Friday, October 24, 2008

FreeMind: a free "mind mapping" or "concept mapping" software

It's very possible that at some point this blog may actually take shape, or morph into something completely different. For now, since it's called "Anything and Everything", that will stay the amorphous blob that is this blog.

In the meantime, that doesn't stop me from exploring what kinds of content may wind up finding its way into here. For instance, while doing double duty on trying to discern any noticeable patterns in my interests and discovering new technologies that could be used for the classroom, I quickly Google'd "free mind map software" and came up with FreeMind, a java-based sourceforge project. It is free, GPL, and is pretty intuitive once you get it going.

There's plenty of keyboard shortcuts to keep the program moving along at a brisk pace, and I could see something like this working well in a technology-centered classroom focusing on writing or any kind of concept development. Also, I only gave it a whirl for a short time, but there looks to be plenty of bells and whistles to make things more colorful, add stamps and icons, prioritize, and more. I liked that the help file itself is actually set up as a concept map as well.

Apparently, there are all sorts of other free and proprietary software packages out there for this purpose, and if FreeMind ever doesn't do the trick, I guess one of these others could be a decent back-up. Here's some screen shots.


  1. I wouldn't go along with the idea that FreeMind can make concept maps - it's firmly wedded to the Buzan 'radiant' model where the structure has to be constrained to what is essentially a re-arranged tree diagram (great for many purposes but not for concept maps). Concept maps also need the ability to describe relationships, not just name nodes.

    But there are several free packages that can make concept maps: CMAP (free for individual and academic use); Compendium; Cayra; IdeaTree; VUE and many more.

    You can see a list of 44 free and paid packages clicking this link to my site

    Vic Gee
    The master list of mind mapping &
    information management software

  2. Vic, I hear you. There are definitely lots of alternatives, but in a pinch, with very little research other than a simple Google search, FreeMind worked for what I needed.

    Thanks for the link to your site and the valuable reviews. Now I can keep that in my pocket, and heck, it gives you a little extra exposure too. In fact, I think I'm going to go post a link to your site elsewhere. Let's see if we can't drive you some traffic.