Free Mind Mapping Tools For Students

Mind mapping is a great way to organize your thoughts and ideas. It can help you break down complex problems into manageable chunks, and it’s also a great tool to help you brainstorm ideas.

But what if you’re a student? You don’t have the resources to buy pricey software or access expensive versions of popular programs, like Microsoft Office or Google Docs. You may not even be able to find a computer that works! So how do you go about mind mapping without spending a fortune?

Well, there are plenty of free mind mapping tools that can help! In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best free mind mapping tools for students who want to get organized but don’t have access to expensive software or hardware.

Do you want to boost your website’s traffic?

Take advantage of FLUX DIGITAL RESOURCE seo tools

Top 5 Best Free Mind Map Tools. The mind map is popular among different… |  by Lynia Li | Medium

Free Mind Mapping Tools For Students

A mind map, as AYOA defines it, is a ‘visual thinking tool used to capture information and ideas’. It is a mental heuristic that helps us capture and organize our ideas and thoughts in a more structured and organized forms. Brevity, clarity, and conciseness are mind mapping hallmarks.

When you create a mind map you only focus on what is important cutting through the clutter and making space for more ideas to germinate out of the captured connections and interrelations. Hence the reputation of mind maps as thinking tools that boost memory, creativity, and productivity.

For us in education, mind maps are key learning tools which can be used in a wide variety of ways. For instance, students can create mind maps to help with their thinking processes (as is the case when writing to think). By connecting ideas via different structures and branches, students uncover new connections and discover new ideas and lines of reasoning, a process known as ideation. Mind maps can also help students learn visually and creatively by visualizing information in formats that are compatible with their favourite learning styles.

                                  [Related: Best mind mapping tools for Google Drive]

Mind maps are inclusive tools and tend to students divergent learning styles. Students can use them to collaboratively or individually brainstorm ideas, plan for projects, document outlines, create presentations, write short summaries, and many more. The collection below features some of the best web-based mind mapping tools for you and your students. For mind mapping apps, check out the best Android and iPad mind mapping apps for students and teachers.

Some of the interesting features these mind mapping tools offer include: the ability to add various types of multimedia materials to your mind maps (e.g, images, web links, icons, stickers, etc), collaborative brainstorming in real time, pre-made editable mind mapping templates, multiple third party integrations, and various export formats (e.g., PDF, plain text, image, rtf, and more.

  1. Popplet
    Popplet is a great tool for creating and sharing mind maps. The way it works is simple and easy: simply drag and drop then add images, videos, drawings, and text and when you are done share your mind maps with others. There is also Popplet for Education which offers a wide variety of student-friendly features including real time collaboration. Popplet for Education also offers a special discount for the educational community.


Pricing: the free version offers limited features and allows for the creation of only one popplet. The Solo version comes at $2.99 per month or 29.99 per year and offers way more features. There is also the Groups and Schools version which offers custom pricing.

  1. AYOA
    AYOA is another great tool for creating and sharing mind maps. AYOA offers numerous features ideal for us in education. These include real time collaboration, commenting, and branch voting. Using Team view, users can get a quick overview of collaborators availability and view what everyone is working on.

Mind maps created by AYOA can include attachments, imagery, text, videos and many more. Besides mind maps, AYOA can be used to create radial map which is a pie-chat style map ideal for setting goals and visualizing steps in a project. The Whiteboards feature further allows users to capture and organize ideas using sticky notes, annotations and more.

Mind maps-AYOA

Pricing: Mind Map ($5.75 per user/month when billed annually), Pro ($10 per user/month/ when billed annually), and Ultimate ($13 per user/month/when billed annually).

  1. SimpleMind
    Simple enables you to create beautiful mind maps using free-form layout and auto-layouts. There are also over 15 style sheets to choose from or you can create your own style sheets. Other interesting features provided by SimpleMind include the ability to add multimedia materials to your mind maps such as images, icons, labels, checkboxes, links to documents or webpages; customize your templates the way you want; share mind maps in different formats including as PDF, seamless integration with cloud-based tools such as Dropbox, iCloudDrive, and Google Drive, among others.

Pricing: Free version with limited functionality (no ads, no registration and works only on iPad, iPhone, and Android)

  1. MindMup
    MindMup is another mind mapping creation tool that lets you create unlimited mind maps. Everything you create on MindMup is stored online for you to access anytime, anywhere and across different devices. More importantly, ‘Maps saved to MindMup Cloud support concurrent editing for teams and classrooms, enabling you to instantly see updates made to your map by other users’.

Mind maps created in MindMup can be easily converted to PDF, PowerPoint, and outlines. Other interesting features provided by this tool include: the ability to attach various elements to your maps including longer text, videos, spreadsheets, images, icons; link to other project documents on Google Drive; integration with Office 365 and Google Drive, among others.

Pricing: Free version offers: unlimited number of maps, no account/login required, community, publish maps for up to six months. More advanced features are embedded in the premium plans: Personal Gold plan costs $2.99 and Organizational Gold costs $100.

  1. MindNode
    MindNode offers a number of powerful mind mapping features that enable you to brainstorm your ideas anywhere and anytime. You can start your mind app in your iOS device and finish it in your Mac. The syncing capabilities are awesome. For a more structured and organized brainstorming you use the Outline feature, or better yet, user mind map and Outline side by side.

Other useful features provided by MindNode include the ability to add more context to maps using visual tags, focus mode to highlight key data, over 250 stickers to illustrate maps, pre-made themes that are fully customizable, the ability to share mind maps in various formats including PDF, rtf, docx, plain text, image, markdown, among others.

MindNode-mind maps

Pricing: MindNode free edition offers basic features that include creating new nodes, adding titles, reordering nodes, importing and exporting supported file format, folding child nodes, among others. MindNode Plus offers more features such as editable outline, visual tags, focus mode, notes, stickers, connections, layout options, and more. The introductory prices for MindNode Plus are $2.49 per month and 19.99 per year. A free 14 day trial is offered.

  1. Cacoo
    Cacoo is a diagramming tool that provides you with a virtual space where you can visualize your ideas and collaborate with your team. You can create, edit, share comment and chat with your collaborators in real-time. You can use the presentation mode to share your screen with others and engage with them in video chats right from within the editor. You can free-draw on a blank canvas or start with a pre-made template.

Also, you can create your data or import it from a spreadsheet and edit it in Cacoo. Similarly you can import your Visio files and edit them in Cacoo. Revision history allow you to track edits applied to a diagram over time. Your final diagrams can be exported as SVG, PDF, PowerPoint, and PostScript. Additionally, Cacoo supports numerous integrations including Google Drive, Google Docs, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Slack, Box, Visio, Microsoft Teams, and more.

Cacoo-mind maps

Pricing: Cacoo free version offers the following features: 6 sheets, templates and shapes, PNG exports, real-time editing, in-app video chat, comment and chat. For more features such as revision history, 1 on 1 training, multiple export options, unlimited sheets, etc., you need a premium version. There is a Pro plan that comes at $45 per month and a Team plan for $5 per month per user.

  1. Mindly
    After it was an exclusive app for iOS and Android, Mindly is now available for MacOS X. Mindly helps you capture and organize your thoughts and ideas into mind maps. Features supported by Mindly include: the ability to add unlimited number of elements, attach multimedia materials (e.g., notes, images, icons, and web links), copy and paste nodes, multiple export formats (e.g., PDF, text, image or OPML), passcode your mind maps, and more.

Pricing: Free version offers very limited features. Pro version offers full functionality: $29.99 for MacOS, $6.99 on iOS devices, and $5.49 on Android.

  1. Miro
    Looking for a powerful whiteboard tool where you can collaborate with your team in real time (or asynchronously)? Miro has you covered. Miro is especially ideal for use in remote teaching. You and your students can use the digital whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming and ideas generation.

Some of its helpful features include video conferencing, screen sharing, presentation mode, note taking, pre-made templates, the ability to add different resources to your board including documents, spreadsheets and PDFs. Another cool feature in Miro is Stickies Capture which enables you to easily digitize your hand written notes and turn them into editable sticky notes.

Mirco-mind maps

Pricing: Miro’s free version offers the following features: 3 editable boards, pre-made templates, core integrations, and basic attention management. Pro plans offer way more functionalites including custom templates, private boards, unlimited visitors, unlimited editable boards, and many more. the Team plan comes at $8 per member per month billed annually, the Business plan comes at $16 per member per month billed annually, and the Enterprise plan uses custom pricing.

  1. XMind
    XMind is another good mind mapping tool to consider. XMind lets you design visually appealing mind maps with multiple structures. You can visually record your brainstorming into timelines, free tables, org charts, diagrams, fishbone, among others. What I personally like the most about XMind is the Hand-drawn style which allows you to convert your digital mind map into a hand-drawn look with a single click. Other interesting features provided by XMind include stickers and illustrations, Pitch mode to present your mind maps in slideshows, Math Equation to create mind maps for scientific calculations and symbols, smart color themes and more.

Pricing: For students and educators, the Academia plan costs $34.99/annually or $22.49/6 months. For the rest, XMind costs $59.99/annually. There is also a Team plan, and NGOs plan, and an Enterprise plan, each has different pricing.

XMind- mind maps

  1. Visio
    Visio by Microsoft is another good tool to help you capture your ideas into beautiful visual configurations. Visio offers a wide variety of ready-made templates and a huge number of editable shapes that you can use on your visuals. Visio also supports real time collaboration allowing you to co-design diagrams, flowcharts, and org charts with anyone anywhere they are. The tool also supports accessibility features that include Narrator, Accessibility Checker, high contrast support, and more.

Pricing: Visio is not included in Microsoft 365 plan and you need to buy it separately. Visio offers two types of subscriptions Visio Plan 1 ($5.00 user/month) and Visio Plan 2 ($15.00 user/month).

best free mind mapping software

How many times in life have you brainstormed ideas to derive solutions for specific problems or to expand your thoughts? At some point in life, we all have indulged in this rigorous activity. When we brainstorm, a stream of free-flowing ideas form a cluster in our mind. An interesting fact here is that, in the mind, ideas often flow in a random and a non-sequential manner. It is how our thought process works. So, if you want logical conclusions, then it is essential to organize and chart this nonlinear flow of ideas. There are various techniques to do this, but one of the most popular and standard techniques of brainstorming is mind mapping. Mind mapping is the technique to chart the stream of free-flowing ideas in an organized and logical way. It is a technique of clustering ideas around the main topic and relating it with other associated ideas and connections.

In the third century, Porphyry of Tyros did the first recorded use of mind maps. Even Leonardo-Da-Vinci used them for note-making. Later, in the 1970s, when Tony Buzan, the famous British psychologist, and an educational consultant, elaborated the concept of mind mapping in his seminal text- The Mind Map Book and his TV show- Use your Head broadcasted on BBC, mind maps became a popular way of brainstorming. Since then, businesses have been using mind mapping activities to come up with great ideas and frameworks. In the corporate world, individuals and teams use mind mapping to derive solutions, plan agendas, create models, generate new marketing ideas, improve concepts, identify and categorize customer groups, and many more.

Though you can draw a mind map on a plain paper also, a more efficient way to do this would be using a mind mapping software that assists in creating structured mind maps. With the support of mind mapping software tools, businesses can assimilate more ideas compared to paper-based mind mapping.

What is Mind Mapping Software?
Mind mapping software is an application that provides individuals and teams with tools to brainstorm their ideas and create mind maps. It comes with features such as concept mapping, team collaboration, storyboards, presentation tools, publishing tools, create loops and branches, flowcharting, floating images, and many more. A mind mapping software is a visual information tool that lets users create incredible insights in a specialized way.

What are the steps involved in Mind Mapping using a Mind Map Software?
While brainstorming is a completely random and non-sequential process, mind mapping is a thoroughly structured process. To create great mind maps using a mind mapping software one must follow the below four steps:

Begin with the central idea:
The nature of a mind map is to start from within and expand towards the outer area. The central idea is the core axis around which everything else will revolve. Once you have written your main topic, problem, or idea statement in the center, then you can go to the next step. Mind map software has many in-built templates that you can choose from, to begin the process.


Add branches to the main topic:
Think about the various broader subcategories and sub-topics that can be associated with your central statement and then add branches to the main idea to elaborate the subtopics in them. Your ideas need not always be in words. You can use diagrams, symbols, signs, sketches, etc. to expand your main idea into branches. Mind mapping software comes with an in-built clip art library and pre-uploaded images that you can insert in your mind map to make it look appealing.

mind mapping example

Analyze branches to add more sub-branches
Think of related ideas, capture more ideas, create a thought structure, and add more branches to the broader branches. Follow your initial ideas as far as you can go with it. You can ask questions such as why, when, how, where, whom, what, etc. to come up with more information, and then you can add it to your core idea. Mind mapping software allows you to add more branches or nodes to expand your ideas.

examples of mind mapping software

Add images and colors
Maps that reach a certain density level appear attractive and rich. You can add images and different colors to make the map easy to understand. You can add similar colors for similar types of points. In the mind-mapping process, if you run out of ideas, then you need to come back to the center for more ideas. It will complete the mind mapping process.

When is a mind map used?

When is a mind mapping software used

Why do businesses need mind mapping software?

For Effective Project management:
With the help of mind mapping software, project managers can make a visual picture of priorities, tasks in hand, resources available, and steps involved in the project.

For making the right decisions:
Businesses can brainstorm the available options, advantages, and disadvantages of the decision and list down risks involved with a mind map.

For strategic planning:
With mind mapping software, companies can draw a visionary strategic plan that includes vision-mission statements, SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, etc. Activities such as strategic planning require a lot of brainstorming by the stakeholders. With a mind mapping software, businesses can consolidate and summarize essential details and create a better road map to the strategic plan.

For managing time
Busy business professionals can make a visual chart of their weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedule in a hierarchical and radial structure. They can chart priority tasks, secondary works, work in progress, deadlines, etc. to make a viable structure that will assist them in understanding their time-management needs.

For making client presentations in a short time
With the help of a mind mapping software, businesses can make effective presentations in a short duration of time. By putting the monotonous information in a colorful and organized pattern, mind mapping software can help design better presentations in minimal time.

For saving costs involved in Paper-based mind mapping
While paper-based mind mapping might appear an easy escape, it is not feasible for organized businesses. Today, even small scale and medium scale businesses create bulk amounts of data. Mind mapping with paper will not only take more time, but it is also not easy to preserve the paper for the long term. Paper can get misplaced and destroyed easily. Moreover, purchase and storage of paper will cost you more than deploying a mind mapping software. Paper-based mind maps are not that engaging as those created by using interactive platforms of mind mapping software.

Benefits of Using Mind Maps:
Benefits of mind mapping software

What are the features of Mind Mapping Software?
Chart mode
A mind mapping software provides you with multiple formats and templates to make mind maps. Users get options to build various charts used in business such as fishbone chart, matrix chart, log-chart, tree chart, flowchart, timeline chart, org chart, etc.

Presentation mode
This feature allows mind mappers to visualize their ideas in the presentation form. With customized backgrounds and themes, users can make their ideas more appealing and clear.

Export mind map in various formats
This feature allows users to export and download their mind maps in various formats ranging from text files such as PDF, Word, PPT, Excel, HTML to image files such as JPEG, PNG, SVG, etc.

In-built templates
Mind mapping software also comes with in-built templates in various formats so that you can directly work on it. It saves your time as you don’t have to build your mind map from scratch.

Tool library
Most of the mind mapping software has inbuilt libraries with clip art, images, designs, etc. to decorate your mind map. Some software also lets you import clip art from external sources.

User Interface
The mind mapping software comes with an interactive, beautiful, and user-friendly interface with a maximum possible distraction-free work screen. Users can choose from multiple themes, fonts, and backgrounds to make their mind maps.

Multiple center points
Mind mapping software allows you to work on multiple center points in a single workspace.

Real-time collaboration with teams
The mind mapping software page can open simultaneously on multiple desktops. You can invite your team members to collaborate on the idea chart at the same time.

Mind Map training
Mind mapping software also comes with training modules to provide you complete tricks and strategies to make the best mind maps by utilizing the features optimally.

Map history and revert
The mind mapping software allows users to see the complete history of the mind mapping process and also lets the users revert to a previous change or position.

Other Tools
The mind mapping software comes with tools such as relationship lines (a line showing the relation of one topic with another), label ( a piece of annotation attached to a topic), loop (create a loop and join branches), and many more.

The list of 7 best free and open-source mind mapping software:
Comparison Chart of 7 Best Free and Open Source Mind Mapping Software
Chart of comparison of the mind mapping software

Compendium is a free and open source mind mapping software that CogNexus developed for making large scale mind map structures. This software supports both individual and group workspace. The latest version of Compendium is 1.7.1. Right from launching Compendium to completing a mind map, the user interface of this software is easy and interactive. It is available for free under GNU lesser general public license (LGPL).

Compendium mind mapping sofwtare



Create mind maps in collaboration with team members with the option to editing each other’s input
Drag and drop documents and websites into a map
Users can label the connections between concepts to illustrate links
Display links between everyone’s ideas in group projects through dialogue maps
Establish a link between idea and information
Create different types of nodes (topic box) by dragging the icon from the toolbar
Overlay a map on top of the image and add graphics and notes
Scribble pad to scribble on the workspace
Add comments, notes, annotations to the nodes
Freeplane is a free and open source mind mapping software application that creates and analyzes mind maps. Freeplane runs on any operating system having the current version of Java. Freeplane as an open source mind mapping software can be downloaded locally on your desktop computers, or if you don’t want to download it, then you can run it through a USB device. The main topic is called the root node, sub-topics are called the child nodes, and the broader topics are known as the free nodes.

Free plane mind mapping software



Ordering ideas into a hierarchy by connecting them with lines
Classifying idea boxes with metadata (attributes)
Grouping similar nodes with color containers
Automatically styling nodes with color, bubble, etc.
Structuring nodes in terms of the content type such as text, icon, formula, calculation etc
Presentation area (core, details, attributes, notes, images, and tooltip)
Option to fold branches, scrolling and navigating, filtering, and searching content
Connecting nodes with dynamic links, free lines, and labels
Password protecting the whole map with DES encryption
Multi-language support with an inbuilt spell checker,
Drag and drop functionality for icons, text, images, etc.
Extensive support through Forum, tutorial, and documentation
Wisemapping is a free and open source mind mapping software that can be used by individuals, professionals, businesses, and educators to make embeddable mind maps. It can be installed on your local servers, and its license is completely free. It is a Java-based software that provides both private and public workspace. Users can have their own mind maps and the shared maps with teams separately. It supports Windows, Linux, Mac (Open source version) and can also be accessed online ( in its cloud version).

Wise mapping software



Topic creator and editor
Team collaboration on mind maps is allowed. Simultaneously you and your team can work on a single workspace.
Export in PDF, SVG, and other image formats
Drag and drop functionality for inserting images, icons, etc. to your map from the desktop
Recover map history to see all previous changes
Customize text size, formats and background style
Add and expand branches radially in various formats
Add color to the topic boxes
Add borders and color borders
Add icons, emojis to the map to make it more engaging
Semantik is a free and open source mind mapping software application designed to help individuals and teams create effective mind maps. It was first developed in 2005 and was named Kdissert. Later the name was changed to Semantik. This further assists in making reports and presentations. Semantik is free under the GPL V3 license. It is an ideal mind mapping software tool for businesses, teachers, students, creative users, and project managers.

Semantik mind mapping software



Create mind maps using linear views
Simply and interactive UI
Covert mind maps into documents and presentations
Insert image, picture, table, and diagrams
Create UML diagrams and flowcharts
Supports HTML, LaTex, Openoffice document formats
Export the document in PNG or PDF format
Command-line tools for document export
In Semantik mind maps can be edited in 2D format or flat tree format
Add texts and attachments to the maps
Xmind is an open source mind mapping software application that is designed to generate ideas. Xmind features a center with branches radiating from it. It has an interactive and elegant user interface. This software is used by millions of users worldwide for its deep analysis capabilities. It works easily with Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS platforms.

xmind mind mapping software



Comes with in-built templates for mind map designing
Slide base presentation of the mind map
Various map structures such as Org-chart, Tree-chart, and Logic-chart can be drawn
Classify ideas based on their connections
With Xmind you can convert your mind map into Gantt Chart which is a very useful feature for project management
Beautiful workspace user interface
Integrates with Office and export in PDF is enabled
Extensive clip art library
Toolbox with marker, label, notes, information card, and many more.
Coggle is a free mind mapping software tool for creating mind maps and flowchart. In its free plan, it lets you create unlimited public diagrams and has over 1600 free icons. Users can upload unlimited images and can also create three private diagrams. If you want more features, then you can opt for Coggle’s paid plans- Awesome and Organization Plans.

Coggle mind mapping sofware



Allows real-time collaboration with other members of the team
Save changes and also revert to a previous position if required
Unlimited image uploads allowed from your PC to the map workspace
Add floating text and images to annotate parts of your map
Create loops and join branches
Multiple center points allowed
Auto arrange branches
See complete map history
Download the mind map in PDF and image formats
Import and export as .mm, and text format
Create flowcharts; process maps other charts and diagrams
Mindmeister is a free mind mapping software that comes with an advanced mind mapping editor. It is a web-based online mapping tool that can be used for brainstorming, project planning, and note-taking. It works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Its free version has limited features with a maximum of 3 free mind maps allowed. For more features, one has to switch to its personal, pro, or business plan.

mindmeister mind mapping software



Create a structure for idea with notes and attachments
All maps safely get stored in the cloud
Choose map mode and chart layout from pre-built templates, and charts
Customize chart with beautiful themes, fonts, icons, background images, and format
Share and collaborate with other team members
Assign tasks on the workspace to collaborators and set deadlines
Convert map into a stunning presentation in one click
Add notes, links, icons, images, and videos to map
See map building history and revert changes if required
Import and export text and images in various formats
Upload attachment from Google Drive and Dropbox platforms
You can choose from the above list of 7 best free and open source mind mapping software for your brainstorming sessions and save your time. If you still need more robust software with better features to unleash your creativity, then you can add MindMup to your list. MindMup is one of the most popular and collaborative mind mapping software solutions available in the market. Let us see its features in detail:

MindMup is a free mind mapping software that is used to create, share, and publish mind maps online. It lets users create unlimited mind maps for free. This software is used to brainstorm ideas, and one can directly publish the mind maps to social media using this software. It has some powerful set of keyword shortcuts and frictionless interface.

Mind muo software



Create a structure for idea with notes and attachments
Capture and organize thoughts and put them on a storyboard
Adds contextual information and images to mind maps automatically before publishing on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.
Plan and manage projects
Concurrent editing by other team members is allowed for maps saved in the cloud.
Add spreadsheet, text, and videos to your mind
Add and images and icons to your maps for illustrations and context
Allows integration with Office365 and Google authentication
With the advent of computer-aided and software-based mind mapping, the speed, accuracy, and utility of mind maps increased considerably. Today, businesses are busier than ever before with multiple tasks in hands and multiple departments to manage. Mind mapping software can help them in saving their valuable time. Mind map software also helps them to visualize complicated business situations in a simplified way. Investing in technologies such as mind mapping applications will surely add greater value to their business.

Businesses can choose from any of the free and open source mind mapping software discussed in this article. Apart from the discussed free mind mapping software MindManager, Lucidchart, iMindQ, idea flip,Novamind, Simplemind, and MindGenius are some other mind mapping software that you may choose for your mind mapping activities. We will be glad to get your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free and open source mind mapping software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us.


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Check out other publications to gain access to more digital resources if you are just starting out with Flux Resource.
Also contact us today to optimize your business(s)/Brand(s) for Search Engines

Leave a Reply

Flux Resource Help Chat
Send via WhatsApp