Mind-mapping is a useful way of organizing complex ideas or topics which have ramifications that are too large to cover during a beer evening. These structures were being drawn on chalkboard traditionally, but we are much more advanced today aren't we? While FreeMind is not one of those fancy looking mobile mind mapping apps, it being a desktop app allows for a more in depth and meaningful customization.
Developing a mind map in FreeMind is exceptionally easy. Starting from the central concept bubble, you can press [Insert] to create a child, or press [Enter] to create a sibling (not available for the big granddaddy bubble, of course). This can also be done through the right click menu or using the toolbar controls.
Although the created structure appears rather rigid at first, by using drag & drop you can move entire nodes around along with their children. This easy re-organization is exceptionally useful.
Navigation is also enhanced by the multitude of controls. Visually, you can collapse or expand nodes at will, and you can also perform keyword searches.
Nodes are not forced to be just lines of text. Firstly, you may assign any number of graphical icons to each one. The icons library is not very extensive, but it's rather adequate in regards to the creation and editing processes. Moreover, you can assign web or local links to each node.
There's also an HTML editor. Every node can be essentially an HTML page which can be edited rapidly in the accompanying editor on the bottom of the window. What you do with this code is rather nebulous though.
- HTML enhanced nodes
- Mouse driven navigation and arrangement
- Easy creation method
- Multiple export options
FreeMind is easy to familiarize yourself with. Controls are fairly intuitive while viewing and navigating your mind map is a breeze. Although the visual part is lackluster (you won't win any aesthetic mind map contests for sure) functionality makes up for it in a big way.