Mind Mapping is a method of brainstorming that facilitates idea generation. It is a form of brainstorming that is often used by students, entrepreneurs, writers and anyone who wishes to expand upon a thought. The highly effective method involves writing down a specific word or phrase in the centre of a page. Then you draw branches that eventually connect to new ideas that are connected to the main idea.

Mind-mapping has been around for years and people have been effectively using this method to study and to expand upon a thought. However, with the new age of technology, this system of brainstorming can certainly be improved and made more efficient and effective by using software.

In this article, we will give you 10 of the best and most efficient mind mapping software programmes to enhance your brain storming process. 

What Do You Need in an Effective Mapping Software Programme? 

Each of the best brainstorming tools comes with unique benefits, but they all offer at least the following:

  • Endless Space to Create: You want endless space to create, without an endless platform to create, you will feel limited in what you can do with your  maps. 
  • File Attachment: You want to be able to attach your files such as images and documents. 
  • Ability to Collaborate: If you work with a team or a partner, you want to be able to connect and collaborate with them when you are mind mapping. 
  • Ability to Share: Save and send your files to colleagues or business partners, also you should be able to save them to your device. 

TLTR (1 sentence review):

  • Zen Mind Map: The simple & free mind map software. Great for beginners.
  • Coggle: Great for people who have just started mind mapping 
  • Mindly: Great for iOS and Android – for those who want to mind map on their smart phones. 
  • Draw.io: Better for flowchart. OK for mind maps. But 100% free. 
  • MindMup: Designed for web use 
  • MindMeister: Great for team mind mapping 
  • Scrapple: for fast and efficient mind mapping 
  • SmartDraw: For single straight line mind mapping 
  • Stormboard: Great for presentations or meetings 
  • SimpleMind: Great export to PDF feature.

1. Zen Mind Map

Zen Mind Map

In our opinion, Zen Mind Map is the best, and most well-rounded mind mapping solution. The team was able to develop a super minimal and simple UI, which is very easy to use. The keyboard shortcuts are also very handy.

Best of all, the software is 100% free to use as of now. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 5/5
  • UI/UX: 5/5
  • Collaboration: 4/5
  • Speed: 5/5

2. Coggle 

Image result for coggle it

If you have just started out with this method of brainstorming then Coggle is a good place to start. 

When you first enter the platform, you are presented with the main thought bubble, which is the primary focus of the brainstorming process. You can add new ideas by clicking on the addition sign. You can design your mind map by moving the sections around if you wish. One of the most unique things about Coggle is that you can actually use Markdown formatting to make it easier to layout your mind map. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 5/5
  • UI/UX: 2/5
  • Collaboration: 3/5
  • Speed: 4/5

3. Mindly 

Image result for mindly app

This is excellent for anyone who wants to brainstorm on their mobile device. However, it doesn’t mean it is perfect. Mindly makes brainstorming a little more interesting than other mind mapping software programmes. Start mind mapping with the main idea and then start designing your mind map according to your own preferences. Mindly makes it easier to mind map on a mobile device, but it’s certainly not the most comfortable way to mind map (using a mobile device).

There is actually a desktop edition for Mindly, so you can connect your mobile version to it to make it easier to access your map when you need to on your Mac or PC. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 5/5
  • UI/UX: 2/5
  • Collaboration: 2/5
  • Speed: 5/5

4. Draw iO 

Image result for draw.io

Draw iO gives you total freedom to input anything you want such as web links, change colors, attach files and add text as well as pictures. 

This software is not specifically for mind-mapping so you’ll have to find your way around it to figure out exactly how to mind map but when you get the hang of it, mind mapping becomes a fun and interesting exercise. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 2/5
  • UI/UX: 4/5
  • Collaboration: 3/5
  • Speed: 5/5

5. MindMup 

Image result for mindmup

MindMup is a simple and effective mind mapping app. The great thing about it is it comes with a highly efficient mind-mapping toolbar which makes it simple to access everything you need to mind map.

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 4/5
  • UI/UX: 1/5
  • Collaboration: 4/5
  • Speed: 4/5

6. MindMeister 

Image result for mindmeister

MindMeister is a strong, well put together mind mapping platform. You can input videos and attach files, and most importantly, you can collaborate with team members easily.

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 5/5
  • UI/UX: 4/5
  • Collaboration: 5/5
  • Speed: 3/5

7. Scrapple 

Scrapple is a flexible brainstorming system, with this, you don’t have to start with a main thought like other platforms. It has a very minimal and straightforward system however, you can’t collaborate with this app. It limits you to only be able to collaborate with those who are in the same workplace.

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 4/5
  • UI/UX: 1/5
  • Collaboration: 2/5
  • Speed: 3/5

8. SmartDraw 

Image result for smartdraw

SmartDraw is perfect for those who are not interested in mapping with curves and circles. This allows you to mind map in straight lines and with blocks and lines. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 1/5
  • UI/UX: 3/5
  • Collaboration: 4/5
  • Speed: 4/5

9. StormBoard 

Image result for stormboard

An interesting twist on mind mapping, Stormboard allows you to use sticky notes instead of the usual circles and curvy lines. It lets you process ideas and themes quickly and efficiently. Collaboration is simple and straightforward with StormBoard. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 3/5
  • UI/UX: 5/5
  • Collaboration: 5/5
  • Speed: 5/5

10. SimpleMind

Image result for simplemind

The distinctive feature that SimpleMind offers is that you can upload a PDF and it transforms the PDF into a comprehensive mind map. 

Scores:

  • Mind-mapping features: 4/5
  • UI/UX: 3/5
  • Collaboration: 4/5
  • Speed: 4/5