The 5 Best Mind Mapping Software to Brainstorm Efficiently (2019)
We tested dozens of mind mapping software, but only a few actually helped us brainstorm efficiently.
These 5 are insanely powerful tools for your business. Once we saw the connections between different ideas and gained a clearer picture of the underlying strategy, it was so much easier to execute ideas.
Use these software to visualize ideas, and you’ll never struggle to understand complex concepts again.
The difference between Da Vinci and other Italian thinkers with cool names? MIND MAPS!
Ⅰ: Mind Mapping Software Overview (What, Why, and What to Look for)
Let’s cover the basics of mind mapping first in case you need to brush up.
If you know what you’re looking for, feel free to skip to the next section.
Did you know that your brain processes visual information 6,000 times faster than text?
Yeah, that’s the power of brainstorming software. Some studies claim that it can even enhance learning and retention by up to 95%.
Ever been in the typical brainstorming session where everyone sits quietly and waits for the boss to break the silence? Well, mind mapping actually structures thoughts and ideas into easily followable charts/diagrams so everyone can see what’s happening and actually contribute.
With everything organized in one map, ANYONE in your organization (Or outside of it) can INSTANTLY process even the most complex topics, so you don’t have to waste time explaining – or worse – deal with the consequences of a major screw up.
1.1: What to Look for in Mind Mapping Programs
All of the best brainstorming software shared these 4 traits. DO NOT waste your time on a program without them.
- Unlimited Space: Any software that limits map size is worthless. If you cut your creativity short, you won’t get the full benefit.
- Collaboration: Organizations need to work together, and mindmapping is a collaborative activity. Stick to software with this feature.
- Attachment Support: One cool thing about mind mapping over brainstorming is you can actually add files to each idea to easily remember complex topics (EX: Keyword research attached to an SEO strategy).
- Export and Save: This goes without saying.
OK, let’s move on to the best mind mapping software. #1 is our choice for the best, but # 4 is best for business. Make that decision for yourself!
Ⅱ: Our Pick for the Best Mind Mapping Software 2019
Here’s a quick overview of our top 10 picks:
- LucidChart: The best mind mapping software overall.
- Coggle: Best for beginners.
- FreeMind: The best free mind mapping software.
- MindGenius: For universe-altering mind maps.
- MindMeister: The most aesthetically pleasing software.
Ⅲ: The Best Mind Mapping Software Reviews
Pricing: Limited free version | $20/mo Team
- Real-time collab
- Connect ideas to spreadsheets
- Amazing templates that make mapping intuitive and fun
- Affordable pricing
15 million users can’t be wrong…
LucidChart is the ONLY mind mapping software that checked all the boxes. That’s what makes it the most popular brainstorming software for engineering, IT, operations, and even schools and universities.
Delta Airlines swears it helped them save hundreds of thousands of dollars and drastically improved its processes for managing spare airplane parts
Everyone on the team felt the creative juices flowing, and loved playing with the templates.
- Simple and intuitive
- Stacked with features
Look how easy this. Here’s a basic template:
Now here’s a more complex template:
Here are a few features that boost productivity:
- Diagram containers for instant access
- Idea shapes
- Create layers for an even deeper understanding of complex ideas
- In-house collaboration
- Presentation mode
- Publish via URL. Anyone with the link can instantly view your diagram!
Our favorite feature is it lets you link data from external courses (EX: spreadsheets). Any business or school can easily communicate extremely technical/complex information to any audience no matter their level of experience.
Can’t beat that. Pick a template, fill in your ideas, share with the world_you’re a mindmapper now!
Pricing: Free for 3 private diagrams | $8 for Business
- Multiple start points
- PDF & image download
Coggle is powerful, intuitive, and customizable to your business (You can create branded diagrams!).
It’s definitely the best mind mapping software for beginners. Just look at how simple the dashboard is:
You can create/share powerful notes quickly and easily no matter if you’re in a meeting, on-the-go, or at home working (Coggle works directly in your browser).
Even with 0 experience, we were able to create some cool-looking diagrams and mark them up together with the collaborative function.
We LOVED playing around with the lines and creating loops, too. It’s like a computer game for work!
Once you add a friend or coworker to a mind map, you guys share a chat inside the diagram where you can bounce ideas off each other. Don’t worry, everything is saved in perpetuity for reference.
- Great for beginners
- Easy to manage all your diagrams
- Works in browser
- Fewer features than LucidChart
#3) FreeMind – the best FREE mind mapping software
- Easy keyboard shortcuts
- Drag notes (This is so convenient)
Simple, convenient drag-n-place and keyboard shortcuts, plus it’s 100% FREE_Freemind is great mind mapping software for personal and business use on a budget.
It isn’t stacked with features, but when you aren’t shelling out money every month, you can’t complain.
It takes a bit of getting used to but once you master the keyboard shortcuts and note dragging, it’s beyond easy to quickly create a mind map on ANY topic in minutes.
Unlike most software out there, Freemind lets you drag notes into place, collapse branches with a single click, and add notes via shortcuts all while preserving formatting. Don’t let the old-school (Read: Outdated) 80’s-looking layout fool you – this is a powerful, modern software that’s updated regularly.
It took some getting used to, but after a day of playing around we loved it.
But that’s not even the best feature!
Freemind is open source. That means there’s an army of Freemind fanatics working round the clock to expand the functionality.
Need extra time management? There’s a plugin for that.
Want to export as SVG? Just install a plugin and you’re good to go.
Did we mention this all costs $0?
Easy to see why 4,000 people download Freemind every day.
Pricing: 10 BGP personal monthly | Business/Education: VERY COMPLEX. See pricing page.
- Everything…just read!
Prepare to bend your perception of space and time.
MindGenius is the high-end, universe-altering mind mapping program that businesses use reach nirvana within their brainstorming sessions (Just kidding…kind of).
Check out some of these features:
- Gant charts
- Price and quantity calculator
- Progress reports
- Stakeholder reports
- Microsoft Office integrations
And that’s just the basics.
This is far and away the most comprehensive tool for project management, business, and educational mind mapping.
Instead of needing multiple tools or diagrams for complex concepts or projects, you can plan, strategize, execute, and even PRESENT them through one tool.
While using it, we noticed that the typical obstacles of brainstorming and making maps were basically non-existent with MindGenius.
It doesn’t just work for business either. Check out MindGenius for students:
And for professors…
Once you grasp all of the features, you’ll feel empowered to create effective, comprehensive business, study, or teaching plans for any topic or audience.
Of course, all of this comes at a price. It’s well worth it for businesses and universities. For personal use, we recommend something simpler.
Pricing: $4.99 Personal | $8.25 Pro | $12.49 Business
- Beautiful Layout
- Awesome graphics for fun maps
With 10 million creative users, MindMeister is another trusted tool that makes this list for one reason: It looks AWESOME!
Out of all the software on this list, this one is the most aesthetically pleasing.
And in case you think that doesn’t matter, you’ll love MindMeister after working on a mind map for 6 hours straight.
Look how simple and easy-on-the-eyes this is:
Some of the other features we like are:
- Cloud based: Create, collaborate, and share maps from anywhere.
- Customizations: Tons of themes, colors, and graphics to make fun mind maps.
- Create powerful maps: MindMeister lets you add actionable tasks and other “markup” to your maps to make them even more powerful and effective. Not to mention fun!
It has everything that the other entries on the list have too – templates, visual editor, export and share options – it just looks cleaner and has fun, intuitive map-building features.
- Great UX
- Customization options
- Fewer features than MindGenius
- The templates look great, but many aren’t as effective as other program’s templates
With the best mind mapping software available in 2019, you’ll be able to easily create stunning, powerful mind maps and effectively flesh out any idea.
There’s no reason to limit your brainstorming (And productivity) to pen and paper. Start making mind maps and you’ll instantly benefit from increased retention, productivity, and profit!
Let us know which software you’re going to use and if it worked for you! And don’t forget to turn your mind maps into stunning PDFs with Soda PDF either!