New Mind Mapping with FreeMind book is a helpful guide

Mind Mapping with FreeMind bookA new book, Mind Mapping with FreeMind, aims to help people get started managing common visual thinking tasks using the popular shareware mind mapping program.

Published by Packt Publishing, this new book is available in e-book and print on demand formats. I recently had a chance to skim through its contents, and I was pleased with what I saw. Mind Mapping with FreeMind is well written and organized, and provides readers with easy to follow, step-by-step directions to utilize the program’s numerous features. It is divided into 5 chapters:

1. Dos and Don’ts of creating mind maps in FreeMind: Covers node (topic) types, icons, boundaries and notes.

2. Writing a mind map: Using the right words: How to compress your map’s topic into map branches with a minimal number of words, creating a radiant hierarchy via node text sizes, and ssociating ideas using words and icons.

3. Picturing a mind map: Using visual thinking: How to insert images and work with bitmaps; developing a visual style; image sizing.

4. Adding hyperlinks and linking the mind map: Various types of links in FreeMind, including to e-mail addresses, importing folder and subfolders and following a link to fold or unfold a tree of topics and subtopics.

5. Sharing a mind map: Using the best of mobile and web features: Exporting the map in various formats.

FreeMind is one of those mind mapping programs that is a mixed bag, in my opinion. It offers basic features at an attractive price – zero – but leaves much to be desired from a usability standpoint. Getting certain things done with this program borders on the inscrutable. That makes a book like Mind Mapping with FreeMind a valuable tool for people who are new to mind mapping – and who may be initially confused by the program’s spartan user interface.

Only two minor negatives: The organization of topics seems to be somewhat arbitrary. Also, I wish there was more content focused on how to create common types of mind maps. As it stands, this book focuses almost exclusively on the functions of the software.

If you’re new to the world of mind mapping software, have decided to make FreeMind the free program you’re going to use, then I would consider Mind Mapping with FreeMind to be an essential companion for your learning process. It’s available as a print on demand book plus e-book for US$22.49 or in e-book only format for $12.74.

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