Creating visual outlines – mind mapping and flow charts

Are you looking for a visual edge to help you study for finals? Mind maps and flowcharts can be great supplements for your text outlines. Check the video above to learn a little more about how these tools works.

Need some examples?

The blog “Law School Matt” has some interesting examples of mind maps and flow charts.

Questions?  Contact Debbie Ginsberg.

Free tools to get you started

Freemind, PC & Mac.  A powerful open-source tools, but not quite as intuitive as some of the other tools.  Note that some Mac users have reported problems with it.

Bubbl.us, works in your browser. Create mind maps and share them with others.  Note the free version is limited to three maps.  The paid version is $6/month.  Example.

Lucid Chart, works in your browser.  Create mind maps and flow charts and share them with anyone. Note that in the free version, you are limited to 60 elements.  The free version also does not include mind mapping tools. However, as a student, you can request an education account that includes all premium features.  Example.

MindJet, iPad.  Tablets are great tools for creating mind maps.

Need more features?

Inspiration, PC & Mac. Create colorful mind maps, outlines, and diagrams. You can try it free for 30 days.  The academic price is about $30.

MindManager, PC & Mac.  One of the most powerful – and easy to use — mind mapping tools, but it’s also expensive. You can try it free for 30 days.  The academic price is about $150.

You can find academic discounts at sites like Creation Engine.

iThoughts HD, iPad.  A versatile and powerful mind-mapping tool that can export files to a variety of formats ($10).

Creating mind maps from a Word text outline

Some tools will let you import your text outlines and turn them into mind maps. For example, you can import Word files into MindManager and RTFs (a kind of a generic file) into Inspiration.

Before you can import your file, however, you will first need to change your outline’s format so that it uses headings.  In Word, look for this this tool to change your outline type:

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