Personalize your mind maps with these hand-sketched symbols

Doodlekit image collection for mind mapping softwareWant to add some hand-drawn elements to your mind maps? Then check out this new collection of over 700 hand-drawn symbols, which is compatible with many of the major mind mapping programs for Windows. The images included in Vector Doodlekit are available in PNG and SVG (scalable vector graphics) formats, and can be purchased online for €29 (about US$40).

I spent some time investigating each of the major mind mapping  programs, trying to figure out which ones would enable you to import this cool image collection to their symbol or image libraries. Here’s what I found out:

MindManager 2012 – You can import these images by going to the program’s library and selecting the “add image” command. You can’t create a new category in which to put these icons, however, and you can only add them one at a time.

MindGenius 4 – You can import the Vector Doodlekit collection into MindGenis, but the process is somewhat confusing. You must go to image categories and then create a new category group (not just a category). And then you can add icons to the group, one at a time.

MindView 4 – In the multimedia catalog, you can add a custom folder and then browse to connect the folder where your Vector Doodlekit PNG files are. Icons in MindView 4 are customized in a similar way. But because this import function is only looking for .ico files, it doesn’t see anything in the Doodlekit PNG folder. In order to use this image collection as icons, you’d need to convert every PNG to an icon file.

XMind 3 Pro – This program has a “marker manager” that enables you to add your own symbols and icons to the program. What’s nice is you can create a new marker group, and populate it with all of the icons in this set in one operation – a big time-saver!

VisualMind 11 – Symbols can be added to the program’s symbol library, under the category of “added by user.” But you can only do so one image at a time.

MindMapper 12 – Custom images like the ones contained in Vector Doodlekit can be added within the clipart panel, using a command called “add to cliparts.” You can then group select multiple images, which will be added to the currently-selected clipart folder.

These programs don’t enable you to customize their icon or symbol libraries:

  • ConceptDraw MINDMAP 6
  • NovaMind 5
  • iMindMap 5

As you can see, some programs enable you to add the entire symbol library in a single operation, which is a real time-saver. Others require you to add custom images one at a time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however. With such a large collection of images at your disposal, you may only want to import selected ones to your mind mapping program.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment to me was that I couldn’t use this image collection with iMindMap 5. Of all of the mind mapping programs, it comes the closest to enabling you to create a hand-drawn mind map. It would have been very cool to add these hand-drawn symbols to the maps  I create in iMindMap.

The Vector Doodlekit collection wasn’t developed specifically with mind mapping software in mind, but it works very well with many of the major programs, as you can see. If you want to extend the collection of artwork that you can incorporate into your mind maps, you may want to watch for other image libraries like this one. Thanks to developer Petr Vlk for sharing this great resource with me!



  1. michaeldeutch says

    Love them! One correction, in MindManager 2012, you can import all the images in one shot (in other words, you're not limited to uploading them one at a time). If you go to MindManager's Image Library, select "Add Image". In the dialog that opens, you can pick one or more than one image to insert into your library. I just uploaded the 700+ free images into MindManager in a single step. Can't wait to add them into some of my maps!

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