Featured Freeware: FreeMind | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

Featured Freeware: FreeMind

FreeMind gives you the flexibility to organize thoughts on a page as they connect to each other and to the larger picture.

Like all mind maps, FreeMind for Windows and Mac gives you the flexibility to organize thoughts on a page as they connect to each other and to the larger picture. After all, not all minds reason in subheadings and bullet points. You shape, place, and name that master idea--called the root node in FreeMind--then create child or sibling spokes that relate to it.

FreeMind encompasses a fine range of features, including scads of icons and color formatting options to help you visually organize concepts. It also supports hyperlinks, which allow you to link Web sites and even documents to a map. In addition, you'll be able to export your landscape of thoughts in a variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, and JPEG. As flexible as it lets your mind's representations be, FreeMind works within an older-style logical structure that could get frustrating for some. For instance, you must insert nodes by hand or using a hot key. You can't click and drag to create them, which seems a bit unaware if not mindless.

It's evident how mind maps like FreeMind can hasten note-taking, or help you visualize a project, paper, or process. However, a revamped interface with more of that intuitive drag-and-drop functionality as well as versioning for collaborators would make FreeMind very, very smart.

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