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Anatomy of a Mind Map


A mind map is made up of objects and features, which represent information. We can describe the anatomy of a mind map in two ways; by the feature names, and by their purpose when used in a mind map. Knowing the names of the features will help you to get started with Mindomo and create mind maps. Knowing the purpose of each kind of feature will help you to create useful and meaningful mind maps.

A mind map consists of a tree, made up of "topics". All the elements in the mind map are topics, but some of them have special names. In mind mapping and in other software, these topics are also called "branches", "nodes" or "thoughts".

Anatomy of a Mind Map
  1. Every mind map has a Central topic, which is where the map starts. There is only one Central topic.
  2. Attached to the Central topic are the Main topics. You can have as many Main topics as you can fit into the mind map.
  3. Attached to the Main topics are Subtopics. Again, you can have as many Subtopics as you like. They can also have Subtopics of their own in a mind map.
  4. An unattached topic in the background is called a Floating topic. It belongs to the mind map, but is not joined to the tree.
  5. You can draw Boundaries around a topic and its subtopics, to visually highlight them as a group.
  6. You can draw Relationships between topics, to visually show a connection that crosses the tree.

Using Mindomo features

Of course, you can use the features of Mindomo mind maps in any way that suits you. But for your mind maps to be useful in the longer term, and for others to understand them, here are some suggested conventions that will make your mind maps easier to work with.

Using Mindomo features
  1. Give your mind map a clear title in the Central topic, or better still, state its purpose. It might be to collect information, capture a brainstorm, make a decision, make a presentation or many other applications.
  2. If your mind map makes a conclusion or describes a situation, present the main conclusions or summaries near to the center of the mind map, with the supporting evidence and detail below them.
  3. If your mind map proposes new ideas, then show the big ideas near to the center, with the details underneath.
  4. If your mind map organizes information, then try to get the main headings near the center and break them down into smaller groups, so that there is a natural way to "drill down" to the detail.
  5. If your mind map is helping to make a decision, then state the decision near the center of the mind map and put the related factors and data underneath.
  6. Use Floating topics to put an extra caption or legend on your mind map.

Don't feel restricted to "one word per branch". This is a useful rule for "memorization" mind maps, but can be confusing for others - or even for you, later on. Short statements are often better than single words. These techniques will make it much easier to understand the meaning of your mind map, and will make it easier to stay focused while you are creating it.

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