The Best Websites and Software for Brainstorming and Mind Mapping

Because thinking is easier than writing:

from How-To-Geek

FreeMind

FreeMind is a free mind-mapping program written in Java. It supports folding and unfolding with one click and the ability to follow HTML links stored in the nodes to websites or local files. You can drag and drop nodes to copy one or more nodes and to copy text or a list of files from outside the program.

FreeMind also provides a search function that shows the results one by one as you “find next,” unfolding only the nodes for the items found.

Mind maps created in FreeMind can also be exported to HTML with the folding capability converted to links…

XMind

XMind is a free, open source mind mapping program for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X that allows you to plan, capture, organize, and act on your ideas. XMind’s Mind Toolbox allows you to setup relationships between topics, boundaries around topics, summaries of selected topics, labels to categorize and annotate topics, and markers used to express specific meanings, such as priority or progress.

XMind can also be used to create organization charts, tree charts, logic charts, and more, even within one map. You can share your mind maps on the web.

XMind also has Plus ($79) and Pro ($99) versions that offer additional features. You can also sign up for a subscription to XMind for $79 per year.

For more information about XMind, see our article that describes using the Linux version of the program…

iMindMap

iMindMap Basic is a free mind mapping program for Windows and Mac OS X useful for brainstorming, taking notes, planning and organizing, and managing tasks. You can even use it to deliver 3D presentations.

Some of the useful features in iMindMap are the Icon Library, the notes feature that allows you to add a variety of content into your maps, and the ability to export your mind maps as .jpeg or .png images.

There is also a Home and Student version available for £49 and an Ultimate version for £149…

Blumind

Blumind is a simple, but powerful, free mind mapping program for Windows that supports multiple chart layouts, such as organization charts, tree diagrams, logic diagrams, and more. The program supports themes and contains a lot of built-in themes you can customize. You can also add notes, icons, progress bars and other widgets to your maps.

Mind maps created in Blumind can also be exported to multiple formats, including JPG, PNG, SVG, and TXT.

Blumind is also available in portable format.

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