Looking for the perfect mind mapping software?
Mind map software helps you visualize an idea as a mind map, giving it structure and visibility. With the ability to create unlimited mind maps, it’s the perfect platform to brainstorm and gain insights into plans and ideas.
Super useful when your mind is always abuzz with thoughts and ideas, right?
After all, there’s only so much you can scribble on a piece of paper (or remember)!
But which mind mapping software suits you best?
Don’t worry! We’ve done the brainstorming for you.
In this article, we’ll cover what to look for in a mind mapping tool and highlight the top five software for mind maps in 2021 to help you choose the right one.
Fire up your brain cells, and let’s jump right in!
What Is Mind Mapping Software?
Mind map software lets you create a diagram or flowchart out of your ideas. This helps you easily illustrate the relationships and hierarchy between various concepts.
After all, we’re always juggling a few concepts in our heads! 💭
To suit varying needs, most tools comes in different sizes, offering different functionality.
Generally, your average mind map software falls under one (or more) of these categories:
- Diagramming: create a technical diagram like engineering flowcharts, architectural designs, network diagrams, etc.
- Brainstorming: best for problem-solving sessions as you can organize and present an idea visually
- Business intelligence: visualize data as charts by importing it from business applications
- Software development: prepare site map diagrams, software wireframes, etc.
Wait… which one should you go for then?
Our curated list of excellent mind map software includes a mix of these tools to help you determine the best fit for your needs.
If you’re interested in mind mapping, check out our articles on:
Why use mind mapping software?
Useful for any brainstorming session, mind mapping software helps you plan and organize ideas for better clarity and understanding. It’ll also help you easily identify the best idea or solution from all the potential ones you have.
Why not use a pen and paper instead?
That’ll be like making a sandcastle on the beach, waiting for the waves to wash it away.
Unless you want to lose your mindmap amid the ocean of other stuff you have to handle, using a piece of paper isn’t the best route. Additionally, if your idea has a lot of moving parts, drawing it on a piece of paper can make it seem scattered and disconnected.
Not to mention, using tons of paper to draw unlimited mind maps isn’t the best way to fight #climatechange 🙅♀
With mind map software, you can create digital mind maps with tons of formatting options that suit your needs. Not only will a mapping app help you map out complex ideas easily, but you also won’t have to worry about misplacing them.
What makes for great mind mapping software?
When choosing an excellent mind mapping tool, here are three key features to look out for:
- User-friendliness: using the mapping tool should be as easy as drawing on paper. You shouldn’t have to dig through multiple menus to create a simple mind map.
- Large canvas: a large digital canvas ensures that you never run out of space to draw. After all, you can’t put a limit on creativity and ideation! 🖌️
- Collaboration: especially important for Agile and Scrum teams, real time collaboration features let you share the mind map with your entire team. This helps keep everyone in the loop about the project.
What is the best mind mapping software?
ClickUp, XMind Zen, ConceptDraw MindMap, and all the other software covered in this article are the best mind mapping software available today. They are user-friendly, offer sufficient canvas to paint your ideas, and also support team collaboration functionalities.
5 Excellent Mind Mapping Software in 2021
Here’s a closer look at the best mind map software available today:
ClickUp is the world’s #1 project management software. From helping you overcome virtual team challenges to tracking in-house or remote team performance, ClickUp is the ultimate tool for remote project management.
But wait… how will a project management software help me draw a mindmap?
Well, ClickUp isn’t your run-of-the-mill project management tool.
Its unmatched versatility lets you draw amazing mind maps with the Mind Maps feature.
What’s ClickUp’s Mind Maps feature?
ClickUp’s Mind Maps feature helps you create beautiful, professional mind maps out of your brain dumps and share them with your team effortlessly. This ensures that everyone knows how the project is progressing.
Whether it’s creating a project or team plan, organizing ideas, or visualizing task structures, use ClickUp to structure thoughts on a massive scale!
And what’s a diagram without pretty colors, right?
ClickUp lets you denote different ideas with different colors.
Whether you prefer “Orange Is The New Black,” “Green Lantern,” or “Fifty Shades Of Grey,” color your mind map to suit your taste!
To create a mind map in ClickUp, you can either choose the Task mode or the Blank mode.
The Task mode lets you visualize your existing ClickUp task structure, helping you map out a project’s workflow. For maximum ease of use, you can create, edit, and delete tasks (and subtasks) right from your view.
Want to design a mind map from scratch? 🖍️
Go for the Blank mode! Create as many nodes as you want and convert them to tasks in your Workspace instantly.
Read more about how to use the Mind Maps feature.
Other key ClickUp features
- Docs: collaborate with your virtual or in-house team to easily create company or project-related documents
- Notepad: capture ideas the moment they cross your mind with ClickUp’s Notepad
- Comments Section: each ClickUp task comes with a dedicated comment section to help remote or onsite teams have task-specific discussions in real-time. Assign Comments to specific members to ensure that it doesn’t go unnoticed
- Chat View: from sharing code to planning happy hours 🍻, have all sorts of team discussions in this internal chat
- Gantt Chart: manage your project timeline with ClickUp’s intuitive Gantt chart
- Dashboard: stay on top of your projects with customizable Burnup, Burndown, Velocity, and Cumulative Flow diagrams
- Proofing & Annotation: add comments to PNG, GIF, PEG, WEBP, and PDF files
- Mobile App for Android and iOS Devices: manage your projects and documents on the move with ClickUp’s feature rich mobile app
- Forever Free plan with a wide variety of powerful features
- Multiple Views to adapt to Agile, Scrum, Kanban, or any project style
- Customized Task Statuses for varying project needs
- Track how long your tasks take right inside ClickUp
- 50+ Task Automations to streamline workflows and save time
- Create Task Dependencies to help teams tackle tasks in the right order
- Visualize your in-house or remote team’s daily activity with Pulse
- Integrates with several third-party software like Evernote, Time Doctor, and more
- Monitor your remote team’s productivity with accurate reports
- Hotkeys and Keyboard Shortcuts to help breeze through your tasks
- Drag and drop task reordering functionality
- Jump on a quick Zoom call from your task with ClickUp’s powerful Zoom integration
- Supports Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Linux platforms
- Can’t export Dashboards
Don’t worry! At ClickUp, we’re constantly brainstorming ideas to update our platform. Check out our roadmap to see what’s brewing. 🧙
ClickUp offers a powerful Free Forever plan with online Mind Maps (100 uses) and several other powerful features. For unlimited mind maps and additional functionality, paid plans start as low as $5/month.
ClickUp user ratings
- G2: 4.7/5 (1400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2000+ reviews)
2. XMind Zen
XMind Zen, now known as XMind 2021, is a simple mindmapping software that helps organize ideas, goals, and tasks. And while this mind map maker sounds like a psychic mutant from the X-Men series, XMind Zen ain’t that extraordinary.
XMind Zen key features
- Zen mode helps you focus on a single mind map
- Equation feature lets you add mathematical and chemical equations
- Mind map template available for various needs
- Multi-branch colors to identify different nodes
XMind Zen pros
- Protect your mindmap files with passwords
- Export the mind map as PNG, PDF, or markdown files
- Mobile app for iOS and Android devices available
XMind Zen cons
- Large mind maps can take a lot of time to load properly
- No free plan available
- Not suitable for Agile or Scrum teams as XMind lacks project management features
XMind Zen pricing
The pricing plan for this mapping software starts at $39.99 for six months.
XMind Zen user ratings
- G2: 4.3/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (60+ reviews)
3. ConceptDraw MINDMAP
ConceptDraw MINDMAP is an idea management and diagramming tool that can help organize your free running ideas.
But at its core, this mapping application is just MS Word with extra functionality.
You don’t need X-ray vision to see that!
ConceptDraw MINDMAP key features
- Brainstorm mode with a built-in timer to help you focus
- Hypernote feature for adding multiple hyperlinks and notes to a single map
- MINDMAP editing tools help build presentations easily
- Graphics functionality lets you insert images and icons to your mind maps
ConceptDraw MINDMAP pros
- Supports 20+ mapping themes to help create a mind map template quickly
- Can add attachments to a mind map
- Can transfer mindmapping data with MS Office and other mind map software
ConceptDraw MINDMAP cons
- Expensive pricing plan
- Outdated interface that resembles MS Word
- No mobile device support
ConceptDraw MINDMAP pricing
The pricing plan for this mind mapper starts at $199 for a single user license.
ConceptDraw MINDMAP user ratings
- G2: 3.4/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.9/5 (10+ reviews)
4. Mindjet MindManager
Mindjet MindManager is a mind mapping app best suited for a large brainstorming session. Its drag and drop functionality lets you create a central idea and draw related new ideas easily.
Mindjet MindManager key features
- Start a diagram from scratch or use a template from 25+ in-built templates
- Gantt chart functionality to map project timelines
- MAP 3 Add-in lets you use algebraic calculations and other functions
- Co-editing feature for real time collaboration
Mindjet MindManager pros
- Easy onboarding with step-by-step tutorials
- Can also be used to create an org chart, flowchart, and concept map
- Supports keyboard shortcuts for creating mind maps quickly
Mindjet MindManager cons
- No free plan available
- Limited Gantt chart functionality
- Limited selection of images and icons to choose from
Mindjet MindManager pricing
The pricing plan for this mapping tool starts at $ 411.82.
Mindjet MindManager user ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (50+ reviews)
5. Edraw Mind Map
Edraw Mind Map (also known as MindMaster) is a collaborative mind map tool that helps give your ideas a much-needed structure.
But will this mapping tool help you become a mind master, like Jean Grey from the X-Men series?
Let’s take a look:
Edraw Mind Map key features
- Brainstorming mode for an effective brainstorming session
- 12 different mind map layouts, like radial, treemap, and fishbone
- Gantt chart functionality helps create a Gantt chart out of a mind map
- Presentation mode lets you present your mind map as a slideshow
Edraw Mind Map pros
- Supports different node shapes and connection styles
- Share mind maps as JPG, PNG, and PDF files
- Available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices
Edraw Mind Map cons
- Gantt chart mode available only in the pro version
- Limited flexibility with mapping layouts as everything is based on a template
- Can only import files from XMind, MindManager, and Edraw Max
Edraw Mind Map pricing
This mind map tool offers a free version with limited features. The paid plan starts at $49.
Edraw Mind Map user ratings
- G2: 4/5 (4 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (40+ reviews)
While you can always draw a mind map on paper, it doesn’t give you the flexibility or the right canvas for your ideas to run wild.
However, with the right mind mapping tool, that isn’t an issue.
With features ranging from real time collaboration to concept mapping, mapping software helps break down even the most complex of ideas.
And while tools like XMind Zen and MindManager are decent mind map software solutions, ClickUp is surely the Professor X of the list.
Get ClickUp for free and give life to your new ideas!