Mindmeister has been my go-to mindmapping software for 4+ years now. It’s full featured, yet amazingly simple to get started with.
If you haven’t yet, watch the video for an overview and more in depth features listing.
Mindmeister offers 4 pricing levels that includes a free tier that lets you get started with 3 mind maps. The only drawback is that you cannot export them, which I’ve heard some grumbling about, but for me was never a problem. After using it for free for a bit, I got on their basic plan and haven’t looked back since.
Good news! Once you’ve created your account and logged in, you can click on the templates section on the left hand sidebar and choose from one of many templates. I highly suggest this to get started as you will probably find a style that you like best and might save you time trying to recreate things on your own.
- Project Plans
- To-Do Lists
- Organization Charts
- Website Planning
- Project Management Process
- SWOT Analysis
- Life Plans
- Business Plans
- Course Syllabus
- Homework layouts
- Essay Writing Checklist
- Lesson Planning
- Group Projects
- The list goes on and on…
That’s just the tip of the iceberg and a little look from their top templates. Users are also allowed to contribute their own for sharing (which you can use freely) which makes for a great resource for all of us.
Creating Mind Maps
As you can see in the video, creating your first mind map literally takes a few seconds.
Once you’re logged in, just click on “new mind map” and boom, off you go!
You can name the central node whatever you want (usually the main idea or project name) and then start creating other nodes.
Pressing Tab will create a daughter node (one level “lower”) while pressing Enter will create a sister node (same “level”). That’s seriously the most important things you need to know to make full featured mind maps!
Once you’ve got the basics down, you can move onto changing fonts, adding images and attachments, creating arrows, and so much more. It’s all pretty easy from the customization menu on the right hand side:
Presentation mode in Mindmeister really kicks it up a notch. I’ve used this for recording book reviews – it’s a great way to layout information and then present it visually to an audience via recording or live screen share.
All you have to do is click on the presentation button and Mindmeister will automatically create the presentation for you. Right away it’s usually what you need or very close, if needed you can tweak the presentation by adding or removing slides. This is covered in the video review, check that out if you’re interested in seeing it in action and how you can easily change the setup.
Comparison & Alternatives
One of the biggest questions I hear is about how Mindmeister compares to other mind mapping or brainstorming tools like:
- Lucid Chart
- and Trello? Really? Yup!
Well, here’s my 2 cents. I’ve been using Mindmeister for 4+ years and still love how simple it is to use. It’s intuitive and easy to get started while offering a ton of flexibility and the options you need to do just about anything. I’ve tried most of the other tools and have found uses for some of them, particularly Lucid Chart. However, as most things go, it’s a matter of personal preference.
I would say that you should at least try Mindmeister on the free plan and get a feel for it – if you like it, add it to the toolbox and put it to work!