This Mind Mapping Tool is Small, Portable and Free

If you know me, you'll know that I love exploring new PIM (personal information manager) software tools.  One of my favourite categories of such software is mind mapping, but there are very few mind map tools that are any good and which don't cost lots of money.

So imagine my delight to come across Blumind, which you can get from  It's free, it's only a 0.6 MB download, and it runs under Windows XP and above.  You may need .NET Framework v2.0, depending on which version of Windows you're running, but you've probably got that already.

You can choose to download the installable or the portable version.  Portable apps are great, as they give you a handy way to try out the program without increasing the size of your registry.  If you subsequently decide that you like the program, you can then go for the full install.





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by Motagaly (not verified) on 1. August 2011 - 8:18  (76679)

Guys, try out XMind (, the free edition is more than enough, it is a powerful tool and do the job for all my usage scenarios

by Dlira (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 21:07  (76483)

I have been a very happy user of mind mapping tools for more than 10 years, and I have mainly used [commercial software mention removed]. I have also tested a number of other similar tools, of which several are satisfactory. Odessa's Concept Draw Mindmap is also a good choice, and a very good old version of this (version 5) was given away for free some time ago. Perhaps you may still find this offer somewhere on the net. If so, get it!

I think Blumind is quite OK. It is not advanced, but takes care of the essential mind mapping functions in a good way and is very intuitive. (However, how to change the layout to e. g. Logic Chart wasn't too intuitive, cf. r.schifreens comment on 29. July 2011 - 19:30.) Drag-and-drop combined with CTRL+UP ARROW / CTRL+DOWN ARROW works nicely. The application is very small, and a great advantage is that it is portble.

Freemind (free) has more functions, but I like the layout of the Blumind charts better. I also tried Thinking Express (free, mentioned above), but I would prefer Blumind.

To everybody who hasn't tried mind mapping: Try it! You may be extremely surprised how useful such a tool is for brainstorming, planning, preparing speeches and a number of other tasks! And Blumind is an easy (and free) way to start.

by kunkel321 on 29. July 2011 - 16:29  (76463)

Pretty cool. Thanks for the share r.s.
Here's another cool one I recently found
it appears to only be 'in the cloud' but it is very cool in terms of making "organic" mindmaps. It looks very much like iMindmap or HeadCase. The free version is limited to 2 maps and you can't export. (presumably you'd have to screen-clip the finished map in order to save it.)

by kalmly (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 13:04  (76451)

Here's my trouble with mind-mappers. The little arms go wherever the $*%! they want. I wanted notes on that particular topic over on the right but it went over to the left and up near the top of the page to boot. Chaos.

As for MindRaider - I gave that a look yesterday. Busiest UI I've ever seen. Clutter.


by robert.schifreen on 29. July 2011 - 19:30  (76477)

I know what you mean about the arms going all over the place. With Blumind, click somewhere outside of your mind map so that none of the boxes are selected. Then, on the right hand menu, look at the Layout Type setting and try some of the options. Some of these solve precisely the problem you were mentioning.

Personally, I'm using the Logic Chart option, which is perfect to help me plan the structure of a book I'm writing. Start by creating an entry for each chapter. Then go back and add more detail to each chapter.

by Festeron (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 11:54  (76442)

How about including a paragraph that describes what mind mapping software does, for those who have no idea what you're talking about?

by Dlira (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 20:14  (76481)

Unnecessary - a Google search will bring this up quickly.

by DesElms on 29. July 2011 - 19:51  (76479)


That's a good idea, generally; but just to be clear: My saying that I didn't get the point of mind mapping had nothing to do with not understanding what mind mapping is, what it does, how it works, etc. I've been quickly adapting to new both technologies and techniques, professionally, as a consultant being paid $150 or more per hour, for over 30 years. Believe me, I, for one, get it... completely.

I guess maybe what I'm saying is that for those who are maybe a little older, and whose brains have maybe become hard-wired to accomplish by completely other means what mind mapping accomplishes, it's difficult to see what all the hoopla's about.

That's all I'm saying.

I obviously can appreciate mind mapping, in a general sense; and I think I well made the point that even I can see its value when specifically applied to or integrated with a larger and more obviously useful function... such as note-taking, outlining, etc. in the likes of the open source "Mind Raider."

I'm not upset or offended or anything like that, so please don't misinterpret the stridency of my words, here. One may completely understand what mind mapping is all about, and still not appreciate the need for it.

Others, perhaps younger, might think mind mapping is the only way to do things. And that's fine. Good for them! For them, I'm betting Blumind and its various competitors out there are just perfect!

Maybe it's just me. I can, after all, code an entire both huge and complexe database app without committing a single flow chart to either paper or erasable markerboard; and I once had a boss accuse me of not caring about his meetings because I hardly ever took notes... that is, until I was able to recite, almost verbatim, any point he had ever made during any of them, at which point he shut up about it. So my brain's obviously wired to just do it in my head or something. I don't know. I can't remember people's names, or what I had for breakfast, but for whatever reason I can achieve what mind mapping generally achieves... only without it. What can I say.

Anyway, I'm sure Blumind is very cool. Richard doesn't make these recommendations willy nilly. I just know that the only way I'd ever use it -- or any other mind mapper -- would be with a gun to my head; and on a bad day, maybe not even then.

That's all I'm sayin'.

Gregg DesElms
Napa, California USA

by John . (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 14:20  (76461)

more or less a flow chart only it doesn't have to be linear, but just a tool to help you get your thoughts/information/problem down on paper in a somewhat organized and visual manner

here's wikepedia's take

by RoseGarden (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 8:25  (76431)

Of those tools mentioned here today, I've so far tested the featured tool 'Blumind' and I'm happy with it. It's intuitive and I respond well to its visual aspects and variables. I've used it today to help deal with a very complex dilemma I've been grappling with and getting nowhere.

Being a very visually-oriented person (and this may be the key as to why I like this tool), and being able to see graphically all the elements that go into my dilemma my mind is now lifting from confusion towards clarity.

I can't yet see the way to solve each element in the dilemma, but for the first time I'm able to see in one Picture (Map) the many elements and how they interact with each other. A good first step which will hopefully lead to some break-through solutions.

Thanks to Rob Shifreen for introducing this to gizmo readers. Thanks to others here for mentioning different tools, which I look forward to also exploring.

by DesElms on 29. July 2011 - 19:22  (76476)


My MANY years of reading and posting in places like this have well prepared me to be able to sense when the developer of (or at least someone in some way connected with) a product posts a positive comment about it beneath a review of it. Your posting has that written all over it...

...and there's not a darned thing wrong with that...

...that is, as long as it's fully disclosed.

So, I'm asking: Do you, RoseGarden, have anything to do with the "Blumind" product other than as an end-user of it? Are you the product's developer, or co-developer? Do you advise or consult with its developer(s)? Are you a beta tester?

I'm sure you see where I'm headed. What, if anything, do you have to do with the product being reviewed here, other than as an end-user of it? If nothing, then fine; and, if nothing, then sorry for my suspicion. But if something, then please disclose it here.


Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA

by Dlira (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 21:17  (76484)

I agree that RoseGarden's words were quite praising, and one might think that he or she is involved with the development of Blumind. On the other hand, this may be RoseGarden's first experience with mind mapping - and in that case I can easily understand the enthusiasm. I choose to believe that RoseGarden honestly is very happy with this program.

by jd1000 (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 6:43  (76416)

Have you looked at Thinking Express. Another portable mindmapping program, more features than Blumind and very small download. You can find it at:

by Aninnymous (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 3:34  (76408)

2nd that emotion.

I made a map of my mind once and ended up lost in Camden, NJ.

by DesElms on 29. July 2011 - 5:34  (76413)

Exactly! That's what I'm talkin' about.

But... you know... Camden? Ouch.

I spent a month in Camden one week. [grin]

(I think we're digressing into mind mapping... no... wait... Camden jokes.)

Gregg DesElms
Napa, California USA

by DesElms on 29. July 2011 - 1:56  (76407)

Maybe I'm too old...

...but I just don't GET the need for mind mapping. Oh, believe me, I understand it. I get how it works and stuff. I just don't, I'm sorry, see the need. Simple as that.

I do, sorta', almost, kinda', maybe, a LITTLE bit (and I stress the word "little") get it if it's folded-in to some other overall task... just one optional piece of it. But, I gotta' say that beyond that... I dunno... it's hard to figure out what all the hoopla's about. Sorry.

At any rate, one freeware (or is it open source... can't remember) tool that has the primary "outliner" function, but which seems to well integrate "mind mapping," for those who insist on it, is MIND RAIDER.

Personally, I think that "tagging" is more useful in an outliner/note-taker... but, hey... this one sports "mind mapping," instead. What can I say.

My not-extensive (but nevertheless sort-of-almost-thorough) research would seem to suggest that this MIND RAIDER program is best-of-breed for what it does. Others can chime-in and say if they agree.

Just tryin' to help.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA

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