6 Best Open Source Mind Mapping Tools in 2024

Students and beginners often look for open source mind mapping tools for their brainstorming sessions. This EdrawMind guide explores the 6 best such tools for beginners and will present the best free mind-mapping software in 2024.

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Mind maps play a very important role in the modern note-taking processes. Unlike the traditional note-taking methods, where students had to rely on notebooks, mind mapping takes everything a step further. With a well-structured mind map, students can record their sessions and make connections between different topics they might have missed during the initial brainstorming sessions.

Some of the benefits of creating a mind map are:

  • A mind map provides a visual breakdown of complex information that helps beginners to easily understand complex problems.
  • With mind maps, teachers can conduct multiple brainstorming sessions where everyone can voice their opinions.
  • Mind maps help students recall important chapters during tests or examinations.

Several mind-mapping software out there helps students and teachers create different mind maps. However, most beginners look for free mind-mapping software for practical reasons. In this EdrawMind guide, we will shed light on some of the best open source mind mapping software for beginners and will also explore the easiest way to create amazing mind maps using free templates and AI assistance.

In this article
  1. What is Mind Map Software?
  2. How to do Mind Mapping Using Mind Map Software?
  3. 6 Best Open-Source Mind Mapping Tools
  4. Conclusion

What is Mind Map Software?

A mind map software is a digital tool encompassing all the latest features that are required in order to create mind maps. With the help of mind map software, one can create, analyze, and later share any information by transforming it into a visual chart. In some cases, mind map software can also let you make org charts, flowcharts, fishbone diagrams, timeline charts, and radial diagrams.

Additionally, a few mind map software like EdrawMind, also offers real-time remote collaboration and AI assistance that helps the users to create complex mind maps. Some of the benefits of using a mind map software are:

  • With mind map software, you can easily make modifications to your mind map content.
  • Mind map software allows you to share your diagrams in different formats, like JPEG, PDF, PNG, HTML, and more.
  • With the help of mind map software, multiple team members can easily collaborate on different projects simultaneously.
  • Mind map software helps in creating visual representation of any topic, data, or information, and provides the tools that are required to make the content more engaging.
  • With mind map software, one can easily brainstorm on different concepts.

How to do Mind Mapping Using Mind Map Software?

In order to easily make mind maps, we recommend going ahead with EdrawMind because this is one such mind mapping software that is equipped with all the modern features, like Artificial Intelligence, templates, cliparts, and more. Check out the following steps if you are planning to do mind mapping using free mind map software:

Step 1: AI Assist

From EdrawMind’s workbench, you can easily access AI that helps you generate mind maps with one click. Simply write your query or prompt in the query box, and the AI will instantly generate the mind map for you.

How to do Mind Mapping

Click on “Inspiration Space,” from where you can enter your desired topic to get started with the mind mapping process.

How to do Mind Mapping

Step 2: Template Access

From EdrawMind’s homepage, click on “Gallery” to access all the free mind map templates that are available under the public domain. Choose from 1500+ templates and click on “Duplicate” to the one that comes closest to your requirement. The system will automatically copy the entire content, layout, and customizations to your canvas for further modification.

How to do Mind Mapping

Step 3: Local Mind Maps

You can create a mind map from scratch if you wish to brainstorm mind map ideas. For this, click “+ Create” from the homepage > Local MindMap. This will take you to the EdrawMind canvas, where you will find a default mind map.

How to do Mind Mapping

Double-click the central topic (Main Theme) to rename it. Repeat this same step with the remaining associates.

How to do Mind Mapping

If you need to add the primary associates, press the ‘Enter’ tab, or if you want to add more subtopics to any of the primary associates, press the ‘tab’ on your keyboard. Repeat this step until you have added all the required primary and secondary categories.

How to do Mind Mapping

Step 4: Customization & Share

EdrawMind lets you properly customize your mind maps. From the right context menu, choose different customization features, like theme, layout, background, and more. Additionally, you can add cliparts, images, and other media files to make your mind map look different.

How to do Mind Mapping

Once the mind map is completed, you can click on the Share icon on the top right to share the design with your peers on social media or even invite them for remote collaboration.

How to do Mind Mapping

6 Best Open-Source Mind Mapping Tools

Open source mind mapping tools are software that are released under such modification license rights that allow others to make changes to the source code for any purpose. Over the years, multiple developers and freelance developers have released open-source mind-mapping software for students and beginners to study and make mind maps.

Here are 6 best open-source mind-mapping tools for beginners:


FreeMind is an open source mind mapping software developed in Java. The team behind FreeMind constantly updates it for the users. In one of the most recent releases, the team claimed that its mind-mapping software is faster than MindManager and can now be used as a high-productivity tool.

interface of FreeMind


  • FreeMind offers one-click navigation.
  • The tool comes with smart drag-and-drop functionality.
  • In this open-source mind mapping software, you can edit long multiline nodes.
  • The tool also offers built-in icons, fonts, and color options.
  • Mind maps are stored in XML format, making it easier for others to share the design with their colleagues.


Freeplane is yet another free and open-source mind-mapping application that helps brainstorm, concept map, and navigate an array of information. Since this software is written in Java and Java Swing, it becomes easier for others to modify the codes for their professional usage.

interface of Freeplane


  • Freeplane has extensive template paths for Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • This open-source mind-mapping software lets you create a new mind map from a template.
  • It has extensive formatting options, like font change, content modification, adding an icon, and more.
  • The tool comes with light and dark modes.
  • With Freeplane, one can easily build matrices and export them to CSV and JSON files.


Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a content mapping application that helps researchers and teachers to organize, contextualize, and access stored digital information. Unlike other open source mind mapping software, VUE provides a detailed organization option that allows students to access their mind maps via the Web or VUE’s built-in resource panel. VUE’s interface also allows the mind maps to have a non-linear structure.

interface of VUE


  • VUE comes with a built-in presentation mode that helps the presenter to focus on particular content while preserving the context.
  • VUE’s Playback tool helps you present the mind map in full-screen mode.
  • The control settings come with multiple pathway options.
  • It also presents a basic toggle element that helps multiple branches collapse and expand with just one click.
  • With its exploration tool, one can fade out different nodes.

SciPlore MindMapping or Docear

SciPlore MindMapping, or Docear, is an open-source app designed for academic literature management that helps academicians organize, create, and discover similar literature. This mind-mapping software has a single-section interface that allows the laureates to sort documents into different categories.

SciPlore MindMapping or Docear


  • Docear is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • Docear comes with a “literature suite concept” that helps combine several tools into one document.
  • This open-source mind mapping software also allows annotations within the PDFs.
  • Docear provides a Microsoft Word add-on, Docear4Word, that helps you integrate and format references right into the Word document.
  • This mind mapping tool will soon have its mobile version and will also allow auto synchronization between different devices.


TiddlyMap is a mind-mapping software that combines wikis and concept maps to present a single application that helps manage personal knowledge. Just like other mind mapping software, it also allows you to add a central theme, from which you can easily add extra nodes or even add edges to add subsequent nodes. Currently, TiddlyMap is in the beta stage of development, and there is a possibility that you might experience some bugs or crashes if you start using it to handle large and complex data.



  • It allows a full-screen toggle option.
  • This open-source mind mapping software is designed to work on large screens that would help researchers who are handling multiple data.
  • TiddlyMap allows you to specify the relations of different tasks and represent everything as a graph.
  • In this mind mapping tool, you can easily add a background image and icons to illustrate more about your topics.
  • The tool also has a sidebar editor that helps assign group styles to recurring node types.


MindMup is a free online mind-mapping software that helps create, share, and publish different concepts and mind maps. The tool lets you create unlimited mind maps for free that you can store in the built-in cloud storage for free. Additionally, users can even benefit from its brainstorming and presentation features.

MindMup is forever free. However, if you plan to use more advanced features of this app, you will need to upgrade to MindMup Gold, which would cost you USD 2.99 per month or USD 25 per year.



  • MindMup lets you add notes and attachments to your mind maps.
  • MindMup comes with MindMup Atlas, which helps you add images and contextual information that ensures that your mind map is correctly shared on different social media platforms.
  • In this mind-mapping software, you can quickly add images and icons.
  • With the MindMup Cloud option, you can go ahead and collaborate remotely.
  • It offers community chat help and support for problem resolution.


There are hundreds of mind mapping software present in the market. Each comes with its pros and cons. However, if you are looking for open source mind mapping software, you will need to remember certain limitations that it brings. Even though most open-source tools are freely available, they do not provide such mind-mapping features that would help beginners or students.

If you are looking for free mind-mapping software that does not require any tech knowledge, we recommend checking out EdrawMind. The tool offers free mind mapping features that not only accelerate the process but also ensure that your mind map has some unique designs. Download this best mind-mapping software today and start making wonderful mind maps.

EdrawMind logoEdrawMind Apps
Outline & Presentation Mode
Real-time collaboration
22 structures & 47 themes
5,000+ free templates & 750+ cliparts
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Generate mind maps, slides, and more with AI
edrawmax logoEdrawMind Online
Outline & Presentation Mode
Real-time collaboration
22 structures & 47 themes
5,000+ free templates & 750+ cliparts
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Generate mind maps, slides, and more with AI
Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones Jul 02, 24
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