Article by Linda Gold

Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software is designed to aid in the somewhat complicated process of mindmapping. A mind map is a diagram used to represent ideas, words, tasks, or other items that are linked to and arranged around a central key word, idea or concept. Mind maps are used to structure, classify, visualize and generate ideas, and serve as an aid in problem solving, decision making, organization, study, and writing. As you can imagine, creating such a diagram by hand can be overwhelming to the novice mind mapper.

The cost of high quality mind mapping software starts at about 0, and many mind mapping programs have a free trial option. Two of the most highly rated and popular mind mapping software programs are iMindMap and NovaMind. If you want to get started right away, one of these two will likely meet your needs.

Buzan’s iMindMap is designed by Tony Buzan who many consider the father of mind mapping. An obvious benefit of choosing iMindMap is that you are linked in to Buzan’s techniques and innovations. For those unfamiliar with the process, there is flash movie explaining the concept. There are also a number of flash video tutorials explaining how to use the software. There are three editions of iMindMap: Elements, Professional and Ultimate. The software is compatible with Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.

NovaMind is another excellent example of quality mind mapping software. While you don’t get the Tony Buzan stamp of approval, NovaMind does have some unique features not found in other programs. For instance, NovaMind is one of the only mind mapping software programs with a free layout mode where you can put branches anywhere you like. It also has rainbow coloring, an integrated branch suggestion system, and a special module for screenwriters. NovaMind also comes in three editions: Express, Pro, and Platinum.

The iMindMap and NovaMind mind mapping software both work on the Mac and Windows operating systems. You will find both systems workable and easy to use. The price structure is similar, so your choice will boil down to which features are more important to you as a user.

Before you purchase any mind mapping software, make sure that you first identify your needs. You should also consider your budget, and whether you can upgrade for a discount within the same family of programs. Once you’ve identified your needs you can start comparing the different mind mapping systems. Many programs come with a free trial which will greatly assist you in making an informed decision.

Most people who invest the time necessary to learn the mind mapping process become lifetime converts. Trying to accomplish the process on paper can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. Good mind mapping software pays for itself very quickly in terms of saved time and frustration.

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