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If you want to enhance your creativity and improve organization, but you're on a tight budget, you're not alone. The demand for free mind mapping software has created a huge market, which can make the search for the best free tools both frustrating and time-consuming.

In this article, I've shortlisted the best free mind mapping tools based on my personal experiences using dozens of different mapping tools with large teams and projects. I've reviewed the market to help you find the perfect fit for your projects, use cases, and desired features.

Why Trust Our Mind Mapping Software Reviews

We’ve been testing and reviewing mind mapping software since 2012. As project managers ourselves, we know how critical and difficult it is to make the right decision when selecting software.

We invest in deep research to help our audience make better software purchasing decisions. We’ve tested more than 2,000 tools for different project management use cases and written over 1,000 comprehensive software reviews. Learn how we stay transparent & our review methodology.

The 10 Best Free Mind Mapping Software Pricing Comparison Chart

Here is a table where you can find all the tools we just covered in the overviews.

Tools Price
Miro From $8/user/month (billed annually)
Canva From $12.99/user/month
Figma From $15/editor/month
FigJam From $5/user/month
Invision Pricing upon request
Mindomo From $6/user/month
Businessmap From $149/user/month (billed annually, min 15 seats)
Gitmind $2.19/Month
Coggle From $5/user/month
MindMup From $2.99/user/month
Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

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How To Choose Free Mind Mapping Software

With so many different free mind mapping software solutions available, it can be challenging to make decisions on what free mind mapping software is going to be the best fit for your needs.

As you're shortlisting, trialing, and selecting free mind mapping software, consider the following:

  • What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the mind mapping feature gap you're trying to fill to clarify the features and functionality the free mind mapping software needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who'll be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. You'll need to evaluate if it'll just be the project management professionals, or the whole organization that will require access. When that's clear, it's worth considering if you're prioritizing ease of use for all, or speed for your free mind mapping software power users.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as accounting, CRM or HR software. You'll need to decide if the tools will need to integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with one consolidated free mind mapping tool.
  • What outcomes are important - Consider the result that the software needs to deliver to be considered a success. Consider what capability you want to gain, or what you want to improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, an outcome could be the ability to get greater visibility into performance. You could compare mind mapping features until you’re blue in the face, but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to drive, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your workflows and delivery methodology. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed. Remember every business is different — don’t assume that because a tool is popular that it'll work in your organization. Additionally, look for software that offers a great feature set in their free version that can scale in functionality as your needs grow.

Best Free Mind Mapping Software Reviews

Read detailed descriptions of each tool, including what makes them great. Feel free to read how I picked the tools on this list at any time.

Best for visual collaboration

  • 30-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $8/user/month (billed annually)
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that stands out as one of the top tools in this space. Its free version is notably user-friendly, equipped with essential collaboration tools and interactive media capabilities suitable for both beginners and experts in mind mapping.

Highlighting a few key features, the infinite canvas offers unlimited space for idea exploration. Miro Assist helps to generate ideas and paths from a mind map prompt, facilitating creative brainstorming. Additionally, integrating project and task management tools like Jira and Asana directly into Miro helps streamline project planning and team coordination.

Overall, these features, combined with Miro's foundational tools for building comprehensive mind maps, can help simplify the process of bringing diverse ideas together in a visually organized manner.

Expert tip: In the left navigation pane, enable quick access to mind maps by clicking on the “more tools” button at the bottom and dragging the “mind map” option to the main toolbar.

Features & Integrations

Features for this free version include bringing all collaborators to your position on the whiteboard with one click and a built-in chat and comment-based convo section so you can easily collaborate with your project team. Then, it has multimedia file attachments and icons so your map gets even more visually attractive. Miro then lets you add notes to your mind map, so everyone can read the ground rules, agenda, to-do lists or whatever you wish to communicate. Moreover, Miro's stickies capture feature allows users to convert physical sticky notes to visual whiteboard notes using the tool's mobile app.

Integrations are limited to the core ones. These include Slack, Zoom, Trello, Sketch, Google Drive, and a connector with Zapier so you can access thousands of other apps (you have to pay, though).

What's free: free plan available for a single workspace with 3 editable boards

Best for non-designers

  • Free plan available
  • From $12.99/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

Canva is a design tool that has become one of the mainstream platforms for building marketing collateral. Despite this, not many people know it can be used to build great mind maps in a collaborative way.

One of the reasons Canva is so popular is because of the vast amount of templates and stock images it offers. The free version of this software is not the exception. Just to give you an idea, I got 292 template options for the keywords “mind map”, which is how I found the one you see in the image above. Other templates require you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Regarding security, Canva offers single sign-on and ISO 27001 compliance and certification as part of their security package. This, unfortunately is included in the Teams plan.

Features & Integrations

Features include a drag-and-drop editor, over 250K free templates, and collaboration through invites to design. The tool offers over a million stock photos and other services, like printing.

Integrations are available as a way to amplify the platform. Therefore, you will find common productivity apps like Slack, Mailchimp, Tumblr, Pardot, Gain, Hubspot, and many others.

What's Free: Free plan available with over 250,000 templates, 5g storage, and 1 million photos and graphics.

Best for mobile collaboration

  • Free plan available
  • From $15/editor/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

Figma is a design-centered diagramming tool that can help you create attractive mind maps, application mockups, design kits, wireframes, and much more. Their whiteboard feature, called FigJam, will be your go-to for mind mapping.

My first impression of this tool is that it is robust. From the loads of templates that they gave me as an option to start a FigJam board to the in-app collaboration features, Figma is a top tool even in their free version. The only limitation really is the number of files you can create, as it has a limit of 3 Figma + 3 FigJam files.

Expert tip: For quick collaboration, type “/” and watch a text box appear next to your cursor. Everyone on the board will see what you write in real time! Use it for quick communication.

Features & Integrations

Features for the free version include unlimited collaborators, personal files, and mobile app access. Also, it offers fun and interactive elements like a timer to keep everyone on track, stamps for reacting, quick vote and live poll widgets, and multimedia file attachments.

Integrations include multimedia platforms like Vimeo, Youtube, Spotify and Loom.

What's free: Free forever plan with mobile app functionality.

Best for real-time co-designing

  • Free plan available
  • From $5/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

FigJam is a digital whiteboard and mind-mapping tool designed to foster collaboration and creativity among teams. It makes it easy to host a brainstorming session online for your team, no matter where they're logging in from. You can use it during your project meetings or weekly standup sessions. Just invite your team members to join your board, then watch as their cursors start to move around in real-time.

Expert tip: For quick collaboration, type “/” and watch a text box appear next to your cursor. Everyone on the board will see what you write in real time! Use it for quick communication.

Features & Integrations

Features worth mentioning include their sticky notes - a personal favorite - which are perfect for jotting down ideas quickly during a brainstorming session. The drawing tool is also pretty neat, allowing you to sketch out ideas or diagrams directly onto the canvas. And the voting feature is a great way to get quick feedback on ideas.

Integrations are available with Asana, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Notion, Slack, Trello, and numerous tools for prototyping, user testing, and developer handoff. Plus, FigJam is fully integrated with it's parent product, Figma. If you're already using Figma for design work, you can easily pull your designs into FigJam for brainstorming or feedback sessions.

What's free: FigJam offers a free forever plan for up to 3 Figma + 3FigJam files, including mobile app functionality, unlimited personal files, and unlimited collaborators.

Best for remote team collaboration

  • Free plan available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Freehand is a collaboration app by Invision that has a free version perfect for creating mind maps and collaborating with up to 30 active users.

The interface is simple, with a bottom navigation bar that has all the options you need to build your first mind map. The free-hand tool will let you create your own visual elements, the chat bubble will give you a view of all comments on the project, and the 3 dots display all other integrations and fun widgets you can add to your boards.

The thing I liked the most about this free version is that the only obvious difference compared to the paid plans is the security features available. Everything else is there. Great experience!

Features & Integrations

Features include custom templates, polling, exporting work as a .png file, version history, and guest permissions. Also, you can post reactions with emojis on any place in the canvas and insert gifs to make your maps more entertaining.

Integrations include Vimeo, Trello, Microsoft 365, Loom, Jira, Asana, Adobe XD, and more.

What's free: Free forever plan with voting features and guest permissions.

Best for multiple diagram options

  • Free version available
  • From $6/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

Mindomo is a mind mapping software with a free version that will let you work on your project planning in a fun way. Its interface is colorful & minimalistic, leaving most of the functionality hidden in keyboard shortcuts or right-click menus.

The free plan allows you to build a mind map, concept map, organigram, tree organigram, timeline, or Gantt chart with a limit of 3. However, this free version is very limited as uploading multimedia, exporting as a PDF, and collaborating with other people are limited to the paid plans. Therefore, with this software, you will have to go at it solo.

Features & Integrations

Features this free version offers are a playback diagram history that will show a video of all changes the diagram has gone through, a full-screen view if you want to present your map, keyboard shortcuts for anything you can think of (available in the top left menu), and a search feature where you can look for any word in your diagram, and it will be spotlighted.

Integrations mostly focus on your file uploads, so if you get a paid plan, you will be able to upload multimedia files from Dropbox, G Drive, and OneDrive.

What's Free: the free plan is available with 3 diagrams.

Best for enterprise agile management

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $149/user/month (billed annually, min 15 seats)
Visit Website
Rating: 3.9/5

Businessmap is a digital platform that provides organizations with tools and services to support enterprise agility. It offers a system for assessing management practices, setting and tracking Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and visualizing strategic initiatives to ensure alignment across teams using agile methodologies. While Businessmap does not offer a free plan, it does include a 14-day free trial to help you determine if it is the right tool for you.

In my experience with Businessmap's free trial, I would classify the tool as similar to a mind map, but with slightly different goals. While Businessmap does provide visualization tools that are conceptually similar to mind mapping in terms of organizing and displaying information, its primary focus is on aligning company goals with team execution through the use of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Kanban boards, and workflow analysis. 

Features & Integrations

Features that stood out to me include customizable management dashboards that can be used to monitor and manage specific business rules within projects, workspace management features, including the ability to display critical business metrics and gather reports in one place, and workflow management tools and Kanban boards that can be used to track tasks and projects.

Integrations include Power BI, Tableau, Trello, One Login, Azure, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, and Okta.

What's Free: A 14-day free trial with full access to major features, including workflow analytics, charts, and tools.

Best for online brainstorming

  • Free plan available
  • $2.19/Month

Gitmind is a mind mapping and brainstorming tool for PC and mobile devices that helps capture ideas in a single place. Their free software has 2 great things: one, it has all the features available and two, it has support for all platforms.

Using the tool was a unique experience because it looks like it’s an unrestricted tool when in reality, it’s a bit of the opposite. The interface is based on objects that serve as containers. Therefore, any element you want to add to the canvas has to be associated with a container. For example, an image or icon cannot be placed in an empty space, it has to be placed within a text box.

Features & Integrations

Features that I noticed are available include image uploads, a focus mode that hides all toolbars and leaves you to create everything with left and right clicks, an option to reverse the mouse click behavior for left-handed people, and a version history log.

Integrations have not been developed at this moment.

What's Free: a free plan with 10 mind maps.

Mind mapping with full change history details in their free plan.

  • Free plan available
  • From $5/user/month

Coggle is an online software for creating and sharing mindmaps and flowcharts. As an online tool, they focus on ways to improve collaboration across teams, whether it’s in the same or different time zones.

The free plan gives you up to 3 private diagrams so you can safely test the tool. Honestly, this version is very limited and not as friendly as you would expect. Adding images or changing to bolded text will make the app display code that will turn into the real thing once you click outside of the element you’re editing.

The one thing I will say I enjoyed is the search feature on the chat window. It becomes very useful to find parts of your conversation as the interactions between your team increase.

Features & Integrations

Features included are an unlimited number of multimedia uploads, auto-arranged branches, a full change history log, and exports to PDF and image files.

Integrations have not been developed for this tool so far.

What's Free: a free plan with 3 private diagrams.

Best for simple mind maps

  • Free plan available
  • From $2.99/user/month

Mindmup is a free mind mapping tool where you can create your diagrams in a public environment without the need for an account. The software has a paid version that is account based and makes it possible to create private maps.

This is an odd one, I must say. The fact that I didn’t need to sign up to create my project felt strange. Throughout the entire project, I felt like I was doing something wrong. Anyway, the tool is great! Although maybe it's because it presents itself so badly both on the security and UI front.

However, when it's time to download your map, they explicitly mention that the file is sent to their servers and secured using Amazon standard S3 security mechanisms, so your information is transferred safely to a server for conversion and download. That file then lives on the server for the next 24hrs before being deleted.

Features & Integrations

Features included in this tool are multimedia embedding within any node, placing multimedia as child nodes, reactions to nodes using emojis, and exporting to popular file types such as PDF and JPG.

Integrations include the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Dropbox, Zapier, LUMA Workplace, Slack, Google Calendar, Webex, Jira Cloud and more.

What's Free: a free plan with unlimited mind maps + Google Drive storage for your files.

Other Free Mind Mapping Software

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list but are worth your consideration.

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these other related tools that we've tested and evaluated: 

Selection Criteria For Free Mind Mapping Software

Selecting the right free mind mapping software hinges on identifying the features that align closely with the specific needs of users aiming to facilitate visual organization and brainstorming. In my approach to evaluating and recommending such tools, I prioritize a blend of core functionalities, unique features, usability, and overall value. This evaluation is grounded in my personal experience and research into these tools, ensuring that my recommendations are both informed and practical. Additionally, each criterion is weighted to reflect its importance to my overall assessment.

Core Mind Mapping Software Functionality (25% of total weighting score): To be considered for inclusion on my list of the best free mind mapping software, the solution had to support the ability to fulfill common use cases:

  • Visualizing complex ideas and information
  • Planning projects and outlining tasks
  • Brainstorming sessions with teams
  • Organizing research and study notes
  • Creating presentations and reports

Additional Standout Features (25% of total weighting score): Standout features set a tool apart from its competitors by offering advanced or unique functionalities that enhance the mind mapping process. This criterion evaluates how well a tool integrates innovative features to support more complex use cases and improve user experience. These can include:

  • Unique visualization options that go beyond basic mind maps, such as flowcharts or concept maps, providing versatility in how information is structured and presented.
  • Advanced collaboration features enabling real-time editing, commenting, and sharing, which are crucial for team-based projects and remote work environments.
  • Integration capabilities with other productivity tools, enhancing the workflow by allowing users to connect their mind maps with task management, document storage, and communication platforms.
  • Customizable templates and themes that cater to specific industries or project types, offering a starting point that can be tailored to the user’s needs.
  • Scalability, ensuring that as a user's or team's needs grow, the software can accommodate more complex projects or a larger number of collaborators without necessitating a switch to a different tool.

Usability (10% of total weighting score): Usability is key in ensuring that users can efficiently and comfortably use the software to its full potential, without unnecessary complexity or confusion. This evaluation looks at the software’s design and user interface to ensure it facilitates a seamless mind mapping experience. Overall, I look for:

  • A clean and intuitive interface that minimizes distractions and allows users to focus on capturing and organizing their ideas.
  • Accessibility across devices and platforms, ensuring users can work on their mind maps whether they are on a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  • The balance between offering powerful features while maintaining ease of use to ensure that both novice and experienced users can effectively utilize the tool.

Onboarding (10% of total weighting score): Effective onboarding is essential for helping new users quickly become proficient with the software. This criterion assesses the availability and quality of educational resources and support mechanisms that guide users through the tool’s features and functionalities. This involves:

  • The availability of comprehensive guides, tutorials, and templates that help new users quickly grasp the tool’s functionalities.
  • Interactive product tours or walkthroughs that provide a hands-on introduction to the software’s key features right from the start.
  • Support resources such as FAQs, forums, or chatbots that can assist users with common questions or issues as they familiarize themselves with the tool.

Customer Support (10% of total weighting score): Strong customer support is vital for addressing users’ questions and issues, ensuring they can make the most of the software. This criterion evaluates the responsiveness, availability, and effectiveness of the support offered by the tool, focusing on:

  • Responsive support teams that can be reached through multiple channels, such as email, live chat, or social media.
  • A community of users or a knowledge base that offers insights, tips, and solutions to common challenges encountered by others.

Value For Money (10% of total weighting score): While evaluating free mind mapping software, this criterion considers the extent to which the tool offers a robust set of features without cost, comparing it to the value provided by paid options. It assesses whether the free version meets users' needs or if paid upgrades are justified by significant enhancements. This involves:

  • Considering that the software is free, evaluating how the offered features compare to paid alternatives and whether the free version strikes a good balance between functionality and cost.
  • Assessing the presence of optional paid upgrades and whether they provide a clear, valuable enhancement to the free version’s capabilities.

Customer Reviews (10% of total weighting score): Customer reviews provide insight into the software’s real-world performance and user satisfaction. This criterion looks for consistent themes in user feedback that indicate the tool’s reliability, ease of use, and effectiveness in facilitating mind mapping and brainstorming. This section of the evaluation entails:

  • Gathering feedback from a broad user base to understand the strengths and weaknesses as reported by those who use the tool regularly.
  • Looking for patterns in feedback that indicate reliability, user satisfaction, and the effectiveness of the software in facilitating mind mapping and brainstorming.

Through this comprehensive set of criteria, I aim to guide potential users toward free mind mapping tools that not only meet their immediate needs, but also offer the potential for growth and adaptation as their projects and skills evolve.

As project management professionals in 2024 strive to find the most effective methods for organizing their thoughts and projects, several new trends have emerged to facilitate visual organization and brainstorming. These trends not only demonstrate technological advancements in the field but also underscore the evolving priorities and needs of users. Here, I have identified five key trends that I believe will continue to shape mind mapping software and the field of project management as a whole.

Integration and Collaboration

  • Enhanced Real-time Collaboration: The most rapidly evolving feature in mind mapping software is real-time collaboration. Tools are now offering more seamless, synchronous editing capabilities, allowing team members to work together on mind maps from different locations. This reflects the growing need for remote teams to brainstorm and plan projects efficiently.
  • Deeper Integration with Productivity Tools: There's a noticeable trend towards deeper integration with other productivity tools, such as project management software, cloud storage, and communication platforms. This functionality facilitates a smoother workflow, allowing users to connect their visual maps directly with their projects and tasks.

Innovation and Novel Features

  • AI-driven Mind Mapping: A novel and unusual functionality emerging is the use of AI to automate and enhance the mind mapping process. AI can suggest connections between ideas, auto-generate summaries of brainstorming sessions, and even propose new concepts based on the context of the map. This innovation is poised to revolutionize how ideas are generated and organized.
  • Advanced Visualization Techniques: There's a trend towards incorporating advanced visualization techniques, such as dynamic charts and graphs, into mind maps. This feature supports more complex data representation and analysis, catering to the needs of users dealing with intricate projects and datasets.

Evolving Demand

  • Interactive Presentations: The ability to convert mind maps into interactive presentations directly within the software is becoming increasingly popular. This functionality responds to the need for presenting ideas and project plans in a more engaging and accessible manner.

The evolution of free mind mapping software in 2024 is characterized by a focus on enhancing collaboration, integration, and user experience, while also introducing innovative features like AI-driven mapping. As such, project managers are becoming increasingly equipped with tools that are more adaptable, efficient, and capable of meeting the complex demands of today's projects.

What Is Free Mind Mapping Software?

Free mind mapping software is a tool that helps visually organize and structure ideas, thoughts, and information. It allows users to create mind maps, which are diagrammatic representations of ideas, centered around a central concept or theme.

Mind mapping tools often include various features such as creating branches for subtopics; adding text, images, and links; and collaboration capabilities for team brainstorming sessions. These tools facilitate a clearer understanding of complex subjects, promote creative problem-solving, and aid in effective project planning and organization. Free versions of mind mapping software are particularly useful for students, freelancers, and small businesses looking to enhance their brainstorming and planning processes without the financial investment required for premium tools but may have a limit on the number of users or boards available.

Features of Free Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software serves as an invaluable tool for visually organizing and brainstorming ideas, allowing individuals and teams to capture and connect thoughts in a dynamic and intuitive format. When selecting free mind mapping software, it is important to understand which features are essential to enhancing creativity, productivity, and collaboration. Here are the key features to look for:

1. Ease of Use: A user-friendly interface allows for quick learning and immediate application. This simplicity ensures that more time can be spent on generating and organizing ideas rather than navigating complex software functionalities.

2. Flexible Mind Map Structures: The ability to create various structures such as trees, flows, and networks enables users to tailor the visualization to the specific needs of their project or thought process.

3. Collaboration Tools: Real-time collaboration features enable teams to work together synchronously, sharing ideas and feedback instantly, which is crucial for dynamic brainstorming sessions and collective idea development.

4. Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with other tools and platforms ensures that mind maps can be easily incorporated into existing workflows, enhancing productivity and facilitating the exchange of information.

5. Customization Options: Customization of colors, fonts, and images allows for the creation of visually distinct mind maps, making it easier to differentiate and memorize concepts.

6. Drag-and-Drop Interface: This feature simplifies the process of adding, removing, and rearranging ideas, making the brainstorming process more fluid and less time-consuming.

7. Export and Sharing Options: Being able to export mind maps in various formats and share them through different channels is essential for presenting ideas and collaborating with others who may not have the same software.

8. Auto-Save and Cloud Storage: Automatic saving and cloud-based storage ensure that work is not lost and can be accessed from anywhere, which is critical for continuous workflow and collaboration across different locations.

9. Keyboard Shortcuts: Shortcuts enable quicker navigation and manipulation of the mind map, significantly speeding up the brainstorming and organization process.

10. Scalability: The software should be capable of handling both small and large mind maps efficiently, allowing for the development of ideas from simple concepts to complex systems without performance issues.

While free versions of mind mapping software offer a robust foundation for visual organization and brainstorming, paid versions often introduce a suite of advanced features that cater to more demanding or specialized needs, such as enhanced collaboration features, advanced integration capabilities, increased storage space, higher security measures, professional customization options, and priority support and training resources. These premium features not only extend the software’s functionality, but also align it more closely with professional and organizational requirements, offering a significant upgrade over the free versions for users with advanced needs.

Choosing the right free mind mapping software with these features can dramatically enhance the way individuals and teams generate, organize, and share ideas. Not only does it facilitate a more organized and efficient approach to brainstorming, but it also encourages a creative exploration of thoughts in a visually engaging manner. As such, it pays to select a tool that aligns with these capabilities to maximize the potential of visual organization and idea development.

Benefits of Free Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing productivity, creativity, and collaboration in both personal and professional settings. Free mind mapping software offers a cost-effective way for users and organizations to visualize ideas, plan projects, and streamline information management. Here are five primary benefits of free mind mapping software:

1. Enhanced Creativity and Idea Generation: Free mind mapping software facilitates a visual brainstorming process, making it easier to generate new ideas and connections. By visually organizing thoughts, users can uncover creative solutions to problems more efficiently.

2. Improved Organization and Clarity: These tools help in organizing complex information in an easy-to-understand visual format. Users can break down large projects into manageable components, making it simpler to see the big picture and focus on details when necessary.

3. Increased Productivity: By providing a clear structure for ideas and tasks, free mind mapping software can help users and teams save time on planning and decision-making. This leads to faster project completion and more efficient use of resources.

4. Enhanced Collaboration: Many free mind mapping tools offer collaborative features that allow team members to contribute to maps in real-time. This enhances teamwork by ensuring all members have access to the latest updates and can contribute their ideas from anywhere.

5. Cost Efficiency: The most obvious benefit is the cost savings. Free mind mapping software allows individuals and organizations to enjoy the benefits of mind mapping without the financial investment, making it accessible to startups, students, and non-profits with limited budgets.

While free versions of mind mapping software offer numerous benefits, upgrading to paid versions can unlock additional features that further enhance productivity and collaboration. Paid versions typically offer more advanced collaboration tools, larger storage capacities, more sophisticated customization options, and higher levels of support and security. These premium features are designed to meet the needs of larger teams and more complex projects, providing a scalable solution that grows with your business or project needs.

Choosing the right mind mapping software, whether free or paid, depends on your specific needs, the size of your team, and the complexity of your projects. By leveraging the right tools, individuals and organizations can significantly improve their ability to visualize ideas, manage information, and collaborate effectively.

Costs & Pricing for Mind Mapping Software

If you're looking for free software, you clearly understand how important pricing is to the selection process. Overall, mind mapping tools can vary widely in terms of features, scalability, and cost, catering to individuals, small teams, and large organizations alike. However, mind mapping software typically falls into general categories, including free plans.

Free plans are a great starting point. However, it's still important to understand the range of plan options and pricing available to fit different needs and budgets. After all, you might find that a paid plan actually provides more of the features you need at a cost you can afford.

Below is a summary of the typical plan options, including a free version, with their average prices and common features to help you make an informed decision:

Plan Comparison Table for Mind Mapping Software

Plan TypeAverage PriceCommon Features
Free$0Basic mind mapping capabilities, limited templates, cloud storage, collaboration
Individual$5 - $10/monthAdvanced mapping features, unlimited templates, more storage, priority support
Professional$10 - $20/monthAll Individual features plus collaboration tools, integration options, analytics
Team$20 - $30/user/monthAll Professional features plus team management, advanced security, custom branding
EnterpriseCustom PricingAll Team features plus dedicated support, training sessions, SSO, enterprise-grade security
A breakdown of plan types, costs, and features for mind mapping software.

When selecting a mind mapping software plan, it is important to consider both the features that meet your current needs and each tool's level of flexibility and ability to scale with you as your projects or organization grows. You may be looking for a free plan now, but it's a good idea to make sure you like the paid plans as well so you don't have to switch tools when you need to upgrade for more advanced features.

Common stages where your company may want to upgrade their pricing plan include:

  1. Complex Project Management: When projects become more complex and require advanced features such as task assignments, deadlines, and project tracking, which are usually available in paid plans.
  2. Collaboration Needs: As the need for real-time collaboration with a larger team increases, the limitations of the free version in terms of the number of users and collaboration tools may necessitate an upgrade.
  3. Storage Limitations: When the volume of mind maps and attached files surpasses the storage capacity offered by the free tier, prompting a need for additional storage space provided in paid versions.
  4. Integration Requirements: When there is a need to integrate mind mapping software with other tools and applications used within the company, such as project management, CRM, or productivity software, which often requires a higher-tier subscription.
  5. Enhanced Security and Compliance: As the company grows, ensuring data security and compliance with industry regulations becomes more critical, often necessitating a paid plan that offers enhanced security features and compliance support.

Remember, the best choice should balance functionality, ease of use, and cost to ensure that you get the most value from your investment. It's a delicate balance, but, with careful research and consideration, it can be achieved.

Free Mind Mapping Software Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve answered some common questions about mind mapping and the online tools that you can use for it.

What is mind mapping?

Mind mapping is a way to visually represent concepts. It’s a tool that you can use for project planning, brainstorming ideas, or taking a central idea and expanding on it. It’s a practice that started in the time of Aristotle, but was popularized by Tony Buzan in the 70s as a brainstorming tool.

Learn more about what is mind mapping and how to get started to help you improve your planning.

What are the benefits of mind mapping?

There are many benefits to mind mapping, especially for project managers. Among these are:

  • Effective problem solving: It promotes a holistic view of the problem, helping teams to brainstorm and analyze various aspects simultaneously.
  • Increased productivity: By providing a clear overview of project goals and tasks, teams can stay focused and prioritize effectively.
  • Improved communication: It enhances communication within the team and with stakeholders, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding project objectives and progress.
  • Greater information recall: The use of colors, images, and keywords helps in associating information with visual cues, making it easier for team members to remember key details and concepts.
  • Enhanced learning and creativity: The visual format stimulates creative thinking, leading to innovative solutions and approaches.
  • Improved presentations: The visual appeal of mind maps can engage the audience, and the hierarchical structure helps present information in a logical sequence.
  • Improved critical thinking: It encourages individuals to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information.

Does Microsoft have a mind mapping tool?

Yes! Microsoft has software that, just like Microsoft Project, is a classic and known by most project managers. This software is called Microsoft Visio and can be purchased as an online solution based on a monthly subscription or a perpetual license.

Visio has an impressive library of elements you can use to build your mind maps and can aid you at any time, regardless of the mind mapping technique you use.

How can I make a mind map for free?

You can grab sticky notes, markers and a whiteboard! At least that’s how this all started. However, if you want to use software for it, you can try any of the tools on this list. Whether it’s a free version or a free trial, they will allow you to build mind maps for free.

However, if you do not want to download software or register for a free trial, you can try using the diagramming tools on Google Slides, Powerpoint, and Keynote.

If you want to learn how to lead a collaboration session using Miro, you can’t miss our sweet potato mashup with Annie MacLeod. It will give you a good idea of what you can accomplish with this mind mapping software.

What other visualization tools can I use?

If free mind mapping software isn’t the right fit for your needs, there are plenty of other visualization tools out there that might suit you better. Check out some of our other visualization software reviews:

Can these free tools be used for educational purposes effectively?

Absolutely! Many of these free mind mapping tools are quite effective for educational purposes. They offer a visual way to organize thoughts, make connections, and brainstorm ideas, which is handy for both teaching and learning.

Whether it’s for planning lessons, organizing research, or helping students understand complex topics, these tools can definitely enhance the educational experience. The key is to choose one that’s user-friendly and meets your specific needs—some might offer more collaborative features or better integration with other educational tools, making them more suitable for classroom use.

Is customer support available for free mind mapping software?

In general, customer support for free mind mapping software varies by provider. Some offer basic support through FAQs, forums, or email, especially for more common issues. However, the level and immediacy of support might not match that of paid versions, where dedicated, timely assistance is more of a guarantee.

As a project manager, you will likely find that you can resolve some issues through community support or available resources. However, for more complex or urgent needs, the support might be limited. It’s always wise to review the support options before heavily integrating a tool into your workflow.

How secure is data in free mind mapping tools?

The security of data in free mind mapping tools can vary significantly. As a project manager, you should know that while many providers prioritize user data security and privacy, the level of security measures may not be as robust as those found in paid versions. It’s crucial to check each tool’s privacy policy and security features, such as data encryption and GDPR compliance, to ensure your and your team’s ideas remain confidential. Always exercise caution with sensitive information, especially when using free tools.

What's Next?

If you have never engaged in mind mapping before, learn the purpose of mind mapping. You can also read how mind mapping supercharges project management. Finally, if you are a member of our community, you can download this template!

Speaking of project management… if you want to stay updated with the latest and greatest content, workshops, and PM reflections, subscribe to the Insider Membership Newsletter. New content in your inbox every week!

Galen Low
By Galen Low

Galen is a digital project manager with over 10 years of experience shaping and delivering human-centered digital transformation initiatives in government, healthcare, transit, and retail. He is a digital project management nerd, a cultivator of highly collaborative teams, and an impulsive sharer of knowledge. He's also the co-founder of The Digital Project Manager and host of The DPM Podcast.