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Summary:

Mind maps can be very useful for sketching out ideas, visualizing problems and planning. However, a lot of the mind mapping tools we’ve covered here on WWD are quite complex, which can be intimidating for beginners.

Although mind maps can be very useful for sketching out ideas, visualizing problems and planning, a lot of the mind mapping tools we’ve covered here on WWD are quite complex, which can be intimidating for beginners. That’s where Think, a very simple and free mind mapping web app comes in.

You don’t even need to register to use Think, but if you want to save your mind maps (Think calls them “thoughts”) you’ll need to log in using an OpenID account (such as a Google or Yahoo account).

There’s a tutorial to show you how to use it, but it’s all pretty intuitive. Clicking on a node selects it, giving you the options of deleting it, creating a new node or joining it to another one. To edit the text on the node, you double-click it. You can reposition nodes by dragging and dropping them, and delete the connections between nodes by clicking on them. At the top right of the screen you’re given a choice to save the mind map, export it as an image or make it public (which means that anyone can then access it, so you can share your mind map with others — you can make it private again using the same menu option).

Think is very basic indeed; it doesn’t have anything like the range of functionality found in tools like MindManager or MindView, for example — but for quickly sketching out a mind map, or just getting to grips with the concept of mind mapping, it works well.

It’s worth pointing out that although Think looks a bit like a Flash site, it actually doesn’t use Flash at all. It’s built using using HTML5′s Canvas element, which means that it works best in Safari or Chrome (it doesn’t work properly on Mobile Safari, though — it was buggy when I tested it on my iPhone). It doesn’t support IE, and the developer says that there are some bugs when using it with Firefox, although I have to say that I didn’t encounter any when I was playing with it.

What mind mapping tools do you use?

(via Download Squad)

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  1. I love Mind Manager for the features and stability it offers. The next best thing for me in XMind as it is free and still works quite well.

    Roshan

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  2. In no particular order, I use Inspiration, xMind, Sciplore, FreeMind, and Keynote. It all depends on why I’m mind-mapping, like client or process, for example.

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  3. I am a big fan of the open source mind mapping tool named Freemind. Runs on all the platforms, so you can pass files back and forth across the enterprise. Here’s a blog entry I did of how I use it, including how I map out the blog posts I write (though clearly not often enough): http://churchcio.com/from-bubble-graphs-to-mind-maps

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  4. Depends on why, and for whom, I’m building a map. I have MindManager [PC/Pro7; Mac/8, which is harder to use than the PC ver], Personal Brain Pro, Compendium [Check it out!], Cmap Tools, and Vue.
    And as a stone skipping across the Cloud, I play with many ‘Visualization/Infographics’ apps. Start exploring with http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_best_tools_for_visualization.php

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