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FreeMind mind mapper

freemind_dragdrop_small.gif
Dragging-and-dropping plain text with leading spaces


Sometimes, I come across software I don't want to miss even after the shortest test drive. In case of FreeMind, several hours of testing and playing just amplified my first impression: this one rocks.

FreeMind is a GNU-licensed mind mapper written in Java, similar to the commercial MindManager, just that it is free, fast, and cross-platform. Some notes:

  • Lightweight (just 300k), unbloated feature set, no-frills interface, good keyboard shortcut set
  • Fast folding and unfolding even of large trees
  • Data storage in XML format; Freemind-to-MindManager, MindManger-to-Freemind, Freemind-to-DocBook XSLT files available
  • Anything can be linked: local or remote files, folder, executables
  • Smart drag-and-drop / copy-and-paste features (see screenshot)
  • Browse directories as mind maps - this can be very handy to visualize folder and file structures of software you work on. Any file or folder can be map root
  • Viewer applet available - putting it on a web or intranet site, others can browse your maps. There is a find function in both editor and browser. Alternatively, maps can be exported as HTML foldable trees
  • Resulting maps are clean and elegant; if you want to scatter clip art or images across your map, this one might not be for you
  • Most missed feature: undo function

So if you want a mind mapper that simply works, FreeMind is worth a serious look.

Entry first published 2009-05-18 00:59, last edited 2009-05-18 00:59
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