# 10 Best Mind Mapping Software Tools for Better Brainstorming

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This post is part of a series called The Ultimate Guide to Better Brainstorming Techniques.
How to Use Reverse Brainstorming to Develop Innovative Ideas

Mind Mapping is a great way to lay out your thoughts and brainstorm new ideas. Rather than just using simple lists, you’re able to link ideas in multiple different ways. You can think creatively rather than just linearly.

Mind mapping starts with a big idea. From there you work your way down into smaller and smaller concepts. The big idea is like the trunk of a tree, each idea a branch, each sub-idea a smaller branch, and so on down until you get to the twigs and leaves. You can always follow any branch back to get to the main idea.

We’ve got a full tutorial on mind mapping, Mind Mapping 101, so if you’re not over familiar with the concept, you should check it out before continuing. In today's article we’re going to look at some of the best mind mapping apps available for both individual users and small teams.

## What Makes a Great Mind Mapping Software Tool

Mind mapping is a pretty free flowing concept, this means that you need an app that can take whatever you throw at it. Your idea of a neat and tidy mind map might be another persons’ idea of messy hell and vice versa.

On the other hand, mind mapping is meant to help you structure chaotic ideas. It can’t be too free flowing, like say MS Paint; it just wouldn’t be of any use.

### Go From Brainstormed Ideas to Visual Order

So for good mind mapping software, we’re looking for something that can take whatever brainstorming ideas you throw at it and turn it into an ordered mind map.

Other features, like collaboration, are nice but optional for some users. If you’re a solo writer you don’t need to be able to work with other people. If you’re part of a small start up, you definitely do. We’ll be covering the most popular mind mapping software that will work for either case.

Finally, like all software decisions, what mind mapping app you use for brainstorming is intensely personal. My perfect app might drive you up the wall. That’s why we’re going to cover a broad selection.

### Test Drive the Best Apps Before Committing

Try a few apps that have the features and feel that might fit your workflow and go with the one that works best. Many of them are free, have free trials, or have a free tier so you can check them out before committing.

## 10 of the Best Mind Mapping (Software) Tools

There are a lot of good mind mapping apps available and since the creative process tends to be quite personal, it’s difficult to draw hard and fast “this is better” comparisons between them. All the mind mapping apps featured below are good; it’s just that some of them will be better for you than others.

### 1. Bubbl.us (Web)

Bubbl.us is a web-based mind mapping software tool. Unlike some of the other solutions which often try to do a lot more, Bubbl.us is focussed on pure mind mapping. It’s one of the simplest cloud brainstorming apps available.

### 5. FreeMind (macOS, Windows, Linux)

FreeMind is a free and open source application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. While it’s a little less user friendly and intuitive than some of the other solutions, it’s pretty powerful and flexible.

FreeMind doesn’t have much in the way of a collaboration features so it’s best for just one user. If you are only making mind maps for yourself and the other free options seem a little basic or limited because of the paid plans, FreeMind might be the solution for you.

### 6. IdeaFlip (Web)

IdeaFlip is a web software designed for group brainstorming, although of course individuals can use it. As a web app, it can be used on any desktop or tablet device.

Individual plans that would work for small teams start from $9 a month. Enterprise solutions start from$145 and come with team management features.

### 7. MindNode (macOS, iOS)

MindNode is a beautiful macOS and iOS mind mapping solution. The Mac app is $29.99 and the iOS app is$9.99. While some mind mapping solutions include everything and the kitchen sink, MindNode is really focussed on brainstorming new ideas and then organising them into coherent mind maps.

MindNode really embraces Apple’s design ideas and includes features like full VoiceOver support, iCloud Syncing, and an Apple Watch app that aren’t available on other platforms. If you’re fully invested in Apple’s ecosystem, it could be the best app for you.

### 8. Scapple (macOS, Windows)

One of the classic examples of a use for a mind map is an author writing a book, and Scapple is designed to do just that. Literature and Latte, the developers of writing app Scrivener, also created Scapple as a tool to help writers outline their projects.

## Wrapping Up

Mind mapping is a powerful tool for fine tuning and creating new ideas. You can do it with a piece of paper and a pen, but any of the apps in this article will help you keep everything safe and secure. A sheet of letter paper is a lot easier to lose than a properly backed up digital file.

This is far from a complete list of mind mapping apps. Almost any app, from Word to Photoshop, can be repurposed to do it. Though you may need a dedicate mind mapping app, especially if you visually brainstorm your ideas out often. If so, try one of these apps out.

Learn more about brainstorming techniques in our ultimate guide, or dive deeper into one of these topics:

Which is your favorite software for mind mapping? Let us know in the comments.