Mind Mapping with MindNode Pro

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.

The Interface

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’.

Drag

Drag

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.

The Interface

The Interface

Features

The Inspector

The Inspector

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.

Limitations

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:

Studying

Studying

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.

Conclusion

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?


  • Aprozz

    Thank you for the review. I can add one free option to mindmaps it’s called Freemind you can find it here: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

  • alfora

    Don’t forget XMind from http://www.xmind.net/
    Open Source
    Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

  • http://www.supaspoida.com Lar Van Der Jagt

    I like the web app MindMeister (http://www.mindmeister.com), running in a Fluid instance. Use it for brainstorming blog posts. Great for collecting thoughts, but still have trouble making the jump from thoughts to actual posts!

  • http://www.unseenbattle.net John

    Being able to import images should be coming soon.
    See the developers response on his Google group here http://groups.google.com/group/mindnode/browse_thread/thread/18d15bd832a4b6d1?hl=en and his comment in my review of MindNode Pro here http://blog.unseenbattle.net/mindmapping-keeping-yourself-from-becoming-overwhelmed/

    I’m hoping to see the image capability in November.

    • http://www.cuby.co.nr Henry Bennett

      That’s great news! Thanks for sharing John.

      I look forward to the update.

  • CountPollen

    My choice is NovaMind Pro (educational license). It has a good graphics library included (separate downloads).

  • http://davidhemphill.com David Hemphill

    I’ve always used MyMind. It hasn’t seen an update in quite a while, but I still love it. http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11451

  • http://nervecentral.com David

    Another vote for Xmind (xmind.net). Works great, looks good and free!

  • http://borderlineunfriendly.wordpress.com/ Karen

    Currently using the MindNode and I love the way it helps me ease my thinking processes. Will try the other mindmapping apps and see whether it will work better (or at least look better) for me.

  • http://www.rossgardt.de Benedikt

    I think this is the first mindmap app for mac :P

  • http://www.mindnode.com Markus Müller

    Dear Henry.
    Thank you for your nice review of my application. As John mentioned I’m currently working on image support. Getting the iPhone version out the door really slowed MindNode Pro development down, but I hope I give it my full attention after the release of MindNode (touch) 1.1.

    Cheers!

  • Amos Bray

    $14.95 is pricey? Gosh, maybe they should pay us to use it. This never-diminishing trend of people expecting super-cheap or free software has got to stop. I’m not a developer, but I do enjoy supporting developers such as Markus who develop such beautiful software. It’s 15 bucks, less than going out for pizza with your pals. And if you’re going to use the software to even remotely improve your life/work, it pays for itself in about 15 minutes. Pony up.

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      Great comment Amos :-) Some fantastic points made.

    • http://www.cuby.co.nr Henry Bennett

      Yeah I do agree with what you’re saying Amos and I take back what I said. I think it’s always good to compare software to real life things like pizza!

      I love to support small developers and I agree that it is becoming sad how everybody does expect software to be super cheap.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Neil Lee

      Thanks for the review, I have spent more days than I care to think about trying to find a good mind mapping app for my Mac. Read your review and on the strength of this gave MindNode a go.

      It is possibly not as visually appealing as Mindmeister but really I want an app I can run from my Mac rather than rely on the internet. (I know Mindmeister offers offline as well).

      Oh yeah and right now MindNode Pro is half price.

  • http://www.capstonebpo.com Harrison

    Quite a detailed work there ! I prefer my own personal set of notes that I make and convert in usable formats.I don’t think I would be using this thing

  • Pingback: Netzschilder #4 | mac my life

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

    The price isn’t bad people. I’ve been toying with Mind Node, need to determine how often I’ll actually use the free version before considering the pro release. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.homocreativus.es Alejandro Herrera

    De lo mejor que he probado y rápido.
    No sólo para mi sino también los clientes visualizan de forma rápida una Interface compleja. Luego nos da menos problemas a la hora de los cambios para decirle que no, que ya estaba planteado en la fase incial, je ;).

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar/grabado-buril-monogramas.html Martín

    I love to support small developers and I agree that it is becoming sad how everybody does expect software to be super cheap.

  • http://www.diseñadorwebmurcia.com Javier Moreno

    I like it

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow