Mind Maps are the ultimate organisational thinking tool, and this has been taken to the next level with iMindMap, the only software from Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps. If you haven't yet, why not get your 7 day FREE Trial of iMindMap from here, and then take a look at this step-by-step guide.
7 simple steps to Mind Mapping with iMindMap
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 the iMindMap program, a choice of central images will appear. Simply select which image you would like to use from this menu, and you can add a short text label in the box provided underneath if you would like to. You can choose one from the selection of iMindMap images which most suit your topic or import your own to be even more meaningful.
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 = edit!
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, tailoring as you go along to fit your topic.
You can find out more with our Changing Your Branches mini video tutorial.
4) Using key words
Once you have created a branch for your idea, you can add a word to describe this idea. Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Mapping, states that 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 novel, first school. 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. If you would like to see how it's done, check out our Adding Text to Branches mini video tutorial.
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 planning the curriculum, as you can add detailed national guidelines or attainment goals.
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. Plus, when creating classroom handouts, images and icons are much more visually appealing to students.
You can attach an image to your branch, by clicking on your branch to make it active (blue dots) and selecting the 'Insert Image' 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 'Insert Icon' on the Branch Editor. An image is larger and more detailed, whereas an icon is small and symbolic e.g. ticks and crosses. If you are working with dyslexic or visual learners, you can even try Mind Mapping without using words at all for a new approach.
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. Relationship arrows help you to connect two related ideas which do not appear from the same root, and you can add a key word to describe their relationship. To add a Relationship Arrow, select the Draw Icon in your top toolbar and select Arrow. Then click on the end of the branch you would like to connect from, and drag your cursor to the end of the branch you would like to connect to. For more detail, take a look at our Relationship Arrows mini video tutorial.
7) Strengthen your associations
Highlight the important areas of your Map using Highlight Clouds, by clicking on the branch you would like to 'Cloud' to make it active, then select the Cloud Icon on the Branch Editor. To see this in action, visit our Highlight Clouds mini video tutorial.
If you want get creative with your students, take a look at the Sketch Tool. Students can add their own drawings with the iMindMap Sketch Tool, making their Maps more personal and therefore more memorable. You simply click on your branch to make it active, and then click on the 'Paintbrush' icon in the Branch Editor. The Sketch Tool will appear, allowing you or your students to create a colourful drawing to add to your Map. If you want to know more, watch our Sketch Tool mini video tutorial.
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 Paperclip icon. A dialog box will appear and you will be able to attach files and links, perfect for multimedia presentations.
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.