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hand drawn mind mapsAre you searching for a simple mind mapping tool that is more traditional in the way it uses non-linear lines and asymmetric shapes? The Chrome Web Store has a handful of mind mapping tools. The choice gets limited further because some like Mindmeister are commercial. A search through the free ones, revealed the well-reviewed Connected Mind.

The brief description on the Connected Mind Chrome Web Store page says that the browser based mind map tool is about making connections more naturally. Perhaps, the reference was to the more natural form of the drawings.

That’s definitely one of the standout features of the mind map tool as all the items of the mind map have to be drawn by the user. There is no automatic layout option. Also, the nature of the shapes and lines on the mind map takes it close to a hand drawn mind map.

If you like your mind maps to be more natural (like the ones on paper), you will catch the appeal of Connected Mind.

Mind Map on the Cloud

As a cloud based tool, you can also access your created mind maps from any device that can run Google Chrome. Also, as a browser based tool, it’s comparatively easy to reference information and link them to the mind map. Connected Mind allows you to create as many mind maps in the cloud as you can fit in 100 MB of space. Maps are also stored locally and are retained as long as the browser cache is not cleared.

The ‘Hand Drawn’ Mind Map

hand drawn mind maps

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When we draw a mind map on paper, we don’t go for straight lines or symmetrically curved ones. We go for a more freehand flow. In my personal opinion, this asymmetry in fact, makes mind mapping more effective. Automatic layouts made up of symmetric lines also make one map look like the one that came before it. That defeats the basic purpose of mind mapping.

Connected Mind has quite a few easy-to-implement features for creating distinctive mind maps that seem more natural…

5 Key Features of Connected Mind

  • You can start a mind map with a shape or an image. In case of an image, you can select one from your desktop.

drawn mind maps

  • Clicking on any item (or map node) opens up the Properties dialog box. You can edit properties like color, gradients, font, and text color.

drawn mind maps

  • You have a choice of 27 shapes for your node items. Each shape can be customized with gradient fills, text, and strokes.

drawn mind maps

  • Connected Mind lets you draw straight lines, and curved lines with more than intermediate points. Each line has formatting properties which can be edited. For example, line thickness for showing main branches and their sub-branches.

hand drawn mind map examples

  • Connected Mind gives you choice of 60 fonts which you don’t have to install on your system.

hand drawn mind map examples

  • Any node (shapes, images, lines) can be associated with notes. The notes feature allows you to elaborate with extra content like webpage links and extra images for reference. The rich notes editor gives you full formatting control over the notes. Notes are hidden behind the map items and are displayed on a mouse-over. You can toggle them on and off.

hand drawn mind map examples

  • Connected Mind also understands speech. Speech recognition (similar to Google Voice Search) allows you to speak out the text of your node items instead of typing it in. But in my trials, it was often off the mark. But do try it out.

hand drawn mind maps

Connected Mind allows you to import maps created in other applications in the FreeMind format. Only the content will be imported and not the layout or graphical elements. Connected Mind does not have a print button but you can work around that by using Chrome screen capture extensions that print from the browser.

The learning curve on this mind map tool is minimal. What also helps is the mind map which explains the features of the program. I got it all in one glance. If you do too, tell us about your opinion of Connected Mind or how does it fare against any other mind mapping tool out there.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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