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5 Beautiful Mind Mapping Apps to Help You Think Outside the Box

Saikat Basu 02-03-2019

A map helps you discover a new place. A mind map can take you to fresh thoughts and ideas. Mind mapping isn’t a recent discovery; it has existed since the third century. Now, it has got its due because you need new ways to think and organize information. And you need to think outside the box too.


Try putting a mind map to unexpected uses. Maybe, use it as a morning journal or retain a book you just read. You can do a mind map on paper or you can turn to these clean and clutter free mind mapping apps.

1. Padlet (Web, Android, iOS, Kindle)

Use Padlet for colorful mind maps

Padlet looks like a colorful bulletin board. But with its document support and collaborative features, it can be turned into a powerful productivity tool for students and teachers. You can use it to display information with a variety of file types. You can link and embed content from anywhere on the web, including YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, The New York Times, and 400 other apps.

And connect them into flowcharts or mind maps. Use the Canvas format to see relationships between concepts. Imagine a collection of colorful sticky notes that show each idea is related to the others.

Padlet is a feature rich educational app, but you can mold it to for any kind of brainstorming session. It offers free and premium plans.


Download: Padlet for Chrome

Download: Padlet for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

Download: Padlet for Kindle Fire (Free, in-app purchases available)

2. Canva (Web, Android, iOS)

Canva for beautiful mind maps

Canva is a zero effort graphic app you can use to create beautiful logos, social media posts, photo collages, or blog banners on the web. You can use Canva to create any kind of design 10 Things You Can Create With Canva With Zero Effort Canva is so easy to use you don't need any design experience or skills to get started. Read More and mind maps are one of them. Canva’s free online Mind Map Maker has a beautiful variety of templates created by professional designers. You can see one example in the image above.

Log into Canva to customize your map. Tweak the colors and fonts, and pick from the stunning range of graph elements, like frames, shapes, and lines. Once your mind map is complete, you can download it as a high-quality document or share it on social media.

Download: Canva for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. Breakdown Notes (Web)

Breakdown Notes for mind maps

Breakdown Notes is one of those no-signup web apps that can skyrocket your productivity. Though it is an online tool for students and learners, anyone can use it to make diagrams, mindmaps, notes, and presentations. The mind mapping tool does not store your information anywhere.

It looks like a big whiteboard where you can place shapes, lines, and notes anywhere. You can drag and drop images or copy paste from the clipboard. A library of different fonts, shapes, and icons can give your mind map the visual style you want to go for.

You just need the recent version of Chrome or Firefox. It’s free to use and needs no registration.

4. MapsOfMind (Web)

MapsOfMind for mind maps

MapsOfMind is the mind mapping child Trello never had. The online app is a linear idea organizer and a mind mapper in one smooth interface. Your mind maps will be built around InfoBoxes. You can add any information inside an InfoBox and break it down to digestible chunks. Then you just connect the different boxes to draw your thoughts on screen.

The content boxes help you visualize any information in detail or just take a bird’s eye view. The drag and drop UI is easy to use and gives you limitless customization options. Take a look at the public maps on the site.

MapsOfMind has a generous free plan. You can create unlimited maps and can store them in 1 GB of space. A custom plan is available at a price for enterprise users.

5. Ideament (iOS, Windows)

Like minimal apps? Then Ideament could be your choice for your iPhone or iPad. The Ideament app easily helps you switch from linear outlines to mindmaps and vice-versa. This is useful when you a list of to-dos and would like to see how they are related. Enter the list and convert it into a mind map. Then arrange them around to group similar tasks.

Ideament also helps you draw concept map and or flow charts. Create your diagrams and save them as PDF, Visio, OPML, or PNG files. The company also makes a similar mind map software for Windows.

Download: Ideament for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

Download: Mind Maps Classic for Windows

Map Your Ideas

You don’t need an app to mind map your ideas. But using a digital tool expands the way you can use them or collaborate on them. Try a mind map tool when you are flummoxed with a problem or find a project overwhelming. Break it down with a diagram. There are many mind mapping tools that can turn your brainstorms into beautiful mind maps Turn Your Brainstorm Into a Mind Map for Maximum Insight Recording your brainstorm in a mind map could help you gain deeper insights. And it's easy. We show you how to combine both strategies for research, planning, and innovating. Read More .

Related topics: Cool Web Apps, Flowchart, Mindmapping.

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  1. fireboy
    March 6, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks, good article!

  2. JaySeb
    March 6, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    You see, that's why I cuntinously read as I've been on iPhones for more than 10 years, Mac for more than 35 years, and had NO CLUE we could swipe up in the photos app... You rock. Thank you. #feelingstupid #lifelonglearner

  3. Gavin Cowie
    March 3, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Uh, how can you not include mindmeister? They've been kicking everyone else's butt on this front for literally years and years.

    • Saikat Basu
      March 4, 2019 at 1:03 am

      Hey Gavin,
      We have covered Mindmeister before several times (// The idea of this column is to highlight the new or the lesser known as far as possible. Talking about Mindmeister is like talking about Photoshop now :) Practically, one of the "gold standard" tools.

  4. Kathleen
    March 3, 2019 at 3:15 am

    I use Mindomo. I love the intuitive nature of it.

  5. Margaret Miller
    March 2, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    The best mind mapping software is imindmap version 11. Think Buzan/Open Genius are the inventors of mind mapping. They also have a great planning tool, "Drop Task".