My initial impression of mindmapping was that it’s a not-so-obvious brainstorming tool that’s used by the very few. But after diving into it and also writing a few posts on brainstorming and mindmaps for MakeUseOf.com, I have realized that mindmapping has earned its place in the sun. A well plotted mindmap is much better than a list when it comes to looking at the big picture.
Mindjet is the one of the premier tools for mindmapping in the personal and corporate space. Recently, Thinking Space was acquired by Mindjet and combined into Mindjet for Android. The app which is available for free (unlike the earlier Thinking Space Pro and Mindjet’s very own desktop software) is clocking up a lot of downloads.
How handy is the mobile mindmapping solution? Do you prefer carrying it around in your pocket? Let’s count the ticks.
Mindjet for Android – Feature rich or basic?
My first impression of Mindjet for Android veers towards the latter. It is a basic mindmapping tool meant to pull you towards using mindmaps as a collaborative and productivity tool while you are on the go. After playing with the app, I think the Android brainstorming app fulfills its early promise.
Asking it to be as feature rich at information mapping as its desktop variant (Mind Manager Pro) would be a bit too much. It is not even as advanced as Freemind. For instance, you won’t get the variety of visual formats or the more advanced project and task management tools.
What you will get are the essential tools to get your mindmap up and running. Here are a five (among many) key features of Mindjet for Android:
Quickly create topics and subtopics
Mind maps are made up of topics and sub-topics. Mindjet gives you full screen support a vertical menu and a horizontal toolbar to build your map. The mapping and toolbar menu are pretty easy to grasp.
Creating topics and sub-topics is easy as tapping the icons and typing in the labels. To improve the map view, you can easily collapse (or expand) the topics branches. Mindjet also supports gesture inputs to edit your mindmaps.
Add Notes to better describe your topics and sub-topics.
A mindmap is about relationships
Mindjet comes with a few relationship styles. You can basically choose the colors and set the kind of end points you want to connect topics with. You can drag the curve to set its shape too.
Beautify your mindmap with colors and styles
Colors and styles can also be set for formatting topic color, topic shape, and sundry other things like text and background. For instance, you can tap a topic and set its shape and color as shown by the screen below. Also, to apply a topic shape or color to an entire branch, enable the Cascade mode. In this mode, the formatting is applied to the current topic and all its subtopics.
You can easily shave a few seconds from your work flow by selecting from the library of styles that the mobile mindmapping provides. Click the camera icon to save the style as a sort of preset.
Add images and hyperlinks
You can use an existing image in your phone’s image gallery and use it in your mindmap. The other option is to use the phone’s camera and directly insert the image.
The other way to highlight important topics and sub-topics is to use icon markers in your mindmap. Here’s a screen of the entire icon library available to you:
Hyperlinks are vital if you want to link your mindmap to files on your device. Of course, hyperlinks allows you to bring in other media files like sound recordings too. You can also link to other mindmaps on your Android.
Import and export your mindmaps
You can bring in maps from other mindmapping apps like Freemind and XMind. The AutoStyle option (get it from the Applications button on your device) helps you clear the formatting that might not be compatible with Mindjet even though it has basic compatibility with the two apps. I couldn’t find any Export option to send my mobile mindmaps to my PC or any other device, but you can attach it to your Gmail and also sync with your Dropbox account. Any changes you make to the mobile mindmap will get synced with your Dropbox version.
That just about rounds up the key features of Mindjet for Android. Mindjet gives you an easily accessible tool to take down your thoughts if you are on the go and need to get some brainstorming done. It’s free and completely ad-free. Come the opportunity, I would readily use recorded voice memos and align it with my mindmaps. How would you use it as a productivity tool? Tell us…