Comparing the Best Mind Mapping Software of 2021

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Mind mapping is a creative exercise for brainstorming and finding connections. When used right it can be a very effective way to generate new ideas or connect related ones. Mind mapping on paper may be cost-effective and convenient, but it has downsides as the user is limited to the paper size. Paper mind maps are hard to digitize and can be lost quite easily. For those individuals who do a lot of mind mapping, going digital is the next best option. We take a look at some of the leading mind mapping tools 2021 has to offer.

ClickUp: Best free plan for mind mapping software

ClickUp allows for planning and organizing of the user’s projects, ideas and more through mind maps. The features allow users to draw relationships between projects and tasks, visualize workflows and task structures and easily create and manage tasks. Powerful free-form diagrams can be created, using nodes as reference points for work to be completed. Users can create and link tasks within a mind map using drag-and-drop functionality and mind maps can be shared with other collaborators. ClickUp offers integrations with Slack and Dropbox as well as over 1000+ integrations through Zapier. The free plan is robust, but limited to 100 mind map uses. The unlimited plan offers additional functionality and starts at $5 a month. 

Inclr: Best all-in-one mind mapping and task management tool

Inclr stands for Information Cluster. The software runs on iOS and MacOS, with syncing features and is patented in the United States. The tools bring together the creative power of mind mapping with visual task management and collaboration. Whereas regular mind map tools are used to create diagrams, Inclr makes use of “mini apps,” leaning more towards a daily organizer and planner, eliminating the need to switch between apps, notes, browser and the calendar, as they are all included in the tool. The web and map browsers allow users to save their sessions, much like Chrome or Safari tabs which contain history and bookmarks. 

Users can download Inclr on the App Store and subscription starts at $3.49 per month. The tool is highly customisable and is designed to help reduce information overload. Uniquely, the tool offers an AR experience, where users can create their own memory palace or annotate their rooms by information clusters and things to remember. Inclr supports just about any file format and users are free to add notes, tasks, images, videos, PDF, text, ebooks, Apple shortcuts, map pins and much more to their mind maps. This tool beautifully merges the visual power of mind mapping with the practicality of organisation tools. 

MindMeister: Best for individuals and teams

This cloud-based mind mapping tool allows users to visually capture, develop and share ideas. Used alone or in a team the tool allows users to collaborate, share and present from practically anywhere in the world. There are some useful collaboration features that allow users to share their ideas with their team, vote, comment and chat in real-time and in-app. Mind maps can be turned into presentations with the auto-create or drag and select presentation feature. The tool integrates with the task management app MeisterTask, where users can turn mind maps into projects and assign tasks using the built-in integration. Subscription starts from $4.99 per user per month. The free plan is limited with three free maps. 

Milanote: Best for multimedia mind mapping

Milanote is an intuitive concept map maker that will help organize the user’s ideas and projects into visual boards. Users can delve deeper into topics by creating as many levels of hierarchy as needed. The tool allows users to add media (images, videos, links) to visual boards and the drag and drop interface allows users to view their work side by side on an infinite virtual pinboard. Milanote offers a library of templates and the free version allows users to add 100 notes, images or links. Milanote PRO starts from $9.99 per month per person and offers unlimited storage. 

MindGenius: Best for keeping it simple

MindGenius combines the elements of a concept map creator and a project planning tool. MindGenius’s suite includes drag-and-drop mind map creation along with project planning features and some basic project reporting tools. Several features are included to help make mind maps more useful such as filtering, highlighting and labelling tools to help users organize and present mind maps effectively. The tool integrates with Microsoft Office and two pricing models are available: Perpetual and Subscription. Perpetual starts from $256, while Subscription is from $160 in year one, followed by $56 annually from year 2 onwards. The tool has a slight learning curve when compared to other mind mapping apps and tools on this list. 

Final Take

The most important thing that a mind map does is to help the user represent their ideas visually. Any good mind mapping app or software should give users the freedom and flexibility to easily create good-looking diagrams that effectively communicate the user’s ideas. The best mind mapping tools include some additional features that can quickly turn mind maps into useful, living tools.

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