Written by Michael Woodman

MindMeister is a concept mapping program which allows you to create ‘spider diagrams’ or ‘mind maps’. Creating a mind map can help you to plan and write essays, revise for exams, and organise large projects.

What makes MindMeister special is that you can make, view and edit maps all in your web browser! (or in the iOS or Android apps). This means that:

  • You can view and edit maps from any computers – even public computers!
  • Maps are stored on the cloud so won’t get lost if your computer brakes
  • You can share your maps with other people and both work on the same map at the same time – fantastic for group projects

Here are my favourite features:

  • Mindmeister has an excellent interactive tutorial that (unobtrusively) gives you advice while you create your first map.
  • You can add Youtube videos that actually play inside the map – this makes the tool very appealing if you are primarily a visual learner.
  • When you’re working on a shared map, you can give a ‘thumbs up / down’ to sections of the map and add in more detailed feedback.

You can export your map as a text outline in rich text file format (rtf). This can easily be opened and edited in Word. Great for essay planning on the go!

Free vs. paid features

The free version has all the features we talked about above but you can only store 3 maps in your Mindmeister account at one time. To get round this:

  • You can sync your maps with free Google Drive storage, which doesn’t count towards your 3 map limit. Opening maps from Google Drive launches the Mindmeister web application automatically.
  • You can “earn” up to 10 more map spaces for every other user that you invite to sign up.
  • The paid version has a feature called Wunderbild which auto-selects appropriate images from the web to add into your map based on the branch title (you can try it out in the free version but only for a limited number of uses).

Mindmeister is a very attractive, intuitive program, with some unique features. If you’re just looking for a full featured free mind mapping program, Xmind is great and doesn’t have a limit on the number of maps. But nothing beats Mindmeister for portability and collaboration!