It is fairly well known that using mind maps to organize information and solve problems can have a huge benefit on the way we think, learn, and remember. But how many of us actually do it?
MindNode Pro, developed by MindNode, is an application for creating simple and stylish mind maps. You start with an idea or anything you can think of, and from there branch off wherever your mind leads you. MindNode Pro allows you to produce these mind maps quickly and efficiently in a visually appealing style. This review will cover what MindNode Pro is capable of, and how it could benefit you.
Upon opening MindNode Pro, you are presented with a nice blank canvas with a center point. From there, you can give it a name, and then drag the inviting plus sign out to create a new node. Once positioned, it is easy to type away and let the ideas flow from your mind onto the ‘map’.
The interface works smoothly, allowing you to drag nodes around with ease. Even if you have already created a node, and then realised it should really be connected somewhere else, solving this problem is as easy as dragging the node over to it’s new parent node.
MindNode Pro is also packed with a bunch of easy-to-learn shortcuts, and has a stunning presentation of pastel colors which make it visually appealing. At the top of the main window are the fonts, colors, and the Inspector, which gives you access to plenty of customization.
MindNode Pro has a nice abundance of features to boast. Just open up the Inspector window, and you’ll be presented with a good amount of customization. From changing the formatting of text, fonts, and colors, to changing the way the stems look… it’s all there.
Many of MindNode Pro’s best features are harder to find. One very useful feature is the ability to ‘Reorganize’. Once you get going on a mind map, it’s very easy to get carried away and it’s not long before you’ve got a mess. The ‘Reorganize’ feature does a pretty decent job at doing just what the name says… it tidies everything up. There’s also another cool feature called Smart Layout, which keeps things neat and tidy all the time, as you go.
You can easily fold away nodes when you don’t need them by holding the option key and clicking on the little ‘fold’ icon next to each node. Another small feature is the ability to add hyperlinks to websites, folders, or even mail messages. This allows you to link files together, and can create a great place for storing internet research sites.
My one main gripe with MindNode Pro is that it is not possible to add images or sketches to the mind map. I am a very visual person, and so I find it helpful to see things in front of me by simply drawing a simple illustration, rather than writing a word or two. Visuals can also increase the productivity of a mind map.
What I would love to see in a future update is the ability to drag and drop images into MindNode Pro, and even support for sketching in Ink with a tablet and sending to the mind map.
Why Mind Map?
The idea is simple; come up with a main topic you need to mind map and drag out stems to add information. Information should lead to more information, and your stems can grow longer and wider, spreading out as they go.
The brain is wired in such a way that we make links between various items of information, so when we think of something, that makes us think of something else. Mind mapping uses this concept to make remembering and thinking about things so much more effective.
Mind mapping can fulfil a huge variety of different uses, such as remembering large quantities of information like schoolwork. These can lead to a strong recall because rather than writing full sentences, you can achieve it in a few words, linked to more words. Other uses include creative thinking, problem solving, notes, and just organizing your thoughts.
Here is a rough example of how you could use mind mapping in MindNode Pro to take notes or study large quantities of information:
What Else is Out There?
A number of other applications for mind mapping exist for the Mac. Here’s just a few of them:
My Thoughts – A more advanced, free flowing mind mapping application with a huge gallery of built in images.
Curio – A very sophisticated, visual application for Mac which is designed for mind mapping, note taking, brainstorming, and project management.
NovaMind – A entry level mind mapping application with plenty of customization.
MindNode Pro offers a great way of quickly producing stylish mind maps. It has a great set of features and a very intuitive interface so it’s a shame that it’s missing image support. At $14.95, it may seem a little pricy but the long term benefits of using MindNode Pro are substantial. There is also a free version, MindNode, which is the same with a few features left out.
Let us know what you use for mind mapping and how you use it; MindNode, another application, or do you like the good old pen and paper technique?