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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder XMind

Note: This review addresses v3.2 of the software.

Mindmapping is still a bit of a niche activity. It's a way of organizing your thoughts visually, with multiple ideas branching off of one main concept and additional subjects shooting off from your individual ideas. It can be helpful for situations where your thoughts aren't organized enough yet to fit into a hierarchical outline.

You can spend upwards of $350 for mindmapping apps like Mindjet's MindManager. But if all you need is basic mindmapping capability, or you want to check out the idea to see if it'll work for you, XMind's free version is a great alternative.

There are versions of the app for Windows machines, Macs and various distributions of Linux. You can also store your maps on XMind's site with a free membership.

XMind lets you create mindmaps in numerous different templates, like organization charts, flow charts and project management outlines. You can add icons and markers to help you visually identify different parts of your map. And you can insert notes with more detail about a certain point.

The paid version of the XMind software ($49 for a one-year subscription) adds support for detailed task info and Gantt charts, along with the ability to record audio notes and other features.

--Edward N. Albro

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder XMind

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