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What Is a Mind Map?

> Edraw Knowledge > What Is a Mind Map?
Posted by Janice | 01/07/2021
Mind maps works as a visual and graphical tool to help structure information, analyze complicated concepts, recall and generate new ideas. This article will give you a detailed introduction of mind map and hope it can help you have a better understanding about mind map.

MindMaster: a full-featured cross-platform mind mapping software

  • Easily create mind maps, fishbone diagrams, timelines, bubble maps, etc.
  • Provide 33 different types of themes and over 700 stylish cliparts.
  • Available on multiple platforms, including PC, mobile, tablet, and web.
  • Seamlessly collaborate with teammates in real-time, anywhere, at any device.
  • Compatible with various file formats, such as MS Office, Visio, PDF, JPG, etc.

Mind Map Brief Introduction

A mind map is a visual tool used to organize information graphically. It is hierarchical and represents relationships among parts of the whole. A mind map usually begins with a single concept, then drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, where associated representations ideas will be added, such as words and images. Main ideas will be connected directly to the central concept, and other sub topics branch out from the major ones.

Mind maps are similar to spider diagrams because of the layout of their major ideas and sub ideas. People can create a mind map by hand as rough notes for an urgent meeting or lecture; they can also use a specialized mind mapping program for more professional situations.

Food Groups Mind Map

Mind Map History

When it comes to the origon of mind map, the name Tont Buzan would certainly rise in most people't mind. Tony Buzan, a British psychology author and television personality, first popularized the term "mind map" . However, the use of dagrams that visually "map" information using branching and radial maps traces back centuries.

Mind maps are similar in radial structure to concept maps, developed by learning experts in the 1970s, but differ in that the former are simplified by focusing around a single central key concept. These pictorial methods record knowledge and model systems, and have a long history in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others.

Mind Map Structure Types

No critia about mind map types have been officially acknowledged. Mind mapping is open and free rather than traditional and conservative. Here are four commonly used structures of mind maps. Get inspirations in the layout to add more possibilities to be creative in mind mapping.

Mind map structure types

Uses of Mind Map

The radiant structure of a mind map flows exactly the way human brain works, diverging a central idea to subordinate points. Mind mapping avoids dull and can help clarify your thinking in many different contexts: personal, family, educational or business. Usually, mind maps are used for

  • Note taking
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem analyzing and solving
  • Studying and memorization
  • Planning and decision making
  • Researching and consolidating information from multiple sources
  • Presenting information
  • Provoking creativity

Advantages of Mind Maps

1. Wide Adaptability

Human brain works exactly the way how a mind map grows, thus allowing mind maps to be use in many occasions involving learning and arrangement, such as preparing an exan, taking notes, making a book summary, planning things and organizing structured tasks etc.

2. Convenient Editing

Comparing with traditional linear texts on notebooks, a mind map can theoretically develop into unlimited branches and levels in structure. It's easy and convenient to add ideas and information at any time later rather than squeezing texts into margins of the paper with messily distributed lines and arrows.

3. Enhance Memory

In addition to the radiant structure, the mapper can insert images and symbols to his map as he likes. These personalized elements are prone to make things easier to memorize.

4. Get People Focused

In the layout of a mind map, things delve from hypernym into hyponym. Such a structure help you focus on the links and relationships between ideas. In this case, you get comprehensive information instead of scattered facts.

5. Concise Information

Since the topic texts of mind maps are keywords and short phrases, a mind map is a great aid in condensing plenty of information. For example, when preparing the final exam, it is much more time-saving to review knowledge on a mind map than read the whole book.

Advantages of Mind Map

Disadvantages of Mind Maps

1. Texts Limitation

As has mentioned above, mind map topic texts consist of keywords and short phrases which limit the quantity of texts you want to put in. On a hand-drawn mind map, large chunks of text will make the map look messy. However, if you choose to use mind map tool, you can insert notes, tags, comments, attachments and hyperlinks to add more information without displaying them.

2. Time-consuming

If you need to draw a delicate mind map with excellent pictures and accompanying texts, it may take some time. In this regard, making mind maps with outstanding mind map software such as MindMaster will save you energy and time.

3. Rules Limitation

Once you choose to draw mind maps with mind mapping software, you are not able to freestyle your map without limitations. The way software works follow certain rules, such as the layout, font, and theme are predefined. You are not allowed to develop the map as free as you can on paper.

Disadvantages of Mind Map

Mind Map Examples

Below is a mind map example showing the job interview tips. It uses different colors for each branch so that the content is organized and clear to understand.

mind map example job interview

You can also decorate your mind map with cliparts or images to make it more visual. Below is a weekly plan mind map example. You can click the image to download the original file and edit it.

weekly school plan mind map example

The following free customizable marketing strategy concept map presents strategies for marketing in terms of product, people, promotion, price, process and place. To seize the major elements of marketing strategy quickly, a visualized way is better, as seen in the template. Quickly get a head-start when creating your own marketing strategy concept map. If you find the concept map example useful, you can download, cistomize and print the diagram for free.

Marketing Strategy Concept Map

Below is a mind map which shows the benefits of fruits clearly. For a mind map,  its power lies in its simplicity. The template offers strong evidence of the health benefits of being a fruit lover. This mind map example is created by Edraw mind map software, available in PDF and editable vector formats.

Benefits of Fruits Mind Map

How to Create a Mind Map

Create a Hand-drawn Mind Map

If you choose to make a hand-drawn mind map, a piece of horizontally placed A4 paper would be the best choice. Pick a piece of paper or launch the mind map software, center your central topic on the canvas. Drawing a mind map can be as simple with the following steps.

1. Start by writing or drawing a center concept in the middle of a blank page.

2. Develop the related main ideas around this central concept, connect each of main ideas to the center with a line.

3. Generate sub-branches that stem from the main branches to further expand on ideas and concepts.

4. Use different colors, symbols and images to differentiate the branches and sub-topics.

Software for Mind Mapping

Using mind map software helps to improve mind mapping efficiency. All you need to do is to type in the content, insert images and attachments by drag-and-drop operation. MindMaster, as a professional mind map maker, is getting more and more popular for its following features.

  1. Abundant clip art resources, mind map examples, marks, and customization of themes etc
  2. Create slides automatically in accordance with the logical distribution of the mind map.
  3. Support many formats import & export, which enables to share mind maps very convenient.
  4. Offer 1G cloud storage so that users can not only save and their mind maps but also collaborate with partners anytime and anywhere.
  5. Support to present a project in hierarchical work breakdown structure, and switch to Gantt view to track task start/end date and progress.

Mind map software

Mind Mapping Techniques

More and more people are learning the rules and skills of making mind maps and apply them to both work and daily life. Based on my mind mapping experience, the following are some techniques to optimize a mind map.

  • Use colors, drawings and symbols copiously.  Provide as many visual cues as you can to emphasize important points.
  • Keep the topics labels as short as possible. Always try to summarize complex topic texts to a single word or picture – your mind map will be much more effective that way.
  • Vary text size, color and alignment. Vary the thickness and length of the connectors according to the branch level.
  • Use central image. Image works better than texts in visual stimulation.
  • Use boundaries and relationship lines to show emphasis and associations in your mind map.

More Mind Map Templates

Dozens of mind map templates are readily available to help you clarify thoughts, visualize ideas and boost creativity. Download and use the templates for free if you found some of them suitable. Customize the contents, layout or background to make it personalized. Get inspirations in color and layout from the exquisite mind map templates below.

Marketing Mind Map  Finance Mind Map Management Mind Map
Marketing Mind Map Finance Mind Map Management Mind Map
Language Learning Mind Map History Mind Map Literature Mind Map
Language Learning Mind Map History Mind Map Literature Mind Map
Health Mind Map Food Mind Map Media Mind Map
Health Mind Map Food Mind Map Media Mind Map
 Project Management Mind Map Science Mind Map Tourism Mind Map
Project Management Mind Map?? Science Mind Map Tourism Mind Map


From what has been stated above, you may have a basic understanding of what a mind map is. Knowing the structure and layout, usage, advantages and limitations of mind maps as well as how to draw a mind map will improve efficiency in planning, brainstorming and presentation etc. If you hope to deliver your mind map with planned tasks and resources for project management, MindMaster free trial would be a nice start!

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Free Download Popular Mind Map Templates Online

Choose from a large variety of mind map templates for business, education, and life tips. Download any of the templates for your use.