Online Brainstorming Collaboration Tools Free

Collaboration is a crucial part of any business. Whether you’re working with colleagues across the hall or around the world, it’s important to be able to work together in a way that maximizes productivity and efficiency. One of the best ways to do this is by using an online brainstorming collaboration tool.

Online Brainstorming Collaboration Tools Free

The key to brainstorming isn’t just getting as many people as possible in a room so they can collaborate on the greatest ideas ever. It requires a bit more work to get the most out of your brainstorming session.

Sometimes, the best brainstorming sessions are accompanied by a simple tool that allows you to record and visualize the progress of ideas. This allows your team to see the flow of ideas and gives more context around next steps.

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If you’re already familiar with the rules of brainstorming, it’s time to start looking at some virtual collaboration tools to help unleash your team’s creativity.

For Collaborative Brainstorming

This web-based mind mapping app allows you to build, save, and share up to three mind maps on the free plan. This straight-forward tool makes it easy to start brainstorming from almost any device (since there’s no need to download anything), and turn those ideas into useful presentations. You can try out their paid plans by starting a 30-day free trial.


This tool lets you create and share intricate mind maps. From complex brainstorming to simple ideation, Coggle provides a space where you can build and download diagrams so your ideas will always be accessible and actionable.Remove barriers, find clarity, exceed goalsAnything is possible with the most powerful work management software at your fingertipsTry for free


Built in Java, Freeplane is an open source application that can freely position, order, classify, group, or connect any node. Style the map using shapes, colors, and edge type.

You can structure nodes in terms of content, such as text, formula, icon, image, hyperlink, or even at a hierarchical level. Protect your mind maps by adding a password, or share and collaborate on them using the drag and drop, search, and publishing features.


LucidChart provides a powerful and easy-to-use flow chart maker that helps create professional diagrams for visual collaboration. You can start from scratch, or pick from their variety of templates. Integrations include G Suite, Confluence, and JIRA, and you can pull content from sources like YouTube, Dropbox, and Facebook as well.


This tool may not be the most visually appealing, but it gets the job done. Mind42 allows you to build simple diagrams in your web browser and share with others. Very basic functionality—good for high-level brainstorming.


MindMap is a Google Chrome extension that has Cloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box support all built in. Save your work to local storage, in the cloud, or print and export finished mind maps as an image. You can even attach URLs or hand-drawn images to the individual nodes.


Popplet is the simplest tool to capture your thoughts and ideas. Because it’s useful in both offices and classrooms, it’s extremely visual and utilizes images and diagrams to build projects. Multiple people can access the same project within Popplet, where they can build presentations, include tags, and categorize projects all within the tool. A mobile app is also available for iOS users.


Another web-based, collaborative tool, Wisemapping offers a free mind mapping tool for teams and individuals. If there’s a feature you’d like to add to make the solution better, they offer a sponsorship program where you can fund or raise money to build the new feature.

For Solo Brainstorming

Eyewire Creativity Cards
Neither an app or a tool, this website simply provides simple suggestions and exercises to help enhance creativity. Simply refresh the page to see a new exercise.

Here’s one example:


This open source mind mapping tool was built in Java, and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Features include one-click navigation, easy drag-and-drop, uploading images, and exporting mind maps. Don’t let the outdated interface fool you; this tool is easy-to-use in every sense of the word, and extremely functional.


Super basic and to-the-point, MindApp lets you dive right into the free tool without downloading, installing, or even leaving their homepage. Save your mind maps in the tool directly, Google Drive, or Dropbox. This tool comes with a pre-built mind map diagram, which you can play with and customize as you wish.


Augment your brainstorming environment and mood with soundscapes and visualizations. This tool allows you to add background images and set the tone to enhance individual creativity and improve overall mood.

Visual Thesaurus

This neat online search engine allows you to enhance your associative thinking. Once you search a term, the tool spews out a word map with words associated with the search term. The map groups words that are similar, so you can easily see how words relate to each other.


Now that you’ve selected your brainstorming app, it’s time to learn some techniques! Check out these 7 Techniques for More Effective Brainstorming. 

google brainstorming tool

Brainstorming tools are specifically designed to help spark and then gather and organize ideas. They open up the ability to collaboratively brainstorm remotely while simultaneously recording the ideas. Some allow for teams to vote and comment on the collected ideas, making it easier to prioritize next steps. To make this easier on you, we gathered up all the best brainstorming tools on the web & categorized them for your convenience!

Virtual Brainstorming

Virtual brainstorming is a great way to gather ideas from a remote team. It’s also been proven that online brainstorming helps participants to be more creative and productive. Virtual brainstorming tools facilitate remote, online idea gathering. They can be as basic as a shared Google Document or as advanced as an online whiteboard where you can add post-it notes in real time, categorize them, and vote or comment on your favorite ideas.

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To get the most out of these tools, you might want to combine them with some of our favorite brainstorming techniques.


Price: Free

IdeaBoardz is a web-based tool that allows you to set up a virtual board and invite collaborators. Create sections for the different areas you want to collect ideas for. Then have everyone add “stickies” with their ideas.

The vote function allows participants to give a thumbs up to the stickies they support. This can help with deciding which ideas to pursue or prioritizing next steps. Sort stickies by the highest number of votes, view different sections or filter ideas using the keyword search. At the end, export the board to easily store the ideas for later.

Google Documents

Price: Free

You can use Google Documents for more than file sharing and version control. They also make a simple brainstorming tool. The more familiar your team is with Google Documents, the easier it is to get started.

Simply create a new document, share it with the members of your team, and give them permission to edit. Start building a list of ideas as a group. Everyone can either capture their ideas separately and then add them to the document or add them in real time to inspire each other. You can see who’s writing what and leave comments on each other’s ideas.

Realtime Board

Price: Free

Realtime Board is similarly a collaborative, online whiteboard space utilizing virtual post-it notes. You can start with a blank page or use a template to structure your project. Add files, images, and documents from Google Drive or upload them from your computer to share information. Then you can turn it into a presentation or export it to a PDF.

The free version is good for up to three team members and three boards, but guests can also view boards. You can also integrate Slack. Upgrading to the $40 per month version adds on two more team members, unlimited boards, video chat, and more.

Solo Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a technique for visually organizing information. It’s especially useful for getting ideas out of your head and onto paper because it’s based on intuitive connections. Organizing your thoughts can help you get out of your own head, spot gaps in your thinking, and prepare to share your idea with others. The following brainstorming tools are perfect for independent mind mapping.

Price: Free for up to three mind maps.For $4.91 per month, you can get unlimited mind maps and invite others to collaborate.

A web-based tool, makes it easy to lay down a concept and start connecting subtopics. When you’re done you can turn it into an image to share with others. Collapse and expand branches of your mind map, add hyperlinks to bubbles, and customize the color and font as you wish.


Price: Free

Freeplane is mind mapping and knowledge management software that offers sophisticated structuring tools. Intuitively add ideas without having to connect them. Then organize them using nodes, lines, metadata, and styles. You can also set up filters to make it easier to view relevant content.

From there, you can set tasks and reminders and present your mind map in a Prezi-style format. A Wiki guides you through getting the most out of Freeplane, an extensive community forum provides further support. If you’re advanced enough, you can even extend the functionality of Freeplane with add-ons and scripts.


Price: Free

While free, open source, and available offline, MindMap offers robust mind map editing tools. You can change fonts, add images and rich text, embed videos, and add URLs. Need to sketch out an idea? No problem, you can hand draw in your mind maps as well.

MindMap is a Google Chrome extension, so you only need to open a web browser to start mind mapping. It also connects to your Google Drive, making it easy to save your work. Alternatively, you can print or export your mind maps or share them through social media.


Price: Free for up to 10 Popplets on the online version. $3 per month or $30 per year for unlimited popplets. $4.99 to download the app.

Popplet allows users to customize the color of each “popple,” aka the bubbles that house ideas. You can also include sketches, images, and links in your popples. It’s easy to edit the size of popples and disconnect and connect them as needed.

When your Popplet is done, you can share it on social media, send a link to others, email it, or embed it on your website. It’s available online, for iPad, and iPhone.


Price: Free

TheBrain positions itself as “the ultimate digital memory”. It’s nonlinear, and its functionality mimics the fluid movement of your thoughts. When you pull up a topic, the rest of the network shifts as well and shows you other concepts connected to it. The result is a comprehensive, robust, and searchable record of your thoughts.

The free version of TheBrain is available to download; it works on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android; and it syncs across your devices. It allows for unlimited usage, and you can use it organize and store files as well.

Collaborative Mind Mapping

The collective power of a team is being able to have many thoughts at once. However, a group of people can’t talk all at once, so some ideas may not get shared. Collaborative mind mapping circumvents that issue.

It can happen remotely or during a working session. Everyone accesses a shared mind map and builds on the central idea in real-time. At the end, you have a collective visualization of the concept, project, or challenge.


Price: Free

If you love neural networks, you’ll love Coggle. The tool helps you capture the nuances of a concept in intricate visual networks. Browse a gallery of public diagrams to see what others have done for inspiration and invite members to collaborate on your diagram with you. Add images, customize the colors of branches, easily “transplant” branches to a different branch, and draw links between unconnected branches.

The free version allows for up to three private diagrams and unlimited public diagrams. When it’s done, export your mind map as a PDF or PNG or share it on social media.


Price: Free for sharing and collaborating on up to three mind maps. $4.99 per month for unlimited mind maps and to export and print.

Create, share, and present mind maps inside your web browser with MindMeister. You can choose from mind map or organization chart layouts and upload your own image to customize the background. Invite others by email to edit or view your map in real time.

The collaboration feature includes an integrated chat function, and you can see who contributed what and when. Collaborators can also comment and vote on ideas.


Price: Free

An open source project, WiseMapping can be used online or installed on your server. It allows you to collaborate on mind maps, customize font and colors, add icons, and export mind maps when finished. You can also embed mind maps from WiseMapping on your blog.

This is a good option for teams. It’s free for businesses, unlike other tools that primarily support free use by individuals or small groups. It can also be configured to your server for increased security.

Mobile Apps

If you were boarding a plane, and inspiration stuck, you could still capture your thoughts in that moment with a mobile brainstorming tool. The following brainstorming tools for use on your smartphone help you build an outline or mind map to help you capture, organize, and later present your idea.


Price: Free

Ideament helps you draw mind maps, concept maps, or flow charts. You can then flip them into a text outline, or you can start by creating a text outline and turn it into an outline. If you have an email or text you want to copy from online as a starting point, you can also plug that into Ideament to get started.

If you want to show your idea to others, share it by email or upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud storage platforms. You can also save it as a photo to text or share or upload your mind map or outline directly to Facebook.


Price: Free

MindGenius is perfect when you need to collect ideas, take nonlinear notes, or create project tasks quickly and intuitively. Start with a diagram or output tree. Then, a quick keyboard shortcut adds branches for you as you type, so you can lay down several ideas in short order. If you realize an idea needs to connect to a different branch, you can easily move it over.

The explorer feature also helps you search for, find and hone in on one area. While you’re reviewing that portion, it hides the rest of the map. This feature makes mind maps more accessible on a tablet device.


Price: Free

SimpleMind is similarly an intuitive mind map brainstorming tool. You can start with a blank layout and freely place new topics, or you can get started with an existing layout template. There’s no limit to the ideas you can add, and you can create multiple mind maps on the same page. You can add photos, voice memos, videos, and documents to a mind map and customize the design.

When the mind map is complete, you can manage how it’s viewed by collapsing or expanding, hiding, or highlighting branches. You can also search mind maps for keywords. You can also share your mind maps as PDFs or in a word document, print them, or turn them into a presentation. The app is available for iPhone or iPad, and it syncs across devices and with Dropbox or Google Drive.


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