MindNode 2 for Mac review — a fantastic mind mapping tool
I started using mind maps years ago and found them particularly useful for planning projects, brainstorming, and planning written work. MindNode 2‘s predecessor, MindNode Pro, made it easy to create stylish mind maps, but there were a couple of features which I felt the product was missing.
Before I switched to Mac I used Mindjet MindManager. It’s a richly featured mind mapping application but became more complex with each update. It’s also one of the more expensive alternatives and included a host of features I had no occasion to use. Mind maps are thinking tools to help organize your ideas, not an end in themselves. With so many options, I often found myself fiddling with formatting instead of getting on with the real work. But MindManager had a few features I really missed in MindNode Pro like:
- adding an icon or image to a node;
- storing notes with topics; and
- changing the shape of the border to highlight certain points.
MindNode 2 has added the features I missed. It’s just as simple to create elegant-looking mind maps, but the developers didn’t stop there. Other new features include:
- new themes to quickly format your mind map;
- an outline view for a more linear look at your ideas;
- a cleaner user interface; and
- MindManager .mmap file import. I had problems opening older MindManager files, but the developers are already working on an update to fix this issue.
EDIT (25 Sep, 2015): The application no longer crashes when opening older MindManager files. When I was preparing for my MBA exams, I summarised each course on a mind map I could print on a single page. These were complex maps using colours, boundaries, notes, embedded images, relationships, callouts and status markers. MindNode 2 displays a monochrome rendition of these MindManager maps. The nodes and relationships are there, but not much else. It’s adequate for my purposes but much of the detail get’s lost in translation.
MindNode 2 is a fantastic update to what was already a great application. The new feature set is just right. There’s enough flexibility to create visually appealing mind maps without unneeded complexity.