4 Great Web-Based Mindmapping Tools To Enhance Your Creativity

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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 and enhances your creativity. 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  • Interface looks outdated and can be slow at times.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 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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Comments (34)
  • chad bennett

    i’m a big fan of mind mapping and my vote is for mindomo. http://www.mindomo.com

    it is free, has amazing tools and settings. can import/export a lot of file formats, has desktop version and apps for most devices. the current version for creating maps is flash-based, but they are working on an html5 version. embedded maps have made the switch to html5 and are really fast.

    with an education email, you can get a pro-education version for free. i’m a teacher and use it quite often for project planning, curriculum mapping, etc. you can see an example of an embedded version on a blog post i wrote about mind mapping tools for students. http://tiny-elephant.postach.io/mind-mapping-tools-for-students

  • Paul van Leeuwen

    What about drichard.org/mindmaps/#

  • Chris Tully

    I agree with you Charles. Personal Brain is the gold standard. I have tried many but The Brain (pro-edition) is my go-to. I have it on my mac and my work pc. I share some of the ‘brains’ online as well. Too bad they don’t have an app -to my knowledge. The free edition is awesome and many people can use the trial to setup most of their lives without ever going to the paid editions. I use the pro-edition because of the attachments features.

  • Charles White

    None of these MM systems (web based, phone based, or desktop based) will work if you do not know how to map your thoughts in the first place. Some tutorials would be nice for the uninformed. As for web based, take a look at The Brain’s web based mind mapping software here: https://webbrain.com/explore.
    The Brain also has great tutorials that will give you a better understanding of the Mind Mapping concept… here is the link: http://www.thebrain.com/support/tutorials/
    I am not associated with The Brain in any way, shape, or form. I just like their concept.

    • Joel L

      Agreed. Most tools won’t be helpful (or might even be detrimental) if you don’t know how to use them in the right way. Mindmapping is powerful IF you know how to use it well. Thanks for sharing!

  • illferris

    None of those come close to Mindjet Vision.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.