drawing up diagrams Tools and Apps

The Tools

There are various tools for mindmapping out there, both free and paid versions. In this article I will focus solely the free options. The apps are not in any particular order. I will simply mention 15 apps I’ve tried and found interesting, then you can see which one(s) could be most interesting for you.

The ones that require any installation, can be run on all platforms that support Java unless something else is specified. Most of these apps are web applications, making it even easier to use them anywhere from any web browser.

Freemind ?


I found the application quick to install and very easy to understand, – which is probably why it is one of the more popular.

You can download Freemind here.

Xmind ?


Xmind has a more professional business-like look compared to FreeMind. Also available in a “pro” version with several customizable features, like brainstorming mode.

You can download Xmind here.

Bubbl.US ?


Web application. Without an account you begin brainstorming right away and are able to print or save your mind map as a jpeg or png. Sign up (free) to be able to save the mind map for later use.

MindMeister ?


A web application with several options; there’s a free account and several commercial options. Very simple to understand and use, also comes as an iPhone application.

Freeplane ?

This is a fork/redesign of earlier mentioned FreeMind with many extra features.

You can download Freeplane here.

Mind42.com ?

Browser based mindmapping tool. Colorful and intuitive with great possibilities to sharing with others. Requires free registration.

Bookvar ?

This one is Windows only. Easy to use and collaborate, you can insert many different file types to your projects/maps as well.

You can download Bookvar here.

Thinkature ?

Web application with instant messaging/voice chat. Extremely versatile. (unfortunately the Thinkature site seems to be down at the moment)

Map Myself (aka Mapul) ?

Map Myself
This web application creates completely organic looking mind maps. Many ways to customize, including adding images.

Dabbleboard ?

This is an online whiteboard that makes collaborations easy and fun. Great for making easy mind maps, organization charts and other diagrams. Draw freehand, add pictures or let the application recognize shapes you draw.

Wisemapping ?

Powerful yet simple web application with easy sharing and embedding to your own website.

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) ?

Visual Understanding Environment
Flexible and simple. Definitely one of the applications I found the easiest to start creating in.

Download VUE here.

Ekspenso ?

Web based application that can also be used offline via Gears or Adobe Air. Very easy to use without any bells and whistles.

Edraw MindMap / Free Mind Map ?

Edraw MindMap
A windows only vector based favorite with some really good templates and examples to work from.

Edraw can be downloaded here.

ThinkGraph ?

2d drawings specialized for mindmapping and related tasks. Hasn’t been updated for some time but very easy and intuitive to use. (parts of the site are in French)

ThinkGraph can be downloaded here.

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