A brilliant idea pops into your mind, but you’re unsure how to bring it to life. After all, there’s only so much you can remember or scribble on a piece of paper!
Have you tried to use mind mapping software? You can implement the mind mapping technique and brainstorm, gain insights, and visualize your idea with unlimited mind maps.
In this article, we’ll cover what makes a great mind mapping tool and highlight the top 10 mind mapping software to help you choose the right one.
Let’s jump right in!
What Is Mind Mapping Software?
Mind mapping software is a tool that allows users to visually organize and structure information, thoughts, and ideas. It creates a visual representation of information in the form of a diagram or map, connecting related ideas and concepts. This type of software helps to improve brainstorming, note-taking, project planning, and problem solving by providing a clear and concise way to connect information and ideas.
Most mind mapping tools come in different sizes to suit various needs, offering other functionality.
Generally, your average mind map maker falls under one (or more) of these categories:
- Diagramming: a technical diagram such as engineering flowcharts, architectural designs, network diagrams, etc.
- Brainstorming: problem-solving sessions to organize and present an idea visually
- Business intelligence: visualize data as charts by importing it from business applications
- Software development project management: prepare site map diagrams, software wireframes, etc.
Our curated list of the best mind mapping 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:
10 Best Mind Mapping Software
Here’s a closer look at the best mind mapping tools available today:
But wait… how will a project management software help me draw a mind map?
ClickUp offers hundreds of customizable features to help teams across industries improve their workflow from start to project closure. In fact, ClickUp has not one, but two powerful and functional tools for mind mapping: Mind Maps and Whiteboards.
Not only can you create custom mind maps, but you can store and connect them to your tasks within ClickUp, keeping all your work organized, accessible, and all in the same place.
Here, take a deeper look into what makes ClickUp Mind Maps and Whiteboards the best mind-mapping tools.
What’s ClickUp’s Mind Maps feature?
ClickUp’s Mind Maps is a visual collaboration tool that helps individuals and teams create free-form mind maps for any need. They’re perfect and useful for brainstorming sessions, outlining complex workflows or topics, organizing your thoughts, connecting tasks together, and so much more.
What makes it one of the best mind-mapping software is that it’s powerful, yet flexible, allowing you to organize information in a hierarchical way to help you visualize and analyze a central concept in great detail. Map out the concept by branching it into multiple sub-ideas; simply add more branches as you go to let your ideas run wild and free.
Plus, Mind Maps in ClickUp are easy to use. The drag-and-drop functionality enhances the user experience by simplifying the creation and editing process—just click and drag away.
You can choose to start from scratch or use ClickUp’s Simple Mind Map Template to help you get started.
Just like ClickUp’s Mind Maps, Whiteboards provides teams with an online canvas that can be used for brainstorming, business strategy planning, mapping out workflows, developing roadmaps, note-taking, software product development, and so much more. It also allows you to drag and drop your objects along your Whiteboard, making it so convenient and easy to use for your mind-mapping needs.
Whiteboards are especially useful for remote team collaboration. Teams can simultaneously within the same Whiteboard at any time, collaborate on concept maps, and connect their work together in an easy-to-follow way, while also giving them the complete freedom to get creative with how they organize and visually present their work.
One of the key differences between ClickUp’s Mind Maps and its Whiteboards is the ability to add objects within your canvas, allowing you to add shapes, sticky notes, and text that can be converted into a task. You also have the option to draw freely, upload an image file, and even copy and paste objects to create your ideal, most visually appealing, and detailed mind map.
If you’re new to ClickUp Whiteboards, you can start creating your mind map from a blank canvas or use ClickUp’s Introduction to Whiteboards Template to help you get going!
- No Table view in the mobile app (yet)
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 Free Forever Plan. Its paid plan starts as low as $7/user per month.
What people think about mind mapping in ClickUp:
“I like the different ways I can visualize my project and related tasks. I can mind map my project, see it as a list, on a Kanban board, as a Gantt chart, or even in a table view. The app works with all the different ways I like to think and plan out my projects and tasks, giving me the freedom to plan in a way that works for me.” – G2Crowd
“I didn’t realize how much I’d benefit from the different visual representations, specifically the mind map, ClickUp offers.” – G2Crowd
ClickUp customer ratings
- G2: 4.7/5 (3,320+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,270+ reviews)
XMind is a simple mind mapping software that helps generate ideas, goals, and tasks.
While this mind map software sounds like a psychic mutant from the X-Men series, XMind isn’t that extraordinary.
XMind key features
- Zen mode helps you focus on a single mind map
- Equation feature lets you add mathematical and chemical equations
- Brainstorming templates available for various needs
- Multi-branch colors to identify different nodes
- Protect your mind map files with passwords
- Export the mind map as PNG, PDF, or markdown files
- Mobile app for iOS and Android devices available
- 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
The pricing plan for this mapping software starts at $39.99 for six months.
What people think about mind mapping in XMind:
“Some of the most important features, such as sharing the Mind map with others over the internet, are not available with the free version. This is a little disappointing, however understandable. The company wants to motivate you to purchase the full software.” – Capterra Verified Review
“Very easy to learn and teach to others. Has all the basic functionality of a mind mapping tool.” – Capterra Verified Review
XMind customer ratings
- G2: 4.3/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (70+ reviews)
Check out these Xmind alternatives!
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 basic mind mapping tool is just Microsoft Office 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 into 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 mind mapping data with MS Office and other mind map software
ConceptDraw MINDMAP limitations
- Expensive pricing plan
- Outdated interface that resembles MS Word
- No mobile device support
ConceptDraw MINDMAP pricing
The pricing plan for this mapping software starts at $199 for a single-user license.
What people think about mind mapping in ConceptDraw MINDMAP:
“Great to use when I’m starting a project. An excellent way to get all of the unorganized thoughts out of my head, and into an organized fashion.” – Capterra Verified Review
“I’ve used several MindMapping programs and this is one of the better ones. As with the rest, my main criticism lies in that it is somewhat more time consuming to use an electronic system, however, the benefit is that you are not bound by the dimensions of a piece of paper. Depending on the nature of your project, the better option between these two is readily apparent.” – Capterra Verified Review
ConceptDraw MINDMAP customer ratings
- G2: 3.4/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.9/5 (10+ reviews)
MindManager is a mind mapping app best suited for extensive brainstorming sessions. Its drag-and-drop functionality lets you create a central idea and draw related new ideas easily.
However, it’s challenging to demonstrate hierarchies with this mapping software.
MindManager key features
- Start a diagram from scratch or choose 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
- Easy onboarding with step-by-step tutorials
- Allows creating an org chart, flowchart, and concept map
- Supports keyboard shortcuts for creating mind maps quickly
- No free plan available
- Limited Gantt chart functionality
- Limited selection of images and icons to choose from
The pricing plan for this mapping tool starts at $99/year.
What people think about mind mapping in MindManager:
“I don’t think that I’ve used it enough to uncover any particular issues. The only problem I had was learning how to use it quickly enough and that was helped by the tutorials which can be accessed within MindManager itself.” – Capterra Verified Review
“It’s helped me organize, brainstorm and present in my business for many years. It’s solid and dependable.” – Capterra Verified Review
MindManager customer ratings
- G2: 4.5/5 (60+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (60+ reviews)
5. Edraw Mind Map
Edraw Mind Map (formerly known as MindMaster) is a collaborative mind mapping tool that helps give your ideas a much-needed structure.
But will this free mind mapping software help you become a mind master, like Jean Grey from X-Men?
Let’s take a look…
Edraw Mind Map key features
- Brainstorming mode for a practical brainstorming session
- 12 different mind map layouts, like radial, treemap, and fishbone diagrams
- Gantt chart functionality helps create one out of a mind map
- Presentation mode lets you show your mind map as a slideshow
Edraw Mind Map pros
- Supports different node shapes and connection styles
- Export mind maps as JPG, PNG, and PDF files
- Available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices
Edraw Mind Map limitations
- 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 mapping software offers a free version with limited features. The paid plan starts at $4.92/user month.
What people think about mind mapping in Edraw Mind Map:
“There is nothing I don’t like about this software. It will be great if one can import more file formats from other mind mapping software packages, but this is a minor feature.” – Capterra Verified Review
“There is not much to say about cons in this software. I’d like to see a feature to export diagrams to XMind and Freemind, as some colleagues use these tools. It would be nice to import pictures from the Web directly as well.” – Capterra Verified Review
Edraw Mind Map customer ratings
- G2: 4/5 (5+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (40+ reviews)
Miro is an intuitive free mind map software with collaboration features. It allows distributed teams to brainstorm, map ideas, co-create organizational charts, and more.
Is Miro a mind-mapping superhero? Probably not.
Performing simple tasks like deleting unused boards is difficult in this mapping software.
Miro key features
- Supports multiple design styles
- Built-in video and chat with @mentions
- Pre-built mind map templates
- Presentation mode to showcase your map as slides
- Offers an infinite whiteboard for brainstorming and creating powerful free form diagrams
- Integrates easily with other tools like Jira, Asana, and Slack
- Embed documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs in mind maps
- Board owners can’t give guests access to editing
- Presentation mode offers limited designing and transition features
- Paid plans are expensive
Miro offers a free plan. Its paid plans start at $10/user per month.
What people think about mind mapping in Miro:
“I really love the new functionality around Miro smart meetings. But as this is quite new, there is some functionality missing and some other is not yet as polished as the rest of Miro.” – Capterra Verified Review
“The only con I see is that sometimes uploading media like videos can take longer to update. Also the price per license is a bit high for a small company that wants to use it, however the free basic version is quite complete.” – Capterra Verified Review
Miro customer ratings
- G2: 4.8/5 (2,060+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (490+ reviews)
Bonus: Compare Miro to Mural!
MindMeister is a popular web-based mind mapping software that lets you collaborate in real-time to brainstorm on ideas, plan projects, take notes, and more.
But it can be inconvenient to connect different ideas using this tool.
MindMeister key features
- Full screen presentation mode to display mind maps as slideshow
- History mode to see how your map evolved
- Multiple themes with colors, styles, and formatting options
- Comments and votes features for team collaboration
- Add notes, links, icons, images, or videos to mind maps
- Export mind maps in PNG, PDF, or Word formats
- Integrate mind maps into project management with MeisterTask
- Free plan offers limited features
- Can’t create free-flowing maps
- Formatting gets lost when you undo a move
This mind mapping app offers a free basic plan. The paid plans start at $2.49/user per month.
What people think about mind mapping in MindMeister:
“Mindmeister has been really helpful with story and song planning, mapping out the recording process, keeping track of characters, locations, objects, and their relationships. It’s been a lovely experience.” – Capterra Verified Review
“The user experience on touchscreen devices is a bit iffy. Great to use on desktop, but a bit tricky to navigate and edit on mobile. This may require a different interface entirely? Perhaps workflow is best optimised to use Mindmeister on desktop and MeisterTasks on mobile, but there is a great opportunity to explore for tablet and iPad users.” – Capterra Verified Review
MindMeister customer ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (190+ reviews)
Coggle is an online tool with powerful mind mapping and flowchart features. You can use this mapping app to create processes, systems, and algorithms.
But can it work at lightning speed like X-Men’s Storm?
Unfortunately, Coggle can feel clunky or slow when your mind maps get too big.
Coggle key features
- Drag-and-drop images onto mind maps
- Floating texts and images to annotate parts of the map
- Joint branches and loops to represent different processes
- Multiple starting points to map related topics together
- Saves all changes so you can revert to a previous version from any point
- Supports real-time collaboration
- Share mind maps with a link
- No whiteboarding feature
- No dedicated desktop or mobile apps
- No option to auto-arrange the mind map branches
Coggle also has a free plan. The paid plans start at $5/user per month.
What people think about mind mapping in Coggle:
“Very nice program, with room for improvement as well. Even with its few faults, it is still an important part of the creative planning process for me.” – Capterra Verified Review
“For an easy overview of any complex task, you should create a mindmap. I’ve tried a lot of software and I like Coogle the most. It is an online tool for making spectacular mindmaps. In the free trial version you can try the tool. If you need more extra feature you can get it for an affordable monthly price.” – Capterra Verified Review
Coggle customer ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (5+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (30+ reviews)
Lucidchart is a diagramming tool for visualizing complex processes, systems, and organizational structures.
However, this mapping tool can be confusing for new users.
Lucidchart key features
- 500+ mind map templates
- Shape library to drag and drop shapes on your maps
- Automated layout to create diagrams based on data
- Collaboration features like co-authoring, shape-specific comments, and in-editor chat
- Create UML diagrams
- Cloud-based platform that’s accessible from any device
- Integrates with productivity platforms like Google apps & Workspace and Slack
- Import data from other apps like Excel, Zapier, and Salesforce
- Doesn’t work offline
- Basic plan has limited features
- Interface feels outdated
This mind mapping software has a free plan. The paid ones start at $7.95/user per month.
What people think about mind mapping in Lucidchart:
“Lucidchart is one of the best drawing software in the market right now. I’ve been using it for over two years and have not regretted my purchase. I love that it’s so easy to use, even if you are newer to diagramming or visualizing concepts. The only downside is that it lacks more advanced features like more shapes to make more detailed drawings with.” – Capterra Verified Review
“Overall pretty good and easy to use software for business process mapping for anybody that needs to pump out process maps fairly quickly. You can quickly churn out process maps with a relatively small learning curve and can access your saved diagrams through any browser.” – Capterra Verified Review
Lucidchart customer ratings
- G2: 4.5/5 (670+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (1,200+ reviews)
Compare Lucidchart to Miro!
Mindly lets you create beautiful online mind maps for brainstorming, idea collection, project planning, meeting preparation, etc.
However, Windows users would absolutely mind Mindly.
Why? There’s no dedicated app or web version for Windows systems!
Mindly key features
- Different color schemes for map elements
- Option to attach notes, images, or icons to any element
- Visual clipboard to reorganize your ideas and map content
- Passcode to protect your maps and ideas
- Create an infinite hierarchy of elements
- Supports multiple devices
- Export mind maps in PDF, OPML, and text formats
- Limited integration options
- No task management capabilities
- Free version limits the number of maps and elements you can add
Mindly has a free version. The full version costs $6.99 on iOS, $29.99 on the Mac app store, and $5.49 on Android.
Mindly customer ratings
- G2: N/A
- Capterra: N/A
Bonus: Create a mind map in Google Docs!
Mind Mapping Software FAQs
What are the Benefits of Using Mind Mapping Software?
Useful for any brainstorming session, mind mapping apps helps you plan and organize ideas for better clarity and understanding. It can also help you easily identify the best idea or solution from all the potentials you have.
So why not use a pen and paper instead? That would be like making a sandcastle on the shoreline, waiting for the waves to wash it away.
Unless you want to lose your mind map to the ocean of other things you have to remember, using a piece of paper for mapping may not be the optimal way. If your idea has many moving parts, mapping it on a piece of paper can make it seem scattered and disconnected.
Also, using tons of paper to draw concept maps isn’t the best way to fight #climatechange. 🙅♀
Not only will a mind mapping app help you map out complex ideas quickly, but you also won’t have to worry about misplacing them.
What makes a good mind mapping tool?
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: essential for agile and scrum teams, real-time collaboration features let you share your mind maps with your entire team. This keeps everyone in the loop about the project
Which Mind Mapping Software is the Best for Your Team?
While you can always draw a mind map on paper, it doesn’t give you the flexibility or right canvas for your ideas to run wild.
However, with the right mind mapping tools, that isn’t an issue.
With features ranging from real-time collaboration to concept mapping, mind mapping software helps break down even the most complex ideas.
And while tools like XMind and MindManager are decent mind mapping software solutions, ClickUp is indeed the best mind map software of the list.
Get ClickUp for free and give life to your new ideas! 🧠 🌈 ✨