How do you choose the right mind mapping software?

There are three mind mapping software available in the Library: Inspiration, Mind View and Mind Genius (as per 2017/18 academic year).

In this article, we will look at the various features to consider when you choose your mind mapping software. You can, of course, try them all and decide on the one you prefer. Keep in mind, if you are a MAC user, only Inspiration and Mind View are available.

Choosing your mind mapping software

The type of assignment or task may dictate the type of software you will end up using. If you have a lot of project-based assignments, Mind View and Mind Genius offer project management functions. Mind View can also generate bibliographies and allow you to reference directly in the notes panel (not DMU Harvard style). All three software can export your mind map to Word, but offer different types of export options. Inspiration does not export with Microsoft heading styles, whereas Mind View and Mind Genius export with heading styles.

Some things to consider could be:

  • How easy do you find the way it adds ideas and branches to your central topic?
  • Would you like to have a structured mind map, where ideas emanate from one central idea?
  • Are you looking for a more flexible structure, where you can create circular types of mind map?
  • Would you like to have “heading styles” created automatically when you export to Word, so you can easily create a Table of Contents in Word?
  • Would you like to have headings and a Table of Contents generated automatically when you export to Word?
  • Would you like to add more than one link or file attachment to a branch/topic, so you can keep track of your references?
  • What types of file formats can the software import and generate a mind map from?
  • Are you happy with the user interface and menu layouts?
  • Would you like to add audio notes directly to your map?
  • Do you prefer notes panels or note attachments to your branches?
  • Will you be required to produce a Gantt for your assignments?
  • Can I export my mind map to PowerPoint?
  • Can I attach hyperlinks to a branch and how many can I add?

To make it simpler, let’s categorize the features into the following groupings:

  1. Export Features
  2. Import Options
  3. Adding notes, hyperlinks, and files
  4. Adding branches and topics
  5. Gantt and project management

1. Export features:

Word Excel PowerPoint MS Project PDF Image files
Inspiration Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Mind Genius (PC only) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mind View Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

2. Import Options

Inspiration Imports…
iPad Inspiration


Mind Genius imports…
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Project
Outlook contacts for resources list in the Gantt view
Text Files
OPMC file
Mindjet 7 or newer
iThoughts (iPad/iPhone)
Thinkspace (Android)
Pocket MindMap


Mind View imports…
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Project
Outlook contacts for tasks list import into a Gantt
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Mindjet Mindmanager


3. Adding hyperlinks and files

You can attach many hyperlinks and files to a topic in both Mind Genius and Mind View. In Inspiration you will need to create a topic box for each attachment. It is not possible to attach more than one item to each topic. However, you can add notes to each topic in all three software. In Mind View and Mind Genius, you can add notes via the notes panel. In Inspiration, you add notes that will appear as yellow post-its by the relevant topic. These can then be minimized to hide and maximized to view.

4. Adding branches and topics

You can add branches and topics from the menu or by right-clicking on the topic box. However, all three software offer a faster way to get your ideas down quickly.

Mind Genius: Type & Return feature with topic box selected. You can also re-order, move and re-attach topics to other topic boxes.

Mind View: Type & Return feature to add topic at the same level. Also, click the INSERT button on the keyboard to add sub-topics at lower levels.

Inspiration: Use ‘rapid fire’ feature from the menu toolbar.

5. Gantt and project management

Only Mind Genius and Mind View can generate a Gantt view of your mind map. You can also export it to Microsoft Project or continue to work on it the mind mapping software via the Gantt view.

Mind Mapping Workshops – click here to view events calendar.

Jina Ali

Assistive Technolgy Officer at the Kimberlin Library (DMU).