Mind Map Software vs. Online Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is one of the best ways to capture and organize your thoughts. It helps you to find connections between ideas and concepts and visualize structures. And the colorful nature helps remembering the material better.
Best of all, it's really easy to get started. All you need is pen and paper and you can brainstorm away.
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Desktop Mind Map Software
However, it's the 21st century and (of course) there are programs available to let you mind map on your computer, which actually has a couple of advantages.
- You can import graphics to create colorful, vibrant mind maps
- It's easy to re-order the individual nodes and branches - try that with a paper-based mind map. It would be a mess.
- Associate documents and files
- Interlink your mind maps
- Easily share them online
The Drawing Noob
Here's a screenshot of a mind map I created showcasing possible uses of mind mapping especially for musicians.
I admit it - I'm a total noob when it comes to drawing. Any kindergarten kid can draw better than me. So there's no way I would have been able to create such a highly visual mind map without some software.
To read the associated article on my blog, just follow this link:
Free Desktop Software
Mind mapping software can be quite expensive. Some of the available programs on the market cost more than $200.
Fortunately, there's also some great alternatives available for free.
I've used FreeMind and EDraw Mind in the past - both are really good programs, but a few months ago I switched to XMind. I like the user interface and the aesthetically pleasing look of the generated mind maps.
I don't know about you, but I want to access my applications and files from anywhere. I simply don't like being tied to my PC.
Nothing worse than knowing you have the urgently needed answer to your burning question/problem at home on your computer - and you don't have access. :-(
Time to move to a cloud-based setup.
1) Sign up for a free Dropbox account that gives you a whopping 2 Gigs of storage that auto syncs with your Dropbox folder on your computer. And - you can access those files from any computer simply through your Dropbox account.
- Dropbox - You're invited to join Dropbox! - Online backup, file sync and sharing made easy.
Dropbox is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. There's no complicated interface to learn. Dropbox works seamlessly with your operating system and automatically makes sure your files are up-to-date.
2) Download the portable XMind version. Put it both on your USB drive and into your Dropbox.
- XMind portable download link
Don't forget, you want to choose the "Portable - Zip (Windows, Mac and Linux)" version.
Sign up for your free mind42.com account.
Mind42.com is an online based mind mapping application. It does have potential. However, it's still 1st generation and does not offer the flexibility and options of Xmind.
But you can still use it for situations when you don't have your USB drive with you and only have a crappy internet connection that's too slow for downloading the XMind portable files from your Dropbox.
This way, at least you can get your thoughts digitized. Should you want or need a "prettier" final result, no problem. Mind42.com let's you export your mind maps in FreeMind format, which XMind is able to read. Works like a charm and is really easy to do. :-)
- Mind42.com - Collaborative mind mapping in your browser
Mind42 is a free online mind map collaboration tool. You can easily share and develop your ideas with your friends.
Always make sure to save your mind maps into your Dropbox folder. Now your valuable mind maps are safely backed up and available anywhere you go and have internet access.
I hope you've found the information useful. Please, leave a comment and let me know. Also, if anything is unclear feel free to ask your question(s) in the comment section below.