Want a more free, flexible mind map for brainstorming

Hi, I love MarginNote, thanks for all your work :slight_smile:

However, I find the current mind map tool isn’t flexible enough when I’m brainstorming about a subject:

  1. It’s not good that the tree structure rigidly expands left-to-right: It’s really important to have the ability to move the child-nodes 360° around the parent-node, and expand my mind map out in all directions from a central idea.

  2. The connecting-lines and the node-shapes in the tree diagram are too rectilinear and plain: I want the ability to have curvy lines and arrows in different colours and thicknesses, and a variety of node-shapes to make the mind map more visually interesting/pleasing, and help with the flow of the information.

The best mind map app I’ve used is “Miro”, it has excellent functionality. It has a free trial - it would be great if you could try using Miro and learn/replicate as many of its features as possible. Having a mind mapping tool like Miro inside MarginNote would be absolutely wonderful :slight_smile:

Thanks again for everything you do,


I should add that I use MarginNote on my ipad with the apple pencil - so what I’m looking for is the ability to reproduce, as close as possible, the experience of drawing (on a piece of paper) a quick, visually pleasing, colourful, expansive mind map branching out in 360°, inside MarginNote - so that my thoughts and plans are right alongside my notes on the subject. Thanks :slight_smile:


Are you suggesting a similar but card-based mindmap like obsidian?

If you are talking about Miro - the whiteboard app? Then gladly I personally have been using it.

It is a good advice, but it might take a long time before we could achieve it due to current technical difficulties with 360 degrees mindmap. Also, that would bring out some new issues - if the mindmap is mobile, what about the pencilkit drawings on mindmap?

Our team will consider it carefully.

Kind Regards,
Support Team

Hi, thanks for the quick reply!

I’m not very familiar with Obsidian yet unfortunately…

Yes, I’m talking about Miro the whiteboarding app! :smiley: It has a very nice interface for quickly drawing mind-maps which can spread out in 360° with nice shapes and arrows and colours!

Another iOS app with a good free-tier that you could try (to demonstrate good mind-mapping) is ThinkSpace - it’s also great for quickly expressing your ideas in a colourful mind-map that can branch out in any direction you want.

I understand that it must be difficult to change from the linear, left-to-right tree diagrams, to 360° branching mind-maps… but it’s absolutely critical for a mind-map to be capable of spreading out in a non-linear way, because you’re using it to try to capture your non-linear thinking!

Currently, MarginNote is an important part of my studying - but it’s awkward to jump between multiple apps for different purposes, and it’s not convenient having pieces of your notes on one subject in multiple different locations. To make MarginNote the best studying app, it must be able to cater for all aspects of studying, and that includes free-form, fast brainstorming/planning too.

Both Miro and ThinkSpace do this job very well, and I feel it wouldn’t take a huge effort to alter the MarginNote mind-map tool to emulate them more.

And then I can finally delete my other mind-mapping apps and do all of my studying inside MarginNote! :smiley:

Thanks again,

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I apologise for even mentioning this but I do not believe “Brainstorming” was ever a feature that MarginNote claimed it could effectively be used for. Perhaps their use of the term “mind map” which is a pretty loaded term is what is confusing people. What MN does is creates a hierarchical structure to excerpted note information. You can customise this to some extent and can control positioning pretty precisely as long as it fits with in the structure.

When one is excerpting from many sources (One of my documents has over 1000 excerpts) I thank MN for being so rigid. I would have lost track days ago had MN not positioned some things automatically.

I get that people want MN to replace their mind mapping tool of choice, but honestly MN will never do mind mapping as well as my favourite: iThoughts. Each of us has our own favourite brainstorming tool and what makes these effective for us is just how fluidly they work for us. For example, I find Miro a bit clunky but that is only because I’ve not used it a lot. I have, however, used iThoughts and I can work that program blindfolded. So which should MN emulate?

I do mean these thoughts as a matter of discourse. I am not wanting to discourage MN from being the greatest tool ever (it already is that for me) for someone else. I think, however, that we need to be clear in our needs for features. Realistic even. I already have quite a major chunk of my workflow tied up into MN. If it did any more then I’d be reliant on it to do anything. I think a more flexible approach to workflow is the way to go. Each research project for me needs a slightly different tool set. I do collect everything at the end in Obsidian and I usually always use MN from the gathering->synthesis stage of research, but I also sometimes need to organise my own thoughts and that is where iThoughts or even a word processor, or Omni Outliner come in.

I haven’t done a full count but I imagine that I’ve got 15 to 20 apps that are all used to some extent depending on what I’m working on.

There are some pretty core features MN needs to be good at what it currently does. Citations, PDF page number corrections, export and sharing of PDF highlights with other PDF readers, to name a few.

Sorry for the rambling!

I’d love a little bit more flex here too. Xmind basic functionality would be ample.

Please consider adding an option for more flexible maps, as requested by the OP. It would be a ‘game changing’ for many of us. Thank you


I do like the feature to export to a mind map and then I open in iThoughts to get all the formatting options I need. The bonus is all the nodes have links back to MarginNote, so I can have both apps open add the focus will be in sync when I click on a link.

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Does iThoughts recognise handwritten text or images, when exporting?
Thank you.