What is a Mind Map?
Mind map (or concept maps, brain mapping, thinking maps) is a type of diagram used to visually organize and present information. Mind mapping can help organize one’s thoughts, breakdown a complex subject, or create a plan. Because of its graphic representation and typically succinct form, mind maps help viewers access information in a quick and clear way. For capturing one’s thoughts quickly, a mind map may be the best solution.
There are many benefits to using mind maps as a study aid. They can help you organize your thoughts and illustrate the relationships between ideas. Mind maps also improve retention because the brain associates visuals with corresponding information.
To learn more about mind maps, read our Comprehensive Guide to Mind Map.
Mind Map History
It's not clear who the original inventor of mind map is, but the modern concept of mind maps as we know it was coined by Tony Buzan. The first use of the term mind map was in the 1970s. Tony, a British psychologist, and his brother Barry developed what they called "Buzan mind maps." This term was created from two words, "mind" and "map." The idea behind this is that a person can outline their thoughts on paper by writing them down in simple sentences.
Mind Map Components
Mind maps have a structure similar to a tree. Each mind map has one Central Node (also known as Central Topic, Central Concept, Main Idea, Main Topic). Stemming from the central node are branches (just like the branches of a tree!). In turn, each branch connects the Central Node with Subtopics. Each node can have a Sibling Topic or a Subtopic. Every node may also contain icons, external links, or images.
The center of the mind map is usually a phrase or word that represents the topic in the map. The branches on the outside represent key words, ideas, and related thoughts. Using a color system, you can connect these branches to make it easier to find specific thoughts. It's important to use plenty of images, visuals, and colors in order to keep viewers engaged. It may also be helpful to include a visual glossary for readers who aren't familiar with every term in your map.
The Fastest Mind Map Maker
Zen Mind Map is the simplest online free software to create mind maps and brainstorm, powered with real time collaboration. With a minimal and intuitive user interface, creating mindmaps or concept maps with our online free collaborative mind map maker and concept map maker is very easy and delightful. Our online mind mapping software tools also has Export and Publish features, which allow users to easily present and share their work.
How to Make a Mind Map?
You can create a mind map with just pen and paper, but mind map software like Zen Mind Map makes it so much easier to create mind maps with advantages like: infinite canvas, real-time collaboration, instant branching, etc.
Step 1: Start With A Central Topic
Start from a blank page. Your central idea is the foundation that the rest of your mental map is built off of. It needs to be simple, concise, but significant. You want your central idea to be simple enough to condense down but broad enough to allow for your map to grow and expand.
Step 2: Begin Branching Out
Build out from your central idea with broad, simple themes. These themes are going to be the main pillars of your map. Keep these simple as well, but clearly define these branches from one another. These main topics act as anchors back to your core concept, but they also allow you to quickly see the interplay between all the nodes you create from here on out.
Step 3: Build, Build, Build
Add details to your individual branches, using keywords, short snippets of text, images – whatever you need to really “mind dump” and get everything down on paper. This is where you’ll want to start drawing little lines of connectivity between your branches, too.
Show how different components on your map work with one another, how the relationships of these disparate pillars connect, and how everything ties back into the central core of the map itself.
Mind Map Templates & Examples
There are countless ways to use mind maps. In our mind map examples & templates guide, we showcase some of the ways mind maps can be helpful in our daily personal and work lives: from basic mind map to brainstorm, to complex concept mapping to plan an essay.
What is a Mind Map used For?
Mind mapping is a technique that is used to map out complicated thoughts and generate ideas. It can be helpful with brainstorming, organizing information, and keeping track of ideas. The most popular use of mind maps is to create presentations. Mind maps are often used as slide shows, which can make the presentation more engaging. They help people stay on topic and remember the points they want to convey better.
Furthermore, mind map as a visual diagram can be helpful in creative thinking, generating creative ideas, plan projects, brainstorm online, etc.