10 Mind Mapping Software That Brings Your Ideas to Life
As an overwhelmed scatterbrain, I can’t imagine my life without mind maps. In this guide, we’ll share some of the best mind mapping software that brings our ideas to life.
What makes a great mind mapping software?
Just made the change from paper and pen to a mind mapping solution? You’re in for a treat. Here’s what you should look for.
Minimal distraction: Our brains are disorganized as it is. Excellent mind mapping software helps you create concept maps with minimal to zero distraction.
Ability to add elements: Most mind mapping software let you add images, emojis, and URLs within your mind map. With fully-featured apps, you can even upload audio and video recordings. Some even record within the platform!
Fuss-free collaboration: The best mind mapping software is easily accessible. Your collaborators should be able to edit freely without registering an account.
Revision history: Changed your mind? A great mind mapping app will automatically save and recover versions of your mind maps. You don’t need to create from scratch.
One-click presentation: Do you use mind maps to present to stakeholders? To get buy-in for your strategy or make on-the-spot adjustments, pick a mind mapping solution that requires you to click only once to turn it into a presentation.
10 top mind mapping software for 2023
1. Zen Mind Map [Basic]
Source: Zen Mind Map
Zen Mind Map is a no-frills mind mapping software that’s won the hearts of 160,000+ users, thanks to its robust and straightforward UI.
Create a central topic and add subtopics in just a few clicks. Insert a URL or emoji to add a light touch. Once you’re done, download it as a PNG file. Or publish it live. Zen Mind Map will automatically update any changes you make.
True, users with advanced needs will find Zen underwhelming (e.g., it doesn’t let you add notes). But for folks looking for a basic and intuitive solution with no distraction, it’s one of the best ones yet.
Here’s a handy list of keyboard shortcuts to make the most out of it. Zen Mind Map also has a sister tool called Zen Flowchart.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $4.90/month. Grab the Zen Mind Map lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49 (Usual price: $1120).
2. MindMeister [Teams]
MindMeister is built around team collaboration.
Use its patented History View to view each change made by a member. Replay the edit history and quickly revert to the original version. It’s like Google Docs, but for mind maps!
MindMeister automatically searches Google Images for the content in your topic and inserts the first search result in your mind map. It also automatically pulls in the topic’s description using Google’s Knowledge Graph.
But its best feature is perhaps the ability to turn branches into tasks directly inside the editor. Assign them to collaborators, set priorities, and add deadlines. To streamline workflows across different teams, use MindMeister with its sister tools MeisterTask and MeisterNote.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $4.99/user per month when billed annually.
3. MindMup [Free]
MindMup stands out with its unlimited mind maps for the free plan. The clincher? You don’t even need an account. And did we mention that you can also save your maps for up to six months in the cloud? #takeourmoney
Just note that these need to be public maps up to 100 KB.
To unlock more features, upgrade to the paid plan. MindMup Gold lets you create private maps, view and restore map history, and track your published maps using Google Analytics.
One interesting feature is Crowd Links, where you can invite up to 500 editors on a single map without requiring them to register for an account.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $2.08/month when billed annually.
4. Ayoa [All-in-one]
Ayoa is an all-in-one collaboration suite.
Start by creating a blank board using Ayoa’s radial, speed, or organic style mind maps. Don’t want to start from scratch? Select a premade template like Process Map or Leadership Development Model.
Attach a task board to turn a sub-topic into an actionable task. You can manage your projects within the platform, thanks to Ayoa’s built-in task management tool. There’s also an online whiteboard that lets you brainstorm and take notes.
Pricing: 7-day free trial, with paid plans scaling from $10/user each month when billed annually.
5. Miro [Popular]
Miro is better known for its collaborative whiteboard tool, but did you know it also creates mind maps?
Standout features include the auto-organize tool that “cleans up” your messy branches with a click, real-time collaboration where multiple users can co-create synchronously, and an infinite board that lets you add any content (including your other mind maps) within the same board.
There’s also a built-in video and chat tool, saving you the extra steps of logging in to Slack or Zoom.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $8/user per month when billed annually.
6. Bubbl.us [Beginners]
No top list is complete without the underdog.
After signing up, Bubbl.us prompts you to choose the mind map you want. The free plan offers four options: Grid, Tree, Column, and Circle.
One little thing that makes it stand out? The keyboard shortcut guide. Unlike the in-app walkthroughs and cheat sheet pop-ups we often see in mind mapping apps, Bubbl.us shows the keyboard shortcuts next to the central and subtopics.
Bubbl.us isn’t as extensive as Miro, nor is it as sleek as MindMeister. But for beginners who want to start outlining their ideas without getting distracted by the bells and whistles, this is the next best thing.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $4.91/month.
7. Mindomo [Best syncing]
Mind maps, Gantt charts, or linear outlines, Mindomo can do them all.
Mindomo’s an incredibly unique mind mapping software. It offers three main functionalities (Teacher, Student, Personal/Work) with different features.
The Personal/Work interface offers tools such as task mind mapping, project presentations, and folder organization. Mindomo’s extensive template library ranges from training plans to new year’s resolutions.
Other high points include the ability to attach video and audio files (you can record directly within the app!) and insert a relationship between two topics. Also, Mindomo allows you to sync effortlessly between offline and cloud.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $5.50/month.
8. Coggle [Ease of use]
Create mind maps and concept maps with Coggle!
This mind mapping software is insanely intuitive. Forgot a keyboard shortcut? Just refer to the handy guide on the right. With Coggle’s generous free plan, you can also upload unlimited images, create loops and join branches, and more.
Upgrade to the paid plan, and access more incredible features, such as adjusting the path of connections from one branch to another and collaborating with unlimited users via a secret link—no login required.
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans scaling from $5/month.
9. XMind [Non-cloud-based]
XMind is the only non-cloud-based mind mapping software on this list.
Despite this shortcoming, users still love the feature-rich app.
For starters, it boasts a ton of functionalities for a free app. Another highlight is the nodes tool. With XMind, you can easily create floating nodes and drag and drop to combine them with others.
Pricing: Free trial with locked features and no time limit. XMind offers two paid plans: $39.99 for six months or $59.99 annually. Discounts are available for students, educators, educational institutions, and NGOs.
10. GoodFlow [Business]
GoodFlow isn’t exactly a mind mapping software. It’s a workflow management tool.
Use the workflow builder to design and define each stage of your work. You can create different tasks, set user permissions and due dates, and add specific conditions in each stage. You can even automate the stage move when these conditions are met.
If you’ve been using mind maps to manage your business processes (e.g., tracking issues, onboarding employees) and you’re wondering if there’s a better way, GoodFlow is what you need.
Pricing: Starts $250 when billed annually. Grab the GoodFlow lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49 (Usual price: $600).
Which mind mapping software will you try today?
Without mind maps, we can’t bring our ideas to life. These apps are the antidote to our jumbled thoughts.
Here’s what we covered today.
- Zen Mind Map is a no-frills mind mapping app that’s best for users with basic needs. Grab the Zen Mind Map lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49 (UP: $1120).
- MindMeister is best for team collaboration, thanks to its sister tools MeisterTask and MeisterNote.
- MindMup lets you create unlimited mind maps even if you’re a free user! However, there’s a catch. It needs to be public maps up to 100 KB.
- Ayoa is an all-in-one collaboration suite with built-in task management and whiteboard tools.
- Miro is a popular mind mapping app. Some of its best features are the built-in video and one-click auto-organize tools.
- Bubbl.us works best for beginners. If you want the essentials without getting bogged down by unnecessary features, check it out.
- Mindomo lets you attach video and audio files easily. Its biggest strength lies in its excellent synchronization between offline and cloud.
- Coggle is an intuitive mind mapping software that allows you to upload unlimited images, even on the free plan.
- XMind is non-cloud-based. Use it to quickly create floating nodes and drag and drop to combine them with others.
- GoodFlow is a workflow management app that manages your business processes. Grab the GoodFlow lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49 (UP: $600).
Looking for more tools to streamline your workflow or bring your ideas to fruition?
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