DropMind revisited

DropMind is by now well-established in the mainstream of mind mapping software but I haven’t looked at it for more than a couple of years, and there have been some changes, so I took another look.

I reviewed the PC version. DropMind also has versions for the Mac, for iOS, and an online web version.

DropMind is a capable mapping tool with the expected functionality such as a wide range of attachments to nodes (links, files, images, icons, spreadsheet and date), project management aides, like task data, at-risk and past-due warnings, resources and dependencies as well as Gantt charts.

DropMind ss 600

 Somewhat unusually, it has custom properties, so you can add to the standard items for task data if you have special requirements in project control.



It has import integration with MS Project, Outlook, Word and Excel, and can also export to those, as well as PowerPoint, PDF, RTF (as an outline document) and to images. The spreadsheet supports only a grid of cells containing text. It can also export to a single-page HTML file. You don’t have to use PowerPoint for presentation, as DropMind can present each main branch in a slideshow.


Its default appearance is rather dry, but clean enough in design. The colours and shapes of most of the other built-in map styles probably mean you’ll want to stick with the default or design your own. The colour combinations are wild and some are hard to read.  Here’s the kind of style I would never use out of sympathy for my readers, one called ‘Picnic’:


In common with many mapping programs, DropMind decides where map branches will go. You can move main topics to change the order around the one in the centre, but other than that, you cannot adjust the position to make better use of the space, based on the shape and content of the branches. I find this rigidity frustrating in all mapping software that thinks it knows best, not just DropMind.


Usefully, DropMind can import Mindjet, Xmind and FreeMind files. It can also export to Mindjet and FreeMind, but not to an Xmind file. Although it has import and export menus, you have to use the Open and Save As menus to do this.  (I found a couple of bugs that DropMind Support were able to reproduce and are looking into: If you open an Xmind file and save it as Mindjet, it turns out that MindManager 2012 cannot open it. And some Xmind files cannot be opened at all.)

The carry over of layout between DropMind and these three mapping products is quite good, where equivalent functions exist.  The retention of appearance with interchange of a map between MindManager 2012 and DropMind is very good – both on import and export. With FreeMind, not everything is ported, for example, attributes in FreeMind are equivalent to custom properties in DropMind, but they are not carried over during conversion in either direction. Nor are embedded images. Xmind maps lose much of their original appearance when imported – colours are mostly lost, for example – but the main structure and attachments are carried over on import.


Desktop DropMind has a powerful built in search function. With this you can search through: The topic text; notes; attachments name; by word and phrase; and find topics that do not include the search target. This handily beats the search capabilities of MindManager, FreeMind and Xmind.

The DropMind Gallery at their website has over 200 maps and templates for frequently-used tasks and is worth looking through.  Their site is here.


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