Freemind Essentials

Freemind is a 100% free, open source mind mapping tool. It runs on Java 1.4+, which you can install at

Much like its commercial counterparts, Freemind allows you to create mind maps with different colorings, shapes, backgrounds and branches.

Here’s a guide to some of the most important features in Freemind.

Step 1: Download and Install

If you haven’t already installed Freemind, you can do so by going to:

Find your operating system and download the install files. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Freemind.


Step 2: Rename Your Map

Click on the center of your mind map to enter the text edit mode. Enter the name of your mind map or the central idea.1-Click-to-Change-Name

Hit enter to confirm your changes.


Step 3: Create Your First Node

To create your first node, hit enter. A blank node will appear. Fill in the text that you want to appear.


Step 4: Sibling and Child Nodes

A sibling node is a node that’s above or below your current node. To create a child node below your current node, just hit Enter. To create one above, hit Shift + Enter.


A child node is a “child” of the node above it. Its text can be shown or hidden at will. To create a child node, hit Insert.


Step 5: Adding Art

Click on any clip art symbol on the left hand bar to add it to any node.


Step 6: Format Your Nodes

To italicize or bold a node, click on the bold or italics buttons along the top bar. Alternatively, use Ctrl + I or Ctrl + B.


To change the size of your text, hold Control and press either + or -.


To change the font, select the node you want to change then click the font drop down box along the top. You can also change the font size using the box next to the font selection box


For even more formatting options, such as node color, background color, edge width and so on, go to the Format menu.


Step 7: Inserting Links and Images

To add a link or image to your mind map, click on the Insert menu, then select the type of file or link you want to insert.


Here’s what the inserted links or images look like:


These are some of the most important basic features of Freemind. You now know how to rename your nodes, add sibling and child nodes, format your nodes and insert links and graphics.

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