processes all tasks in the same manner. Learn a little bit about how the mind is organized and you can better see how mind mapping can be a highly effective way of tapping into it.
  10. Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes: This book by David Straker shows how you can organize your thoughts into mind maps using only Post-It notes.


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13 Comments »

  1. I use mind mapping all the time (FreeMind) and find it very helpful. Thanks for this mega-resource!

    Comment by Michael Martine — November 29, 2007 @ 2:30 am

  2. This is an incredibly useful compilation of useful resources, most of which I had never heard of.

    After writing 38 books, I thought I knew everything, but MindMapping with MindManager revolutionized my ability to write, plan, and work as efficiently as possible…and this list contains inspiration and information I can utilize to work even more efficiently.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Roger C. Parker
    Author, http://www.publishedandprofitable.com

    Comment by Roger C. Parker — November 29, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

  3. Wow, great list, it’s going to take forever to go through that lot! Thanks :)

    Comment by Katy — November 30, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  4. Hi Bootstrapper,

    Thanks for the super list! I have posted my comments and suggestions in my blog, which actually might be useful:

    http://zaidlearn.blogspot.com/2007/12/mindmapping-toolbox-100-tools-resources.html

    Anyway, thanks for the list. Certainly some valuable mindmapping stuff there!

    Regards Zaid

    Comment by Zaid — December 4, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  5. This is an excellent list. If you don’t mind I’d like to add my site to this list, http://www.mymindmap.net. It is a resource for mind mapping and includes free mind mapping pdf templates.

    Comment by Richard — December 5, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

  6. Thanks for the mention of Gliffy. We are very appreciative. If you have any suggestions and/or feedback please drop us a line at our newly revamped website! Thanks,
    debik at gliffy dot com

    Comment by Debi K — December 11, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

  7. Awesome catalogue of what is where who is doing what.

    Comment by Brad Allen — December 14, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

  8. Mappio – http://mappio.com – is good for hosting and browsing mind maps

    Comment by alexu — January 7, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  9. DoStorm.com – is an online application for brainstorming. Find idea, solution in our subconsciousness.

    Comment by Oleksandr Bondar — January 12, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  10. cOULD SOMEONE NOW

    Comment by RL — January 17, 2008 @ 3:21 am

  11. RecallPlus doesnt seem to be an “online” mapping tool.

    Comment by jen — January 25, 2008 @ 8:32 am

  12. Marici announces the launch of Marici.com, an online social platform that allows users to share their ideas, thoughts and more in the form of mind maps. The Web site’s social platform allows individuals to connect with one another through sharing ideas and connecting mind maps.

    http://emediawire.com/releases/marici/users/prweb653191.htm

    Comment by Satt Hooke — January 28, 2008 @ 7:17 am

  13. This is a great and thorough list. I have bookmarked it and will be recommending it on my blog.

    Someone just recently showed me this free mind mapping site
    Its called Free Mind. A java based program
    http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

    Thanks

    Comment by Rob Moshe — February 26, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

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