5 Best Mind Mapping Software Review (2019)

Writing thoughts in plain text is boring.

There’s no personality, no emotions, and even it’s tough to make the next person understand what exactly you’re trying to say.

But what if you could change all this? What if you could note down ideas exactly the way your brain thinks about them?

What if you could break down a complex marketing plan into sub-sections and present it to your team as visually appealing video presentation without going through the pain of PowerPoint?

Well, all these things are possible with a ‘Mind Mapping Software.’

A mind mapping software is basically a tool that helps you jot down ideas, notes, strategies or anything like visually appealing diagrams. It looks just like an infographic.

Now you might be wondering:

That sounds cool but there are so many brain mapping tools out there that claim to be the best. which one should I choose?

Well, this guide will wash out all your confusion.

I tested five popular mind mapping tools and in this post, I’m going to show you which one performed the best. Along with their respective benefits and losses.

So let’s jump in.

Best Mind Mapping Software Review

THE TOP 3

1. MINDMEISTER

2. XMIND

3. MINDVIEW

OVERALL

★★★★★

★★★★

★★★★

BEST FOR

All-Around

Budget

Windows Users

COLLABORATION FEATURES

Available

Available

Available

EXPORTING AND SHARING

Yes (supports all formats)

Yes (supports all formats)

Yes (supports all formats)

ATTACHMENTS

Yes (Up to 200MB in paid plans)

Yes

Yes

INTEGRATIONS

All popular tools

Trello, Evernote

Microsoft Office

DEVICE COMPATIBILITY

All devices

Almost all devices

Mainly Windows and Mac

# OF DEVICES PER LICENSE

Unlimited

2-3

2

PRICING

Starts from $4.99 per mo

$4.99 per mo

$379 (for PC)

USABILITY

Easy to use

A bit difficult

Very easy to use

RESPONSE TIME

Within 30 Min

24+ Hours

24+ Hours

Ideally, I am looking for a mind mapping tool that is easy to use, lets me share and export files in at least three formats like .docx, .ppt, and .PNG (plus points if it supports more formats) and is well under my budget.

I also want to check whether these applications Integrate at least with popular tools like Microsoft Office and Google Apps, their compatibility with different operating platforms, and if they allow users to use the software on more than one device.

So, let’s see how each brain mapping software performed in this test.

1. MindMeister

MindMeister homepage

MindMeister is an online brain mapping software that lets you share and collaborate on projects in real-time. It is a web-based tool that doesn’t require you to download any app on your computer but it does offer mobile apps for Android and iOS for better convenience.

Equipped with a built-in project management tool, it is one of the easiest applications out there that even a first grader can use.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of what’s hot and what’s not (about MindMeister).

MindMeister Pros

#1 Collaborate with individuals and team

MindMeister boasts an excellent feature that enables you to create different mind maps-whether it’s a strategy, blog post outline, sales plan, or anything- and collaborate on a project in real-time with your team or a particular colleague.

MindMeister sharing feature

It’s also very handy for teachers and students to discuss a complicated topic and find the solution. Additionally, you also get a hefty student/teacher discount on the pricing plans. So it’s a win-win situation.

#2 Exporting and Sharing

Once you’ve done creating your mind map, you can export it in different file formats and share with unlimited friends and colleagues. MindMeister supports almost all the popular file formats like .PNG, .doc, .PPT, Pdf etc.

MindMeister Export

And using its built-in presentation feature, you can turn your mind maps into beautiful slides within seconds.

MindMeister Presentation

#3 Compatible with all the devices

When it comes to using MindMeister on different types of devices, there’s no limitation. You can use the software on any device, whether it’s Windows, Mac, Linux, Android or iOS. It’s compatible with each and every platform.

#4 Integrate with popular tools

MindMeister can be integrated with almost all the popular tools that we use on a day-to-day basis like Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Google Drive and Dropbox.

MindMeister Integrations

It’s quite useful if you want to convert your ideas on Google Doc (or Word) into a mind map or vice versa.

#5 Super-Fast customer support

MindMeister provides 24/7 support to their customers and they’re unbeatable in this section. In fact, their speed can even give Usain Bolt a ‘run’ for his money.

Since I couldn’t find all the info on their website, I contacted the MindMeister support team to ask a few questions and guess what? They got back to me within 30 minutes (22 minutes, to be precise)!

And this is not it, the agent was quite generous to give me a 30-day free trial to their business plan. How cool is that!

IM

Now, call it a sales strategy or anything, but getting a 30-day free trial never hurts, right.

#6 Can be used on unlimited number devices

Since MindMeister is a web-based app, you can access the software from any device either on browser or by downloading the mobile app. Unlike other software in this test, there are no restrictions on the number of devices you can run MindMeister on.

MindMeister Cons

#1 Limited attachment size

Well, this is the only downside I could find in MindMeister. Sure you can attach files while sharing your mind map with others but you will have to be careful about the size of the attachment.

If you’re on their free plan, then the maximum size of the attachment could be 20MB. And for paid users, it is 200MB.

MindMeister Pricing Plans

Besides offering a Basic free version, MindMeister has three different plans for the users.

  • Personal — $4.99/mo
  • Pro — $8.25/mo per user when you pay annually
  • Business — $12.49/mo per user paid annually
MindMeister pricing

They also offer special plans for schools and other education institutions.

MindMeister education plans

Do I recommend MindMeister?

Absolutely! MindMeister has all the qualities I was looking for in a brain mapping tool and its strong capabilities, low cost, and quick customer service make it a no brainer.

I’ll highly recommend this tool to anyone who’s looking for a free or cheap, user-friendly software with loads of features.

2. XMind

Xmind homepage

XMind is another popular brain mapping tool that according to its homepage “designed to generate ideas and inspire creativity”. The thing that makes XMind unique is its beautifully designed brain map templates.

If you’re a design savvy, then XMind is definitely a go-to app for you. And let me tell you, it’s the only tool in my test that offers two flagship products- XMind Zen and XMind 8Pro.

The first one is subscription based while the later one comes with an one-off fee. So, you get both the options.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of XMind to see if it worth your money.

XMind Pros

#1 Collaborate with individuals and team

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using XMind Zen or XMind 8Pro, you can easily create brain maps and share them with your friends, colleagues or with your whole team.

xmind share and collaborate

#2 Beautifully designed brain map templates

Usually, brain maps look like ordinary diagrams but XMind tries to change this perception. It has a vast collection of stylish looking templates that you can use on the go.

xmind stylish templates

#3 Easy export and share

XMind makes it easy for you to export your brain maps and share it with other people. You can export your maps in XXX file formats.

#4 Works with all the devices

If you’re like me who likes dumping ideas on different devices than you’ll love this tool. It works smoothly on all the prominent devices like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

#5 Cheapest software in the lot

XMind is the cheapest paid software in the lot. It’s pricing plan starts from as low as $1/month but the only catch is, with that price point, you can use the software only on mobile devices.

XMind Cons

#1 Limited number of devices with a single license

Unlike MindMeister, XMind is not so flexible with its software licensing policy. A single user license can be used only on two computers and three mobile devices. In short, you can get access to XMind only on five different devices using a single license.

#2 Limited number of integration tools

While all the other softwares in this test can be added at least with Microsoft Office, I couldn’t find any resource that says XMind Integrates with Microsoft Office or Google Apps.

You can only use Evernote and Trello with XMind.

#3 Sluggish customer support

It is the only tool that performed poorly in the customer support section. First of all, it doesn’t have any form that you usually find in a support page. It requires you to send an email to them. And even if you send one, don’t expect to get a response within the first 24-36 hour.

It’s been more than 36 hours since I contacted them and I’m yet to hear from them.

XMind Pricing Plans

As I mentioned earlier, XMind sells two flagship products – XMind Zen, which is subscription-based and XMind 8Pro that comes with a one-time price tag.

There are three different plans of XMind Zen:

  • Desktop — $4.58/month when paid yearly or half-yearly
  • Desktop + Mobile — $4.99/month when you pay annually or every six month
  • Mobile — $1.24/month when you pay annually or half-yearly
Xmind pricing

Besides this, if you’re a student or teacher then you can avail special discount from XMind and get their Desktop+Mobile XMind Zen in $34.99/year or $24.99/6 months. But keep in mind, this offer is only not applicable on other pricing plans.

xmind educational pricing

While XMind Zen asks for a monthly subscription, you can buy XMind 8Pro with an one-time payment of $129 and also a 30-day money back guarantee.

xmind pricing 1

Teachers and students get a discount price of $59 and for non-profit organizations, the price is $64.5.

Do I Recommend XMind?

If you’re someone who wants to give a stylish touch to your regular mind maps, then XMind is an ideal choice for you.

It’s well under budget, packed with essential features, and provides several awesome looking brain maps templates.

3. MindView

MindView homepage

MindView is a PC Mag Editor’s Choice award winner software presented by Matchware. This tool has been designed primarily for Windows users and can be yours forever with a one-time fee. Though, the cost is a little high compared to the other tools of this test, but the availability of Gantt Chart, different integration tools and a quick customer support makes it worth the money.

Let me shed some more light on the goods and bads of this software.

MindView Pros

#1 Offers Gantt Chart templates

A Gantt Chart is basically a horizontal bar chart that helps to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. And MindView makes it easy for you to design Gantt Chart so for your projects and minimize the delivery time.

#2 No limitation in attachment size

MindView allows users to attach files with the mind maps and share with others. And unlike MindMeister, there are no limitation in the maximum size of the attachment file. So feel free to attach the biggest file you have.

#3 Integrates with all the MS Office tools

Integration helps us save time and avoid going back and forth between different tools. MindView can be easily integrated with Microsoft Office. You can either export your brain maps to Word, PowerPoint and Excel or import your content from these tools to MindView and convert it into a mind map.

MindView Ms office integration

However, the drawback is, MindView can’t be Integrated with other softwares like Google Apps, Google Drive, Dropbox and Zapier.

#4 Super fast customer support

I was pretty impressed with the customer support team of MindView. When I reached out to them to gather some additional info about the product, Peter from MindView, reverted back to me within an hour. And his answers were quite satisfactory too.

MindView Cons

#1 Limited device compatibility

If you’re a Mac user or love creating brain maps on mobile then MindView is a straight no, no for you. And for an app that has some strong features, it’s a major sbag.

Now, it’s not like MindView doesn’t offer a Mac or mobile version of its product. Yes, it does but many key features are unavailable and the high price doesn’t justify it at all.

#2 Only two devices per license

While tools like MindMeister and Mindjet allows you to use the application on any device, you don’t get such privilege with MindView. With a single user license, you can install this software only on two devices. And that too, you can’t run the software on both the devices simultaneously.

#3 Limited features in mobile and online version

Sure, there’s an online and mobile version of this software a available on the web but it’s not worth your time and money. You doesn’t have many features that you can easily find on the Windows version.

MindView Pricing Plans

MindView was one of the most expensive brain mapping products I tested. It has three versions and each one comes with three different pricing tiers:

MindView PC (Windows)

  • $379 for asingle user license
  • $1799 for 5 user license
  • $3409 for 10 user license

MindView Mac

  • $349 for single user license
  • $1658 for 5 user license
  • $3141 10 user license
MindView pricing

MindView Online (For Mobile)

  • $15/month for 1 year license (billed annually)
  • $13.50/month for 2 year license (billed annually)
  • $12/month for 3 year license (billed annually)

And if you want to buy MindView’s Shared Workspace (works only with PC version), then you will have to pay an additional $99 for one year subscription.

MindView pricing 1

Do I Recommend MindView?

I’d say yes, only if you’re a Windows user. And that too, if you’re planning to purchase the single user license. Otherwise, if you want to buy it for your team or company then there are some other tools out there where you can invest your money and get a much better deal.

Similarly, you’re a Mac user or looking for an online mind mapping software, then MindView is not the ideal option for you.

4. Mindomo

Mindomo homepage

Mindomo is a collaborative mind mapping tool that, after seeing its website, seems more inclined towards helping teachers and students understand complex topics and discuss solutions.

Similar to the other tools of my test, Mindomo is also packed with features and below, I have pointed out what its greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

Mindomo Pros

#1 Export and share files in all formats

One of the biggest strength of Mindomo is, it’s lets you export and share mind maps in almost every possible form like text (.PDF, .docx, .txt, .html), images (.PNG, .zip), presentation (.pptx), projects (.mpx) and even as spreadsheets (.xls).

Mindomo file exporting

#2 Integrate with powerful tools

Mindomo provides the widest range of integration tools among all the five software I analyzed in this test.

It can be easily added with powerful tools like Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Google Drive, Dropbox, FTP and all the popular Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Desire2learn, itslearning, Clever, and Schoology.IMAGE

#3 Compatible with all the devices

Mindomo runs smoothly on every platform whether it’s Windows, Mac or Linux. On top of that, it also provides dedicated apps for Android and iOS for free.

#4 Pretty convenient for teachers and students

For students, it’s a breeze to create a mind map and collaborate with their teachers in real-time. When a student creates an assignment, it automatically gets shared with the teacher which makes the whole assessment and feedback process pretty effortless.

#5 Good customer support

Though I won’t call Mindomo’s customer support the best or fastest but it was still a good experience for me as they answered my queries within 24 hours.

Mindomo Cons

#1 Limited attachment size

Yes, Mindomo allows you to attach files with your mind maps but it comes with a limitation. Each file should be of 156MB or less.

#2 Only two devices per license

Another hitch with Mindomo is you can use the software only on two devices with a single user license. While its competitors like MindMeister and Mindjet has no such barriers.

Mindomo Pricing Plans

Apart from its free version that comes with very limited features, Mindomo provides a three tier pricing plan to its users.

  • Premium – $36/6 months for a single user
  • Professional – $90/6 months for 1 user and 5 guest users
  • Team – $142/6 months for 5 users
Mindomo pricing

They also have specific plans for education sector folks with discounted prices.

  • Basic – $36/year (Billed annually) for 1 user
  • Teacher – $69/year for 1 teacher and 75 students
  • Classroom & Schools – $99/year with LTI support for the whole classroom or school.
Mindomo pricing1

Do I Recommend Mindomo?

There is no doubt Mindomo is an excellent tool for people related to the field of education. And it even has the potential to make learning a fun process for students.

But it doesn’t cater the needs of other professionals or companies not related to the education sector. So, if you’re a student or teacher, then definitely go for it. Otherwise, it’s better to skip this tool as for now.

5. Mindjet (MindManager)

Mindjet also known as MindManager is actually a Corel Corporation product (acquired in 2016) that claims to help individuals, teams, and companies do great work faster and simplify the way they capture, process and share information.

Here are the major pros and cons of this Corel product.

MindManager Pros

#1 No limitation in attachment size

Even though the support agents of MindManager recommend to attach files that are 20MB or lower in size, there are actually no limit regarding the size of files you can attach with MindManager brain maps.

#2 Works on multiple devices with single license

Just like file attachment, Mindjet impose no restrictions on user when it comes to using the software on multiple devices.

Basically, you can use your license on N number of devices as long as MindManager is compatible with the them.

#3 Integration with popular software

You can easily add MindManager with Microsoft Office, Zapier, and Dropbox to either import your files or export your brain maps to share it outside the application.

However, it doesn’t integrates with Google Apps and Google Drive which is a big bummer because most of the professionals prefer using Google tools like doc and spreadsheet instead of MS Office.

#4 Excellent customer support

The customer support of Mindjet is handled directly by Corel, and they do a remarkable job in serving their customers.

When I send a ticket to them, it hardly took them 9 hours to answer my queries even though I contacted them in an odd hour.

So full marks to them in this section.

Mindjet support

MindManager Cons

#1 Limited device compatibility

Mindjet does a great job by allowing users to use the software on any number device but the real problem is, it only runs on Windows and Mac computers.

It doesn’t support Linux, neither it offers any dedicated app for Android and iOS users.

#2 Very confusing pricing page

There are two pricing pages on the MindManager website and each one has a different price tag for the Windows and Mac version. So it becomes quite challenging for a user to determine which one is the right one.

And if we consider the price of the Windows version (that is $349 on one and $441 on the other pricing page), then it becomes one of the costliest brain mapping software.

#3 Doesn’t support Google Apps

I had to mention it here in the cons section. Even though it works great with MS Office and Zapier, not having a Google Apps integration can still irk many professionals like me who does all the ideation, planning, and writing thing on Google Doc and spreadsheet.

MindManager Pricing Plans

As I mentioned in the cons section, there are two different pricing pages on the Mindjet website pointing out two different prices.

According to the first pricing page, the Windows version will cost you $349 and the Mac version is priced at $179.

Whereas the second pricing page says, you’ll have to buy $441 for the Windows version and $211 for the Mac one.

Do I Recommend Mindjet/MindManager?

Yes and No.

Yes, if you’re mostly a Windows user and planning to buy a product that can be used on multiple devices, comes with a one-off fee, and works great with Microsoft Office.

I won’t recommend you to buy MindManager if you’re thinking of buying this product for your company or want to create mind maps on mobile or having a tight budget.

Conclusion

After analyzing all the five tools, it was pretty clear that all of them are able to do the most basic job of mind mapping tool which is to create mind maps and share it with other peeps.

However, there are some specific aspects where one software is superior to others and that makes all the difference.

For example, if you’re looking for an all-round tool that provide the most value for money, then you can opt for MindMeister. Because it checks almost all the boxes to become a complete package (barring its attachment size limitation).

On the other hand, if you want your brain maps to look fancy, have a low budget, but still want features close to MindMeister, then XMind is all you need.

It’s cheap, stylish, and offers the same abilities minus the limited number of devices on a single license and less Integration options.

Windows users who want to avoid paying monthly subscriptions and want the availability of Gantt Chart so can go with MindView or Mindjet. Because both the tools have equal capabilities and favor Windows users.

And last but certainly not the least, if you’re a teacher, student or someone who runs a school then there’s no better brain mapping software available than Mindomo. This tool is specifically designed to fulfil the needs of education sector.

So, that’s it from me. Now, let me know which brain mapping tool you’re going to use first?