Review: ConceptDraw Mindmap helps businesses brainstorm, create, and present mind maps

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder ConceptDraw MINDMAP 7

Turning your ideas into a mind map can help make better sense of them, show how they relate, and turn them into actions. If you're just a single user starting to dabble with mind maps, you may benefit from the many free mind-mapping utilities available, such as Blumind. But if you're an old hand at mind-mapping and use it with a team of coworkers or employees, $199 powerhouse ConceptDraw Mindmap can add a few important tools to your arsenal.

The first thing you'll note when installing ConceptDraw Mindmap is that it uses the Ribbon interface, just like recent versions of Microsoft Office. But those are just looks; What's interesting is how ConceptDraw Mindmap connects mind maps with business processes. For example, you can tweet right out of ConceptDraw, and you can directly use a mind map as a presentation.

At first I thought the Twitter feature was a bit gimmicky, but then I came across a template that showed how ConceptDraw Mindmap can be used to plan out a social Twitter campaign for a product or a blog: You brainstorm the campaign and plot it out as a mind map, and then you tweet each node of the mind map when its time comes. This keeps the overall strategy and campaign flow in plain sight, while letting you execute it step by step.

With its Ribbon interface, ConceptDraw MindMap looks like an integral part of Microsoft Office.

ConceptDraw Mindmap's most impressive feature is its presentation mode. It works like this: First, you create your mind map as usual. Then, you switch on the Slide Navigator panel, which pops out under your mind map. Next, you zoom and pan around the mind map, collapsing and expanding nodes in any order that makes sense for presenting the map and explaining it to your audience. On every step along the way, you can take a snapshot of the current view, including the zoom level, the node state, and everything else.

When it's time to give the presentation, just hit F5. ConceptDraw Mindmap will switch to full-screen mode, showing the first slide. Hit Space, and the screen will switch over to the next slide, expanding and collapsing nodes, and zooming in or out as needed. The transitions are not smoothly animated, so it doesn't look as nice as Prezi or Impress.js, but it definitely beats PowerPoint, especially since it is so direct: You don't have to translate your mind map for a presentation.

That said, if you do wish to create a PowerPoint presentation based on your mind map, ConceptDraw Mindmap lets you export the mind map to PowerPoint, either as a text outline or as a sequence of graphical slides. If you choose to export your mind maps as a sequence of slides, each slide will be exported as a simple static image, which means you won't be able to animate it with PowerPoint.

ConceptDraw MindMap includes a special mode for brainstorming, letting you quickly build up a list of ideas for later sorting and processing.

ConceptDraw Mindmap also has project management features: You can mark any node as a task, and then update its status and progress using the map. Other topic (node) types include Milestone, Project, Project Idea, Requirements Document, and more. Nodes can also include hyperlinks, so you can link a node to a project-related document hosted on a corporate intranet, or to a website on the subject.

ConceptDraw Mindmap's powerful interface and steep price tag may prove overwhelming for casual mind-mappers, but it may well be worth the money for teams working on large-scale projects.

Note: The "Try it for free" button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you must register to download the latest version of the software. ConceptDraw Mindmap is part of the ConceptDraw Office Suite.

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At a Glance
  • ConceptDraw Mindmap is a business mind-mapping product that looks just like a part of Microsoft Office.


    • Visually integrated with MS Office
    • Comprehensive features


    • Relatively expensive
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