Mind map

A mind map shows the relationships between different concepts in a graphical representation (associogram). To make such a mind map, one can use computer programs. On the one hand the representation is simpler and on the other hand you can change/extend it at any time as you like.

Following is an overview of which programs can be used for mind mapping under Ubuntu.



FreeMind&& creates automatically ordered mind maps with symbols, pictures and links. It is also possible to connect several nodes. Maps created by Freemind look best in comparison with the other programs listed here, which sometimes display the connecting lines in a very pixelated way. With Freeplane (see next section) there is a more up-to-date version.



Java runtime environment (JRE) must be installed before use.


The program must be installed either manually or as snap package.

For manual installation, download the freemind-bin-max-VERSION file.Download zip&& ⮷ and unzip it into any folder. The program is started via the file freemind.sh.


Freeplane&& is together with XMind (see below) another Java-based program. It evolved from FreeMind (see above) and therefore shares the capabilities described above, but emphasizes ease and simplicity of use.


A Java runtime environment (JRE) must be installed before use.


Freeplane is located in the official package sources. The following package must be installed [1]:

freeplane (universe)

Command to install the packages:

Or install with apturl, link: apt://freeplane


In case of a version upgrade, settings& Keyboard shortcuts from the old version are not transferred to the new version. However, it is possible to change the (previously saved) settings& Load keyboard shortcuts of the old version into the new version. Explained here as an example for the upgrade from version 1.8.0 to version 1.9.4 (with Xubuntu 20.04.2 LTS) :

– Settings can be saved in FreePlane when the program is started under the menu ‘Tools – Settings’& download ; after an upgrade it is recommended to save the unchanged file of the new version first – the location will be shown after selecting the ‘Save’ button. The file type is ‘freeplaneoptions. After loading the settings to be applied, the start commands for standard browsers for other operating systems should be available in the tab ‘HTML’& Mac in the form that the addition ‘ ‘ is deleted ( ‘xdg-open ‘ → ‘xdg-open’).

– Keyboard shortcuts can be selected in FreePlane with the program started under the menu ‘Tools – Keyboard shortcut settings – Collection’ . ‘ save& load ; after an upgrade it is recommended to save the unchanged file of the new version first – keyboard shortcuts are saved in the subfolder ‘accelerators’ of the settings folder, the file type is ‘properties.

For older Ubuntu versions there is a manual installation guide&&. In fact, you download an archive file from the project page, which has to be unpacked first. Now Freeplane can be started directly from the unzipped folder.


XMind&& first released in late 2008, is EPL and LGPL dual-licensed. German language is supported by default. The program is significantly more powerful than, for example, FreeMind. Different outline types, topics and much more can be selected. Summaries and links (to other topics, file attachments and the internet) are possible. Many export options can also be selected. In the free version u.a. an export to PDF or Office programs is not possible (details&&), but you can export to many image formats. The program is compatible with FreeMind and can also import files from the MindManager program.

It should be mentioned that there are now also XMind apps for tablets, on which you can create MindMaps from XMind or simply view them (free versions are partially limited).




Foreign software can endanger the system.

For XMind 2020&&/⮷ there is meanwhile a .deb-file, which can be easily installed as usual .

Alternative (XMind 8):

The cross-platform, Java-based software can be downloaded from the project page ⮷ as ca. 135 MiB large archive file can be downloaded in ZIP format. This must then be unpacked (ideally in a separate folder), before you can start the installation wizard:

German tips and tricks for use can be found in the XMind Blog&&. Under certain circumstances problems may occur, but they can be solved at least partially (see also UI does not work properly in Ubuntu 16.04&&).

If you have problems starting XMind and Java 9 is installed, it is recommended to use update-alternatives to downgrade the Java version to 8.



The KDE program Semantik (formerly Kdissert) can also be used to create very extensive mind maps with symbols, images, links to external documents and formatted comments. Interesting is the possibility to sort the nodes. In addition, S5 presentations, PDFLaTeX documents, OpenDocument texts and presentations as well as Java applets and HTML pages can be created directly from mind maps.

Labyrinth Mindmaps¶


Labyrinth Mindmaps&& is limited to the most important functions such as creating nodes, writing comments and inserting images, but also provides the function to create drawings with the mouse and insert them into the mind map, in addition to a management of the mind maps.


The following packages must be installed [1]:

labyrinth (universe)

Command to install the packages:

Or install with apturl, link: apt://labyrinth

VYM (View Your Mind)¶


VYM&& (View Your Mind) builds on the Qt toolkit, but without using the extensive KDE libraries. The program therefore fits very well into the KDE desktop, but can also be installed and used under other desktop environments without any problems. The vym proprietary storage format with the ending .vym is a zip archive that contains an XML file and the needed image files.

In the presentation, Vym uses a mixture of freely selectable and automatic placement. The elements directly connected to the root element can be freely moved with the mouse. All other child elements are placed automatically.

The following functions are offered by Vym:

Easy operation via mouse or keyboard

Intuitive keyboard operation ( Insert , Del , Arrow keys)

Labeling of the individual branches and elements by means of images, colors and symbols (see lower toolbar in the screenshot)

links individual elements with other vym maps and general URLs

Notes for each node in an external editor window

Import whole Vym maps into single nodes

Export to numerous formats, u.a. JPEG, PNG, XHTML web page, non-compressed XML, LaTeX and as OpenOffice-Impress presentation


Some functions (images, links, vym map import) are accessible only through the context menu of individual nodes.


The following packages must be installed [1]:

vym (universe)

command to install the packages:

Or install with apturl, link: apt://vym

After that you will find an entry for the program in the menu"Office → Vym" or"Accessories → Vym".

yEd is a powerful tool for drawing graphs, networks and diagrams. It can be used to quickly create drawings and automatically arrange them or. to arrange.

Other programs¶

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)&& – Structure, present and share digital information

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