Software for mindmapping and information organization

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Basic introduction to mindmapping

I didn't see why this shouldn't work all the year round. No need to wait for the New Year - here it is.

For Greater Success in the New Year Try the Miracle of Mind Mapping

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Mind maps are tools that help us think and remember better, creatively solve problems and take action. The mind map encourages creativity and flexibility, and you need these to make your resolutions happen! Mind maps help you think outside the box.

If you’ve already made your list, try turning it into a mind map. If you haven’t made your list yet, try this strategy.


They help you avoid thinking linearly They open you up to creativity and new ways of thinking They’re more realistic, because most things aren’t orderly to begin with They help you get the big picture They naturally hook into your right brain, where creativity and intuition can help you

Not all ideas organize themselves tidily into an outline format, and linear thinking is limiting.


Using an unlined piece of paper, work quickly without pausing, judging or editing. If you pause, judge or edit, you’re encouraging linear thinking and analysis-paralysis and the idea that things have to be perfect before you can begin. The idea behind the mind map is to think creatively in a non-linear manner.

Using the unlined piece of paper, start with your resolution, the central idea, in the middle. Write it down in the center, and then think up new ideas, action points and strategies that relate to it and can make it happen. Let these radiate out from the central idea. Focus on the key ideas, using your own words, and then look for branches. Using this visual method helps you understand and remember better, be open to possibilities, and avoid the restrictions of an outline or list format.

Later on you can modify the information, but first just get every possibility into the mind map. Once you’ve got the central idea down in the middle, use lines, colors, arrows, or branches to complete the idea. You’ll see how freeing it is not to have to worry about the “order” they’re in.

After all, when you’re working on a resolution, you’ll most likely be working on several things at the same time. The mind map helps you avoid that paralyzing thought of where to begin. Begin anywhere; the point is to begin.

Turn your piece of paper landscape style. This gives you the maximum amount of room to work with. Leave lots of space so you can go back and add to them. You may want to highlight something, add information or questions later on.


You can start with a central idea such as “Personal Development.” Radiating out from this circle in the center could be “Hire A Coach,” “Take College Course,” “ Learn Neuro-linguistic Programming,” and “Study Great Art.”

Then you can take another piece of paper and put one of these peripheral ideas as the central point and make another mind map. For example, radiating out form “Learn Neuro-linguistic Programming” would be “Hire a coach,” “Visit Websites,” “Read Books,” and “Actively Practice.”

See how it works?

And “see” is the central point. Make your mind map with illustrations or pictures for maximum impact. For instance if your want to increase your profits by 15% this year, put a graph on there, showing a 15% increase.

If you want to return to your ideal weight, put in a picture of you when you were at your ideal weight or some other inspiring, positive and motivational picture.


Ed Borasky, of Borasky Research, is a coach who works with neuro-linguistic programming and mind mapping. He’s seen the results with clients, and is so convinced of the results, he’s set up his website like a mind map. Want to see what mind mapping looks like? Go here:

Ed uses mind mapping for taking notes in meetings, documenting software, designing Neuro-Semantics training manuals and in managing his coaching processes. Ed says, “Since I started using mind mapping, my productivity has nearly doubled!” He now coaches others on how to use this process.

I use it myself and have had great results. Most recently I was thrown a curve – I was supposed to give a presentation, and two days before, the topic was changed to something I’d never spoken on before. I wanted it to be interactive, playing off comments from the seminar participants, and, if you’ve even done this, you know it doesn’t organize itself linearly. Drawing a mind map was the perfect solution. I put the topic “Stress Management” in the center, and then the points to be covered radiating out like spokes from a wheel: “Causes,” “Remedies,” “Latest Research Findings,” “Attentional Deficit Bandwidth,” etc. This let me see what I wanted to cover, without having to control the way it was presented, or in what order. Then I could start out the seminar not by a lecture, adhering to a strict outline, but by asking participants what they had come to learn, and moving forward from there, keeping in mind the major points I wanted to make. This avoided the constraints of an outline, which isn’t helpful in an interactive presentation.

I’d been deliberating for hours about the presentation, and I did the mind map in 5 minutes.

You’ll find if you can’t seem to get something organized in your mind, it probably needs the mind map formula, and you’ll probably agree with me and Ed Borasky – you’ll wonder how you go along without it.

Give it a try to get yourself organized for the New Year and increase your profitability. After all, the point is to ‘get’ the ideas and then take action, not to spend hours outlining and making an unhelpful list you do nothing about. There’s something about the mind map that’s energizing.

For greater profitability and success, learn more about mind mapping and NLP from Coach Ed Borasky. To subscribe to his free ezine, “Borasky Research Journal,”

About the Author

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, GLOBAL EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life - career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! - excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines. For marketing services go here:

Written by: Susan Dunn

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It's good to see fewer assumptions about what readers might know about mindmaps. By the way, the link doesn't show any mind maps any more.

perusek at alltel dot net 2007-01-06 21:39:35
It is apparent Mind Map people do not recognize history. The British in the late 1960's and the New jersey Department of Education's Ford Foundation funded Technology for Children Program-Statewide were initiating and developing "IDEA SUNBURSTING" statewide with thousands of teachers 1968 onward. Look at your own references and you find dates ater the New Jesey work but notat all acknowledging this or the earlier British work. If you intend to be professional and authoritative, accept and recognize your predessors and your history.

"Mind Mapping" is a copy of"Idea Sunbursting" NJDE, T4C 1968- but actually does not offer the extensions for all educators to use to advance this methodology for organzing thinking and work actions and recording of work as was created with the Technology for Children Program work initiative.

Copyright Law was done to protect Intellectual Property just as Patent Law

Dr.Wes Perusek, Director, OSGC(NASA) Invention Innovation Centers Project
Advisor, Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies
Distinguished Alumni, College of Technology, Kent
State University
Former Associate State Director, New Jersey Department of Education
Technology for Children Program-Statewide
Initiator,New Jersey MIIT Program-Statewide
6165 Creekside Lane
North Ridgeville, Ohio 44039

Printed, copyright documents are evidence of the avove data.
vic at mind-mapping dot org 2007-04-03 22:57:36
I wrote to this guy asking for more information because I'd like to have all the history here. Twice in fact. He did not reply.

There are no references to "Idea Sunbursting" on the web, according to Google, Yahoo and MSN - well, there are now, but they are my references.

If anyone can provide more information so that we can "recognize history" I'd be only too pleased.

Ed Borasky 2007-04-13 21:50:32
I have rebuilt the site quite a few times since that article was written. It was done using MindManager 2002. When Mindjet upgraded to X5, they discontinued a lot of the magic that made that site work. I was forced to either

a) get heavily involved in HTML templates/editing/CSS and other geeky stuff, or
b) stay with MindManager 2002, or
c) abandon the thought of the site as a mind map.

I chose c. Since then, I have redone the site again and it is now a Moodle site. I expect it to remain Moodle more or less forever. Moodle is open source, very flexible and easy to manage. I still use MindManager (X6 now) but I don't have the ergs to manage a MindManager-created web site any more.

Ed Borasky, 2007 April 13

P.S.: Moodle is at :)
Omar at comapping dot com 2007-05-17 10:50:36
Tradtional mind maps have always been around a central topic. However, reading patterns has already dictated a very significant limitation to how free form mind maps can be made. Only few mind maps typically break the rule of writing all text horizontally (i.e. in parallel). It would not be efficient if it was not. Our studies have shown [A citation or at least more detail are needed I think, if you're going to make claims that go against the general trend in mind mapping - Vic] that left to right mind mapping style is more efficient especially on computers where screen limitations play an important factor. Two factors are probably important: The practicalities of using the traditional blackboard that had these very wide formats and a hypothesis that organizing the mind map that way would give a visual representation of the map. However, computer mind mapping differs from that in a number of ways:

1) The map is automatically relayouted when new topics are added, so the topic that was at 9'o'clock yesterday may now be at 6.30. Some mind map developers have made a number of small experiments where they have asked trained mind mappers to try to recall the topography of a mind map structured to the right compared to traditional maps. With stable maps (i.e. maps that were not continuously developed either by the subject himself or by others) and maps written on paper, location could be reproduced, but the topographical memory with unstable maps was poor beyond upper/lower information.

2) Writing maps on a blackboard or a piece of paper is traditionally used as process tool - and the product is discarded later. What some developers have targeted with the computer applications is to use mind maps not only as a part of a writing or analyses process, but rather to help organizing knowledge continuously and giving a time-efficient tool to keep the overview. That changes the lifetime of a map and it implies that the layout may change. Therefore relying on people remembering the physical layout may not be beneficially.

One of the claims has been that mind mapping on a computer would become more efficient, if you sacrifice the ability to map around a central topic. We have focussed and are advocating left to right mind mappaing. To see an example and the benefits of left to right comapping on on computers please goto
vic at mind-mapping dot org 2007-05-18 11:41:18
Omar, I find it difficult to agree with your characterizations of computer-based mind mapping, and the conclusions you reach as a result.

One of the reasons for the central node and so-called "radiant" design is precisely to get away from the left to right, top to bottom rigidity of reading (with the latin alphabet, anyway), isn't it?

And there are mind map software packages that allow free layout: The first thing I do in MindManager when starting a new mind map is switch off AutoLayout. I like to decide where things go myself and the ability to move them round helps me indicate associations that I can later explore and perhaps change or strengthen with a curved line.

I agree with your point 2) that completed computer-based mind maps are often the basis for organizing information now - I think it's something that is not sufficiently recognized by many software developers. I've been doing that in consulting projects for years, and have no trouble finding things, because MindManager lets me control the layout. So do other packages.

[Readers can see a summary of details of Comapping, by going to and enter comapping in the search box at the top right - Vic]
Omar 2007-05-23 15:50:24
Dear Vic,

I agree that when one speaks about free form mind mapping especially for initial brainstorming that the radiant design is the best. Also that the original form of mind mapping was made for traditional off line usage where one would make a quick mind map on the white board to start a brainstorming sessions. In most casses one would then throw the mind maps away and then that was it.

Computer mind mapping is different in that you go back and revisit it many times. On top there is the limitations of the screen. In a complex map one spends a lot of time scrolling up and down and right and left. What I like about left to right mind mapping is that it that it provides a more structure overview especially given that I plan to work on that mind map a number of times.

But I do agree that it is also a matter of taste. A more structured form of mind mapping is a compromise between simple linear thinking (word documents) and free form brainstorming. I just find that when collaborating online it is better for me to work on a more structured form of mind mapping vs free form where I have to scroll up and down and spend more time to get an overview of the semantic structure (especially if I did not make the map).

I also noticed that is easier for people who don't have a clue of mind mapping to work on a more structured form. But I again I think it is highly dependent on taste as well as the purpose one it using it for.

Thanks for your observations.

Best regards

fiona-ian at xtra dot co dot nz 2007-11-15 21:40:37
I went to to find information on mind mapping as suggested in your article but alas there was nothing there. Is there some hidden way into the site that I should be aware of?
vic at mind-mapping dot org 2007-11-16 01:49:56

Please see the third comment, it's from Ed Borasky. But no, you didn't miss it last time. I had an email from him telling me about this, and I had added it to my site, but forgot to enable it before, so you were not able to see it. My apologies.

George 2008-09-28 02:23:21
it is really helpful to me
dianira_dir at yahoo dot com 2008-10-14 20:45:50
thank you ! Your map helps me to learn more about a lot of ideas.
padi3673 at yahoo dot com 2009-04-25 07:16:32
I am a Junior High School teacher in Indonesia. I found Mindmapping is really helpful for my students. Can you send some more ideas about mindmapping and its kind to me. Thank you.
vic at mind-mapping dot org 2009-04-26 09:41:02
Hi Padi,

There are many sources of information on mind mapping. I can't name a single better one than the mind mapping wiki, which has many articles. Here are some that you will find useful, I'm sure:
Making a mind map
Making a concept map
Types of maps
Visual thinking guides
The choice between concept maps and mind maps
Mind mapping wiki: List of contents

Although you asked about mind maps, I recommend looking at other types as well. The one on visual thinking guides offers especially useful ideas for teaching at Junior High School level, I believe.

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