As the new version of Mindjets mind-mapping tool is rather expensive, I'm looking for a good alternative that is comparable in means of convinience and productivity. It should support features like:

  • edit / rearrange map structure by keyboard and mouse
  • add branches with rich text and images
  • edit branch text in-place with adjustable word-wrap
  • collapse / expand branches
  • auto-layout
  • append URLs / documents / links to branches of another map
  • define icon groups
  • add notes

Full Microsoft Office integration is not a must.


4 Answers 4


I've not used MindJets, so my comparisons might not be so great.
Freeplane is my go to mind mapping tool. It can do:

  • edit / rearrange map structure by keyboard and mouse: My mouse both, it can edit by keyboard insert and delete nodes etc. I'm not sure about moving them.

  • add branches with rich text and images: yes, nodes are backed with html, with a wysiwyg gui.

  • edit branch text in-place with adjustable word-wrap: Edit in place, Yes. I'm not sure how great its word wrap is.

  • collapse / expand branches: yes

  • auto-layout: Yes, though it isn't as good as arranging it by hand

  • append URLs / documents / links to branches of another map: Yes

  • define icon groups: It has icons, I'm not sure what a icon group is.

  • add notes Yes

Notable other features are:

  • LaTeX
  • Summery Nodes

Freeplane is a fork of Freemind. Freemind shares most of its features. Freemind maintains a list of Mindmaping software

Outside of Freeplane/Freemind, I've used XMind, and found it to be not so great.

Your other, much worst, options are generic vector drawing tools like:
Open/Libre Office Draw, and MS-Visio, Inkscape and XFig.


I have now used Mindjets, and was very impressed.
It seems clear to me that that authors of FreeMind, (and thus FreePlane), set out to clone the functionality of MindJets, they seem very similar.

MindJets is a much more polished product, it feels smooth. It is also over $300, which is quite a lot. It might be worth it if I was using it on a daily basis.

It should be noted that while FreeMind/FreePlane use the samefile extension as MindJets (.mm), they can not open each others files. There may be a common export/import format, I am unsure.

  • Thanks for your detailed answer. I somehow share your opinion about XMind. The vector graphic tools also won't suite my needs, as I mainly use mind mapping for quick outline, rather than presentation, and I don't want to focus to much on the layout. I'll take a closer look at Freeplane. Feb 5, 2014 at 9:24

I use Mindjet's MindManager and Xmind, and find Xmind a good substitute, but which you'll find best depends a lot on taste and the use you'll put it to.

You could try MindMup, which is free, allows collaboration (it's browser based) and gives more flexibility of layout than most mind mappers. I reviewed it here: http://www.mind-mapping.org/blog/2013/11/mindmup-browser-based-free-easy-and-open-source/

If you want a broader overview of options, try this: http://www.informationtamers.com/WikIT/index.php?title=How_to_choose_mindmapping_software


Try MindMeister, it's free up to 3 mind maps (check the pricing page). Works in Windows, Android, iPhone and also on the web browser.

Check out the features page.


Other than auto-layout and (I don't know what an icon group is), I found iMapping Tool rather intriguing.

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