Free mind mapping and knowledge management software
Freeplane is a free mind mapping program under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.
See Support for installation instructions, language support and special buttons and keys for Macintosh.
The wiki has been upgraded 2013-05-31 and now supports the multilanguage extension. In case of problems post in the Freeplane forum here 
What it is
Freeplane is a free and open source software application that supports thinking, sharing information and getting things done at work, in school and at home. The core of the software is tools for mind mapping (also known as concept mapping or information mapping) and using mapped information. Freeplane runs on any operating system that has a current version of Java installed. It can be run locally or portably from removable storage like a USB drive.
Freeplane supports much more than classic static mind mapping. This is illustrated by the mind map Application areas on the right which summarizes the kind of tasks supported by Freeplane. Click on the hyperlink below the image to navigate the map. Read the node called Caption to learn how to navigate the map and unhide hidden information. And click the node Demonstration creating a map to see how easy it is to make a map.
In the center of the map Application areas you see an elliptical form which contains the central topic (root node) of the map. Extending from it are branches with subtopics (child nodes). At the border you see free topics which are independent of the root-tree. All topics can be formatted or styled and can contain text, hyperlinks, pictures and more; and can be connected with labelled lines or arrows. Also a topic (node) can represent hidden information which shows when the user wants it or can be automatically executed (formula). Or content can be password protected or connected to a particular time or filter.
Freeplane supports the above application areas with the following functions:
- Note taking with freely positionable, unconnected nodes (post-it’s);
- Ordering ideas (nodes) into a hierarchy connected by lines (edges);
- Classifying nodes with metadata (attributes) and style types (system styles, user defined styles, level styles);
- Grouping nodes with visual containers (clouds) and accolade (summary node);
- Connecting nodes with dynamic links, free lines (connectors) and labels;
- Automatically styling nodes (with a bubble, color, edge type, etc.) according to hierarchical level and content (conditional styles, automatic edge color, level styles);
- Structuring nodes in terms of content (text, scientific formula, calculation, icon, image and hyperlink) and presentation area (core, details, notes, attributes, images and tooltip);
- Changing views by hiding content (folding branches, filtering, roll-up of details and hiding extensions in tooltip), finding, scrolling and navigating;
- Tasking with calendar and reminders;
- Password protecting of whole map and of individual nodes with DES encryption;
- Ease of use with inline- and dialog editors, object oriented main menu, context menu’s, multi-language support, spell checker, properties panel, drag& drop functionality, hot keys, options for batch execution, publishing, sharing and selectable preferences;
- Approximate Search (similarity search) which allows to find search terms in a text, even if there is no exact match (e.g. "setup" = "set up" or "flie" = "file").
- Support for LaTeX formulae underneath/in nodes
- Easy extension of functionality with add-ons and home made scripts;
- Integration with Docear academic literature suite;
- Extensive support through Wiki and Forum; and tutorial and documentation in the form of a mind map.
The map called Freeplane functions illustrates the main functions of Freeplane. Besides it provides an index with hyperlinks to the tutorial an documentation where you can read more. The links are hidden at first, but become visible and can be clicked if you hover with the cursor over a function (node). This is another example of the power of Freeplane. (To experience these functions, open Help > Getting Started in the Freeplane program and select Index).
It is possible to define your own add-ons to Freeplane using the built in scripting language Groovy. Check page Add-ons_(install) for apps other users have made and are sharing with you. They can be downloaded and installed with a simple mouse click. Instructons are available if you want to make your own addons. With Freeplane and groovy it is more easy than you think.
Why you want it
Freeplane aims for maximum ease and speed of use. Occupying the middle ground between an editor and a diagramming tool, Freeplane allows the user to add content as quickly and naturally as they would in a text editor, yet producing structured content that can be manipulated as easily as a diagram. The workflow is unimpeded by the need to think about and manually place each piece of information; the user can intuitively input content as paragraphs and headings, and easily reorganise at a later stage. The width and other aspect of each topic (node) can be set independently and a node can be defined to behave indepently from the nodes in the tree structure, to be free positionable. The use of adaptable styles makes formatting an easy job and conditional styles make it automatic. A growing set of node extensions provide for details, metadata, scalable images, in-line hyperlinks and more which can be independently controlled to be visible or not. Freeplane maps can be easily integrated with Internet pages as in this wiki. And Freeplane is integrated with the Docear academic literature suite. Although Freeplane functionality is intended for non-programmers, the Freeplane project offers potential programmers a versatile scripting language. Programmers may easily develop powerful extensions and students are stimulated to learn programming in a natural and stimulating environment. Freeplane also has a powerful mechanism to install packages of scripts, icons, images, language dictionaries for spell checking and other preferences including a different menu structure; and which can be used by non-programmers.
Freeplane was created because of short-comings in the design of the popular open source mind mapping program Freemind. Freeplane has been refactored from Freemind to make its code and packages more modular, make it easier for new software developers to contribute to Freeplane development, and to release new versions of Freeplane more often.
FreeMind users can have a look at the list of the most helpful features missed in FreeMind and available in Freeplane.
The versatility of Freeplane is demonstrated by the fact that the main user documentation is contained in mind maps. The mind map on the right shows the basic Tutorial for using Freeplane. The actual version of this map is contained in the Freeplane program in menu Help > Tutorial. This wiki contains a page Freeplane_Tutorial_Extensions with use cases which can be navigated or can be downloaded and extended. For some of the examples there are animations illustrating the making of the map. See Translated wiki pages if the page Freeplane Tutorial Extensions has been translated into your language. The advanced user is helped with detailed documentation in Freeplane'sHelp > Documentation and by many specific wiki pages explaining things like Scripting, Formulas and Add-ons. The mind map galleries provide a place for sharing mind maps in several languages. Online help is available at the open Forum, see below. It is possible to create a high quality animation or video of using Freeplane, see how to.
Community and developments
Freeplane is a non-commercial project. It lives by our active and vibrant community, where we try to support each other in order to develop and provide an outstanding knowledge management application. Please, feel free to discuss Freeplane and its features with other interested Freeplane users. For this purpose, we provided two forums (see structure on the right):
- In the Open discussion forum users mainly discuss the usage of existing features (WHAT)
- In the Developer discussion forum and the Developer mailinglist developers are encouraged to discuss feature development (HOW)
We invite you to ask for new features or report bugs using our issue tracker
Freeplane's old user forum is archived here.
News about new features coming in future releases of Freeplane can be found on our preview page.
To understand the the project goal, see the Freeplane vision.
- developer (coder and designer)
- tester (writer of tutorials, screencasts and help texts)
- translator (various languages)
- administrator (forum moderator)
You can navigate this wiki in different ways. The navigation menu on the left directs you to main support area's. Pages on detailed topics can be found in the mind map Index wiki on the right. Besides many pages of this wiki are tagged at the end of the page with Categories. You can click on the Category at the end of the page to display an index of all pages of the same Category.
You are invited to use and contribute to this wiki, to share information and tips about Freeplane and its features. NOTE: because of spammer attacks, editing of this wiki is now only allowed for registered wiki editors. If you want to become a wiki editor, write to the Freeplane team.
Artwork for the coming version Freeplane 1.3.x is created by Robert Gibson
Freeplane team uses: