Posted on: April 9, 2010

Feeling like I had some time finally as a break from work, I played around with some software I had downloaded but not yet used (because of a learning curve to go through in a period where I couldn’t afford to take the time out for it).

This is FreeMind, a mind-mapping tool. You start by creating a parent node. Here, the parent node is PLANTS. Child and sibling nodes can then be created to extend the concepts and expand on points. This is done easily with keyboard shortcuts. I decided to use it to help me with assimilating my physiological ecology lectures on plants. Plants were never my forte, though they are so incredibly important. Here’s some screenshots.

The backbone of the mindmap, for all major topics covered in class. Nodes can be shifted from one side to the other easily by using the mouse. Very handy. Clouds can encircle major points, and every child node from that point will be enveloped in the cloud. See below.

Adding more details in. Icons can be used to highlight important points or questions. Note: removing nodes isn’t as convenient (right click>node>remove node) and I realised why. Inventors made the programme such that you can move nodes anywhere, so if you created a node that you no longer want to be there, just simply move it to another side and edit it (without having to remove one, and create a new one on another side).

Colour can be changed, to highlight individual items of importance, or segregate items. Something I wanted extra out of this programme was to place pictures in. Not sure if it’s capable of this yet – doesn’t seem so.

And finally, when it’s done? The complete mind-map! Viewing of course, can be changed to any scale, user or program defined. Clicking on any node will collapse it – so clicking on all the major nodes will bring me back to the first picture. Handy! I can view the map at a complete scale, or just concentrate on one area at a time.

What I like:

  • Instinctive, easy to use, lots of shortcuts make making the mind map a breeze
  • Coloured clouds
  • Icons (cute to place in mindmap)

What I think it should have:

  • Picture support
  • Highlighting of words
  • Allow end-joining of concepts, and arrows to link across concepts
  • More than one parent node in one file
  • Separate formatting within a node (all the words of a node are formatted together currently)

Definitely going to keep using it.


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