Mind mapping is a creative exercise to capture, organize, and structure ideas. It was once done on paper. But there are now tools for entrepreneurs and teams to develop mind maps, brainstorm ideas, and manage the resulting projects.
Here is a list of free brainstorming tools for entrepreneurs and teams. There are simple whiteboards to quickly record and share ideas, as well as larger platforms with extensive project templates, features, and integrations. Most of these tools have free and premium plans.
Scapple is a brainstorming whiteboard that’s like a virtual sheet of paper to scribble notes and connect them using lines or arrows. Write notes anywhere, and connect them using drag-and-drop editing. Stack notes in columns of related ideas, create background shapes to group notes, and then customize the notes’ appearance. Scapple is a simple and inexpensive app to work on your ideas. Price: $18.
Lucidchart is a tool to create project diagrams and flowcharts. Teams work together with real-time co-authoring, in-editor chat, shape-specific comments, and collaborative cursors. Overlay important metrics on existing diagrams through data linking or use auto-visualization to generate organization charts, entity-relationship diagrams, and more. Price: Basic plan is free for up to three documents. Premium plans start at $7.95 per month.
Ayoa is a mind-mapping tool that provides a variety of views. Use a mind map, canvas view, radial map, whiteboard, flowchart, organic map, team view, Kanban-style workflow view, or Gantt chart. Capture ideas on whiteboards, grow those ideas in mind maps, and make them happen on task boards. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $10 per month.
Coggle is an easy-to-use online tool for creating and sharing mind maps and flowcharts. Collaborate with your team in real-time. Drag and drop unlimited notes, add floating text, create loops, and join branches. Create unlimited private diagrams. Pick from a range of shapes to quickly start your flowcharts and process maps. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $5 per month.
Mindomo is a tool to create maps and easily turn them into presentations. Add hyperlink resources, drop files in the map, or upload files directly. Turn any mind map into an outline, collaborative Gantt chart, or even a slide-by-slide presentation. Share mind maps via email or guest link with others. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $5.50 per month.
MindMeister is a mind-mapping tool to capture, develop, and share ideas visually. Work in real-time with your team. Collaborators can quickly comment on topics, vote on ideas, or discuss changes in integrated chat. Easily turn maps into slideshows to embed on a website or broadcast live to collaborators online. After you’ve completed the brainstorming and planning phase, drag and drop your ideas into a connected project, where they are turned into actionable tasks. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $4.99 per month.
Miro is an online whiteboard and platform to create and collaborate. Use pre-built templates or make your own. Utilize sticky notes, freeform pen, shapes, arrows, smart drawing, and more. See collaborators’ cursors to track how they engage with your boards. Embed video, chat, and comments. Share your work directly from the Miro platform. Scale account administration and user permissions company-wide. Streamline your workflow with integrations to Slack, Jira, Google Drive, Sketch, and more. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $8 per month.
ClickUp lets you create freeform mind maps or start building from your existing hierarchy. Customize your workflow with statuses to fit each project. Add Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendars, and more alongside docs, conversations, reminders, spreadsheets, and embeds. ClickUp’s spaces are customizable, with simple, medium, and advanced options — and roughly 1,000 integrations. Price: Basic is free. Advanced is $5 per month.
SmartDraw is an online application for creating professional-looking diagrams and visuals. Add, delete, or move shapes, and your diagram will automatically adjust and maintain its arrangement. SmartDraw includes over 4,500 quick-start templates for 70 diagram types, from flowcharts to floor plans. Integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Google Workspace apps, Atlassian apps, and more. Price: Plans start at $5.95 per month.
Milanote is a brainstorming app that provides a private place to think or a shared space for collaboration. Instantly see your team’s changes, leave comments, and deploy smart alerts. Simple text editing and task management make it easy to add your thoughts. Milanote supports common file types, including JPGs, PDFs, Word, Excel, common design files, and more. Price: Basic is free. Plans start at $9.99 per month.
XMind is a brainstorming tool to develop mind maps and manage ideas. XMind also offers structures such as fishbone chart, matrix, brace map, and organization chart. Start your project in the brainstorming mode. Then use the presentation to share the work. Features include project templates, project clipart, Office and Evernote integration, local network sharing, advanced filtering, audio notes, and project encryption. XMind offers online, mobile, and macOS versions. Price: Online and mobile versions are $59.99 per year. macOS is $129.
MindManager lets you develop a visual mind map to start a project and put your plan in motion. Start with a whiteboard or jumpstart with templates. Create Gantt charts, tree diagrams, workflow diagrams, swim lane diagrams, and more. Use it to assist with the visualization of ideas or for follow-up task and project management. MindManager integrates with Microsoft Office. Price: Plans start at $169 per year.
MindMup is an online application to brainstorm, create presentations, and document outlines with mind maps, and then publish your ideas online. Collaborate in real-time, add images and attach documents, manage project process with icons and priorities, add contextual information, create storyboards, and more. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $2.99 per month.
Bubbl.us is a simple, easy-to-use online app for creating mind maps. Collaborate in real-time, or share your work with a link. Enter one-click, full-screen presentation mode. Create and manage teams with multiple users. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $4.91 per month.
WiseMapping is a free, open-source application for mind mapping. Use it for collaborative planning or individual note-taking. Link with documents, embed mind maps into web pages, or export maps. Use individually or with a group. Price: Free.