Two Excellent Free Mind Map Programs

I've always been a fan of a business graphics package called Smartdraw (  It's an easy way to do mind maps, org charts, calendars, room plans, flyers, web pages, and just about every other type of graphic you can imagine.  However, at almost US$300 it's not cheap.

Edraw ( is cheaper, at around US$100, and works in a similar way. 

A great bargain, however, is that the Mind Map component of Edraw is also available completely free.  Just go to and download it.  It's an 11 MB download, and runs under Windows XP and above. 

Edraw Mind Map


It should be pointed out that Edraw's Mind Map application is not a classic mind mapping outliner, but more of a general-purpose drawing program that includes a collection of icons (bubbles, lines, buttons etc) relevant to creating mind maps.  So although you can create some great-looking images, it does take time to drag each individual item to the correct place on the page.

If you're after a classic mind map application, ie an outliner that automatically creates a mind map based on the text you type in, have a look at Freemind.  This is still my favourite of all the free mind mapping programs.



Freemind is a smaller download (versions start at 4 MB) than the Edraw offering, though it does require Java.  This gives it the advantage of running in Windows, Mac and Linux, so if you're a non-Windows user it's definitely worth a look. Try it yourself at


Thanks to user Robert C for recommending Edraw's Mind Mapping freeware.  If you have a Hot Find that you want to tell me about, see for details on how to do so.


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by Angel.Pameela on 25. July 2013 - 9:47  (109594)

benefits of creative thinking mind maps Understanding how the technique helps link teaching with learning, enabling students to “learn how to learn”

by windyctyprog on 15. January 2013 - 15:52  (104493)

With the Java issues as of late - I uninstalled Java for the time being both on my desktop and in my browser - I need an alternative Mind Mapping program.

I have been using XMind for years - I need to find an alternative that is not written in Java and that can read the XMind files I have.

Is there such an animal out there?

Thanks, in advance...

by Panzer on 7. November 2012 - 9:06  (101983)
by Wickyd (not verified) on 16. September 2010 - 15:04  (57939)

Xmind 3.2 has just been released.

The best freeware mind mapping tool just got better.

Check it out.

by Anonymous on 10. June 2010 - 7:22  (51808)

Dear r.schifreen

Please do a review of XMind:

I find XMind to be a much more complete mind mapping program than either of your suggestions.

Frankly, I am amazed that it isn't even mentioned on this website.

XMind is open-source, cross platform and available in a portable package.

XMind is not dependent on Java, which I find to be a decided advantage over Freemind and Freeplane.

XMing portable is a 72MB download. While it is large, it works and is stable in my experience.

Do yourself a favour and review XMind.

Thank you.

by Carol M (not verified) on 4. July 2010 - 14:17  (53737)

I totally agree with you. I've been using it for about a year and a half now and i am really pleased with it.

by Anonymous on 10. June 2010 - 7:35  (51810)

Correction to my last comment.

Xmind does rely on Java.

They bundle the JRE inside the portable folder.

At least you don't need to install Java, which is a definite bonus.

All other points stand, XMind is the best freeware solution in my experience.

by Anonymous on 10. June 2010 - 0:42  (51784)

you should also check mindmeister -

it's a free cloud solution for creating mindmaps and sharing them with friends or colleagues.. It's very intuitive, and it can read and export maps from and to freemind .mm format

Free version is limited to a maximum number of 3 different mindmaps being stored at the same time in your account. More than enough for casual or home user!

by Anonymous on 7. June 2010 - 18:41  (51571)

Freeplane - freemind fork.
I am liking the look and feel of this right away. I am a regular freemind user. Commands are similar so far... nice - check it out and see what you think.

by Anonymous on 8. June 2010 - 2:03  (51597)

Freeplane actually seems like an improvement and appears to be far easier to use than Freemind. I think I'll keep Freeplane.

by Anonymous on 1. June 2010 - 20:29  (50838)

Check also VUE - Visual Understaning Environment. at

by Anonymous on 31. May 2010 - 8:46  (50692)

XMIND is far better than freemind

by Anonymous on 28. May 2010 - 9:47  (50492)

Thanks for these tips, Robert. I'm sure to use up at least 3 days solid playing with these two options. Some folks play pac man or some other deal, I mindmap. Hey, if you got of lot of it, mapping is serious business, right?


by ChronicChaos on 30. May 2010 - 23:27  (50650)

You're welcome. Make sure you right click on get a lot of customizing options. ;)
~Robert C.~ - A.K.A. ChronicChaos

by Anonymous on 27. May 2010 - 9:45  (50437)

See "Questions about Edraw"

5 antivirus programs are warning about Edraw Max and Edraw Mindmap.

I wrote to them about this more than two weeks ago, but they didn't reply.

I agree about FreeMind, and you might like to look at Xmind as well.

The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

by robert.schifreen on 27. May 2010 - 12:29  (50452)

As the poster says, he's familiar with false positives. This is a promotional item for a commercial product, so it seems highly unlikely to me that they would be distributing a virus with it. For what it's worth, I tested it thoroughly with the AV product I use (Sophos) and it seems just fine.


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