Mind Mapping Wiki

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A mind map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.[1] It's widely used in education and business because of its ability to stimulate the creation of new ideas and to support managing and understanding complex sets of information. For personal use mind mapping will help retain important information and store it in a form that feels more natural for the brain than linear notes. This makes it easier to recall the stored information and get a better overview of it.
mind mapping
A mind map summary of this article. See live mind map: Mind Map


Who is MindMeister?

MindMeister is the leading provider of online mind mapping solutions. During our years working with mind maps, we've built up a wealth of experience . Now we've created a place where to share all the things we've learned and offer you the best possible resource for mind mapping, with basic tips for beginners to new perspectives and applications for more advanced users.

We believe that mind mapping will bring you immediate and lasting benefits. And we'll be delighted if you want to add your own experiences, ideas and insights to this wiki.

Why you should Mind Map?

Mind mapping is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to write down and visualize your thoughts. With just a pen and a big sheet of paper, you can create a mind map that will express your thoughts much better than any written outline. And, if you put that map onto your computer, you can share it across the world.

Mind mapping helps you increase the creativity and productivity in many daily tasks, giving you a platform to visualize better, manage data more efficiently, create clearer relationships between your thoughts and to plan easier. There are many more reasons why you should do it, for more information see Benefits of Mind Mapping.

How to Mind Map

Creating a mind map is simple. You start by writing the subject in the middle and continue by adding related thoughts. The next step is to create connections between these thoughts and add some visual support (i.e. images, colours and other formatting) so that you can highlight and easier distinguish between different topics. The final and most important step is how you structure them. The structure of the mind map needs to reflect, as accurately as possible, the same structure that you have in your head.

This is all you need to know about creating mind maps, but the real secret does not lie in knowing how to create mind maps but in understanding the benefits and knowing how and when to use them.

  • A mind map can be helpful when you want to memorize something, so you can use it when studying for an exam.
  • A mind map can be helpful when you want to plan something, so you can use it when you plan your next vacation.
  • A mind map can be useful if you want to visualize data sets with complex relationships, so you can use it in your company to be able to cope with complex projects when lot's of things are happening in the same time.

These are just a few benefits of mind mapping, but since they are the most important aspects of a mind mapping guide we have decided to write two whole sections about it: Benefits of Mind Mapping and Mind Mapping Uses.

If this seems too complicated, just go to the Basic Mind Mapping Guide.

Mind Mapping Uses

Mind mapping is a technique with many, many potential applications. Here at MindMeister, we try to keep track of all the different ways people are using mind maps and we are doing this in the mind map that you can see on the right.

Mind Mapping Applications, This is a Wiki Map and we invite you to add your own ideas. Any logged in user can contribute.

In mind mapping terminology, this mind map has four 'nodes'; firstly there's the personal stuff i.e. the ways in which mind maps make it easy for you to get ideas out of your head and out into the world, then the educational uses e.g. note-taking, recording and problem solving and then there are the business uses e.g. planning, organization and management.

And the fourth node? This is a special case, because it can relate to any of the other three nodes. It's collaboration i.e using mind maps as a platform for seamlessly working on and communicating ideas with others.

  • Personal

Creating lists of books you like or places around the world you want to visit is always fun and keeping track of them in a mind map comes with lot's of benefits. Mind maps will always have a clear structure allowing you to recall information easily when you need it, they also enable you to make unlimited connections between ideas and even modify the complex structures you create.

Complex Mind Map

This way you can store large amounts of data in one place e.g. lists with goals you want to achieve, your favourite movies, favourite cooking recipes or even noting brilliant ideas you have and don't want to forget. After creating these list you can attach images, add note and link to websites or videos from each node on the map.

How complex can a mind map get with so much data? There's no limit to the size and complexity of a mind map, on the left you have an example of a very complex map. The main differences between normal methods of storing information and mind mapping are the flexible connections and structures you can create. This makes everything seem so natural to your brain, that it will let you recall any tiny bit of information in seconds.

  • Education

If you're in education, mind mapping is your friend. Most people find mind-mapped notes both richer and easier to follow than text scribbles. Mind maps are great for studying for exams and organizing complex essays, helping you to tease out the relationships between the different aspects of your topics before you waste hours rewriting. Best of all, mind mapping can help you to doodle your way out of sticky problems, finding creative solutions by spotting potential new relationships and novel applications of existing ideas.

  • Business

If you have a business to run, mind mapping is a powerful tool. It's the best way to visualize all the complex relationships that underpin 'real world' projects and to evolve multilevel plans so you can cope when multiple things are occurring at once. And because a mind map enables you to see at a glance who is responsible for which aspect of a project, it's a great way to keep track of everything.

Collaboration is probably the strongest argument for mind mapping especially doing it online. It's very hard for two people to write notes on the same piece of paper, but it's easy for them to share a digital mind map. Mind maps are open and friendly and invite input from everyone. If you're working on a complex project with a large team of co-workers, you can create a mind map, share it with them and encourage everyone to annotate it.

Software for Mind Mapping

There are many people who enjoy drawing out mind maps using a pen and paper. It requires some skill to put together a detailed mind map. The problem with hand drawn maps is that they can’t be easily edited, you can’t create multiple links and connections between nodes without messing it up and they can’t be used for sharing and simultaneous editing.

So for everyone else there is mind mapping software available. Mind mapping software such as MindMeister allows you to easily create, edit, and share mind maps in a cloud based platform. This means that mind maps are always stored safely on servers and can be accessed from anywhere in the world on multiple devices.

Another big advantage of using mind mapping software is being to make unlimited changes and then the ability to review all these changes and revert to a prior revision. By reviewing the mind map you can see how you arrived at a specific conclusion, you can literally watch your entire thought process with MindMeister's patented History View.

Please take the time to have a look at our features and benefits: MindMeister Features and MindMeister Benefits. Also we allow new users to demo the software for free without having to register, you can get started on your fist map now - Try a live demo!

Benefits of Mind Mapping

In Mind Mapping Uses, we looked at the various applications for mind mapping. We saw that mind maps are good for planning, creating content, brainstorming, structuring data, organizing, solving complex problems, taking notes and managing teams, projects or businesses. They can save time, make you more productive and offer you new ways to collaborate with others. In this section, we'll try to summarize the benefits which make mind mapping such a valuable tool.

Here's what MindMapsUnleashed has to say on the subject:

"Mind Mapping Your Situation Creates Overview. The moment you have your overview in a nice visual map in front of you, you can take a step back to understand what bothers you most and what has the biggest influence in your tasks, people, ideas and goals. You literally took it out of your head, organized it and looked at it from a distance. Things tend to be less personal when you look at a map like this. So there you have it, you go from noise to overview using this simple tactic." [2]

To get a better picture of the benefits of mind mapping, let's try to look at all the different things we've understood about it, one by one.

  • Mind mapping helps you keep track

Lots to remember? A mind map is better than a list, because it shows how things fit together. You're doing this? Then you might as well do that. And that. -- Mind mapping gets you organized.

  • Mind mapping helps you plan

A mind map is a great planning tool, helping you to prioritize and assign resources.

  • Mind mapping supports decision-making

Mind maps show the strengths and weaknesses of your plans and projects. Which route to choose? Look at the map! Working with mind maps will make you a better decision-maker.

  • Mind mapping generates ideas

Mind mapping is good for brainstorming, sure, but it's also good for insight. When you see how your ideas fit together, you can glimpse the deep structures that underlie your thinking and make new and unexpected connections.

  • Mind mapping builds teams

Mind maps will help you organize a team, but they're even better when you have a team that wants to organize itself. A big mind map of shared work is the best possible tool for collaboration.

  • And one last, intangible benefit -- mind mapping de-stresses you!. When you're faced with a daunting project -- something big and complex and many-headed -- mind mapping is the best way forward. It shows how your chosen course of action fits into the 'big picture' and so boosts confidence and helps you to focus.

We hope that this wiki has got your mind mapping off to a good start. But there's always more to say on the subject. Even though the technique is gaining in popularity, most mind mappers still don't understand its full potential.

Here at MindMeister, we think of ourselves as evangelists. We want mind mapping to change the world! That means that we like to hear about all the new ways people find to use mind maps in their lives.

We already presented our Mind Mapping Uses Map, which we use to record all the amazing mind map applications people have shared with us. If you'd like to add to it -- or if you'd like to add your tip or idea to our wiki -- just login and add, after all, that's why we've built a wiki.


  1. http://litemind.com/what-is-mind-mapping/
  2. http://mindmapsunleashed.com/how-to-mind-mapping-your-noise-into-overview )
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