Create Your First Mind Map

This is a step-by-step guide to creating your first mind map on MindMeister. All basic functions such as formatting, adding icons & images, and sharing maps are covered in this guide.

If you prefer a video demonstration, take a look at this short screencast instead:

 


1. Create a Mind Map from Scratch

We'll start by creating a new blank mind map from your dashboard:

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1. Click on "New Mind Map"

2. Select the "Blank" template

Tip: You can hold ALT while clicking on "New Mind Map" to create a blank map right away.

A new mind map will be created and opened in the MindMeister editor.

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Click into the root topic to give your mind map a fitting name and then press RETURNENTER.

Next, press TAB to create a child topic, and type in your keyword or idea.

You can then add sibling topics by pressing RETURNENTER again.

 TAB and RETURNENTER are really the only two key shortcuts you need to build your mind map!

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2. Change the Map Layout and Theme

Click on the ( i ) button in the top bar of the map editor to change your map's theme and layout. You can select one of our premade map themes, or choose the option to 'Customize' to create your own theme.

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To change the map layout, click on the little triangle below Alignment and choose between the classic mind map format (free or aligned), left aligned, right aligned, or org chart.

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3. Format Your Ideas

Some topics may be more important to you than others, so you might want to highlight them in some way.

Using the sidebar on the right side of the map editor, you can format individual topics on the fly, for instance by changing their font size, font color or background color. To do this, simply select the topic you want to format, and then click on the colors or font size buttons in the sidebar.

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By default, your color changes affect the text of your topic. If you'd like to modify the background color of a topic, switch to Background before selecting a different color. 

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4. Add Icons & Images

You can add icons or images to your topics using the sidebar on the right.

To add an icon, simply select a topic and then choose one of the icons displayed in the middle section of the sidebar. If you don't see the icon you're looking for, click on the small triangle to open the entire icon library

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To add an image to one of your topics, first switch from icons to images in the sidebar. 

Click on "Add image..." and then select an option from the menu. You can choose between uploading an image from your local hard drive, using an image from the web, drawing an image in our simple drawing editor, or selecting an image from MindMeister's image library.

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Find out more


5. Add Additional Information

You can add vast amounts of information to each of the topics in your mind map, using the widgets in the lower part of the sidebar. After you've selected your topic, click on any one of those five widgets to add this information. You can choose between:

  • Notes
  • Comments and votes
  • Links (to external websites or other mind maps)
  • File attachments
  • Tasks

 

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All additional information will be saved automatically as soon as you leave the widget and click anywhere else on the map. You will know that your note/link/comment has been saved when the corresponding icon appears in the topic you've selected.

Clicking on this icon also lets you view the information you've attached without navigating to the sidebar. This is particularly important while you're in presentation mode, when the sidebar is not available.

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Please click one of the links below to get more information about these advanced features.

Notes Links Files Tasks


6. Add Connections Between Ideas

You can connect individual ideas using arrows. To do this, simply select your source topic, then click on the connection button in the top bar, and then select the destination topic.

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Once the arrow appears in the map, you can modify its shape by dragging the two handles into another position. To change the arrow's color, add a label to it, or delete the arrow, click on the white circle at its source and select the respective option from the menu.

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7. Share Your Mind Map

You can share your map with an unlimited number of friends or colleagues. You can decide on an individual basis whether to give a person editing or only viewing rights

As the map owner, you can also unshare your map again at any time.

There are two ways to share a mind map: You can invite people via email, or create a secure share link, which you can then send out manually. 

For either of these options, click on the Share button in the bottom bar. This will open the Quick Sharer. You can then either type in the email addresses of the persons you want to invite, or check the box next to "Link to share" in order to create the share link. 

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When your invitees enter the mind map, you will see their avatars in the bottom bar of the map editor, and you will be able to work together on your map in real-time