Mind Mapping Tools Free

Mind mapping tools are a great way to organize ideas, both on your own and with others.

Even though there is an endless selection of mind mapping tools available online, many of them require a credit card, which can put them out of reach for students and other individuals who need to keep track of their thoughts but don’t have the resources to subscribe to an expensive service.

This article will go over some of the best mind mapping tools free options you can use to boost your productivity.

Mind Mapping Tools Free

1. MindNode

If you want an app that is build for Mac and brings a fluid mind-mapping experience, MindNode is the one for you. It has a beautiful UI and works buttery smooth. If you are just starting out, MindNode will help you learn the basics of the mind mapping technique without in your face instructions. It also has iCloud sync and an app for iPad and iPhone. Its interface is designed in such a way that you are not losing much functionality even if you are using it on mobile devices. The nodes are foldable hence allowing to create a large mind mapping tree without being overwhelmed by the data.{}


You also get awesome features including the ability to create outlines, a quick entry shortcut for quickly adding ideas, support for stickers and themes, visual tags, notes, and more. MindNode is what a great Mac app looks and feels like and I like it. Its’ one of the best mind mapping apps for Mac.

Install: (Free trial, $39.99)

2. Ayoa

Previously known as iMindMap — Ayoa, is one of the most powerful mind mapping applications on the market right now. Where is MindNode is for users who are looking for a fluid and simple mind mapping experience, Ayoa is for individual and teams that need all the features. One of the beloved features of Ayoa is the radial maps feature that allows you to create mind maps in concentric circles. This is great for organizing as it gives you a broad overview of your goals and projects.

2. Ayoa 1

Then there are normal mind maps that you can create by using nodes and connecting lines. What’s great here is that you can share these mind maps with your co-workers, allowing you to easily communicate your thoughts and brainstorming process. There’s also something called speed mind mapping, that allows you to quickly create mind maps by stripping all the extra features and serving you with basic mind mapping features. If you are in a hurry to jot down ideas, this is the perfect place to start.

2. Ayoa 2

Ayola also brings productivity features for teams such as a Gnatt timeline view that allows you to create Gnatt chats for easily managing time. You get a visual task manager along with built-in team chat features. Overall, I would say Ayola is great for teams that want to break out from mundane project planning and use a more visual approach. You can also use it as an individual, but it makes more sense for a team. Thankfully, there’s a generous free tier so you can check it out without paying a penny.

Install: Free, premium plans start at $10/month

3. XMind

XMind got itself on this list due to its theming capability. Of course, it does everything a mind mapping software is supposed to do. You can create mind maps, attach photos, links, and notes. You can share it or print it into PDF of OPML. It also allows you to directly share your mind maps to your Evernote account. You can choose from pre-formatted templates or you can create you own from scratch. You can change the theme of your mind maps at any given time. There are dozens of themes to chose from and each one looks better than the other. If you like theming, give it a go.


It also has a free version, however, it is fairly restricted. You are only allowed to create maps and you can neither save nor share them. You can read the full details in the link below.

Install: (Free/$79/$99)

4. Mindomo

Mindomo, like other apps on this list, does everything a mind mapping software is required to do. What sets it apart from others is that it allows us to attach audio notes, go into presentation mode and its cross platforms availability. It also has theming capabilities like XMind. Since it is available for both Android and iOS, you can be sure that you will have your mind maps with you all the time no matter which mobile OS you use. The only thing that holds Mindomo back is its pricing strategy. It follows a subscription based payment which is always a pain. While it does offer a free version, it’s heavily limited, as it only lets you create 3 maps.


Install: (Free, Subscriptions start at $36/6 months)

5. Mindly

If you are looking for a unique mind-mapping experience on Mac, check out Mindly. Mindly is a beautiful mind mapping application that uses a solar-system approach to mind mapping. Your main idea remains in the center (like Sun) and then you can add related ideas around its perimeter in a circle. You can in-turn use the related idea as the center and create ideas around it, and so on. What I like about this approach is that it lets me get a quick overview without getting overwhelmed.

5. Mindly 1

I also love the animations here. The animation for bouncing back and forth between circles is just fun. Apart from adding ideas, you can add notes, images, and links. But that’s pretty much it. Mindly though beautiful, is not a powerful mind mapping software. It’s simple and elegant and lets the creative juices flow, but if you are looking for more features, you should check out other options on this list.

5. Mindly 2

Install: $29.99

6. Milanote

Talking about uniqueness, Milanote takes a very different approach to mind mapping. Instead of letting you play with nodes and lines, Milanote gives you an infinite canvas, where you can create, add, and link anything you want. It’s perfect for users who like to think on boards. You can add notes, links, images, columns, comments, tasks, and more. Apart from the features, I also love the UI of the software.

6. Milanote 1

It uses minimal lines and clean UI that makes the board look soothing. Milanote is also great for teams as you can share boards with members and assign tasks to them, right there on the board. If you love visual boards, this is the best mind-mapping software for you.

6. Milanote

Install: Free, $9.99/month

7. SimpleMind

SimpleMind, as it name suggests, is a very easy to use software which gets the job done. It also has a iOS client and cloud sync. It has a very colourful UI which is pleasant to look at. The app also comes with a couple of themes to customize the look and feel of your mind maps. It does not have any complex features and the sync is almost instant allowing to hand over your work between Mac and iPhone. The best part is that it also has a free version which is as powerful as the paid one. The only big missing feature is that there is no cloud support for the free version hence you cannot sync your maps across devices.


Install: (Free, $29.99)

8. The Brain

The Brain is a mind mapping software which is not suitable for the average user. This is for someone who wants to use mind mapping for business. It has a lot of inbuilt mind mapping templates dedicated to different aspects of business such as marketing, operations and much more. The best feature of this app is its nesting ability. It is far superior to any other apps on this list when its come to nesting. Hence, you can create a large multi-layered mind map without being overwhelmed. It also has very good organisational tools.


As mentioned, the app specifically targets businesses and it is also priced like one. If you need a great brainstorming, idea mapping and organisational tool for business, look nowhere else. For an average user, it is too costly and too complex to be used.

Install: ($219/month)

9. MindJet MindManager

This software is probably one of the first mind mapping software ever built. It has gone through a number of iterations to receive its current form. It used to be one of the best but now it has become very complex and is not suitable for an average user. Don’t get me wrong, it is excellent when it comes to features and you cannot go wrong in choosing it. However, the learning curve is too steep and the price is too high. It might be suitable for big businesses, just like TheBrain, but not for individual users. You are better off spending your money somewhere else. The only reason it is on this list is because of its legacy and to inform our readers to not to make a choice depending on its past performance.

15 Best Mind Mapping Apps for Mac to Organize Your Ideas

Install: ($Starts at $205)

10. FreeMind

If you are looking for a completely free mind mapping software without any strings attached, look no further.  FreeMind is an open source software, which is completely free to download and use forever. It has all the required features and goes head to head with the paid apps on this list. The only thing you are really sacrificing on is its UI and sync feature. The UI looks outdated, and creating a rich looking map which catches your eye is not possible. Also, it does not have any sync feature hence your maps will live only on your Mac. However, you can export the maps in PDF and share it. Considering it is a free software, it packs a punch way above its weight.


Install: (Free)

best mind mapping software


Best free plan for mind mapping softwareCreate and collaborate on mind maps for workflows, projects, tasks, and more.

ClickUp is a mind mapping software for planning and organizing your projects, ideas, and more through mind maps.

ClickUp’s mind mapping features allow you to draw relationships between projects and tasks, visualize workflows and project or task structures, and easily create and manage tasks directly from your visual roadmap.

Create powerful free-form diagrams, use nodes as reference points for work to be completed, and then convert nodes into tasks. Users can create and link tasks within a mind map using drag-and-drop functionality. Share your mind maps with your team and other collaborators for collaboration in real-time.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5 a month per user and offers additional functionality.

Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/monthCheck out ClickUp


  • Free plan comes with 100 mind map uses
  • Frequently updates with new or improved features
  • Easy to convert map nodes into tasks
  • Many additional diagram/chart options to choose from, incl. Gantt chart & Kanban


  • Unlimited mind maps limited to Business and Enterprise plans
  • Mobile app can be a bit slow
  • Edit permissions are not available with the free plan


Best mind mapping software for teamsSaaS Business Strategy mind map created with MindMeister.

MindMeister is an award-winning mind mapping tool with powerful integrations. It will optimize your team’s brainstorming, ideation and web-based collaboration: visually capture, develop, and share ideas virtually.

The map editor is a blank canvas with endless customization options. With version history, you can revert back to whichever previous iteration you preferred. No eye for design? Choose from an extensive range of beautiful palette themes. The easy-to-access styling toolbar lets you connect ideas visually; add comments, notes, media and attachments; customize fonts, topics, borders and connecting lines; and add tintable icons and emojis.

Customization goes further—format topics as mind maps, org charts or lists (even on the same map), position topics as you please with free topic positioning, or switch effortlessly to Outline Mode to view your mind map as a bulleted list.

Deadline looming? Use Focus Mode for distraction-free mapping: it’s also an ideal solution for presenting your brightest ideas to your team or external stakeholders.

MindMeister integrates seamlessly with the Meister Suite. Embed mind maps into your notes in MeisterNote, or turn ideas into actions by converting topics to tasks and assigning them directly to your projects in MeisterTask. Efficient end-to-end workflow has never been easier.

MindMeister costs from $4.99/month or choose the free-to-use basic plan.

Freemium version

From $4.99/user/monthCheck out MindMeister


  • Simple controls with attractive output
  • Comes with lots of templates
  • Easy to use and adopt


  • Sub-par user experience on touchscreen
  • Integrations are lacking
  • Could use more in depth text editor features

3Microsoft Visio

Best mind mapping software for Microsoft usersMicrosoft Visio allows users to plot out processes and denote which departments are involved at which points.

From Microsoft Visio is visual diagramming tool that works well for mind mapping as well as creating many other graphical representations. If you’re already using Office 365, Visio is a top choice because it can pull data from Office 365 and let you visualize it in real-time with the charts you’ve set up in Visio. This functionality sets it apart from other tools, as Visio enables you to bring you data to life in dashboards that display data-linked diagrams. It does more than simply help you illustrate your ideas on a screen.

Much more than a simple brainstorming app, Visio provides ready-made templates to create block diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, flowcharts, floorplans, engineering designs, and Specification and Description Language (SDL) diagrams (and it also supports AutoCAD drawings). Users can share their diagrams as a link, attachment, image, or PDF and can collaborate through the comments and annotations features. Additionally, unlike a lot of the other mindmap software, Visio allows multiple users to collaborate simultaneously on the same mindmap.

Overall, this is one of the more robust mind mapping tools out there. Keep in mind, it does have a steeper learning curve than many other tools, and it definitely offers more than you need if you’re just looking for a simple interface to make an idea map. However, for technical teams, engineers, architects, and business intelligence use cases, Visio is a top choice—as long as you’re willing to stay within the Microsoft ecosystem.

Microsoft offers Visio through a one-time purchase (Visio Standard and Visio Profession) or as a SaaS (Visio Online).

Visio costs from $6.40/user/month. A one-time license costs from $459.

Free trial

From $6.40/user/monthCheck out Microsoft Visio


  • Robust library of templates
  • Best for writing UML diagrams
  • Over 250,000 shapes to choose from
  • Ready-made blocks and flow diagrams


  • Lags on older PCs
  • Complicated UX and features list
  • No customization of predefined shapes


Best simple mind mapping softwareMindGenius offers simple mind maps with a built-in explorer for easy mind map navigation.

MindGenius is a combination of a concept map creator and a project planning tool. It’s designed for use in educational settings as well as for freelancers, small businesses, and agencies.

MindGenius’ suite includes drag-and-drop mind map creation, along with project planning features like Gantt charts, kanban task views, and some basic project reporting tools. They include several features for making mind maps more useful, with filtering, highlighting, and labelling tools to help you organize and present your mind maps effectively. MindGenius also integrates with Microsoft Office, so you can easily export project data and mind maps to Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint and Microsoft Project.

Overall, MindGenius is a useful brainstorming tool that helps you convert your mind maps from simple brainstorming documents into tools for managing your projects and business. They consistently roll out cool new features; most recently, their MindGenius 2019 version offers ways to share information with others with integration to MindGenius Online, Twitter, Facebook and Dropbox, One Drive and Google.

MindGenius offers two pricing models – Perpetual and Subscription. Perpetual is $256, Subscription is $160 in year one followed by $56 annually from year 2 onwards. A subscription includes upgrades to all future revisions of MindGenius.

14 day free trial

First year $160, year two onwards $56Check out MindGenius


  • Easily move MindView maps into MS Project
  • Easily switch from MindMap to Gantt chart or timeline
  • User-friendly interface


  • RTF editor for notes can be awkward to manage
  • Templates with embedded graphics can be finicky
  • Slight learning curve compared to other apps


Best for mind mapping templatesSmartDraw’s mind maps can be applied in any industry, including IT, design, and more.

SmartDraw is positioned as an alternative to tools like Microsoft Visio, claiming to be much easier for the layman to use while being just as powerful and more affordable. That’s a big claim to live up to, and while it’s not significantly more affordable (at $5.95/user/month it’s comparable to Visio’s $6.40/user/month), it does provide an intuitive interface with useful features that are applicable to essentially any industry, from landscaping and design to IT.

SmartDraw provides users with more than 4500 templates for over 70 different types of diagrams, including flowcharts, infographics, landscape designs, decision trees, timelines, mind maps, engineering and CAD diagrams, and much more. It offers collaborative drawing online so users can work on the same diagrams at the same time, with an intelligent formatting engine that makes automatic adjustments to maintain your diagram’s arrangement. SmartDraw integrates with MS Office, Google apps, Jira, Confluence, DropBox, Box, WordPress, and Trello.

Overall, SmartDraw is a powerful tool, a strong competitor to the likes of Microsoft Visio and arguably more intuitive for the average user to navigate. Like in the case of Visio, enterprise teams are the users who will get the most out of its many advanced features.

SmartDraw costs from $5.95/user/month on a plan with 5+ users, or $9.95/user/month for a single user.

Free trial

From $5.95/user/monthCheck out SmartDraw


  • Easily customize the color and input dimensions
  • Can import Visio files
  • Plenty of help videos and tutorials
  • Easily insert photos and hyperlinks


  • Low functionality with free version
  • Cannot flip workflow from horizontal to vertical


Best mind mapping software for scaling organizationsLucidchart offers a variety of shapes and formats for constructing client mind maps.

Lucidchart is a concept map creator and general diagramming tool well-suited to businesses of any size who want to present data visually, scaling from a few users to enterprise organizations. It’s offered as a SaaS that allows users to easily and quickly create online mind maps as well as flowcharts, technical diagrams, wireframes, floorplans, process maps, org charts, ER diagrams, and dozens of other graphical representations.

This tool covers all of the bases: real-time collaboration features, easy export of projects into many different file formats, revision history, and hundreds of templates to speed up the diagramming process. You can also embed your Lucidchart diagrams into your wiki, website, or blog, and they’ll automatically update when you make changes in Lucidchart.

Overall, Lucidchart is some of the best mind map software for those who want something easy to roll out and learn to use. It’s positioned similarly to SmartDraw as a more affordable and intuitive alternative to Microsoft Visio, and it delivers. It’s the most affordable of the three solutions, it supplies an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, and its pre-built integrations with Google Apps, Confluence, Jira, Jive, and Microsoft Visio make it easy to sync with existing tools.

Lucidchart costs from $4.95/user/month when paid annually. They also offer a “free forever” account with limited functionality and free trials of their paid versions.

Free trial of paid versions, free version available

From $4.95/user/monthCheck out Lucidchart


  • Easy sharing with edit permissions
  • Predefined industry standard templates
  • Large list of export diagram export options


  • Low object limit on the free version
  • Missing some common shapes
  • Interface feels a little dated


Best for embeddable mind mapsUsers can colour-code mind map branches to show connections and related information.

Coggle is arguably one of the most aesthetically pleasing and intuitive concept map makers on the market. This application supports real-time collaborative drawing online, allowing multiple team members to co-create mind maps and flowcharts.

Coggle’s useful features include auto-arranging branches, image uploads/attachments, a full change history, and collaborative drawing. You can download your mind maps as PDFs or image files, and you can also export as .mm and text as well as export to Microsoft Visio. Another way to share your mind maps is through embeddable diagrams, meaning that you can display your Coggle diagrams on a webpage and make any changes to the diagram from within the mind mapper tool.

This tool doesn’t offer stacks of mind map templates (instead, you can search and repurpose the public diagrams in their gallery), nor does it support the creation of more technical diagrams like network, engineering, and architectural diagrams. However, if you’re looking for a simple, beautifully designed, easy-to-use mind map creator, Coggle should be at the top of your list. This is some of the best mind mapping software for people who are new to mind mapping and want access to all the essential tools.

Coggle costs from $5/user/month. They also offer a free mind map software with unlimited public diagrams and up to 3 private diagrams.

From $5/user/monthCheck out Coggle


  • Great free version of the tool
  • Seamless integration with Google services
  • Stylish map animations
  • Easy to add content loops and branches


  • No way to auto-sort branches
  • Larger maps have sub-par presentation visibility
  • Maps on free accounts are public


Best mobile mind mapping appXMind allows users to plan projects on mind maps.

XMind is a popular brainstorming app used by anyone from startups and entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. It offers several practical features for making mind maps and business diagrams (org charts, timelines, etc) more useful and accessible.

XMInd offers some unique features for speeding up the process of making mind maps, converting mind maps into outlines, and quickly turning your mind maps into professional presentations using auto-formatting and one-click slide creation. They provide styles and themes to get you started, and as you create your mindmaps you can attach files, audio, images, and links. You can also work in “zen mode”, which eliminates distractions from the interface.

The most useful XMind feature for project managers is Gantt View feature, which converts mind maps into Gantt charts (although you can find more specialized Gantt chart tools in our review of MS Project alternatives). They also have a mobile app that users have praised as being convenient easy to navigate. XMind integrations are minimal: it has an Evernote integration, but to share with other apps, you XMind enables you to export in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, RTF, HTML, Plain Text, to PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, and SVG files.

XMind costs from $1.24/month for the mobile brainstorming app. You can also buy XMind for a one-time purchase of $129.00, and you can try it before buying with a free download.

Free download available

From $1.24/user/monthCheck out XMind


  • Have multiple interconnected sheets in one file
  • Can link to files, webpages, and emails
  • Brain dump mode for quick map outlines
  • Plenty of file export options


  • Free version does not support real-time collaboration
  • Limited choices for different node types
  • Fewer customizations for deeper level maps


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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