There is no question that a well-organized mind is a powerful thing. But what if you’re not naturally organized? What if staying on top of your to-do list or ideas is challenging? Luckily, many tools are available to help you get your thoughts in order.
One of the tools that’s been growing in popularity lately is mind mapping software. This article will look at some of the market’s best mind mapping software options, discuss their features, and help you choose the right one.
- Zen Mode
- Gantt View
- Mobile app
- Miro Academy
- Knowledge hub
- Smart meeting
- Modern interface
- Integration with other Meister products
- Fully GDPR compliant
- Focus mode
- Clean interface
- Works on iOS and macOS
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mind Mapping Software
Before we examine the advantages and disadvantages, let’s first explain what mind mapping is.
Mind mapping is an idea popularized by author and educational consultant Tony Buzan. It helps you visually organize and connect your ideas. It can be used for brainstorming, taking notes, presentations, and more.
Mind maps can help you spot the connections between ideas and concepts, making it easier to remember information and generate new ideas.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of mind mapping software.
Advantages of Mind Mapping Software
Perhaps the most important advantage of mind mapping is that the software can help you better organize your thoughts and ideas. If you have a lot of information to remember or if you need to brainstorm ideas for a project, mind mapping can be a great way to do it.
Another advantage of mind mapping software is that it can help you visualize information. This can be helpful if you are trying to learn something new or need to remember a lot of information for a presentation. Seeing the information visually can help you understand it better and remember it.
Finally, with remote work positions increasing by 140% since 2005, mind mapping software can be a great way to collaborate with everyone. If you are working on a project with others, mind mapping can help you share ideas and information more easily. You can also use mind mapping tools to create presentations or reports that can be shared with others.
Disadvantages of Mind Mapping Software
One drawback of mind mapping software is that finding what’s right for you can be difficult. There are various programs available, and they all have different features. That’s why we are here to help you find the best mind mapping software that suits your business needs.
Another disadvantage of mind mapping software is that it can be expensive. Some of the more sophisticated programs can cost hundreds of dollars. If you are on a budget, you may want to continue looking for a more affordable program.
Finally, mind mapping software can be time-consuming to use. If you are working on a large project, it can take time to create a mind map, especially if you decide to overcomplicate it. And if you are one of the 19% of small company owners who work more than 60 hours a week, adding even more time to a work day is not exactly helpful - the tool should assist you in saving time, not the other way around. Luckily, not all mind map tools are like this.
Mind mapping software can be an excellent tool for many different purposes. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before using them. Consider what you need to use the software for and how much time you are willing to invest in using it. With some careful planning, you should be able to find the right mind-mapping software for your needs.
Top Mind Mapping Software - Our Evaluation Methodology
We looked far and wide to find the best mind mapping tool. First, we considered the features that are important for mind mapping software. These include ease of use, collaboration and sharing options, price, and support. We also looked at how each program stacks up against these features.
Ease of Use
One of the most important factors when vetting mind mapping software is its ease of use. We looked at how user-friendly each program is and how intuitive the UI is. We also considered how much help and support is available for users.
Overall, we hold that the best mind mapping software is easy to use and has a user-friendly interface. Programs we found difficult to use or to have a confusing UI scored lower in our rankings.
Collaboration and Sharing
Mind mapping programs help you collaborate with others. You can use them to share ideas and information more efficiently, for example, create presentations or reports that can be shared with others.
Consequently, we looked at how well each program handled collaboration and sharing. We looked into whether a program had a built-in chat function and if it could be exported and shared with other programs like Microsoft Office 365.
Another important factor we considered is integration. We examined whether the mind mapping software we reviewed could be integrated with other programs and applications. This is important because it can help you use the software more effectively.
For example, if you are using it for project management, then being able to integrate it with your task management software can be very helpful. This way, you can see your mind map and tasks in one place.
Another factor we considered is pricing. We know that mind mapping apps can be expensive, so we wanted to find affordable programs for small businesses. We also looked at whether any free versions or trial periods are available.
Overall, we found a wide range of pricing options for mind mapping software. There are some costly programs, but also some very affordable ones. It all depends on your needs and budget.
Finally, we looked at support options, which can make a difference if you encounter a technical mind mapping software problem. We looked at whether the mind mapping software had a built-in help function or whether there was a customer support team available. We also considered how responsive the customer support team was.
After considering these factors, we narrowed our list and presented you with our top mind mapping software.
- ⦿ Discount for NGOs, NPOs, government organizations, students, and educators
- ⦿ Dark mode
- ⦿ Outliner
If you are looking for a mind mapping program for personal use or a small business, look no further. XMind is easy to use and is available for both iOS and Android devices. Perfect for brainstorming sessions when you are away from your desktop machine or on vacation, but if you prefer to work on your desktop machine, it’s not a problem. The app is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, iPadOS, Android, and iOS.
Ease of Use
The first thing you’ll notice about XMind is its simple, clean interface. The buttons and icons are easy to understand: The overall design was developed with the user in mind, helping them build professional-looking mind maps without needing a tutorial to do even the simplest things.
The XMind mind mapping software comes with the ZEN mode, which tries to limit all distractions caused by your device and the program to let you focus solely on the task at hand - creating the best possible mind map. XMind is also available in a dark mode, which can be easier on the eyes when working for long periods.
Collaboration and Sharing
This is where the XMind mind mapping app struggles the most. The software used to feature cloud saving, but the developer later decided to cancel it, which means you won’t be able to share the map between your device and other people simply by sending them a link.
To be able to share your mind maps with others, you’ll have to export your mind map as a PNG image, PDF, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, text file, TextBundle, and OPML. The last two are mostly used for sharing with other mind mapping programs. You can also share it via email, social media, or link sharing, and the other person will be able to download and see your map.
As noted in the previous section, the XMind supports file saving in Microsoft Excel and Word, PDF, TextBundle, and OPML, allowing for second-hand integration by downloading and opening a file in the corresponding software. It works but is not as seamless as some other mind-mapping tools.
XMind has two basic pricing plans, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a free version. The free version has limitations - it allows you to create mind maps and access all the core features, but all the pictures in the project will have an XMind watermark when downloaded or shared.
This feature won’t be a problem for private use, but it won’t look good if you use it for presentation. To remove the watermark, you’ll have to take one of the two paid plans, which differ in longevity and, therefore, in price.
The two plans in question are a six-month plan, which costs $39.99, and an annual plan of $59.99. Both plans allow up to five desktop devices and five mobile devices. Xmind also offers a couple of additional plans for:
- Students and teachers - $34.99
- NGOs, NPOs, and government organizations - $41.99
- Enterprise - A quote needs to be requested
You have several options if you encounter a problem with your XMind mapping app. First, you can ask a question on its forum and wait for an answer that will never arrive. It looks like the forum has been set up for users to try to help each other without anyone moderating or supporting from the company’s end.
Second, you can check the FAQ, which only deals with basic questions like: “How to activate XMind?” The third - and really your only option - is to contact the company over email, and even then, you’ll have to send the email to the right support for your problem:
- XMind (2022) version - [email protected]
- XMind for Android - [email protected]
- XMind iOS - [email protected]
- XMind 8 - [email protected]
- Everything else - [email protected]
A problem or a bug may occur in any software, and finding a solution with the company’s assistance should be simple. Well, somebody should explain that to XMind’s management. As you can guess, we aren’t thrilled with the company’s support.
- ⦿ Smart drawing
- ⦿ Miro wireframing
- ⦿ Free education account
Miro is a mind mapping program that combines the functionality of a whiteboard, sticky notes, and a Kanban board into one easy-to-use app used by companies like Cisco, Okta, Dell, and many more. It’s an excellent collaboration mind map tool for remote teams as it’s an entirely web-based platform that can be used on any device.
Ease of Use
Miro is extremely user-friendly and even offers a training program to get you started. The app is highly intuitive and easy to navigate, while its many features and options are all well organized.
The main area of the screen is taken up by an infinite canvas where you can add sticky notes, images, videos, and other files. The smart drawing option allows for mind mapping drawing on the canvas with the digital pen tool. This feature enables you to quickly create custom tables, wireframes, and full mind maps quickly and easily.
Collaboration and Sharing
Miro is a great collaboration tool as it’s entirely web-based and can be used on any device. It has a built-in chat function, so you can communicate with your team while working on the same project.
You can also share your mind map with anyone by sending them a link and continue working together on the same project. What’s great is you don’t depend just on chat for communication, as you can also use the built-in call option with screen sharing to connect with everyone participating in the project or schedule meetings.
Miro’s smart meetings offer flexible formats, including one-on-one meetings, all-hands meetings, and anything in between. You can use the smart drawing feature to wireframe ideas quickly during meetings and add notes, images, and videos.
If you prefer to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom, that’s not a problem, thanks to Miro’s integration with all the popular apps we know.
Miro integrates with all the popular project management, design and research, marketing and sales, and engineering programs. It’s one of the best mind mapping tools because of the many apps it integrates with. It allows you to bring all your team’s work into one place. Some of the programs that Miro integrates with are:
- Google Docs and Drive
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Microsoft 365
The Miro mind mapping software includes a few price options, beginning with the free tier, which is sufficient for personal or small team usage. Of course, it’s limited, and most of its best mind mapping features are locked behind a paywall.
The Team plan costs $8 per member annually or $10 if billed monthly. You’ll have to subscribe to the Business plan to access the Miro Smart Meetings and single sign-on features, which will set you back $16 per member annually or $20 per member annually if billed monthly. The price is a bit on the high end, but we believe it’s worth it due to the number of integrations offered.
Enterprise plans are also available and come with a few additional features like Azure DevOps and CA Rally integration, priority support, and enterprise-grade security. The enterprise plans are priced according to the needs of the business.
On top of this, they offer free educational accounts to accredited educational institutions’ employees and students. An NPO can get a 30% discount on any plan, which can be combined with a regular 20% annual discount.
Depending on your plan, you have a couple of options. Suppose you have an educational or free mind mapping software plan. In that case, you’ll have access to the Miro FAQ and the Miro community, where you can ask any question. Serious technical issues will be tackled by Miro’s staff and converted to tickets if needed.
The Team and Business plans have the same access levels, but with these tiers, you can send a support request directly from the app by heading to the learning center and selecting the contact support option.
The Enterprise mind mapping plan gives you all of the above, but you also gain access to premium support, which provides you with a better response time to your issues.
- ⦿ Custom team domain
- ⦿ History view
- ⦿ Telephone support
MindMeister was founded in 2007 by MeisterLabs GmbH. In 2021, the MindMeister mind mapping program underwent a much-needed facelift to adapt to evolving user needs. With the new design, the company made a great tool even better.
MindMeister is entirely web-based and can be used on any device. It has a clean and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to use, even for those unfamiliar with mind mapping tools. It should definitely be on your radar if you’re looking for top-notch mind mapping software.
Ease of Use
The MindMeister mind mapping software is one of the easiest to use. The interface is clean and user-friendly, which makes it great for beginners. Creating a mind map is a simple process that can be done in just a few minutes.
You start by giving your mind map a title and then adding the main topic in the center. From there, you can add as many subtopics as you want. You can add images, notes, diagrams, and files to your mind map to make it more informative and visually appealing.
If you need some inspiration, you can also browse the mind map library and find templates for different types of mind maps, such as SWOT analysis, project planning, and brainstorming.
Collaboration and Sharing
The MindMeister mind mapping app offers excellent collaboration features that allow you to share your mind maps with others and work on them in real time. To share a mind map, you simply have to invite others by email.
Once they accept the invitation, they can view, edit, and comment on the mind map. You can also give different users different permissions, such as the ability only to view or comment on the mind map.
If you’re working on a team project, you can also take advantage of the team mind mapping feature, which allows you to create a team member’s workspace where everyone can access all the mind maps. The only drawback is the lack of chat and voice functions, so you’ll have to use a third-party tool for communication.
If you ever want to share the mind map with someone outside your team, you can export the map as text, PDF, image, Freemind, XMind, MindManager, Word, or PowerPoint document. With the free plan, you can only export as text, while pro and business have access to all the options mentioned above.
The best MindMeister mind mapping feature is integration with major productivity tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Evernote, and Confluence. With the Google Drive integration, you can save your mind maps directly to your Drive account. The Dropbox and OneDrive integrations work in a similar way.
If you use Evernote, you can sync your mind maps with your Evernote account. This is a great way to keep all your notes and ideas in one place. And if you use Confluence, you can embed your mind maps directly into Confluence pages.
The MindMeister mind mapping app offers a free plan that allows real-time collaboration and access to proper customer support. However, the free plan has some limitations, such as a maximum of three mind maps per account, and you won’t be able to have any attachments.
To unlock attachments, exports to more useful formats, and history view, you’ll have to upgrade to the Personal plan, which will cost you $2.49 per month when paid annually. Pro gives you access to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint export, as well as Google workspace for domain sign-on for $4.19 per month when paid annually.
To access all of MindMeister’s top mind mapping tools, you must purchase the Business plan for $6.29 per month when paid annually. It includes everything mentioned above, as well as a custom team domain, backups, additional groups within your team, priority support, and phone support.
The educational plans are also split into four groups with the same limitations as regular plans, with a free plan included and prices for other plans reaching up to $2.1. The business requires the campus to contact the company for a price.
The MindMeister mind mapping app offers excellent customer support. The company has a comprehensive and well-organized knowledge base that will answer most of your questions. If you can’t find an answer to your question, you can submit a ticket, and the support team will get back to you. You can also contact the support team by phone, but you’ll have to upgrade to a business paid plan to be able to do so.
- ⦿ External screen support
- ⦿ iCloud sync
- ⦿ Apple reminders integration
MindNode is the best mind mapping software for Mac and iOS that’s designed to help you visualize your ideas. It’s easy to use and has a clean, minimalistic interface that doesn’t get in the way of your thoughts.
Ease of Use
MindNode has a clean and minimalistic design that’s easy on the eyes. The interface is uncluttered, and you can easily see all of your ideas at a glance. And if you want to focus on one branch, you can use the focus mode, which will hide all the other branches to limit the distraction. This is particularly useful with large mind maps.
While you may wish to view the whole mind map clearly at times, there is only so much room on your screen. You can only zoom out to a certain point before you can’t read anything. Luckily, if you have an external screen, the MindNode app allows you to spread it across to see everything clearly.
If you want to move a branch, you can simply drag and drop it to where you want it. If you drag and drop a branch to a new parent node, it will automatically match the style of the existing node, allowing you to quickly re-shuffle the whole mind map.
Collaboration and Sharing
Even though we consider MindNode the best mind mapping app for Mac, there is one big drawback. You can’t collaborate with others without exporting your mind map to Dropbox or iCloud for them to download.
You can export the mind map as:
- FreeMind and OPML - Both supported by most mind mapping apps
- CSV - Supported by spreadsheet apps
- RTF and TXT - Supported by all text editors
- Markdown - Supported by markdown editors
- PNG - Image file
- PDF - Supported by Adobe and other PDF readers
While you are limited to how others can interact with your MindNode maps, that isn’t the case with your devices. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use the iCloud sync feature to keep all of your devices up-to-date. You can also take advantage of the Apple reminders integration and add tasks to your mind map that will show up in the reminders app.
MindNode integrates with several popular apps, such as Ulysses, MarginNote, OmniFocus, and Things. With the MindNode and OmniFocus integration, you’ll be able to manage the work-related turmoil and concentrate on the job at hand in no time.
Unlike the rest of the mind mapping tools on our list, MindNode only has two plans. The free plan allows you to create an unlimited number of mind maps. However, the free plan doesn’t include some of the more advanced features, such as iCloud sync, focus mode, and Apple reminder integration. If you want to unlock all of the features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro plan, which costs $2.49 per month or $19.99 per year. Unlike the rest of the companies we reviewed, MindNode doesn’t offer any discounts for educational or NPO organizations.
MindNode offers email support to all users, regardless of whether you have the free or Pro plan. You can also find many helpful articles and tutorials on the MindNode website. However, there is no live chat or phone support, which may be an issue if you urgently need help with your mind map.
What it comes down to is what you need from your mind mapping software. If you just need something basic for personal use, then a free tier of XMind or MindNode might be fine. But if you need something more powerful, with more features, integration, and built-in collaboration, then you'll want to get the best mind mapping software possible with all the features unlocked, like Miro or MindMeister.
Mind mapping software is typically used to visually represent ideas or information. It can be used for brainstorming, note-taking, project planning, and more.
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on what you need from your mind mapping tool. Some people might find XMind easy to use, while others might prefer a feature-packed tool like MindMeister.