Mind mapping is a method of organizing your thoughts and ideas in a visual chart. Since mind mapping simultaneously stimulates visual and analytical parts of the brain, it is recognized as an excellent tool for both creativity and organization.
Most mind maps are structured in a similar way. The user begins by creating a central topic in the center, and expands the map by adding subtopics around this central topic. Subtopics help to develop concepts and ideas related to the main topic. The following example is a simple mind map I made to organize my ideas for this review:
Because mind mapping allows users to illustrate and visually communicate complex connections between ideas, it has proven to be a valuable tool in a variety of fields, including education, business, personal, and creative fields.
MindMaple Inc., developers of the mind mapping software MindMaple, recently launched a free version of their software, called MindMaple Lite. You can download MindMaple Lite from the MindMaple website, www.mindmaple.com.
Features Of MindMaple
The interface is clean, attractive, and simple to use. Initially, a single “Central Topic” box is visible, which serves as the main idea of your mind map. To create a subtopic, click and drag from the Central Topic. You can drag the subtopic to any location on the map. MindMaple lets you create as many new subtopics as you wish, and you can expand these subtopics with subtopics of their own.
Some other mind mapping software products place new topics in a predetermined location, instead of allowing the user to decide the topic placement. This gives each map a standard symmetrical appearance without any effort from the user. In contrast, MindMaple’s interface takes more time to learn, since it expects users to develop their own logic of topic placement. However, it also allows users to design each map differently for different purposes, instead of always using the same design. MindMaple also includes topic shortcuts and automatic formatting tools for convenience.
MindMaple includes other useful features as well. Users can add arrows, notes, documents, and schedule information to their maps. Options to add symbols and clipart allow users to add personality and humor to their maps. Users can also customize the appearance and color of map elements.
A few drawbacks of MindMaple
One major drawback is that MindMaple doesn’t currently offer a service for storing or sharing maps in the cloud. In order to share a map with a friend or colleague, you’ll have to send it as an attachment by email or some other method. In addition, MindMaple lacks some of the complex features available on more expensive mind mapping products, such as Gantt Chart creation and map linking. And MindMaple is currently available only on Windows, so if you use a Mac you’re out of luck!
MindMaple is a versatile and attractive mind mapping tool. Although it doesn’t have every feature imaginable, it will meet the needs of most people looking for a convenient tool to help with brainstorming, notes, organization, and planning.