Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mind mapping is a cool technique to use in generating creative ideas for problem solving, and sometimes even in studying. I first, learned about the technique in a book titled “Business Creativity” (Kogan Page Better Management Skills series), and used it for generating creative ideas for work related activities. Apart from that, I have never thought about other usage of this technique, until I recently studied it in detail, as part of one of my MBA subjects. When studying further on mind-mapping technique, I came to know that there are specialty software developed for this purpose. If you Google for “Mind Mapping Software” you will find thousands of links to websites offering hundreds of mind mapping tools.

I downloaded one such tool named “Visual Mind” and I was amazed about how helpful it could be in our day-to-day life. They offer a 30 days free trial for their Visual Mind software, and after that, you have to register your trial version.

I installed Visual Mind, on my laptop, and played around with it for a while, during the weekend. I’m really impressed!

Visual mind allows you to create mind maps from scratch, or you can select from a list of templates.

It offers simply an amazing, user-friendly interface, where you can easily add/remove child branches to your mind map, and add notes to it. The best part is, you can export the entire mind map into a word document, with automatic numbering included for all topics.

If you are studying about a subject (say, Search Engine Marketing), you can first create your mind map using Visual Mind, and add as many as branches you wish. Then you can add notes to each of the branch title if you wish. After finishing your mind map, you can easily export it into a MS Word document. That’s your study note on Search Engine Marketing!

You can create a business plan or a project plan your wedding, in the same manner.

I thought it’s going to help me a lot, in my MBA studies, as I can use it to generate study notes when I surf the internet while studying. However, when I check the price of the software, I realized it was little too much for me! The full version with export to MS Word feature, cost about 290 USD (SLR 29,000/-).

So, naturally I was compelled to Google the keyword “free mind mapping software” and came up with this one on sourceforge.net. I downloaded it, but have not had a time to install it and test. Most definitely, I will give it a try during next week, and see if that serves the same purpose as Visual Mind.

Then I found Mindomo, a web based mind mapping tool. They too have a free version and a paid version for 6 USD per month, but I don’t think it’s advanced as much as the Visual Mind tool. Free Mind Map is another free tool available for downloading.

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