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I work with Mindomo, a mind mapping software.

If you ever heard or even used mind mapping, what features should a software like this "must have"?

If you want to play around with it, I can give away some free premium accounts :)

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i'm closing this because it reads a bit like a commercial –  Jeanne Boyarsky May 18 '12 at 0:48
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closed as off topic by Jeanne Boyarsky May 18 '12 at 0:48

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5 Answers

Necessary/useful features of a MindMapping software?

Some ideas:

"Full navigation and editing" possible with keyboard shortcuts (without the mouse!!) is for me the most important thing for brainstorming, etc., that means:

  • create/delete/edit nodes
  • move nodes
  • navigate to a node
  • select nodes
  • show/hide child nodes or entire branches

  • search feature (full text)

  • create filter criteria and show/hide nodes according to the criteria (best, if criteria can be saved and easily loaded/switched)
    • adding hyperlinks to files/urls to a node
    • creating links between nodes
    • add comments to a node, which are hidden to save space (but can be viewed if necessary)

Customizable style sheets for nodes are really helpful to create consistent layout. Adding icons or images to a node can help making the mindmap nicer and more "brain-compatible".

For my work, it was also useful to be able to add LaTeX formulae to a node.

Further interesting features are * import to add information from other sources (e. g. a list of words/lines to create a new node for each one) * export to create the structure of a document or presentation based on the mindmap or maybe a html page

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really good input Martin, thank you. If you are interested in testing our app and see if Mindomo "qualifies", I can give you a test account :) –  Daniel Oct 6 '11 at 7:55
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@Daniel: thanks, that's nice: However I don't need a test account as I do not like online applications, where I have no control over my files and contents, am absolutely dependent on a service provider and an internet connection to work on. Call me old-fashioned. –  Martin Oct 6 '11 at 10:43
    
That's no problem Martin. Mindomo has a desktop version that you can use, and keep your files locally. Let me know, I would really appreciate your feedback :). –  Daniel Oct 6 '11 at 12:28
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@Hauser in FreePlane can add one LaTeX formula to each node, however LaTeX can not be used directly in nodes and notes AFAIK. see freeplane.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php –  Martin Oct 7 '11 at 10:44
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@Hauser: p.s. and Docear (based on FreePlane) will also support usage of references to literature (sciplore.org/blog ) –  Martin Oct 7 '11 at 14:00
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For me most essential features are: keyboard-friendly input and navigation, auto align and ability to export in different formats (image, pdf, text).

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Hehe, we just added an update this week with Auto Align. Yes, I think exporting is a major feature for any mind mapping tool. –  Daniel Oct 6 '11 at 7:57
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  • good integration with host operating system (drag-n-drop, copy-paste, etc)
  • good graph layout which keeps the right amount of space between nodes, and updates the layout as you change the nodes.
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Thank you Chris. I think most of the mind mapping apps have these features. I am trying to get deeper :) –  Daniel Oct 6 '11 at 7:56
    
On re-reading, I guess I should have written "top notch" instead of "good" at the start of those sentences. I've tried there or four different apps and the ones I liked best were very strong in those areas. In other words, my needs were not deep, but polish was important for getting my day to day work done efficiently. –  Chris Quenelle Jan 3 '12 at 5:40
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I am embarked upon a quest for a concept/mind mapping program even as I type this. The holy grail of my quest:

  • Works on Linux.
  • Attractive, but not overly fancy.
  • Nodes as closed shapes, rather than text just sitting on a line.
  • Ability to do concept mapping (no hierarchy, lots of cross-connections).
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Local storage in non-proprietary file format.
  • Ability to sync with mobile devices over a data cable (or SD card), rather than just over server sync.
  • Snap-to-grid for rearranging map.
  • Filtering (for example, show just the nodes connecting to a selected node).
  • Ability to link to local files. (Don't need a ton of room for comments within a node if I can just link to a Markdown file.)
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First of all, I agree with the features Martin is suggesting, and being able to do (just about) everything with the keyboard is critical for me as well.

I think the most important things for me that I would like to see in mind mapping software are things that make it as much like doing mind mapping on paper as possible. For example, the following:

  • Freeform placement. Many mind mapping apps automatically align nodes in groups or circle them around the parent, but one of the reasons I love mind mapping is that I can put things wherever I want them.
  • Hierarchical maps with easy navigation. If I have a map with a central node, Projects, and child nodes ProjA, ProjB, etc, I want to be able to have the ProjA node link to a sub-map where ProjA is a central node.
  • Easy cross-device sync for desktop version of app, optional desktop sync with webapp/cloud service.
  • Free-form shapes/drawing in maps. I like to use the space creatively when I mind map, it's half the benefit of the technique. I want to be able to draw my own lines between nodes, draw my own circles around nodes, color things, etc.

Here is a picture of how my use of mind mapping has progressed since I started using the technique to take notes in my classes. Give me software that lets me do things like the rightmost page, and I will throw money at you.

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