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Free mind mapping (and related types) software


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There are regular inquiries on Twitter and in forums about free mind mapping software, so to provide answers, InformationTamers have put together this list. We built this article, with permission, using the most complete source for details of information mapping software on the Web: Mind-mapping.org. Hat tip to Vic Gee who put Mind-mapping.org together and kept it up to date for years. [Update: I took over that site in August 2013.]

Mind-mapping.org has a good capability for selecting software by map type and operating system (click on the 'Refine software list' tab at the top right of its web page), and shows the price. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to filter on price or choose to see only the free ones. This article is therefore a quick list to current software that is free or has a free option. It excludes applications that have a time limit on their operation, for example, free trial software or web applications.

"Free" here is as in beer, not in freedom, though some of the software listed is open source, so is free in both senses.

Of course a pencil and paper is always free - or almost.

3D concept and mind maps

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
3D Topicscape Student Edition Free Windows
Topicscape SE screenshot
Conspicio Mindmapper Free Windows
Conspicio screenshot
Morcego 3D Network Browser Free                                                                       Windows, Mac, Linux
Morcego screenshot

Concept maps

The term 'Concept maps' is used rather loosely in this list to mean 'anything can connect to anything' in contrast with mind maps where there is a strong hierarchy and central topic. For a proper definition please refer to the WikIT article on Concept maps, How to make a concept map and Concept maps or mind maps? the choice.

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
3D Topicscape Student Edition Free Windows
Topicscape SE screenshot
Bubbl.us Free option with limitations Web based
Bubbl.us screenshot
Cayra Free (Defunct but still available
from the link on the left)
Windows
Cayra screenshot
CmapTools Free to personal, education and
government users*
Windows, Mac, Linux
CmapTools screenshot
CoFFEE Free Windows, Mac, Linux
CoFFEE screenshot
Compendium Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Compendium screenshot
Conzilla Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Conzilla screenshot
Glinkr Free Web based
Glinkr screenshot
Hypergraph Free Web based
Hypergraph screenshot
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase BuilderSee Review Free (for non-commercial use) Windows
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase Builder screenshot
Labyrinth Free Linux
Labyrinth screenshot
LifeMap Free Mac (not known if this runs on OSX)
LifeMap screenshot
VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) Free Windows, Mac, Linux
VUE screenshot

*Some people find navigating the Cmap site idiosycratic -- the interface is a little unusual -- so here's the skinny:

  • Under most of the concept boxes there's a small icon
  • hover over that and you will see a text link just below
  • click on it.
  • Some links are to other very similar looking Cmaps, so you may think that it's linked back to the same page. It hasn't.
  • Still lost? Here to speed you on your way is the download link for Cmap.

Development platforms for map forms

These are programs that allow you to build programs that make information maps. One stage removed from the end-user software that most visual thinkers use. Because they are flexible, picking one representative screenshot is impossible. It is best to visit the sites to see the full scope of some of these, which can make an amazing range of map types.

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
JGraph Free option Windows, Mac, Linux
JGraph screenshot
JSViz Free Web based
JSViz screenshot
Prefuse Free (please visit the gallery! One thumbnail most inadequate) Windows, Mac, Linux
Prefuse screenshot
GeNIe & SMILE Free Windows, Mac, Linux
SMILE screenshot
transLucid Free Web based
transLucid screenshot
yEd Free Windows, Mac, Linux
yEd screenshot

Diagrams, Flowcharts

These applications can be used to make mind maps and concept maps, but they are mostly equipped to make more general diagrams and do not have features that support mind or concept maps specifically.

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
Creately Free Web based
Creately screenshot
Dia Free Windows, Linux, Unix
Dia screenshot
DrawAnywhere Free Web based
DrawAnywhere screenshot
Gliffy Free Web based
Gliffy screenshot
GraphViz Free Mac, Linux
GraphViz screenshot
My.Origramy Free Web based
My.Origramy screenshot
yEd Free                                                                                 Windows, Mac, Linux
yEd screenshot

Hyperbolic trees

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
GraphViz Free                                                                                 Mac, Linux
GraphViz screenshot
Hypergraph Free Web based
Hypergraph screenshot
Treeviz Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Treeviz screenshot
yEd Free Windows, Mac, Linux
yEd screenshot

Information & knowledge management

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
3D Topicscape Student Edition Free                                                                                 Windows
Topicscape SE screenshot
eyePlorer Free Web based
eyePlorer screenshot
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase BuilderSee Review Free (for non-commercial use) Windows
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase Builder screenshot
JSViz Free Web based
JSViz screenshot
MohioMap Free Web based
MohioMap screenshot
Protégé-Frames (protege) Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Protégé-Frames screenshot
Protégé-OWL (protege) Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Protégé-OWL screenshot
Xebece + Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Xebece screenshot

+Xebece was previously known as Calientra or Ontographics

Maps of Arguments, Belief, Idea support, Debates, Decisions and Influence

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
Argunet Free                                                                                 Web based or desktop
Argunet screenshot
Cohere Free Web based
Cohere screenshot
Debategraph Free Web based
Debategraph screenshot
Prefuse Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Prefuse screenshot

Mind maps

The term 'Mind maps' is used rather loosely in this list to mean supporting a central topic form with a hierarchy around it. For better definitions, and explanations of a term that is used in widely different ways, see other articles here, such as What is a mind map?, How to make a mind map, Buzan's mind map guidelines in practical use, and Concept maps or mind maps? the choice.

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
3D Topicscape Student Edition Free Windows
Topicscape SE screenshot
Bookvar Free (no longer developing, but
installer still available)
Windows
Bookvar screenshot
Cayra Free (Defunct but still available
from the link on the left)
Windows
Cayra screenshot
CharTr Free Linux
CharTr screenshot
CoggleSee Review Free Web-based
Coggle Mindmap screenshot
Connected MindSee Review Free Web based, Android & iOS app
Connected Mind screenshot
Creately Free Web-based
Creately Mindmap screenshot
FreeMind Free Windows, Mac, Linux
FreeMind screenshot
Freeplane Free. And for now, files are
compatible with FreeMind.
Windows, Mac, Linux
Freeplane screenshot
Gliffy Free Web based
Gliffy screenshot
Hypergraph Free Web based
Hypergraph screenshot
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase BuilderSee Review Free (for non-commercial use) Windows
InfoRapid KnowledgeBase Builder screenshot
Mind42 Free Web based
Mind42 screenshot
MindApp Free for non-commercial use Windows
MindApp screenshot
Mind Map Viewer (Eric Blue) Free Web based, for MindManager files
Mind Map Viewer screenshot
MindMapleSee Review Free Web-based
MindMaple screenshot
MindMupSee Review Free Web-based
MindMup screenshot
MindNode Free Mac
MindNode screenshot
MindRaider Free Windows, Linux
MindRaider screenshot
Semantik Free Linux
Semantik screenshot
Text2Mindmap Free Web based
Text2Mindmap screenshot
Tomboy mindmap Free Linux
Tomboy screenshot
VYM (View Your Mind) Free Windows, Mac, Linux
VYM screenshot
Xebece + Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Xebece screenshot
Xmind Free option Windows, Mac, Linux
XMind screenshot
XWiki Free Windows, Mac, Linux
XWiki screenshot

+Xebece was formerly known as Calientra or Ontographics

Have you seen Which is the best mindmapping software? yet?

Ontologies and Taxonomies

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
Jambalaya Free                                                                                 Windows, Mac, Linux
Jambalaya screenshot
Protégé-OWL (protege) Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Protégé-OWL screenshot
Dendroscope Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Dendroscope screenshot

Presentations

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
VUE (Visual Understanding
Environment)
Free                                                                                 Windows, Mac, Linux
VUE screenshot


Read-only content maps

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
Graph WordsSee Review Free Web based tool to show
word connections
Graph Words screenshot
InfoRapid Knowledge PortalSee Review Free Web based
InfoRapid Knowledge Portal screenshot
InstaGrokSee Review Free Web based tool to map
topics
InstaGrok screenshot
MohioMapSee Review Free Web based tool to map
EverNote topics
MohioMap screenshot
VisuwordsSee Review Free                                                                   &nbsp Web based tool to show
word connections
Visuwords screenshot
WikiMindMap Free Web based tool to map
Wikipedia topics
WikiMindMap screenshot

Treemaps

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
TreeSheets Free                                                                              Windows, Mac, Linux
TreeSheets screenshot
Treeviz Free Windows, Mac, Linux
Treeviz screenshot

Wiki-related

Visual tools specifically designed for use with wikis.

Software Licence Platform Screenshot
MindRaider Free                                                                                 Linux, Windows
MindRaider screenshot
QwikiWiki Free Any supporting Python No screenshot found.
Uses FreeMind to create mind
maps, so see FreeMind.
XWiki MindMap Free Web based
XWiki screenshot

With significant limitations in Free version

This is software for which a free version is available but with significant limitations when compared to the full version:

Software Type Licence Platform Screenshot
InfoRapid KnowledgeMap mind maps Free with nag (private use) Windows
InfoRapid KnowledgeMap screenshot
Lovely Charts diagrams Free limited option Web based
Lovely Charts screenshot
MindMeister mind maps Free option with limitations Web based
MindMeister screenshot
Mindomo mind maps Free with ads: up to 7 maps Web based
Mindomo screenshot
Prezi presentations With the free option, all your content is public Web based
Prezi screenshot
Wisdomap mind maps Free for up to 3 maps Web based
Wisdomap screenshot


If you're on this page, this will interest you: Which is the best mindmapping software?

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