FreeMind mindmap

Simon Haynes the author mentioned FreeMind on his site, so I thought I’d have a look at it. He uses it to develop ideas for his book. Documentation from SourceForge and there is some documentation for it there as well.

The YouTube video demo’s some nice things. I like the HTML embed for the bubble diagrams and the fact that they collapse/expand.

Install a PAIN

You need Java setup on your PC so have to go to Oracle and create account to get the relevant files. you need the JDK dev kit & the JRE runtime on my installs. That took a lot of faffing about but it finally happened.

The actual FreeMind Install was quite straightforward after getting the java/bin directories added to Environmental paths in System of PC.

First Use

I just couldn’t replicate them as the INSERT key is not available on my laptop.I then found that you can remap keys so to add a new node I used ESC key instead of INSERT and that’s working OK for the moment, I may need to remap to something else again later.

I’m just using it as a reference for doing the book. I like the emojis to add to items .

I find the icon sizes on the side of the program a bit small but I’ll see how that goes.

I want to play with embeds to see how that works. Not sure if it can be used in books.

First glance this looks like a tool like Draw.io but maybe easier to use. Maybe more like Bubbl.us but a desktop version so do not need to be online.

I’ll need to use it to see if it fits in with what I do.

Some commands & function

  • Ctrl + Left/Right Arrows to move nodes to left/right of Main node
  • Ctrl + Up/Down Arrows to move nodes to up or down in order, works on children nodes as well
  • F2 to edit a node
  • F5 to change text in node to Red
  • Ctrl + Mouse Scroll to Zoom in/Zoom out
  • I need to explore patters.XML to see how to create preferred patters and try to assign to a Keyboard Shortcut.
  • There is no Keyboard Shortcut for background colour for node.
  • Use the Invisible handle to drag node, sometimes gets caught with another node, best to use the Ctrl+ arrows for moving around
  • The note element/table is good as background info.
  • Am having problems with images
  • Hyperlinks quite good
  • I do find that you can move items from one branch to another easily and that is interesting.

This video gets you off to the basics, handy. Tells about using Ctrl+ arrows to move nodes around. A shame there are no further available video’s in the series on YouTube

This video is more comprehensive, but a slower pace. Interesting but only general usage. No Keyboard Shortcuts demonstrated like the video above.

End Comment

Itโ€™S A little “Sticky” sort of difficult, not smooth in its use.

Still a useful tool and great for getting ideas down somewhere with associations.

Others commenting on mindmap use for writing say put some stuff in, then print out then scribble, then add stuff back into mindmap later. So I’m looking to export to .owd (word document format). Shame its not bi-directional.

Some things have Keyboard Shortcuts that you can change but others more manual like background colour. Also colour setup a bit of a pain. I still need to explore patterns.

I’m still thinking about writing short stories to build to a novel and hope to use this tool to map out ideas