Alternatives to FreeMind

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To achieve that which FreeMind offers, you can use variety of tools.


Mind mapping software


Free-as-in-freedom mind mapping programs:

  • VYM - View Your Mind is licenced under GNU GPL; comparative evaluation to FreeMind is missing. See also VYM for Microsoft Windows and SourceForge project.
  • Kdissert is licenced under GNU GPL, and is not available for Windows; evaluation is missing as well.
  • XMind[1] is licensed under EPL (Eclipse Public License) and LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and written in Java. Eclipse-based, cross-platform, focused on brainstorming and mind mapping, compatible with Freemind. Best Eclipse RCP Application 2008 Award winner.
  • Freeplane is a fork of FreeMind.


Freeware though not free-as-in-freedom mind mapping programs:

  • Thinkgraph is not open source licenced, and in our view falls back behind FreeMind in terms of ease of use and look-and-feel.
  • Personal Brain is not open source but is available as a free version for non commercial use. It offers some unique features with "floating" nodes and flexible focus points. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Cayra (also downloadable from Softonic) is a freeware application that allows you to create mind or concept maps. It's remarkable by seemingly absent central node and automatic re-layout so that every node you click on becomes central. Good to see the map from different angles. So far available only for Windows XP SP2 & Vista.


Commercial mind mapping programs:

The list is not meant to be complete, listing only some major notable instances. See also mind-mapping software and List of mind mapping software.

Note editor

An alternative to FreeMind are note editors, especially tabbed ones and those featuring a tree-navigation for the notes in a left pane of the main window. Where note editors support rich text formatting, they do so much better than FreeMind 0.8.1, yet FreeMind 0.9.0 is trying to close the gap with its rich text editor.

Some note editors:

  • Key Note
    • Windows
    • Open-source: Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL 1.1)
    • Folding
    • Much richer text formatting than in FreeMind 0.8.1.
    • Has many small notes in one file.
    • Is quite easy to reorganize the structure of your notes.
    • Is not so fast when it comes to changing the color of nodes and not so intuitive when you move things around.
    • Is not possible to set a link to a node, only inside the note, which is sort of equivallent of FreeMind's node without children.
    • Is much faster because it is not written in Java, but it runs on Windows platform only.
    • Latest release: 1.6.5, 2003-11-13
    • SourceForge project page
  • BasKet Note Pads
    • Linux
    • Latest release:, 2008-06-30
    • Rich text formatting
  • TuxCards
  • gjots
    • Linux
    • Latest release: 2.3.9, 2009-08-08
    • Estimation: plain text formatting
  • KnowIt
    • Linux
    • Latest release: 0.10, 2004-03-31
    • Rich text formatting

See also Category:Notetaking software at Wikipedia.

Text editor with Outline mode

Some text editors with an outline mode:

Outline mode enables you to fold headings and move complete "nodes" (chapters, sections, subsection) around, as well as changing the levels of the nodes. The convenience and speed of operation in the areas of restructuring, organizing, overviewing and adding items does not reach that of FreeMind, but on the other hand: if you already use one of these editors, you can avoid the extravagance of installing and learning to use a new tool and gain part of what FreeMind offers that way.

Text editor with Folding mode

Some text editors with a folding mode:

Folding mode achieves information hiding, but the overheads of using folding mode when compared to FreeMind are considerable.

See also Folding editor at Wikipedia.


Outliner is a program that enables editing of hierarchical bullet-formatted outlines. Some outliners allow attachment of notes to the items of the outline.

Some outliners:

Compared to FreeMind, the two programs are rather rudimentary.

See also Outliner at Wikipedia.

Concept map editor

  • CmapTools -- multiplatform freeware,
  • Conzilla -- GNU GPL-licenced one in Java,
  • Compendium -- free software written in Java, relying on database. (GNU LGPL V3+ license[2]. Database is now optional.)

Unlike mind maps, concept maps are general graphs rather than trees. See also Concept mapping.

Presentation software

Presentation software can be used for drawing concept maps using boxes and connectors; compared to specialized software for concept maps, its edge is that it helps you keep low the number of pieces of software you have to learn to use.

See also Presentation program at Wikipedia.

Diagramming software

Graphs, networks and a plethora of other types of diagrams can be drawn in diagramming software. Some instances follow.


See also free diagramming software.


See also diagramming software.


  • TopicScape -- used by some as an alternative. There is an export script or function from FreeMind to TopicScape, allegedly.
  • VUE - Visual Understanding Environment. It is a concept mapper of sorts. Open source; license: ECL. Downloadable after registration. See also its Wikipedia entry.
  • StickySorter -- Microsoft StickySorter. It is a good brainstorming tool and visual database. It is from Microsoft Labs and is considered an evaluation preview of sorts.
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