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=== On what operating systems have people actually succeeded in running FreeMind?===
=== What operating systems does FreeMind successfully run on? ===
* ''Microsoft Windows.'' Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP (SP1 & SP2), Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista.
* ''Microsoft Windows.'' Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP (SP1 & SP2), Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista.

Revision as of 01:16, 26 February 2010


Here we collect a list of asked questions and answers related to free mind mapping software FreeMind. Help if you can (see To edit this FAQ). If you're searching for an answer to your question, why don't you just press Ctrl + F in your browser?

This is not a place to ask questions. If you have a question that you want to ask, see Support.



How do I download the Java Runtime Environment needed to run FreeMind.

To download JRE for Windows, go to Download on Sun, go to the section Download J2SE v 1.4. ... and now choose the column JRE, not SDK. The installation file of JRE has approximately 15 MB.

I start FreeMind but nothing happens

First of all, we assume that you are working under Windows. Now, please start freemind.bat in the installation directory. You'll probably get:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: java/util/logging/Logger 
at freemind.main.FreeMind.getLogger( 
at freemind.main.FreeMind.<init>( 
at freemind.main.FreeMind.main( 

The answer to this behaviour is that you've got Java1.3 or lower installed, and this version of java is found (try java -version on the commandline to verify this). Most likely, you've installed Oracle. Change JAVA_HOME and the PATH variables to point to your actual java (1.4 or 5.0). This can be done as follows: Goto Settings -> System -> search for Environment Variables and change or create the values accordingly.

Another reason Freemind won't start or will give you the effect of having the icon in the Windows taskbar but nothing else is when you install Freemind in a folder that starts with a "!" (exclamation mark); just install it in a different folder. (See

I start FreeMind but nothing happens TRY THIS FIRST

First, check that Java is installed; Then go to Program Files\Freemind\Lib and double-click on the "Freemind.jar" file (which is an executable Jar file).

Alternatively, try to start Freemind from the freemind.bat file. The will open along with Freemind. Just close down Freemind ( will close also) and then start Freemind from the Start Menu or from freemind.exe I have no idea why this works but it did for me.

Another reason why Freemind won't start is if you hava JDK installed and JAVA_HOME points to JDK instead of JRE. If you point JAVA_HOME environment variable to the JRE home then Freemind.exe starts up fine.

If the above doesn't work make sure you have the path to java in your PATH variable.

The format is the following:

JAVA_HOME=C:\Program Files\Java\jre6

PATH=C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin;

Your PATH will surely include more things.

I start FreeMind and can create a map but can not save it

The most obvious indication is that you click on open/save/save as and nothing happens. What is happening is that the file browser window is failing to open. There are two fixes; Either change JAVA_HOME to point to a JRE rather than a JDK or edit the Freemind.bat file to use the absolute path to the correct java and start Freemind with the bat file. It will be something like "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_05\bin\java" instead of just java. Note the use of quote marks and that your java path may not be the same as the example.

I start FreeMind but nothing happens on MacOS X Leopard

I launch FreeMind 0.8.1 on MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard), the FreeMind welcome image appears and after few moments, FreeMind quit after a pop up window "Cannot lunch Java application (Uncaught exception in main method: Java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space)".

    • Freemind does not seem to work if you simply drag the butterfly icon to the applications folder- you have to move the WHOLE installed folder (Mac_OS_X_Freemind-0_8_1) into the applications folder, and click on the icon within that folder (attach that icon to the dock). The program seems to need to have everything together in that folder for it to launch.

Thanks SO MUCH for this! I was going NUTS trying to get this to happen! Not a tecchie by any means! Angie]

This issue might be related to the problem met by OpenOffice users on Leopard. Apple seems to have replaced "Apple Computer, Inc." by "Apple, Inc." in the Java string. The JRE is thus not recognized anymore on Leopard, and Java fails. (Web Reference)

Hope this issue will be fixed in the next FreeMind release.

Temporary Solution  : It is possible de launch FreeMind via > Content > Resources > Java > lib > freemind.jar

I suggest to place an alias in the Dock, for a more friendly access to FreeMind

I was able to get FreeMind 0.9.0 beta 20 to launch on Mac OS X 10.5.5 (Leopard) by editing the Info.plist JVMVersion string to read 1.6 instead of 1.4+. For the record, when I run java -version it reports java version "1.5.0_16".

I got the install to work by creating a Freemind folder under Applications, copying the rest of the files in the container to it (e.g., plugins\, accessories\ etc) and then moving the "installed" package to that folder. It looks like Freemind needs to find those files and folders during startup.

FreeMind cannot detect new version of Java. What can I do?

Let us assume that you have installed a new version of Java, and still, FreeMind complains about having old version of Java. This may occur especially if you installed SDK rather than JRE. SDK stands for software development kit and contains much more than you need to run FreeMind; you only need the runtime environment. It is important that the new version of java is in your path. To check it out on Microsoft Windows, run command ``cmd" using Windows-key + R, followed by ``java -version". You should get something like

java version "1.4.2_03"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.4.2_03-b02)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.4.2_03-b02, mixed mode)

where the particular version number is not important as long as it is at least 1.4.0.

Additionally, it may be helpful to start freemind.bat and see what messages come.

NOTE: If you have an Oracle database product installed on your computer, check the Oracle Installer to see what version of Java was installed with the database. Versions of Oracle 8, 8i, and later install JRE 1.3.1 and modify the startup path for Windows to ensure the database can start using this JRE. This installation WILL cause FreeMind to report the older version of Java, even if you install the new version (the .ini file for Oracle points Windows to the JRE 1.3.1 directory, places that in memory, and causes the fault). You can modify the .ini file to point Oracle to the newer JRE.

If you don't want to change the Oracle settings: just create a batch file in the FreeMind folder with the following entry "Path-to-your-new-java-runtimes-bin/java.exe -jar lib/freemind.jar" and use that to start freemind.

Is there an IRC for freemind devs/users

Uploading to gallery gives incorrect file ext. or file corruption message but the file is fine

What do I do?

Which Java virtual machines does FreeMind actually work with?

FreeMind works with the virtual machines from Sun, from the version 1.4.0 and higher. FreeMind has been reported to run on the JDK 1.4.2 from Blackdown. FreeMind also works on Linux with Sun Microsystems 64bit JDK version 1.5.0.

There are known issues with official release 0.8.0 of Freemind and Java 6.

  • Encrypted nodes will wipe out your map when trying to save it to disk.
  • Preferences dialog can not be opened

Stick to Java 5 (alias 1.5.x) (see bug report)

Possible cause and work-around for problem of Preferences dialog: extended desktop (second monitor). If you extend your desktop on to a second monitor and use FreeMind on that monitor, when you close (save?) the Preferences dialog, its dialog is saved to the extended desktop location. The next time you use FreeMind without using the 2nd monitor, the Preferences dialog will not be visible. I had this problem and was able to correct it by moving the dialog back to the main monitor and saving again (note that the virtual position of the 2nd monitor relative to the main monitor is important for finding the dialog again). -RyanC, 7-Apr-08

What is a mirror?

A mirror is one of the SourceForge sites from which you can download FreeMind. To download FreeMind, choose any mirror; you would prefer a mirror geographically closer to the place where you live. If you experience problems with one mirror, try another.

I run 'freemind.bat' and get an error message

If you get

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: java/util/logging/Logger 
at freemind.main.FreeMind.getLogger<>at
at freemind.main.FreeMind.main<> 

then the Java Virtual Machine found on your system is of version 1.3 or below. Try

java -version

to verify this. This happens, when you install Oracle for instance. Please, make sure, that your latest Java Virtual Machine is found when you type "java -version" by deinstalling java1.3 for example.

USB Portable FreeMind

Just add the following Java option in the freemind.bat or and everything is contained on the USB stick:

-Duser.home=.[\<subdirectory, if needed>]

As an example see the new content of my BAT-file, which looks like:

@echo off java -Duser.home=. -cp lib\freemind.jar;lib\commons-lang-2.0.jar;lib\forms-1.0.5.jar;lib\jibx\jibx-run.jar;lib\jibx\xpp3.jar;lib\bindings.jar freemind.main.FreeMindStarter

This lets FM create and use the subfolder .freemind in the location of the freemind.bat.

As we know, USB flash drives support only limited number of writes. It means that reliability of such device drops down as time advances. Freemind, by default, saves your open maps every minute to .freemind dir which is in this case on the flash drive. If you aren't too paranoid you can avoid this by setting autosave dir to tmp dir of your OS. Freemind will automatically delete autosaves on exit so your precious data won't be left on a host machine. Go to Tools->Preferences->Path to automatic saves and set it to 'default'. Freemind will understand this on Windows probably as c:\windows\temp, Linux - /tmp or /var/tmp.

That's it and have fun!

What if the window opened by FreeMind.bat annoys me?

You can force the window not to show by having the batch file not to hold the handle to the java runtime. Effectively the command prompt is displaying command line output from java application, FreeMind, while waiting for the application to terminate before it closes. You can solve this by using javaw to suppress the command line output and forcing the command prompt to start a new process for java. Try editing the FreeMind.bat to change java -cp lib\freemind.jar;... with START "" javaw. The line becomes something like START "" javaw -cp lib\freemind.jar;...

If that approach does not successfully hide the window, try this approach: 1. Copy the following script to a text file, 2. Modify the java directory ("C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_13\bin\java") to match the location of yours, 3. Save the file with a .vbs extension (i.e. FreeMind.vbs), and 4. Double-click the file.

Dim objShell
Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
objShell.Run Chr(34) & "C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_13\bin\java" & Chr(34) & " -cp lib\freemind.jar;lib\ant\lib\jaxb-api.jar;lib\ant\lib\jaxb-impl.jar;lib\ant\lib\jaxb-libs.jar;lib\ant\lib\namespace.jar;lib\ant\lib\relaxngDatatype.jar;lib\ant\lib\xsdlib.jar;lib\ant\lib\jax-qname.jar;lib\ant\lib\sax.jar;lib\ant\lib\dom.jar freemind.main.FreeMind", 0, False
Set objShell = Nothing


Before you start asking questions on the forum, it's a good idea to check if your problem is not already described, together with a resolution:

  • either on this page,
  • or in the Forums, there is a search function (check the SourceForge menu 'Forums → Search'),
  • or even in the Trackers, where you can find already reported problems.

If this doesn't help, then sample the following information (under Windows, check the specific pages for other OS's) and create a Help forum topic (if you're not sure) or bug tracker item (if you're quite sure that it's a bug in FreeMind) with it:

  • OS version (e.g. Win XP with(out) SP2 or 3)
  • Java version (the output of java -version called from the command line, example as follows)
C:\Users\lostuser>java -version
java version "1.5.0_15"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_15-b04)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_15-b04, mixed mode, sharing)
  • FreeMind version (e.g. FreeMind 0.9.0.Beta20, installed from FreeMind-Windows-Installer-0.9.0_Beta_20-max.exe)
  • Content of the logfile %USERPROFILE%\.freemind\log.0 after you've done the action making problems.
  • It's also a good idea to open a command line, go to FreeMind's base directory, in general with cd %ProgramFiles%\freemind, and start FreeMind from there, using the freemind.bat file, and check what happens in the console. Most content is generally similar to the above logfile, but not if FreeMind doesn't even start, for some reason (e.g. Java missing).
  • Check if your problem also appears with other Java programs, we generally recommend JEdit because it uses the same GUI type (called Swing) as FreeMind.
under Windows XP/Vista, you can open a command line (also called a console) by pressing the keys Win+R (like Run), type cmd and press enter.


To add a new concept

A new concept is referred to as a "node." Use the "Insert" key on PCs to add a new node. MAC users need to set a different key. Nodes are not limited to just concepts. They can also include sentences, paragraphs or even short articles.

Is there an undo feature in FreeMind?

Starting with FreeMind 0.8, there is an undo and redo feature.

If you are using 0.7, then use the following tips to prevent data loss:

  • Use FreeMind's autosave-feature
This feature is enabled by default... auto saved files will be found in ~/.freemind/
  • Install a clipboard manager, which will make all elements, which you cut from FreeMind, available in its history. A freeware example of a clipboard manager for MS Windows is Yankee Clipper.

=== How much memory do I need? === Keywords: RAM. Experience shows that 64 MB is not sufficient, while 128 MB is already enough, provided that you do not run another Java application. Correct me if I'm wrong. I am using FreeMind on Windows 95 + 128 MB without any problems.

Running FreeMind 0.8RC5 on Windows 95 with 64 MB and Java 1.4.0 is possible and the response time is in acceptable limits. -- Stefano 02:01, 11 Jul 2005 (PDT)

Running FreeMind 0.7.1 on Debian Linux and Java (j2sdk1.4) with my Omnibook 800 laptop (78 MB RAM, P166) just fine. I haven't tried any big projects with it yet, but so far it's very responsive. --Kyle 09:14, 30 Jan 2006 (PST)

To move a node to the other side of root

Drag the node onto root and you see one half of root getting gray. Move the node to the other half and this half gets gray. Just drop the node on the side you want to have it. As of version 0.9.0 you can also use Ctrl+left and Ctrl+right to move a node in the desired direction (not only to change the side with respect to root, try it out). For Mac users, it's Command+left and Command+right respectively.

To create a graphical link

  1. Go to the source node.
  2. Mark it with the mouse.
  3. Press the left mouse button.
  4. Hold this button.
  5. Press Ctrl+Shift buttons.
  6. Continue to hold all these buttons.
  7. Go to the destination node.
  8. Release the mouse button, first.
  9. Then release the keyboard buttons.

You have your link. Alternatively, drag'n drop holding right mouse button.

To remove a graphical link

  1. Right-Click on the curved arrow of the graphical link (Mac users, press Control and click to see the options menu)
  2. Choose "Remove Arrow Link" from the pop-up menu

(Left-clicking on a graphical link does nothing)

To remove a local link

  1. Select the node with the link, and press Ctrl+K ("edit link") (Command+K in Mac).
  2. In the "Edit hyperlink manually..." dialog that appears, clear the contents of the text field, then click OK.

To add user icons to FreeMind

Currently, adding user Icons is not possible. BUT you can add an inline images to any node. Use the following code example:

<html><img src="">

in a FreeMind node. This should also work with local files using "file://" instead of "http://".

However if you want to change the source code there is a way to add your own icons. You have to modify the “freemind.jar” file. (By default you can find it under “C:\Program Files\FreeMind\lib”) You can modify a .jar file easily with WinRAR. If you have WinRAR installed on your computer just right click the file you want to modify and choose Open With WinRAR.

  • 1. Add your own icons: Use the button Add in WinRAR GUI to add your icons to “freemind.jar\images\icons”
  • 2. Change file “”: find row that starts with “icons.list=” and add your icon names
  • 3. Change file “”: where xx is your local language. Add rows icon_iconName = iconDescription, where iconName is the name of your icon and iconDescription the text you want to see on the tooltip of your icon

To open links in only one browser window, rather than several.

To our knowledge this is not possible at the moment.

Firefox (old) allows this option. From the menu, select 1) Tools > Options > 2) Click Advanced 3) Toggle Tabbed Browsing 4) Select to open links from other apps in ...a new tab in the most recent window.

Firefox ( allows this option. From the menu, select 1) Edit > Preferences > 2) Click Tabs 3) Select to open links from other apps in ...a new tab in the most recent window.

A possible Work Around: There is a way to do this if you use the Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer, provided you install the Firefox extension called Single Window (available from here). Using this extension, every time you click on an external web link on a mind map, it will open the relevant page in a new tab in an existing Firefox window, rather than a new browser window. I have found this to be a much easier way to navigate the pages opened. I have only tried this with mm files opened from the file system at the moment (i.e. not served from a web server in the browser applet).

To open external web links in a new tabs in Firefox follow this tip (works both for Linux and Windows). You have to add a line in your user.js file and install Tabbrowser extensions.

=== Is it difficult to provide FreeMind with Java Webstart?=== Well, it's not that easy. Joerg Mueller succeeded in doing just that and has sent his source code to Daniel Polansky, who did not succeed in getting it running; he did not consider that a high priority. What is important is that Microsoft Windows users have a convenient installer, and the users of the other operating systems are already used to not so convenient methods; the installation is pretty straightforward anyway.

To create PDF out of FreeMind's mind map

To create pdf out of FreeMind's mind map, you've got several options.

  • Use File/Export/As PDF...
  • Create DocBook, then pdf. Use XSLT transformations sheets from Christoph Rissner to convert FreeMind's mind map to Mind Manager's mind map, then to DocBook, and create pdf from that DocBook. You can read more on that on Abgeschlossene Arbeiten > Mind Maps.
  • Print to pdf using a pdf printer driver.
    • Use open source PDFCreator. It uses Ghostscript as its backend.
  • Print to pdf using Acrobat's Distiller. Provided that you have full version of Adobe Acrobat installed (not just reader), you can print to a pdf using the Distiller or Writer options in your printer list. Make sure you check the "fit to one page" option under File > Page Setup. Also, make sure you set antialias to all under edit > preferences. This will make it look crisper. The only downside to this option is that it doesn't do the icons very well.
  • First print to postscript, then convert to pdf.
    • In Linux, create postscript by printing to a file using a postscript printer, and convert the postscript file to pdf afterwards, by using the shell-command ps2pdf or using Ghostscript.
    • In Windows, install any postscript color printer (Like AppleColor 600) to print to a file. When printing to that printer, choose a folder and a file that ends with .ps. Then, open that *.ps with gsview and choose File/Convert to PDF (let the program choose it all). Then save the file with the same name, but ending with .pdf. That's all. You might need to read the help files to tune it all up (only once).
  • Export FreeMind's mind map to HTML, paste it into Microsoft Word, format it as you see fit, and convert it to pdf using the techniques decribed above.

To convert mind maps between FreeMind and MindManager

See Import and export

Who is the development team of FreeMind?

Daniel Polansky: the director of FreeMind is Daniel Polansky, i.e. me. The label ``director" is not quite appropriate; ``parliament" would be better. I test new versions, give advice, sometimes act in the name of FreeMind, forbid versions to be released because of insufficient quality, and approve them when they're ready. Also, I set up barriers for new directions.

The main actor on the scene is Christian Foltin. We use the label ``code master" to denote his role, and also ``manager". He does most of the work and decides which code changes are acceptable what concerns the quality of code. He takes care of mergers. Also, he coordinates the developers.

An important developer is Dimitri Polivaev.

To have brainstorm-like mode similar to one found in MindManager.

Did you notice you can hit Enter and Shift-Enter to create sibling nodes? It is not exactly the behavior of brainstorm mode of MindManager, but still close to it.

What operating systems does FreeMind successfully run on?

  • Microsoft Windows. Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP (SP1 & SP2), Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista.
  • Linux. Mandrake 9.2 and 10, RedHat Pro WS 3, RedHat Enterprise Linux WS 4, Fedora Core 2, Fedora 8 & 9, SuSE (8.2 using the RPM for 9.0, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 10.0, 10.2), Ubuntu (Warty, Hardy, Intrepid Ibis), Debian (sarge, sid), Slackware 9.1, Gentoo, Mepis 3.3.1, Mepis 3.4-2.rc1.
  • BSD. FreeBSD (5.2.1, 5.4, 6.1), Mac OS X (10.2.8, 10.3, 10.4.4, 10.4.8, 10.4.11)
  • Other. OS/2, Solaris 9 and 10.

Keywords: platforms.

Is there a PDA-Version, e.g. for Palm or Pocket PC?

On PDA, you can use FreeMindPDA. It uses cross-platform SuperWaba Open Source SDK. However, it does not use mind map view, but rather plain tree view; it is not a proper FreeMind version in that sense. See also FreeMind and PDA.

What is the largest size mindmap I can edit with FreeMind?

In principle, there are no built-in limits. Practically, the maximum reported size is 11 MB at a map with 22,000 nodes; after exporting to HTML and pasting to Microsoft Word, the very same content had 15.6 MB, with 1500 pages. For a better practical estimation, experimental tests are needed, as the maximum given so far is only a lower bound on practical limits.

I've been appending daily notes to a single mind-map file continually for many months on a 3 GHz Pentium 4 with 2 GB RAM running windowsXP. The file has grown to about half a megabyte, 420K, and there is a noticable difference in Freemind's responsiveness dealing with it, but it still works for me.

How can I keep FreeMind from opening the last file from the last session?

One way is to disable the changing of the file "" (which is in the same folder as Be aware that the menu "Edit -> Preferences" will not change anything any more than!
To do that go to the file and delete everything behind "onStartIfNotSpecified=" in that line. Now set the file "" to read-only.

Another way is to change the on the fly during startup. Copy the next lines of code into a batch-file and put this into the same directory as freemind.exe. This batchfile will add an extra line to the file. In fact, it does the same as the above, but it still enables you to change the properties.

@echo off
echo onStartIfNotSpecified= >> "%USERPROFILE%\.freemind\"
call .\freemind.exe

To change the fill color on bubbles.

There's an icon for it at the main toolbar. Additionally, you can find it in the popup menu at Node > Style > Cloud color.

To remove a cloud

Press Ctrl+Shift+B to toggle clouds.

To search in FreeMind

Keywords: find. Press Ctrl + F. For finding next occurrence, press Ctrl + G. Searching is restricted to the descendants of the node selected when pressing Ctrl + F. The search is a breadth-first search, first finding occurrences in the nodes closer to the starting node.

===To move nodes around=== To move them up and down, use ctrl + up and down arrows. To move them wherever you want, use drag'n drop with mouse. Keywords: move around, reorganize.

What does antialias mean in FreeMind preferences?

To antialias means to make fonts or curves look smooth by drawing additional pixels with in-between color. See also wikipedia on antialiasing.

By default, FreeMind antialiases edges only. FreeMind can also antialias text, but with the current state of the technology, it does not look good enough. At least, new Java RE 1.5.0 has better antialiasing of text than Java RE 1.4.x. Also, it is possible to set the whole application to antialiasing, including the menus and editing box; by using the command line option -Dswing.aatext=true of Java 1.5.0. Unfortunately, this is not available if you're using FreeMind.exe to launch FreeMind.

What kind of encryption is used?

See Encryption.

Reminders don't work when I start a map. The PDF-Export is not present. What's happening?

There, the plugins (not only the PDF/SVG one) appear only if you start FreeMind from the directory where it has been installed. Especially if you start FreeMind by double-clicking on a FreeMind file (.mm file), this is not the case. So, use your icon and choose open to open your file.

Customizing FreeMind

How do I add a new keyboard shortcut

To add a new keyboard shortcut, say for "Change node background color", open the file mindmap_menus.xml (in freemind.jar) and search for "background", say.

You'll find

  <menu_action field="nodeColor" key_ref="keystroke_node_color"/>
  <menu_action field="nodeColorBlend" key_ref="keystroke_node_color_blend"/>
  <menu_action field="nodeBackgroundColor"/>
  <menu_action field="removeNodeBackgroundColor"/>

Here, you add a new keyboard ref attribute like:

  <menu_action field="nodeColor" key_ref="keystroke_node_color"/>
  <menu_action field="nodeColorBlend" key_ref="keystroke_node_color_blend"/>
  <menu_action field="nodeBackgroundColor" key_ref="keystroke_node_background_color"/>
  <menu_action field="removeNodeBackgroundColor"/>

Open the file and add a line like

keystroke_node_color = alt F
keystroke_node_color_blend = alt B
keystroke_edge_color = alt E
keystroke_node_background_color=alt N

But you have to search for free keys...

To set expert settings

Most of expert settings are stored in the file.

To use another browser

If you want to use another browser, edit the file and change the following property according to your operation system:


You have to write something like

default_browser_command_windows_nt = C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe "{0}"


To change language


language= ja

language = ja 

Don't forget to remove the # character. Restart FreeMind and you have changed the language to German. See also the list of available languages.

To set a different key for new child node on Mac computers

NOTE: The latest version of Freemind now sets the "tab" key as the default key for inserting a new node on a mac. Unfortunately, this is not documented in an obvious place. If you right or control click on a node you see a menu that does tell you the Tab shortcut for creating a child node but this is easily missed.

In a manner similar to changing the language, replace

#keystroke_add_child = INSERT 


keystroke_add_child = control shift ENTER

in the file Pay attention that you write the key code ENTER in capital letters.

N.B. Setting the ADD CHILD MAC is not enough, ADD CHILD must also be set (at least with Beta 9 on Leopard)

This can also be done via the Freemind GUI by selecting Tools/Preferences/Keystrokes instead of editing the properties file.

The command ("Apple") key can be referred to as "meta" in these keystroke sequences - in case you were wondering.

There is no shortcut to insert a note. Why?

There is no shortcut on purpose, as this action does not come with undo.

If you want to have this shortcut, you can download the sources, patch NodeNote.xml such that it contains a key_stroke="alt N" in the first lines as here:

<plugin_action documentation="%accessories/plugins/NodeNote.properties_documentation" name="%accessories/plugins/NodeNote.properties_name" base="freemind.extensions.NodeHookAdapter" key_stroke="alt N" icon_path="accessories/plugins/icons/knotes.png" label="accessories/plugins/" class_name="accessories.plugins.NodeNote" instanciation="Once">

compile and you are done. BUT REMEMBER: Pressing your key on a node, that already contains a note, makes this note to remove WITHOUT UNDO.

At your own risk, Chris

Using physical styles (or patterns)

Physical styles and patterns are the same and can be compared to "styles" in a text writer: you define a set of styling attributes, give this set a name, and can then assign the style or pattern to different nodes in the same way.

The patterns are defined in the file patterns.xml placed in the FreeMind user directory. In Windows, that file is C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName\.freemind\patterns.xml; under Linux, it's ~/.freemind/patterns.xml. The generic format of this file is the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <pattern name="Pattern1">
  [...pattern properties...]
 <pattern name="Pattern2">
  [...pattern properties...]
 [...more patterns...]

As you can see from above, you need to give each pattern a unique name, and then you need to assign pattern properties. Each pattern property is of the form <pattern_property_name value="property_value"/>, or <pattern_property_name/>, and each property stands for a different format parameter. Where the property is listed without value attribute, the corresponding format is reset to its default value. The following property names are possible:

  • pattern_node_background_color
  • pattern_node_color
  • pattern_node_style
  • pattern_node_text
  • pattern_node_font_name
  • pattern_node_font_bold
  • pattern_node_font_italic
  • pattern_node_font_size
  • pattern_icon
  • pattern_edge_color
  • pattern_edge_style
  • pattern_edge_width
  • pattern_child

Allowed values

For colors, the format of the value is "#RRGGBB", where RR, GG, BB are the hexadecimal values of the red, green, blue components of a color, e.g. "#B3B95C".

pattern_icon can take one of the following values:

  • help
  • messagebox_warning
  • idea
  • button_ok
  • button_cancel
  • full-1
  • full-2
  • full-3
  • full-4
  • full-5
  • full-6
  • full-7
  • back
  • forward
  • attach
  • ksmiletris
  • smily_bad
  • clanbomber
  • desktop_new
  • flag
  • gohome
  • kaddressbook
  • knotify
  • korn
  • Mail
  • password
  • pencil
  • stop
  • wizard
  • xmag
  • bell
  • bookmark
  • penguin
  • licq
Add more explanations about the possible values and exact impact for each property.


An example of a pattern is therefore:

<pattern name="Blue with edges and icon">
 <pattern_node_color value="#000099"/>
 <pattern_icon value="flag"/>
 <pattern_edge_color value="#009999"/>
 <pattern_edge_width value="4"/>

This information and more can be discovered by opening any .mm file in a text or XML editor. You can usually search for the text in an element to find the example of what you want to learn how to do.

the complete list of pattern properties can be found in the source code, in the file freemind/freemind_actions.xsd (search for pattern_), and the list of icons in the file freemind/modes/ (search for mAllIconNames.add).

= Can one make a script to run filters according to the attributes of selected nodes

I'm looking for a way to run filters more intuitively by making the filter by way of clicking on the attributes and icons in nodes on the mind map. Is this possible. Or i guess more simply to make a script that will run a selected filter (However this would be time consuming to do that for many nodes) Any suggestions?

Mind maps on web pages with FreeMind's applet

To get FreeMind's applet working.

If you experience problems viewing a mind map published by someone else, the most common problem is that you have to use Java >= 1.4 in your browser. Check this using the "About plugins" section of your browser (or a similar place). If you have Java >= 1.4 installed and still experiencing problems check out Internet Explorer's settings by selecting Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Java and make sure ``Use Java2" is enabled.

To present your mind map on the web

Use FreeMind's browser applet. The following document (thanks to Bob) explains what to do to have a complete testing environment for your applet.

Quick Java Applet instructions if you are already a code wiz

<APPLET CODE="freemind.main.FreeMindApplet.class" ARCHIVE="freemindbrowser.jar" 
WIDTH="100%" HEIGHT="80%">
<PARAM NAME="type" VALUE="application/x-java-applet;version=1.4">
<PARAM NAME="scriptable" VALUE="false">
<PARAM NAME="toolbarVisible" VALUE="true">
<\!--        ^ this has no effect on my pc -->
<PARAM NAME="modes" VALUE="freemind.modes.browsemode.BrowseMode">
<PARAM NAME="browsemode_initial_map" VALUE="">
<\!--                                       ^ Put the FULL path to your map here  -->
<param NAME="initial_mode" VALUE="Browse">
<param NAME="selection_method" VALUE="selection_method_direct">

In some cases, it may be necessary to set the ARCHIVE property to also use the Full Path to the .jar file. In the above example, the initial APPLET element would appear as:

<APPLET CODE="freemind.main.FreeMindApplet.class" 
ARCHIVE="" WIDTH="100%" HEIGHT="80%">

The most recent version of above source and freemindbrowser.jar are contained in the, which you can get from the sourceforge-site.

To view the toolbar automatically after the applet starts

It is necessary to edit the html starter of the applet and change the corresponding property. That is, set toolbarVisible=true. More precisely, add a tag

<PARAM NAME="toolbarVisible" VALUE="true">

to freemindbrowser.html or whatever name you have changed the file to.

Is there a list of names and values and functions of all params for the applet?

No. Theoretically, all parameters found in can be used as parameters of the applet.

Is it possible to change or edit the map through an applet?

No. There is no applet for editing mind maps; only for viewing.

My document isn't opened by the applet

The URL of the document *must* end with .mm. If it doesn't the document opens in a new browser window. The trick I use is to append a dummy parameter like in this example:


This trick is specially useful for dynamic documents. (this is an opinion only. Some people, like Garito, thinks in another way)

Java Applet for XHTML

The same Freemind Browser can be used but instead of using the 'applet' element, the 'object' element can be used instead. Using Shayne Steele's approach, the following code can be used for placing a file called that is located in (along with the freemindbrowser.jar file):

<!--[if !IE]-->
<object classid="java:freemind.main.FreeMindApplet.class"
      width="450" height="300">
   <param name="scriptable" value="false" />
   <param name="modes" value="freemind.modes.browsemode.BrowseMode" />
   <param name="browsemode_initial_map" value="" />
   <param name="initial_mode" value="Browse" />
   <param name="selection_method" value="selection_method_direct" />
<!-- <![endif]-->
   <object classid="clsid:8AD9C840-044E-11D1-B3E9-00805F499D93"
         height="300" width="450">
      <param name="code" value="freemind.main.FreeMindApplet" />
      <param name="archive" value="" />
      <param name="scriptable" value="false" />
      <param name="modes" value="freemind.modes.browsemode.BrowseMode" />
      <param name="browsemode_initial_map" value="" />
      <param name="initial_mode" value="Browse" />
      <param name="selection_method" value="selection_method_direct" />
        This browser does not have a Java Plug-in.
      <br />
      <a href="">
        Get the latest Java Plug-in here.
<!--[if !IE]>-->
<!-- <![endif]-->

It works and it is valid markup. If placing in an HTML file, use '>' instead of ' />' for the param element ending.

Workarounds in FreeMind

FreeMind behaves strange or crashes. What can I do?

First try reinstalling both Java (mostly the latest version is best) and Freemind. Often this solves problems. One of the problems solved in this way was:

My computer crashes, or more precisely locks, when I click on a link in FreeMind, using J2RE 1.4.2_03 on Windows 98. Reinstalling helped. In retrospect, I think what broke it was that I renamed the J2RE directory to something easier to write in the bat file path statement. Broke it.

When I drag files into the FreeMind window, FreeMind just works very long or I get a mind map of the file system

This is a bug which is a least present on FreeMind 7.2 beta and lower on Windows. I only know of a workaround for this: Go to the and delete ",freemind.modes.filemode.FileMode". This disables the file mode of FreeMind.

Changing the key bindings in does not work

It seems that capitalization IS important in the keybindings. I wrote "enter" and it didn't work. I changed it to "ENTER" and it worked! (FreeMind 7.2 beta)

FreeMind fails to work with or to export big maps

When FreeMind fails to work with big maps, you may do the following.

Assign more memory to the Java virtual machine as a workaround by editing the launching script. Edit freemind.bat or and add a -XmxMEM parameter to the java command line at the end of the script, like java -Xmx512m ... for 512 megabytes maximum memory and java -Xmx768m ... for 768 megabytes maximum memory. Believing the manual of Java, the default is 64 MB and the maximum is slightly less than 2000 on an x86 processor, which should be enough.

Beware that exporting may still take a while. For instance, it may take 11 minutes to export a mind map with 740 nodes to JPEG.

On OS X: Edit the Info.plist file /Applications/Mac_OS_X_Freemind-0_8_1/ and add the following key to the


Plugins not found when FreeMind 0.8 starts by double-clicking a FreeMind mind map

The following Microsoft Windows laucher fixes the problem that plugins were not found when FreeMind was started by double-clicking a FreeMind mind map. Download the patch with fixed Windows launcher, and replace Freemind.exe found in C:\Program Files\FreeMind with the one found in the patch, given you are in Windows. Backing up the original Freemind.exe is advisable.

Freemind 0.9.0RC4 can't quiet without saving

I try to quit without saving (respond "No" to question) and it just goes back to map. Ended task with Task Manager on Windows and got same prompt and goes back to map again. Ending task a second time with Task Manager finally kills the program.

Using HTML in long nodes

What HTML tags does FreeMind support?

FreeMind supports basic HTML in its nodes. For HTML to take effect, a node must start with "<html>". What HTML is supported depends on the Java virtual machine. Among others, users have reported the following uses:

<html><p style="background-color:yellow">the node text</p>
<html><p align="center">the node <br> text</p>

To embed, or more precisely link, images into FreeMind.

You can link images into FreeMind using context menu of a node, accessed using right click (on MAC OS X Panther use Control click). Or type the following:

<html><img src="image.jpg"></html>

where image.jpg is the reference to an image.

To put the contents of a Microsoft Word document into FreeMind.

  • First paste the Word document into Microsoft FrontPage.
  • Delete the images afterwards as FreeMind does not support them.
  • Remove the <head> ... </head> in the source text view in FrontPage.
  • But leave the <html>! The node needs to start with that.
  • Replace <body> with <body width=600> or similar width specification.
  • Finally, paste the HTML text as a long node into FreeMind.

To have tables in FreeMind

If you have Microsoft Frontpage available, it is convenient to create and edit HTML content there and paste it to and from FreeMind. Beware that the html code has to start with <html>. This way, you can conveniently create tables using the drawing tools of Frontpage. You can create formatted text this way as well; in that case, beware to set <body width=600> or similar. However, FreeMind does not interpret all HTML; especially, it does not interpret inline CSS styling so you have to use hard formatting instead.

If you want the table borders to have a nice two dimensional look rather than bevelled, start the HTML as follows.

<style> td  { border-style: solid } table { border-style: solid } </style>

Generating mind maps programmatically

To insert a newline into a node

Insert &#xa; instead of plain newline. Example of a map with three newlines:

<map version="0.7.1">
<node TEXT="New Mindmap">
<node TEXT="A&#xa;B&#xa;C&#xa;D" POSITION="right"/>

To use unicode characters in the node text

FreeMind understands and uses &#xnn;, where nn is equivalent to the hexadecimal number representing the character. It does not understand &#nnn;, where nnn is decimal number. An example of a map containing Areté follows.

<map version="0.7.1">
<node TEXT="Aret&#xe9;"/>

FreeMind on Microsoft Windows

How do I install a test version of FreeMind?

Just unzip the package to the folder "C:\Program Files\FreeMind". That completes the "installation". You can start it by running freemind.exe (or freemind.bat if the exe does not exist). You can find test versions here.

FreeMind does not seem to be affected by the things I edit in the Why?


FreeMind starts and reacts so slow. Why? How to resolve?

This seems to be an effect of the connection between Java and MS DirectX. You can deactivate the usage of DirectX for Freemind by editing the Freemind.bat file in your FreeMind directory.

Add the parameter


before the final expression freemind.main.FreeMind.

Of course, now you have to use Freemind.bat to start the program instead of executing Freemind.exe. Do not forget to update file associations as well: Windows File Associations


On Windows, if the application launcher utility SlickRun is running at the same time as FreeMind, it causes FreeMind to (for some reason) respond very slowly. Possible workarounds:

  • Move FreeMind and SlickRun onto different monitors (on a multi-monitor system).
  • Close SlickRun while FreeMind is running.

File Operations are slow

With Java6 Update2 you will probably notice this bug. Sun is working on it. Perhaps, you can downgrade to Java6 Update1 or Java5 in the meantime.

To create a screenshot of FreeMind and paste it into Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint

To take a screenshot of your whole windows screen into clipboard, press Ctrl + Print Screen. To take a screenshot of the active window only into clipboard, press Alt + Print Screen. Select your Word or Powerpoint document and press Ctrl + V. On German keyboard, the key PrintScreen has the label "Druck". However, such a screenshot also contains FreeMind's window frame, not just the map contents. In Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint, this can be solved by cropping the screenshot; the cropping tool can be found in Picture toolbar..

To export a map to Microsoft Powerpoint

There's no elegant way to export a map to PowerPoint. One option is to take a screenshot, and paste it into Powerpoint. PowerPoint supports graphic file insertion, so another option is upgrading to a more recent version of FreeMind that supports JPEG export.

One another solution is by using a Flash plugin:

1. Insert a control "Shockwave Flash Object" with the Control toolbar (go to display/toolbar/customise if not available).

2. Activate the propeties window by double clicking on the rectangle of the object

3. Click on the custom "property"

4. On the new opened window set the "movie URL" to the full path of the plugin (i.e: c:\path\visorFreemind.swf)

5. Set the "base URL" to the name of your freemind file (i.e.:

6. Start your diaporama and you will see the cross inside the rectangle replaced by your freemind map

In PowerPoint 2007 --HugoContreras 17:41, 5 Dec 2009 (UTC)

4. On the new opened window set the property "movie" to visorFreemind.swf?

5. Set the property "Play" to true. Set the property "EmbedMovie" to true.

Save ppt file in the same location that visorFreemind.swf and

If not successfull with those explanation, you will find a more complete information at the following address: FlashGeek

Or you can export to RTF using a XSLT like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="">

<xsl:template match="/">{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252
    {\f1\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq0 Arial;}
    {\s1\qc\f1\fs44\ppscheme-3\lang1110\level1 heading 1;}
    {\s2\li270\fi-270\f1\fs32\ppscheme-1\lang1110\level2 heading 2;}
    {\s3\li585\fi-225\f1\fs28\ppscheme-1\lang1110\level3 heading 3;}
    {\s4\li900\fi-180\f1\fs24\ppscheme-1\lang1110\level4 heading 4;}
    {\s5\li1260\fi-180\f1\fs20\ppscheme-1\lang1110\level5 heading 5;}
    {\s6\li1620\fi-180\f1\fs20\ppscheme-1\lang1110\level6 heading 6;}
  <xsl:apply-templates />

<xsl:template match="node">
                                                   <xsl:value-of select="@TEXT"/>\par}
  <xsl:for-each select="child::node">
                                                   <xsl:value-of select="@TEXT"/>\par}
  <xsl:apply-templates select="node" />


and then open it using PowerPoint.

To export / import a map to Microsoft Project

See Import and export

FreeMind on Mac OS X

FreeMind is written in the Java language, which is great for development and deployment of cross-platform applications. Freemind uses the Swing graphical user interface toolkit, which can use different looks and feels in order to mimic visuals and behaviours proprietary to the target execution platforms.

On Microsoft Windows OS, the application fits quite nicely with the rest of the environment, but on Apple MacOS-X, things are often not quite right. MacOS-X users usually have higher expectations when it comes to usability and UI consistency, so they might become frustrated by the lack of compliance to their user interface guidelines.

Here are some tips to enhance the user experience when using MacOS-X:

  1. Keyboard shortcuts
    The "Tao Of Mac" weblog posted a tip for replacing the "CTRL" key by the "COMMAND" (Apple) key:
  2. Look and feel
    "Quaqua" is a look and feel for Swing that emulates the Aqua user interface:
  3. Shift-click to select multiple nodes.

Using a default Save/Open Directory for FreeMind on Mac OS X

This is a workaround that works for me. My biggest pain was navigating to my Maps directory with FreeMind everytime I wanted to save a new, or open an existing map. My Maps directory is ~/Documents/Maps. Here's the process to do so:

  • Copy your existing .freemind directory from ~ to ~/Documents/Maps or wherever you want your default Map save directory to be.
  • Go to /Applications/ -- using Finder.
  • Use Finder to Show Contents of the FreeMind App
  • Navigate to Contents/MacOS
  • Rename the "JavaApplicationStub" to "JavaApplicationStub.real"
  • Create an executable shellscript with the content below:
export HOME=$HOME/Documents/Maps

logger "=================  Running FreeMind with new home"

exec /Applications/
  • Chmod +x on the shellscript (from Terminal)

Done. You've now got a default save directory and open directory. This was a huge timesaver, evertime I fire up FreeMind, it saves me a lot of navigation and time.

FreeMind on Linux and other UNIX-like systems

Go to the specific page FreeMind on Linux.


language = ja

Is FreeMind mind mapping software?

The term mind mapping is related to british psychologist Tony Buzan. In Buzan's context, mind map is a tree with many colors, pictures and personal expression. FreeMind is not really mind mapping software in the sense of Tony Buzan, nevertheless, one would say that FreeMind belongs to the class of so called mind mapping software.

Some of members of that class come pretty close to Buzan. Have a look at the site of first class commercial mind mapping software MindManager. You may also want to see examples of mind maps in Buzan's sense.

To spell FreeMind correctly.

"FreeMind", with a capital M.

Where can I find a quick reference list of default keyboard shortcuts for the Windows 0.7.1 version?

Here is a list of shortcuts, grouped by function:

File commands:
New map      - Ctrl+N
Open map     - Ctrl+O
Save map     - Ctrl+S
Save as      - Ctrl+A
Print        - Ctrl+P
Close        - Ctrl+W
Quit         - Ctrl+Q
Previous map - Ctrl+LEFT
Next Map     - Ctrl+RIGHT
Export file to HTML          - Ctrl+E
Export branch to HTML        - Ctrl+H
Export branch to new MM file - Alt+A
Open first file in history   - Ctrl+Shift+W
Edit commands:
Find        - Ctrl+F
Find next   - Ctrl+G
Cut         - Ctrl+X
Copy        - Ctrl+C
Copy single - Ctrl+Y
Paste       - Ctrl+V
Mode commands:
MindMap mode - Alt+1
Browse mode  - Alt+2 
File mode    - Alt+3
Node formatting commands:
Italicize                 - Ctrl+I
Bold                      - Ctrl+B
Cloud                     - Ctrl+Shift+B
Change node color         - Alt+C
Blend node color          - Alt+B
Change node edge color    - Alt+E
Increase node font size   - Ctrl+L
decrease node font size   - Ctrl+M
Increase branch font size - Ctrl+Shift+L
Decrease branch font size - Ctrl+Shift+M
Node navigation commands:
Go to root  - ESCAPE
Move up     - UP
Move down   - DOWN
Move left   - LEFT
Move right  - RIGHT
Follow link - Ctrl+ENTER
Zoom out    - Alt+UP
Zoom in     - Alt+DOWN
New node commands:
Add sibling node   - ENTER
Add child node     - INSERT
Add sibling before - Shift+ENTER
Node editing commands:
Edit selected node        - F2
Edit long node            - Alt+ENTER
Join nodes                - Ctrl+J
Toggle folded             - SPACE
Toggle children folded    - Ctrl+SPACE
Set link by filechooser   - Ctrl+Shift+K
Set link by text entry    - Ctrl+K
Set image by filechooser  - Alt+K
Move node up              - Ctrl+UP
Move node down            - Ctrl+DOWN

To find the shortcuts in FreeMind, go into MindMap Mode, then "tools"-"preferences"-"keystrokes".

To suggest new enhancements of FreeMind

Keywords: additional features, additional functions. At FreeMind's project page, you can submit Requests for Enhancements (RFEs).

Is MindMaster a rip off of FreeMind?

Update: the site of MindMaster is no longer there, thanks to Rezzie.

There is a web site offering a product called MindMaster. This program is a ripped off version of FreeMind. It is not just a clone of FreeMind; it is just FreeMind renamed, and slightly modified. They even use the presentation texts as found on the main page of FreeMind. As FreeMind is licenced under GNU GPL, so must be MindMaster. However, on the MindMaster site and after the installation, they claim that they hold copyright to MindMaster, and that you are prohibited to use MindMaster unless you conform to their licence. This is unlawful. We urge you not to use or recommend MindMaster, and to avoid linking to their site or giving any recommendation. Also, you can write an email to them complaining about abuse of GNU General Public Licence. --Danielpolansky 11:15, 14 May 2005 (PDT)

I have been in contact with the author of MindMaster and he has since removed the website and all links to the download. He did in fact claim it was released under the GPL and included both the licence and source code in the package, but as I didn't want to shell out $30 I cannot verify this. --Rezzie 23:49, 18 Oct 2005 (PDT)
Thanks a lot. --Danielpolansky 09:50, 26 Oct 2005 (PDT)

Where can I make a monetary donation to FreeMind?

Currently, we do not accept any monetary donations. --Danielpolansky 00:32, 21 Nov 2005 (PST)

This FAQ

I have a question not listed here, what should I do?

Post new questions either to some of our forums or to the discussion page of this page. Or specifically, ask your question in FreeMind's Help forum. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will get help, still, many users get it.

To edit this FAQ

Edit this page like any other wiki page (click edit or press alt-E). When adding a question to the talk page, imitate the format of already existing questions.

Where can I practice editing pages on this Wiki?

Click on this link and just hit the edit button on the lower right: Sandbox

Questions not yet answered

Post new questions either to some of our forums or to the discussion page of this page.

Is FreeMind also Working under SuSe Linux 9.3 or perhaps already a part of the package?

Answer: Yes, please see the "FreeMind on Linux" page here in the wiki.
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