How to Mind Map with iMindMap – A Guide for Teachers & Students

Mind Maps are a great way to organise your thoughts, make connections between your ideas and keep your memory fresh! If you want to know how Mind Maps are made on paper, check out our step-by-step guide here.

Today we will be looking at Mind Mapping with iMindMap, the only Mind Mapping software from Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps. If you haven’t downloaded your 7 day FREE trial of iMindMap yet, get it here, then take a look at these step-by-step instructions.

Get Mind Mapping with iMindMap in 6 simple steps

1) Creating your central idea

Firstly start by creating your central idea. This will set the theme of your Mind Map and should symbolise the topic you would like to represent. When you open iMindMap and go File > New, a choice of central images will appear. Simply select which image you would like to use from this menu. You can choose one from the selection of iMindMap images which most suit your topic or import your own to be even more personal!

2) Adding your ideas

You next need to add your ideas and thoughts to your Mind Map. You can do this by adding branches for each of your ideas. You will start by drawing main branches, which act like the chapter headings of your topic.

To draw a main branch radiating from your central idea, hover your cursor over the Central Idea, and you will see a red dot appear, click on the red dot and drag out to draw your branch. You can add all of your main branches in this way, to represent each major theme of your topic.

After this, you can start adding child branches, which will contain the more detailed information of each of your main branches. To draw a child branch, hover the cursor over the end of your main branch until the red dot appears and then drag out. The colour coding on the branches gives you a clue to their function, remember red = create, blue = move, green = draw relationships and orange = box branches!

3) Moving and changing your branches

To move the position of a branch once you have drawn it, simply click on the branch to make it active and drag this to the place you would like the branch to be placed on your Map. Where you are able to add the branch directly over another branch, your cursor will then change to a crosshairs, so simply release your mouse to attach. The branch and its child branches will then be inserted as further child branches.

You can also change the length of your branch,by hovering your cursor over the end of your branch, so that the blue ring appears. Click on this blue ring and move inwards or outwards to change the length of the branch.

Finally, to manipulate the shape of the branch, click on your branch to make it active, and you will see blue dots appear appear along it. These blue dots, or control points, also allow you to change the shape of your branch by clicking on one of these blue dots and dragging to change the shape. You can make your branches as original as you like!

4) Using key words

Once you have created a branch for your idea, you can add a word to describe this idea. It is important that you try and only use one key word here. This is because one word will create many more connections than two, allowing your mind to have the freedom to spark off new ideas and thoughts. For example, if I put both my first and second name, Rosy Smith, on one branch, this limits the associations I can make to just me individually. However, if I give each name a separate branch, I can make so many more associations e.g. Rosy: my likes, dislikes, favourite food, favourite colour. Smith: my mother, father, sister and brother etc.

To add a word simply type straight after drawing your branch. If you would like to edit what you have written, double click on the branch and a text box will appear so that you can change your text.
Top tip: if you ever need to include more information than just one word, iMindMap lets you attach notes to any of your branches so you can add further words or information, and these branch notes appear when you roll your cursor over the branch. To add notes, simply click on the branch to make it active and the Branch Editor will appear to the right of the branch. Click on the ‘clipboard’ icon (if you are unsure about which icon is which, if you roll over them with your cursor helpful text appears) and a word processor will open so that you can add your notes. Especially useful for revising!

5) Using images and icons

Using images and icons makes your Mind Map more memorable, meaning that you are more likely to remember the important information on your Map. And they look great, perfect for wowing your teachers, friends and family!

You can attach an image to your branch, by clicking on your branch to make it active (blue dots) and selecting the ‘Show image library’ icon (roll over with your mouse for text) on the Branch Editor. You can attach images to your branches using the iMindMap Image Library! Or if you want to attach an Icon, click on the branch to make it active and select ‘Show Icon Library’ on the Branch Editor. An image is larger and more detailed, whereas an icon is small and symbolic e.g. ticks and crosses. Use a variety to really make your Mind Maps memorable! You can even try Mind Mapping without using words at all!

6) Make connections and associations

When you have finished making main branches, child branches and adding notes and images, you can start linking between the different sections of your Map. For example, if you have a Map on happiness including the main branch ‘Warmth’, and you have added ‘Sun’ as a child branch, you may want to link this to another main branch entitled ‘Holidays’. To add this link, you can use Relationship Arrows, which connect two ideas which are related but may not follow each other.

To add a Relationship Arrow, hover over the end of a branch or the Central Idea and drag and drop from the Green section of the branch target to the end of another branch on your Mind Map. This will then create an arrow to link between your branches or your branches and Central Ideas.

Congratulations you are now Mind Mapping with iMindMap!

Want to add more to your Mind Maps?

  • Highlight the important areas of your Map using Boundaries, by clicking on the branch you would like to ‘Boundary’ to make it active, then select the Cloud Icon on the Branch Editor.
  • Why not get creative and add your own sketch to your Map? You can add your own cool drawing with the iMindMap Sketch Tool, simply click on your branch to make it active, and then click on the ‘Sketch’ icon in the Branch Editor. The Sketch Tool will appear, allowing you to create a colourful drawing to add to your Map.
  • Want to add more information to your Mind Map? Why not add links to your branches to different websites, documents or other Mind Maps. This will allow you to easily access more information about a particular topic. To add a link, simply click on a branch, making it active, and then click on the Links panel icon. You can then add links to websites or to files on your computer using either the Chain icon (web links) or Folder icon (file links).

Now you can Mind Map you will be able to remember, learn, note take, plan, problem solve, concentrate and organise more easily and effectively!

Interested in Mind Mapping? You can get a FREE trial of iMindMap, the only Mind Mapping software from Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps.


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