What Is a Mind Map?

This broad overview of mind mapping shows how to structure and use elements. It explains its history and defines what makes a good mind map.

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What Is a Mind Map? by Mind Map: What Is a Mind Map?

1. A Visual Diagram

1.1. =Type of spider diagram

1.2. Definition of Diagram

1.2.1. "A graphic design that explains rather than represents; especially : a drawing that shows arrangement and relations (as of parts)"

1.3. What it is NOT

1.3.1. Concept map

1.3.2. Flow chart

1.3.3. Gantt chart

1.3.4. Org chart

2. Structure of a Mind Map

2.1. Radial structure

2.2. Subject of map

2.2.1. Always in the center

2.3. Related topics

2.3.1. Branch off from center

2.3.2. Hierarchy! Most important topics = closest to center

2.3.3. Each topic / branch can have unlimited number of subtopics Which can again have subtopics of their own and so on...

2.4. How to read a mind map

2.4.1. Start at 1 o'clock

2.4.2. Go clockwise around the center

2.4.3. Read topics close to the center first

2.4.4. Then go into the details

3. History of Mind Maps

3.1. MindMeister

3.1.1. Created in 2007 First completely web-based mind map tool

3.1.2. Allows real-time collaboration Unlimited number of participants

3.1.3. Lets you turn mind maps into dynamic slideshows Create engaging presentations

3.2. Tony Buzan

3.2.1. Coined the term 'Mind Map' 1974

3.2.2. Born 1942 in London

3.2.3. British popular psychology author, researcher, adviser

3.3. History of diagrams

3.3.1. Traces back centuries

3.3.2. Many famous people have used diagrams throughout the ages Porphyry of Tyros Philosopher Ramon Llull Philosopher and author Leonardo da Vinci Polymath

4. Elements of a Mind Map

4.1. Text

4.1.1. Do Keywords Short phrases Short sentences Try to avoid But allowed if necessary

4.1.2. Don't Long sentences Paragraphs

4.2. Colors

4.2.1. Tip Use color codes! e.g. Red for "Stop", "On Hold" or "Bad"

4.2.2. Sometimes Different color for each branch

4.2.3. Often Used to highlight individual topics

4.3. Graphical structure

4.3.1. Colorful lines Branches Arrows Connections

4.4. Icons

4.4.1. Used to highlight

4.4.2. Used to indicate status

4.4.3. Used to number

4.4.4. And more

4.5. Images

4.5.1. Photos

4.5.2. Screenshots, Mockups, Graphs, Charts

4.5.3. Gifs Embed in digital or online mind maps

4.5.4. Illustrations Handdrawn

4.6. Other

4.6.1. Notes Add notes to topics in the mind map

4.6.2. Comments Comment on topics in a map

4.6.3. Votes Vote on ideas in a shared mind map

4.6.4. Attachments Upload files such as text documents, PDFs, spread sheets

4.6.5. Tasks Add due dates and assignees to topics

4.6.6. Videos Embed videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion etc.

4.6.7. Boundaries Use a visual, colorful frame around multiple topics in a mind map

5. What Makes a Good Mind Map?

5.1. Personal

5.1.1. Develop your personal style

5.1.2. Handdrawn images Don't have to be pretty! Just have to convey meaning

5.2. Memorable

5.2.1. Memory Triggers Colors Images & Icons Graphical structure "One image is worth a thousand words"

5.3. Not too large

5.3.1. Keep it simple!

5.3.2. Extract only most important information Provides a quick overview of a topic Everything on one page No need to scroll or turn a page Visible at a glance Effective note taking Requires thinking, rather than mindless transcription Saves time Notes are more memorable Ideal for students!