Origins of mind mapping software

Wallace Tait (@visualmapper) of the Visualmapper blog put a question to the Twittersphere “What was the first commercially-available mind mapping software?”  I responded that I had thought that Mind Man (now MindManager) was first but that someone corrected me when I wrote that once before, but could not remember the correction.

Nick Duffill (@NickDuffill) of Power Markers fame, stepped up with information about Mind Maps Plus and later a zip file for its demo package, which seems to establish that as first – it was probably  Nick who corrected me last time.   There are some very early ones on Mind-Mapping.Org, but I don’t have “first released” dates for many.  One, CMAP 2.0 for Mac, even has a gopher address, so perhaps there are earlier ones.

After some more web research, including visits to, what follows seems to be the history of early mappers.

Mind Maps Plus: May 1991
Source: On a floppy disk held by Nick Duffill the earliest file is Metashel.exe 22 May 1991

Visimap (formerly Infomap): April 1993
Source: This web page, showing 08 April 1993 on the executable.

EGLE Mind mapper April 1994
Source:  The Install file I have is dated 22 April 1994

Mind Man version 1.1e released in July 1994
Source: Page 66 of  this: from Google books.

If anyone has a good source for anything in the 1991-94 period or earlier, please let me know using the “Send us an Email” link in the right hand column.


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Mind-Mapping.Org has a list of historic mind mapping applications some available but not supported, some no longer available.  That’s just a publisher/product name list, but full detail of these historic apps is also available.