Project Management

7 Best Free Mind Mapping Software

By | 9 min read | Published

Mind mapping software helps visualize ideas and outline creative processes.

Mind mapping is a long-established process to capture and organize ideas. Managers use it; marketers live by it. With mind mapping software now readily accessible, more people have started realizing the power of mind mapping to organize multiple ideas in one place.

Mind mapping tools not only make it easier to note down and organize ideas and concepts but also help you retain and recall more information. But not every business can afford to invest in a mind mapping solution. In such cases, you can go for a free mind mapping tool that does the job without hurting your finances.

This article highlights the seven best free mind mapping software solutions (sorted alphabetically) based on user ratings and reviews. (Read how we selected these products.)

See the full list of the best mind mapping software in Capterra’s software directory.
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1

Cacoo: Has in-app video and chat functionality

Cacoo is a communication and mind mapping software solution that helps visualize ideas through fishbone diagrams, flowcharts, Venn diagrams, and more. It facilitates real-time team collaboration on project ideas.

The software lets you create, edit, and share mind maps with your team. It offers a library of pre-built templates to create design flowcharts, wireframes, client presentations, network diagrams, and organization charts, among others. Its in-app video and chat feature allows you to discuss ideas and get feedback from teammates in real time.

With Cacoo, you can import images and screenshots from your system to build mind maps. You can also export the mind maps in the SVG, PNG, and PDF formats. You can share assets by sending links that your team members can access.

Cacoo is web-based and offers email, chat, and phone support.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
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Key Features:

  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration tools
  • Commenting/notes
  • Data linking
  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Feedback management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$5 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Network diagram in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/145718/Cacoo/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cacoo</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/145718/Cacoo/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
2

Creately: Offers pre-built templates for visualizing designs

Creately is a diagramming and mind map tool that helps convert ideas into visual flowcharts and facilitates real time collaboration for teams.

The software offers various shape types to build mind maps and diagrams. Its glue-point feature lets you connect multiple shape types to show dependency or relationship. Creately also provides various themes you can apply to your mind maps.

You and your teammates can simultaneously work on the same document, add comments, and highlight visuals. You can build SWOT charts, wireframes, and site maps for websites. You can also share the mind maps you create with team members and clients, and export them for offline storage.

Creately offers email, chat, and phone support. It is web-based and has a desktop application for Windows and iOS.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
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Key Features:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Data linking
  • Document management
  • Feedback management
  • Graphical flow editor
  • Mind maps
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$4 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Building a flowchart diagram in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/127628/Creately/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Creately</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/127628/Creately/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
3

Lucidspark: Helps create storyboards

Lucidspark is a virtual whiteboard where teams can bring their ideas together and visualize them. It helps on-site and remote teams brainstorm and collaborate on new project ideas.

The software provides a digital space to store ideas. It offers sticky notes to take down concepts and a built-in annotation tool for sketching freehand or making diagrams. It also has a collaborative work dashboard and chatbox to bounce off ideas and share information quickly.

With the tool’s storyboard, you can write down multiple scenarios for project planning and pin them for your teammates to see and add comments. You can also group similar ideas and storyboards, and create presentation decks for client meetings.

Lucidspark offers email, chat, and phone support. It is web-based and has a mobile app for iOS devices.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
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Key Features:

  • Agile methodologies
  • Brainstorming
  • Content management
  • Diagramming
  • Document management
  • Idea management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$7.95 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">A brainstorming session in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/211643/LucidSpark/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lucidspark</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/211643/LucidSpark/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
4

MindMeister: Provides Agile project dashboards

MindMeister is a mind mapping tool that provides team collaboration and project planning capabilities. It lets you share mind maps that you can edit with your teammates in real time.

MindMeister offers a built-in presentation mode that turns your mind maps into slideshows for presenting to clients or stakeholders. It also allows you to turn your mind maps into Agile project dashboards to visualize progress for multiple projects.

The tool’s note-taking feature helps highlight and take down important points during team discussions, brainstorming sessions, or client meetings. You can store all your mind mapping data in a central idea database and share its access with your team.

MindMeister offers email, phone, and chat support. It has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
most affordable
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Key Features:

  • Activity/news feed
  • Brainstorming
  • Commenting notes
  • Data import/export
  • Idea ranking
  • Polls/voting
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$2.49 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Marketing campaign plan in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/141357/MindMeister/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">MindMeister</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/141357/MindMeister/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
5

Miro: Features a freehand drawing toolkit

Miro is a visual collaboration platform for brainstorming, ideating, team meetings, interactive workshops, mapping, diagramming, and more.

The software provides a dashboard that lets you build roadmaps for projects, host brainstorming sessions, design visuals for ideas, and engage with teammates using built-in video and chat functionality. You can even add images and files to your Miro dashboard.

You also get access to a digital whiteboard that you can share with your team by sending a link. This whiteboard allows you to stick notes, ideate concepts using freehand drawing and writing tools, and pick pre-designed templates for mind maps, story maps, and business model canvases. You can integrate Miro with third-party tools to centralize your data in one place.

Miro offers chat and email support. The software is web-based and has a mobile app for Android and iOS.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
best functionality
Visit Website

Key Features:

  • Activity/news feed
  • Brainstorming
  • Calendar management
  • Collaboration tools
  • Commenting/notes
  • Diagramming
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$8 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Online dashboard in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/128955/Miro/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Miro</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/128955/Miro/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
6

MURAL: Offers pre-built templates for organizing information

MURAL is a visual collaboration tool for product strategy, design, and business planning. It offers a shared dashboard to let you and your teammates collaborate in a virtual environment.

The software provides multiple pre-built templates, such as strategy canvases, challenge wheels, product management templates, and mind maps, for your projects. You can create frameworks and organize your content based on priority. You also get access to an extensive icon library to build visual stories.

MURAL’s commenting feature lets your teammates provide feedback on ideas. The tool supports chat, voice, and video calling for team meetings to resolve challenges and provide instant suggestions. It also offers shareable sticky notes and texts to share ideas with your project management team.

MURAL offers email, phone, and chat support. It is web-based and has a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
View Profile

Key Features:

  • Brainstorming
  • Data import/export
  • Discussions forums
  • File sharing
  • Flowchart
  • Idea management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$9.99 per user per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sticky notes in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/171956/Mural/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">MURAL</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/171956/Mural/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
7

XMind: Creates transitions in videos and presentations

XMind is an idea management and mind mapping solution that helps evaluate, connect, and present thoughts visually through matrix and fishbone diagrams, mind maps, Gantt charts, timelines, and more.

XMind’s pitch mode turns your mind maps into a presentation slideshow with smooth transitions and layouts. It lets you create customizable styles and structures to present information and ideas in your designs.

The software integrates with multiple third-party project management and communication tools to help you bring your ideas and teammates in one place. It also lets you export data in multiple formats, including PNG, SVG, PDF, and Markdown.

XMind offers chat support. It has a desktop application for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.

*Analysis accurate as of December 2021
View Profile

Key Features:

  • Activity/news feed
  • Collaboration tools
  • Ideation
  • Status tracking
  • Workflow management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$39.99 per six months

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Gantt chart in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/128088/XMind/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">XMind</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/128088/XMind/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>

How to choose the right free mind mapping software

When selecting a free mind mapping tool, make sure you’re getting one with the right features. Here are a couple of things to consider before finalizing your purchase:

  • Check if the software has a sharing limit. Mind mapping tools work great, but only if you can share your ideas with teammates and clients. Before investing, check if the free version has a limit on the number of projects you can share with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Assess if the software works offline. An ideal mind mapping software solution gets developed with offline capabilities to help create visuals and brainstorm ideas without being connected to the internet. Check whether the offline mode feature is present in the free tool you’ve shortlisted.
  • Look for system and device support. You should be able to access your mind maps on multiple devices. Many vendors even offer a mobile version of their mind mapping software for remote and fast-moving teams, but the capability might be restricted in free tools. Ask the vendor if their free version supports multi-device access.

Common questions to ask while selecting free mind mapping software

Choosing a free mind map software tool isn’t easy, but asking the right questions can help. Here are some key questions to ask software vendors before finalizing a decision:

What kind of limitations does the free software have?

Often free software versions don’t offer access to unlimited mind maps or multiple users. Before investing, check if you can work with the user seats and functions provided with the free plan.

What kind of support should I expect?

Free tools often have limited support services, while paid users get priority support. When selecting mind mapping software, assess if the vendor you’re trying to finalize provides timely customer support to free users.

How often does the software receive updates?

The mind map software you choose should ideally release frequent updates to make the user interface better and more intuitive and to fix previous bugs. Before finalizing, check with the vendor about the frequency of software updates.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust—so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  1. Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher as of Dec. 28, 2021. We selected the seven products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  2. Offer a free, standalone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
  3. Meet our mind mapping software market definition: “Mind mapping software is used to create diagrams of relationships between concepts, ideas, or other pieces of information.”

“Best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews as of Dec. 28, 2021.

“Most affordable” tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade as of Dec. 28, 2021.

Disclaimer: We conducted this analysis based on reviews and ratings data as of Dec. 28, 2021. In order to present the most up-to-date information, the product cards show real-time ratings. Please note that this means the ratings value in the product card may not reflect the ratings value at the time of analysis.


Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

About the Author

Ashish Upadhyay

Ashish Upadhyay

Ashish Upadhyay is a content writer at Capterra, helping small businesses identify the right software for their business needs by analyzing user reviews data for the highest rated products in relevant software categories. Prior to joining Gartner, he worked in insurtech, fintech, and real estate. Specializing in marketing, project, and IT management, Ashish’s works have been featured in MAST magazine and Medium. In his free time, he enjoys working out and playing video games.

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