Creately takes to the Air

On-line diagramming service Creatley has just released a desktop application running in Adobe Air that mirrors the functions of its browser-based tool.

Creately is primarily a diagramming tool but is capable of drawing mind maps, as you can see here.

Creately is one of VicsPicks.


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The latest on Edraw

For three months, I had a post on this blog’s front page: “Questions about Edraw”.  Now, I’m really pleased to say that the questions have been resolved and I am able to remove that post.  The background to that post is at the end of this, if you’re interested.

The publishers have released Edraw Max V5.3 and Edraw Mind Map V4.6 and the warning messages I reported before no longer appear.

Edraw Mind Map is a very capable, professional-looking application and is free.  It makes more than just mind maps.  With it, you can produce glossy-looking bubble charts, block 2D diagrams, 3D diagrams and use its smart-looking collection of clipart.  There is dynamic help on the right-hand side of the main window, which is a nice touch, but anyone familiar with Visio will rarely need that.

(you can click on this to see a larger image)

This is not a dedicated mind map application.  It is more of a general purpose diagrammer, but does include tools that are mind map specific.

I would use it if I wanted a mind map or other diagram with strong visual impact without too much work.

To download a copy, go to this page.  When you get there, don’t click the big Download button unless you want Edraw Max, which is not free.  Instead click on the link “Edraw Mind Map English Version (freeware)” which is a few lines below the download button.

Have an Edraw product already?  Check your version

If you are already using one of these packages, it would be a really good idea to make sure you have the latest version.  You can check as follows:

For Edraw Max:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\Edraw Max
  2. Right-click on Edraw.exe and select Properties
  3. Select to Version tab and ensure the File version at the top is or greater

For Edraw Mind Map:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\Edraw Mind Map
  2. Right-click on Edraw.exe and select Properties
  3. Select to Version tab and ensure the File version at the top is or greater

Edraw Mind Map is worth a look, and as it’s free, it’s a good idea to have it available on your PC (there’s no Mac version).  Edraw have a range of visual tools, for making flowcharts, UML diagrams, network diagrams and others.


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The detailed background to the earlier question, if you want it:

A component of earlier versions of both Edraw Max and Edraw MindMap called ssloader.e32 was consistently flagged by five different A-V engines as having a Trojan/Keylogger embedded. Ssloaders.e32 was a 3rd-party library used in Edraw for the slide show function.

When the new versions were released I verified that ssloader.e32 was no longer included, and checked all components of Edraw MindMap at  The 42 A-V programs used there found no issue with any component.


Is that the first Cacoo of summer, I hear?

Cacoo … cacoo.  This web app has finally made its way into Mind-Mapping.Org.


Cacoo is a neat browser-based diagrammer and it’s free (for now).  It has 13 stencil sets with useful images and shapes covering basic shapes, balloons, arrows, office equipment, sitemap symbols, network components, flowchart symbols, office layout, people, smileys, an intiguing freehand wireframe, regular wireframe and UML symbols. (Click image below for a full-sized view)

Three significant things that make this product particularly useful are:
  • Diagrams produced can be embedded in web pages, and remain linked to the original at, so your readers will see them updated whenever you or your collaborators  make and save changes;
  • diagrams can be worked on by several people simultaneously;
  • each version made is retained, so you can go back through time and see the development of the diagram; You can also undo, right back to the beginning.

This is what it looks like when embedded in a page: Cacoo-embedded.  I tried to embed it here in the post, but WordPress would not show it and deleted the HTML on each save.  There’s probably a technique for embedding iframes in WordPress but I don’t know it.

It’s not immediately obvious how to generate the embedded code, so let me tell you what I found:

  1. After doing any work on the diagram, save it.  If you don’t it will not be lost, but the link generated will point to an earlier version.
  2. Click Save again, ensure “Open diagram to public by URL” is checked. Click Copy button beside the URL given.
  3. Paste that URL to your browser’s address bar and press Enter.
  4. Click “Link” button (top right)
  5. Copy the code in the “HTML to embed the image and paste the site” box

Otherwise, this is easy to use, and though nowhere near as powerful as Visio and its ilk, while it remains free it’s one to keep in mind for collaborative work.


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DIY Chart and TreeGX

I have just added an online chart maker and a mind map building component for developers to

DIY Chart

DIY (Do it yourself) Chart is a web-based tool that lets users make charts from static or dynamic data.  It operates on-line and responds dynamically to changes in the data, without a need to reload the web page.  These are just a few of the chart-styles available:

The charts/graphs can be generated using any scripting language.   And you can embed charts in web pages much as you do with YouTube videos  – by just pasting in HTML code.


TreeGX is a WinForms component for VS.NET developers to embed in their products, when they want to represent tree or outline-format phrases in a mind map or bubble diagram format.  It is not a stand-alone product.

The web site says “Visualize decision trees, create mind maps and more”.


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WebSequenceDiagrams and Scribblar

These are two new web-based applications I’ve found recently and just added to

Web Sequence Diagrams

If you use UML Sequence Diagrams, this very easy to use browser-based application makes it really easy to make a diagram from plain text.  You can download the diagram, or share a link to it, and even share a link to the page from which the diagram was made.  There, others can modify your text to amend the diagram, so it supports collaborative development of sequence diagrams, though access would have to be sequential, not simultaneous.

So, I made an example:

Here’s the text that made that:

note right of OrderTakingOnline: adds prices, calculates invoice amount
note right of SalesDept: verifies stock, Customer status
note right of SalesDept:Sends to Accounts
note right of FulfilmentDept:Requisitions Goods
note left of Stores:Issue Goods
note left of Billing: Raise Invoice/Packing List
Billing-->FulfilmentDept:Invoice/Packing List
FulfilmentDept->Customer:Goods/Invoice/Packing List
note left of FulfilmentDept:Dispatch Shipment
note right of Customer:(continues with payment, etc.)

Here’s the page for that and here’s the link to the image above at the site.

You could even use it for a rather limited form of swim-lane diagram


This collaborative whiteboard application supports real-time, multi-user access not only allowing sharing and development of diagrams together, but also image up- and download, text chat and live audio.

Scribblar is free unless you want to have it on your own web site.


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SimpleDiagrams [updated]

New at the Master List: SimpleDiagrams.

SimpleDiagrams There’s a plethora of diagramming apps – web-based and desktop – I have a couple more waiting to be added.  But SimpleDiagrams is different.  It aims for a neat but definitely hand-drawn look.  It’s written with Adobe Air, so is platform independent, and is a desktop application, unlike most of the newer diagramming apps I’ve seen.  It’s in the early stages of development, and worth keeping an eye on.  Reminds me of the drawings in Dan Roam’s “The Back of the Napkin”.

Finally, I’m playing with‘s MashTabs.  It allows web searching with visual results that you can drag into a sheet and organize by clustering.  Interesting but held back by the fact that to get something onto the page you have to find it with the Middlespot search engine, and the fact that you can’t draw or write on the same sheet (AFAIK).  It does allow clustering, which is good, but I’d like to be able to send a web page, that I found by other means, straight to a MashTab, not have to search for something I already have in a browser.

[updated: 1/1/10] Middlespot tweeted back to me that their tools page has a tool for adding to MashTabs outside the interface.  It works with Firefox, Chrome or Safari.  Doesn’t help me, as I mostly use IE8 but maybe that will be supported later. [/update]

MashTabs can be shared.

More soon.  I was lazy over the holidays and need to catch up.

Vic            (@VicGee on Twitter)
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


Update: Vunotes used to be here but has disappeared.


Creately, CUECards, MindDecider, SpicyNodes and Inflow

I’ve done separate posts about two recent findings over the last couple of days: Diagramic and the filling in of a historical entry.  Time now for the remaining new items in


Creatley is a nice on-line diagram-drawing software with mind mapping as one of the type of diagrams supported.  It has a free version, and a Plus version with a rather special subscription scheme: Pay what you think it’s worth, provided you spare at least US$1/month!  Creately can make Flowcharts, Network Diagrams, Organizational Charts, UML Diagrams, Sitemaps, SWOT templates, Wireframes, UI Mockups as well as mind maps.



CUECards is a hierarchical information store based on a ‘card’ metaphor – something of an outliner.



MindDecider incorporates a form of mind mapping and uses it as a framework for information gathering, analysis and calculation that leads to decision support.



I’ve seen SpicyNodes described as mind mapping software.  It really is not, unless you’re prepared to build a web site for each mind map you make.  But it does use the hierarchical mind mapping style for connections between nodes. 

Spicy nodes is a new approach to web site navigation.  It would be interesting to see mind mapping software that could export the code needed to build a SpicyNodes web



Inflow is social and organisational network analysis software with many ways of displaying relationships.  It appears to be aimed at enterprises rather than individuals.


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The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


Cohere, Headspace, iThoughts, Jambalaya, Lovely Charts, ThinkDigits, TPAssist, Webspiration

It’s been a month since the last update to, and the list of items to add has built up more sharply than usual so I decided it was time to clear the decks.  Apart from anything else, iPhone is keeping mindmappers busy with low-cost software to play with and there’s a new and imaginative application appearing every few days it seems.

Cohere is a browser based collaborative visual thinking tool that allows many users to develop discussions and arguments on line and has more than a hint of concept maps about it.

This iPhone application occupies the space partway between a 3D outliner and a mind mapper.

This is an impressive attempt to bring mind mapping to the screen of the iPhone.  

I have successfully imported large FreeMind maps to iThoughts.  With such a tiny screen, a large map is hard to make use of, but that can’t be blamed on iThoughts.

Jambalaya is a plug-in for Protégé that allows domain experts to building knowledge-based systems to visualize ontologies.

Lovely Charts
A free basic diagrammer that works in your browser and has subscription-based collaboration options.

This is a fascinating fusion of information mapping and calculation.  Numbers in a calculator are normally pure abstraction, and this gives them real world context.  True creativity.

TPassist is an add on for MindManager aimed at enhancing time, task and project management using mind maps.

This web based version of Inspiration is now in public Beta, and free for now.

To see all the latest additions, just follow this link to additions to since 14th February 2009.

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


Seen this mind mapping software? Aspire, Instaviz, Treeviz, Dabbleboard, Checkvist

Five visual mapping tools have just been added to


Not so much a mind mapping application as a visual way of expressing your goals, Aspire looks like a flexible new approach.  I’m hoping to get some better screenshots for the author.  There are videos at the Aspire site.


Another iPhone application to join the happy band of those supporting visual thinkers.  I make it six seven at present – iBluesky, Mindmaker, Zeptopad, Instaviz [and iThoughts], plus – via Safari – Ideatree, and Loosestich.  [Updated 22 Jan 09 – thanks Karen] Any hints for more?  This one, unlike Zepropad, tidies up your finger-drawn lines for you.


An open source, Java application for displaying all sorts of fascinatingly-named visual maps: Hyperbolic trees, circular treemaps, rectangular treemaps, sunburst trees, icicle trees, sunray trees and iceray trees.


A free browser-based whiteboard application.


Another free to-do-list-come-outliner web application.


The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


DrawAnywhere, LexiMancer, Visual Paradigm and the LexIcon Graphic Organizers

There are four additions to the mind-mapping software database at this week:  An on-line diagram drawing service, a text analyzer that produces visualizations of the relationships of terms in a document, a software modelling tool that now has a mind-mapping capability, and an educational graphic organizers site.


A free on-line diagramming application.



A tool for analyzing text and presenting its content in visual form based on word usage.


Visual Paradigm

A UML modelling tool for software analysis and design, which had a mind-mapping function added at the beginning of 2008.


LexIcon Graphic Organizers

This site houses a large variety of graphic organizers that can be used on-line by schools and students to practise thinking skills, and can be shared with others.


If you know of any graphically-based tools for organizing information that don’t yet appear in do leave a comment here, or email me.  My email is vic at this domain.