One of the worst feelings in the world is forgetting a great idea. All you had to do was write it down, but you were confident that you’d never be able to forget something so compelling. When it slid out of your mind, though, the easy loss of such an insightful thought nearly crushed your soul.
Taking the time to jot down your ideas right when they pop into in your head is one of the best ways to remember them and, ultimately, bring them to life.
But if your idea has a lot of moving parts, like a big project, you need to do more than just write your vision down on a piece of paper -- it’ll be too scattered and disconnected. The best way to brainstorm, structure, and implement a vision is by visually organizing its data and information.
To visually flesh out almost any multi-faceted or complex concept, ranging from product launches to organization charts to the list of Oscar-nominated movies you haven’t seen yet, mind maps are your best tool.
Most mind mapping software is also cloud-based and collaborative, so if you want to enhance your project’s clarity, cooperation, and execution, check out this list of the best mind mapping software, ranked by G2Crowd.
12 of the Best Mind Mapping Software for Brainstorming Better Ideas
Visual cues help us process and retain information better than text. Using MindGenius, you can structure your ideas in a visually appealing way with an assortment of colors and photos from their built-in image library.
The software also has a collection of mind map templates with different visual styles, so you can brainstorm and implement your plans faster than you could starting from a blank canvas.
MindManager is like a virtual whiteboard. You can easily add ideas, place them wherever you like, and draw connections between them. You can also track the progress of your projects by adding its due dates, priorities, and resources.
MindManager’s most helpful feature is its dashboard map, which integrates all of the data related to your idea or project in one place for everyone on the project to view and access.
Venngage is already known as an infographic maker and design software, but they've recently ramped up their range of mind and diagram templates to help you visualize your strategies in an appealing way. The key differentiator between Venngage's Mind Map Maker and other diagramming tools is the emphasis placed on communicating complex information in a captivating way.
There are a wide range of professionally designed templates to choose from, and also access to 24-hour support.
With more than 50 types of diagrams and thousands of examples and libraries, Creately lets you quickly flesh out your ideas using their templates. But if you want to create a mind map from scratch, you can still visualize your ideas in a timely fashion by leveraging features like click-to-create, drag-and-drop, and smart shapes, which adapt its size to its location on your map.
Some of Creately’s most useful features are its importing and sharing capabilities. Importing Microsoft Visio files into the software is seamless, and when you’ve finished your project, you can embed private diagrams on your wiki pages and export them into Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape for further modification.
XMind 8 is one of the most popular mind mapping software, featuring a decade-long market presence and millions of users. In the software, you can make your mind maps look more engaging with different themes, fonts, and over 60,000 icons, easily collaborate with others by saving your mind maps to Evernote, and present your mind maps by turning them into slideshows.
One of XMind 8’s main advantages over other mind mapping software is that you can track your project’s progress with its Gannt View, which shows you the start date, end date, and development of each project.
Lucidchart is an intuitive, collaborative, and secure mind mapping software. With drag-and-drop functionality, group chat and comments, and revision history, your team can easily create and edit your mind maps.
If your team plans to map out sensitive ideas that need an extra layer of privacy, Lucidchart also offers more security options than other similar software. They partner with Amazon Web Services and leverage data encryption to protect, backup, and secure your data.
By helping users structure their stories and measure their projects’ cost and progress, MindMup is arguably the best mind mapping software for marketers. In the software, you can create storyboards, post your maps to social media, and calculate the cost of your projects by adding measurements to your map nodes.
MindMup maps are also compatible with Google Drive, so you can conveniently create your maps right in the app and manage them like any other Google Drive file.
Just like other mind mapping software, Cacoo provides a lot of collaboration tools to improve your team’s workflow. But Cacoo offers more robust organization tools, like Folders, which can save and store updates and comments to your team's assets directly in the software.
You can also enhance your productivity with Cacoo by leveraging their integrations with Backlog, Typetalk, Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Confluence.
With over 4,500 templates, 70 different diagrams, and availability in 100 languages, Smartdraw is a mind mapping software catered for a lot of different countries and almost every industry. But even though it's one of the most robust mind mapping software, its automation and user-friendly interface make it intuitive and easy to use.
SmartDraw also integrates with the most popular tools in the workforce, like Microsoft Office, G Suite, Confluence, Jira, and Trello, helping you collaborate with your team across the tools you're already using.
MindMeister is completely web-based, so you can develop your ideas from any computer, share, and collaborate with as many colleagues as you want, all in real time. There’s also an integrated chat tool that lets you vote on ideas and discuss changes within the tool
MindMeister’s most powerful feature is probably its presentation mode, where you can visually communicate your ideas and plans to colleagues or customers by turning mind maps into slideshows, exporting the slides as PNGs, and embeding presentations into your website.
Coggle is a web-based mind mapping software that lets you visually breakdown your ideas with your colleagues. Just like Google Docs, Coggle makes sure you’ll never lose any of your valuable ideas by letting you see all the change made to your mind map, make a copy of any iteration, and revert the diagram to any of its previous versions.