The 5 Best Free and Open-Source Mind Mapping Software

The process of brainstorming has led companies to do wonders; as it initiates with wild ideas, thoughts and penned down for further working. Every single person tries to discover and explore and gets lost in the world of thoughts, envisioning being successful and valuable in some way. This stream of flowing ideas never stops if one has the passion to succeed and achieve greatness. 

The management in companies and organizations often practice brainstorming and jotting down ideas even by sharing and exchanging with the employees for diversity and change. There exist multiple techniques for brainstorming however, the most known and practical one is mind mapping. The cluster of ideas is jotted around the main topic in an organized and logical way. 

Therefore, companies invest in such mind mapping software as it adds value to its existence and empowers every employee related to the process of mind mapping. Mind mapping software enables individuals, teams, employees with tools to create mind maps of their ideas. It helps to display insights in visuals in a specialized way to understand the workflow of any specific task or project. It benefits businesses and companies in various ways such as it aids them to make the right decisions timely, it assists companies for much effective project management and staying ahead on each step, it guides companies for managing time and for strategic planning, it helps in generating a wholesome presentation as well in a colorful and organized pattern which saves the paper-based mind mapping as it is inappropriate in today's world of business. 

Here at LinuxAPT, we will look into the best free and open-source mind mapping software that empowers and enable users to freely brainstorm and jot down ideas in multiple creative ways whether that be an individual, a teacher explaining a topic to students, or an employee presenting services to its new and existing clients.

Main features of Mind Mapping Software includes:

  • Chart mode: A mind mapping software provides you with multiple formats and templates to make mind maps.
  • Presentation mode: This feature allows mind mappers to visualize their ideas in the presentation form. With customized backgrounds and themes, users can make their ideas more appealing and clear.
  • Export mind map in various formats: This feature allows users to export and download their mind maps in various formats ranging from text files such as PDF, Word, PPT, Excel, HTML to image files such as JPEG, PNG, SVG, etc.
  • In-built templates: Mind mapping software also comes with in-built templates in various formats so that you can directly work on it. It saves your time as you don't have to build your mind map from scratch.
  • Tool library: Most of the mind mapping software has inbuilt libraries with clip art, images, designs, etc. to decorate your mind map. 
  • User Interface: The mind mapping software comes with an interactive, beautiful, and user-friendly interface with a maximum possible distraction-free work screen. 
  • Multiple center points: Mind mapping software allows you to work on multiple center points in a single workspace. 
  • Real-time collaboration with teams: The mind mapping software page can open simultaneously on multiple desktops. You can invite your team members to collaborate on the idea chart at the same time.
  • Mind Map training: Mind mapping software also comes with training modules to provide you complete tricks and strategies to make the best mind maps by utilizing the features optimally. 
  • Map history and revert: The mind mapping software allows users to see the complete history of the mind mapping process and also lets the users revert to a previous change or position. 
  • The mind mapping software comes with tools such as relationship lines (a line showing the relation of one topic with another), label ( a piece of annotation attached to a topic), loop (create a loop and join branches), and many more.

1. Cacoo

Cacoo is a fascinating free and open-source mind mapping software that enables businesses to create flowcharts, sitemaps, mockups, etc. By the vast variety of features incorporated in this software, it helps users or teams to work on project planning or even workflow management.

The amazing features incorporated in this software are as follows Wireframe Creation, Workflow Management, Customizable Templates, Text to Chart, SSL Security, Screen Capture, Presentation Tools, Process Modeling & Designing, Project Management, Project Planning, Project Templates, Project Workflow, Projections, Prototype Creation, Real-Time Notifications, Revision History, Mind Maps, Mobile Interface, Mockup Creation, Multiple User Accounts, Network Diagram, Organizational Charting, Feedback Management, File Management, File Sharing, Flowchart, Freehand Sketch, Data Import/Export, Data Linking, Data Visualization, Desktop Interface, Diagramming, Assignment Management, Auto Update, Collaboration Tools, and the list goes on.

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2. LucidChart

Lucidchart is another open-source mind mapping software that assists teams to work and create diagrams, workflows, organizational charts, wireframes, etc fast and easy.

This open-source software consists of some fascinating features like Gantt/Timeline View, Graphical Data Presentation, Graphical Workflow Editor, Historical Reporting, Image Library, Interactive Elements, Mind Maps, Mobile Interface, Mockup Creation, Multi-Language, Network Diagram, Organizational Charting, Presentation Tools, Process Change Tracking, Process Modeling & Designing, Communication Management, Customizable Templates, Customization, Data Import/Export, Data Linking, Data Visualization, Design Management, Desktop Interface, Diagramming, Document Embedding, Document Management, Access and Controls, many more down the list.

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3. Coggle

Coggle is a powerful mind mapping tool that consists of data visualization for generating flow charts to complex information. It includes various features like drag and drop, flow loops, real-time collaboration, and more.

The super fun features included in this free and open-source software are Charting, Chat/Messaging, Collaboration Tools, Commenting/Notes, Data Import/Export, Flowchart, Idea Ranking, Ideation, Project Planning, Real-time Updates, Single Sign-On, Status Tracking, Synchronous Editing, and the list goes on.

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4. FreeMind

FreeMind is another mind mapping software with a user-friendly interface to help government, education sectors, and other visualize concepts, ideas by using shortcuts as it comprises various fascinating features making it convenient to jot down ideas in creative yet professional ways.

The features included in this software are Synchronous Editing, Project Planning Mind Maps Flowchart Data Import/Export capabilities, Data Storage Management, Multi-user collaboration, full-screen mode presence and supports media files, Graphical Data Presentation, and the list goes on.

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5. Compendium

Compendium is a free and open source mind mapping software that CogNexus developed for making large scale mind map structures. This software supports both individual and group workspace. The latest version of Compendium is 1.7.1.  Right from launching Compendium to completing a mind map, the user interface of this software is easy and interactive. It is available for free under GNU lesser general public license (LGPL). 

Its main Features includes:

  • Create mind maps in collaboration with team members with the option to editing each other's input.
  • Drag and drop documents and websites into a map.
  • Users can  label the connections between concepts to illustrate links.
  • Display links between everyone's ideas in group projects through dialogue maps.
  • Establish a link between idea and information.
  • Create different types of nodes (topic box) by dragging the icon from the toolbar.
  • Overlay a map on top of the image and add graphics and notes.
  • Scribble pad to scribble on the workspace.
  • Add comments, notes, annotations to the nodes.

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This article covers the best free and open-source mind mapping software that enables companies, businesses, the education sector, government sector, to brainstorm and jot down ideas in a logical, professional, and logical way yet in creative style. They include Cacoo, Lucidchart, Coggle, Free Mind and Compendium respectively.

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