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hand-drawn mind map (Wikipedia)

Left: Hand drawn mind map (Wikipedia)

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping represent words, thoughts, tasks, interests or other items diagramatrically as an aid to generating, visualizing and organizing ideas.

By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps both encourage divergent thinking and aide subsequent efforts at convergence. Though the branches of a mindmap represent hierarchical tree structures, their radial arrangement disrupts the prioritizing of concepts typically associated with hierarchies presented with more linear visual cues. This orientation towards brainstorming encourages users to enumerate and connect concepts without a tendency to begin within a particular conceptual framework.

The mind map can be contrasted with the similar idea of concept mapping. The former is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures denoting relationships with a central governing concept, whereas concept maps are based on connections between concepts in more diverse patterns.

MindMapGuidlines (Buzan 1993)

Mind Mapping Guidelines

Buzan (1993) suggests using the following guidelines for creating mind maps: (shown at right as a mind map!)

1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.

2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.

3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.

4. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.

5. The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and thinner as they radiate out from the centre.

6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.

7. Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.

8. Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.

9. Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.

10. Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

Left: Guru mind map (Wikipedia)


Buzan, Tony (1993) The Mind Map Book (Penguin Books) ISBN 0-563-36373-8

Novak, J.D. (1993), "How do we learn our lesson?: Taking students through the process".The Science Teacher, 60(3), 50-55 (ISSN 0036-8555)

Web Resources

Start Each Day with a Mind Map of Your Goals (

Related Concepts and Practices

Argument map | Cognitive map | Concept map | Semantic network | Radial tree | Tree structure | Rhizome (philosophy)

Concept mapping & mind mapping software

Free software: CAM editor · Compendium · FreeMind · Freeplane · Pimki ·SciPlore · VUE · WikkaWiki · XMIND

Proprietary software: 3D · Topicscape · Axon Idea Processor · Buzan's iMindMap ·Cacoo · Creately · Debategraph · Inspiration · Kidspiration ·LucidChart · Microsoft Visio · Mind42 · MindGenius ·MindManager · Mind-Maple · MindMapper · MindMeister ·Mindomo · MindView · NovaMind · OmniGraffle · PersonalBrain ·Prezi · Qiqqa · Semantica · SmartDraw ·Solution Language Tool · SpicyNodes · Tinderbox · Visual Mind ·XMIND Pro · yE



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