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Having trouble organizing all of your ideas? Sounds like what you need is a mindmapping tool. Mindmaps are a wonderful resource for brainstorming, planning, and managing ideas in a way that increases your productivity 12 Productivity Habits To Finally Hack Your Life In The New Year 12 Productivity Habits To Finally Hack Your Life In The New Year A common resolution for most working people is to be more productive. In this article, we'll explore twelve bad habits that you can change -- one per month -- to drastically improve your workload productivity. Read More and enhances your creativity 6 Great Apps To Improve a Writer's Creativity 6 Great Apps To Improve a Writer's Creativity Creativity is fickle. Sometimes you're on a roll, with new ideas spawning left and right, while other times you're stuffing your face into a pillow, screaming because your brain has been wrung dry. It may... Read More . But what if you want to create a mindmap without pen or paper?

In recent years, a lot of mindmapping resources have begun popping up on the Internet. Some of the more powerful ones require you to download and install a chunky program on your computer. Others cost a pretty penny. Here are four free mindmapping tools that are web-based, meaning you can get up and running immediately without hassle.

Bubbl.us

web-mindmap-tool-bubblus

What Is It?

Bubbl.us has been around since 2006, making it one of the oldest web-based mindmapping tools to still exist today. Since  launching, they’ve delivered over 3 million mindmaps to over 1.5 million users. Its age does show through in some parts, but they’ve proven themselves to be reliable and useful.

The Good:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
  • Mindmaps can be saved, shared, and collaborated on with others.
  • Mindmaps can be embedded into webpages.
  • Export mindmaps in XML, HTML, PNG, or JPG formats.
  • Use keyboard and mouse shortcuts for improved workflow.

The Bad:

  • Requires account creation.
  • Free accounts are limited to 3 mindmaps.
  • Premium accounts are $6/month or $59/year.
  • Interface looks outdated and can be slow at times.

Mindmeister

web-mindmap-tool-mindmeister

What Is It?

Mindmeister is an online mindmapping tool built around a freemium model that’s mainly subscription-focused but with a limited free option. They’ve grown considerably since their launch in 2007, even debuting as one of Google’s partners when the Google Apps Marketplace launched in 2010. That should lend credence that Mindmeister is pretty good.

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The Good:

  • Advanced flexible interface, supports images and annotations.
  • Free demo that you can try before creating an account.
  • Share and collaborate on mindmaps, even integrating Skype calls.
  • Import from Freemind and Mindmanager or export to RTF and GIF.

The Bad:

  • Requires account creation.
  • Free accounts are limited to 3 mindmaps.
  • Premium accounts are tiered at $5/month, $10/month, and $15/month.

Mind42

web-mindmap-tool-mind42

What Is It?

Mind42, pronounced “mind for two,” is a web-based mindmapping tool that emphasizes the collaborative nature of brainstorming and mindmapping. Despite the name, Mind42 can be used alone, with another, or with a team of others.

The Good:

  • Free for all users without limitations.
  • Intuitive interface for creating mindmaps.
  • Social aspects, such as liking or commenting on public mindmaps.
  • User Guide helps users get started without confusion.
  • Share, embed, or export mindmaps to Freemind, Mindmanager, and RTF formats.

The Bad:

  • Requires account creation.
  • Though free to use, supported by ads.
  • Ads can be removed for ~$13/year or ~$40 forever.
  • Some interface elements are clunky and inflexible to use.

MindMup

web-mindmap-tool-mindmup

What Is It?

MindMup is one of the most powerful free mindmapping tools on the web. It has been designed to run using the latest HTML5 web technology. Furthermore, it’s open source (under the MIT license). MindMup is used all over the world for its simple but effective interface.

The Good:

  • Completely free for all users.
  • No account creation necessary.
  • Smart, simple, and easy-to-learn interface.
  • Integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and GitHub.
  • Extension system expands the functionality of MindMup.

The Bad:

  • Free mindmaps are limited in size to 100KB.
  • Free mindmaps are only stored for 6 months.
  • MindMup Gold increases mindmap size limit to 1GB and guarantees storage for the length of the Gold license. Gold costs $25/year.

In addition, check out Angela’s guide to integrating MindMup with Google Drive Try MindMup Mind-Mapping Via Google Drive Try MindMup Mind-Mapping Via Google Drive If you've ever tried to create a mind-map for your brainstorming sessions, you'll know that using the right tool is essential. There are many sites with mind-mapping tools to choose from, and choosing between them... Read More if you plan to do so.

Conclusion

MindMup is the clear winner for me. It is tied with Mind42 for the least restrictive limitations for free users, but Mind42 still has ads and a clunky interface. MindMup earns bonus points for designing with HTML5 in mind and being able to integrate with cloud services.

However, if you don’t like MindMup, Mind42 is great if you can get used to the interface. Mindmeister would be the runner up if free accounts could have more than 3 mindmaps. Bubbl.us has been around for a while but they have some catching up to do in terms of interface and free limitations.

What do you think? Do you use any free web-based mindmapping tools that weren’t included on this list? Share them with us in the comments!

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