Mindnode: Mind Mapping Made Manageable

I’ve found mind-mapping apps such as MindManager and MindView to be a little clunky and over-engineered. Sometimes, you literally want to sketch some thoughts quickly, with little concern for presentation or correctness.

As luck would have it, I recently came across Markus Müller’s Mindnode, a deliciously simple mind-mapping tool that’s designed specifically for Macs. The free edition of the product does nothing more complex than allow maps to be constructed fluidly and quickly. There are no special notations or symbols, just click and drag to add and place nodes, and watch as MindNode colors them automatically, creating a simple, easy-to-comprehend diagram.

The app also offers some useful integration with the underlying operating system. It uses OS X’s Spotlight search to enable the contents of a mindmap to be indexed, and you can also use Quick Look for visual previews.

Mindnode allows maps to be saved in a whole bunch of graphics formats (TIF, PNG, etc) as well as in its own native format and, more interestingly, as OPML and HTML documents. This implies that the resulting maps can be imported into other packages for further — perhaps automated — manipulation and even CSS styling.

Mindnode isn’t feature-rich; it has just enough features to fulfill its purpose elegantly. Even the Pro edition (just $15!), adds only a handful of useful additional features.

There’s a place for the higher-end applications and services that we’ve covered previously, but it’s reassuring to know that simpler options exist. My only bugbear with Mindnode is the lack of a Windows or web edition. Come to think of it, it’d make a great iPhone app!

Be sure to check out Aliza’s post, Mapping Your Work Madness, which contains some great mind-mapping tips.

What mind mapping tools do you use?