5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas
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Mind mapping is the practice of organizing ideas during a brainstorming Turn Your Brainstorm Into a Mind Map for Maximum Insight 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 session. It connects all those haphazard thoughts that pop into your head and helps you make sense of them. A pen and paper are often useful, but you can also go digital with apps and sites.

We have previously looked at some of the best mind-mapping tools 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them For an office worker, a mind map can be a solo brainstorming tool or a collaborative idea collection. In the right hands, a simple mind map can help make better decisions. Read More and how to use them, but as with any popular productivity technique, there are new apps popping up all the time. These new tools cover a range of topics, including apps made for the small mobile screen, beginner mind maps, and even templates.

MindMapNinja (Web)

Tree-based mind-mapping for beginners

MindMapNinja for mind mapping beginners

If this is your first time with a mind map, I’d suggest starting with MindMapNinja. It’s a free, simple tool that gives you an organized approach to mind-mapping. You don’t even need to register to get started.

Unlike many of the other mind mappers, MindMapNinja doesn’t give you a blank canvas to jot your thoughts down. Instead, it makes you start at a central node, and add more nodes to that. You create a tree-like mind map, expanding thoughts from the central idea, rather than putting all the thoughts into the central idea.

MindMapNinja is a nice way to get started with the mind mapping process. If you have the habit of doing a “mind dump” How The Simplicity Of Mindful Web Surfing Can Help You Focus How The Simplicity Of Mindful Web Surfing Can Help You Focus You can be more mindful of your browsing to stay focused, reduce stress, and be a lot more purposeful with your time online. With practice, you can strengthen your "mindfulness muscles". Read More , this isn’t the app for you. MindMapNinja is more helpful for those who need a platform to build off.

Text2MindMap (Web)

Turn lists into mind maps

5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas mindmap text2mindmap

Note-taking apps save your thoughts 6 Modern Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Thoughts Organized 6 Modern Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Thoughts Organized Ever had a thought slip away and wish you had written it down? It won't happen again when you have one of these modern apps at your fingertips. Read More for later. But that leads to a text list, which isn’t always the best way to visualize data for a brainstorming session. Text2MindMap turns such text lists into mind maps automatically.

I used to love a site called Text2MindMap.com, but that’s dead now. This is a replacement that I actually like more. It works just as you might expect, turning text lists into mind maps where each point is a node, and indented lines are sub-nodes. Dragging nodes or sub-nodes will change their position on screen. Changing their text position will change the hierarchy.

Text2MindMap is great for those who usually jot their thoughts in a notepad, but occasionally want to brainstorm with those thoughts.

WriteMapper (Windows, macOS, iOS)

The writer’s mind-mapping tool

5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas mindmap writemapper

I usually avoid paid apps and programs, but WriteMapper was good enough to make an exception. It is an invaluable tool for those who write for a living, whether you’re an author, a scriptwriter, a journalist, or a copywriter.

The app makes you break down your writing task into individual points, each as its own node. Keep generating that nested list as you think of more things. When you’re done, you can rearrange those nodes with simple drag-and-drop. Finally, you can export the entire mind-map as a formatted document in Word, Markdown, HTML, or Rich Text. It’s brilliant to get organized and then start writing.

WriteMapper is a paid software, but play with the free trial version first. You might find it’s actually worth paying for. WriteMapper costs $39.95 for one computer, up to $109.95 for five computers.

Download: WriteMapper for Windows | macOS | iOS ($39.95)

Maps of Mind (Web)

Classic mind mapping on a blank space

5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas mindmap maps of mind

Here’s how mind-mapping works offline. You take a blank sheet of paper, a pen, and you start writing ideas anywhere on the paper. Then you circle each one individually and connect them as you see fit. Maps of Mind is the classic example of how this would be done digitally.

You create “infoboxes”, which are similar to nodes. But these infoboxes are more powerful. You can create one infobox with multiple text fields, to-do lists, and even comments. Comments are important since Maps of Mind lets you add collaborators, so you can brainstorm with others. It feels a bit like using Trello for brainstorming 10 Unique Uses of Trello Other Than Project Management 10 Unique Uses of Trello Other Than Project Management Trello is a list lover's delight. Its Kanban-style approach was not meant just for project management. Don't believe us? Look at these ten unique uses of Trello. Read More , where you can move the boxes around.

Maps of Mind also lets you share the map publicly (or download it) so anyone can see what you’ve done. Here’s a good Maps of Mind example for you to know what you can do with this tool

Mindly (Android, iOS)

A mind mapping app made for phone screens

If you’ve ever used a mind-mapping app on a smartphone, you know this problem. The app only lets you zoom in and out of the whole map. When you zoom out, the nodes are too tiny for any inspiration to strike. It defeats the purpose of mind mapping, if you ask me. Mindly solves that issue for phones.

The Mindly app doesn’t zoom in and out. Instead, it opens each node’s elements when you tap on that node. You never see the sub-nodes beforehand, you only know they exist. I found it a far better way for brainstorming on the go 8 Diagramming Apps for Better Brainstorming on the Go 8 Diagramming Apps for Better Brainstorming on the Go Life can be busy and chaotic. These mind mapping and brainstorming apps can help you keep track of your inspirations and ideas for a better thought process. All just a screen tap away. Read More than any of the other mind-mapping apps.

Mindly also has a paid desktop app for macOS, but I wouldn’t bother with it. You are better off downloading one of the best free macOS mind mapping apps 6 Free Mind Map Apps for Mac to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing 6 Free Mind Map Apps for Mac to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing Looking for the best free mind map apps for Mac? Here are some great free mind mapping tools to help organize your thoughts on macOS. Read More instead.

Download: Mindly for Android | iOS (Free)

Build Maps in Other Tools

These apps are great for those who brainstorm regularly. But if your creative thinking needs are few and far between, you don’t need one of these apps. Chances are, you already have some tools you can use for mind mapping.

In fact, Microsoft Office should be enough. We have excellent guides on how to build a mind map in Microsoft Word How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft Word How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft Word The average person has thousands of thoughts each day. Our brainstorms are rarely strategic. A Mind Map helps you capture a mess of thoughts and bring them in order. We show you how. Read More , or in PowerPoint How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft PowerPoint How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft PowerPoint is great for creating mind maps because it has a ready canvas and easy draw and drag tools. Read More . And you can download free MS Word templates for mind mapping 8 MS Word Templates That Help You Brainstorm & Mind Map Your Ideas Quickly 8 MS Word Templates That Help You Brainstorm & Mind Map Your Ideas Quickly Free Word templates are not just about beautiful documents, perfect resumes, and cover pages. They can be vital for brainstorming and mind maps too. Here are eight Word templates for your ideation needs. Read More too.

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  1. drak
    August 21, 2018 at 7:41 am

    How about NUCLINO?
    At its core it's note-taking online service with the handy feature to represent said notes in visual form. Been using it for my RPG-related projects and I confirm it works just great.