I spend years hunting down a satisfying mind mapping application.
I was always looking for the ability to establish associations between any chunk of data, which is what the mind does.

Said differently, I wanted a software that allowed any-to-any links, not merely hyerarchical.

I tried in chronological order : Freemind, CmapTools, VUE, TheBrain.

Freemind was never an option, because it is strictly hyerarchical.

CmapTools and VUE do allow unlimited any-to-any linking, but their auto-layout features are insufficient for even modest numbers of nodes, data quickly becomes unmanageable and the user spends ages modifying data layout to make it readable.

TheBrain seems in a class apart because of this one feature : the dynamic force-directed layout.

I am prepared to say that this feature alone, in all its sleek clickability, is what has all of us hooked.

I find, however, a major drawback : visualisation of data belonging to multiple categories.

Although there are no limits to the amounts of links that can be established, the constraint of the three link types imposes - to my eyes - a limitation on categorisation of data.

Further, thought types cannot be used for this purpose because thoughts cannot be viewed by type (merely sorted, within whatever view).

So, I'd love to see practical examples on how other users categorise data, specifically : how do you visualise groups of thoughts belonging to more than one "jump".

eagerly awaiting feedback
Hi enkidu,
Thanks for your comments. In regards to the Visualization of data belonging to multiple categories, this can be done in TheBrain. How we accomplish it is by linking to multiple Parent Thoughts. 

Here is a blog article which has a great explanation on Thought relationships- Child, Parent, Jump.

Here is a great blog article discussing TheBrain's dynamic mind mapping and comparing to traditional mind mapping tools

Finally, in regards to Thought Types. Yes, you can arrange by type as you mention, but Thought Types can also be viewed. If you have some Thought Types set up, go to the Options menu on top and select Thought Types Window. Click on any one of these types and it will activate that type in the plex and show you all Thoughts with at type.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Also join me for TheBrain 101 which is great training session help every Tuesday and Friday at 10:00am Pacific Sign up at 


Tracy Barr
TheBrain Technologies

thanks for replying. I've read through the two blogs, and they do explain the underlying logic for someone who comes to TheBrain for the first time.

We agree that the greatest strength of mind maps is the any-to-any linkage.

What I was talking about, beyond this, was how to see the linked data in useful ways.

Proverbial picture saving 1000s words :

I'm fine (for starters) with this representation of one server : it gives the context, parenthood, childhood, etc.

What I need, however, is a way to see ALL servers that have jumps to AIX and LOT2.

I have not found a way to do that.

Any help would is welcome.

This is merely one example obviously.

I don't believe there is an easy way to do this. There are two ways I can think of, both require manual work.

The first is to ctrl + Click the jump gates for AIX and LOT2. This adds all thoughts to the selection box. Then activate AIX and ctrl+click any thoughts in the selection box that aren't linked. Rinse and repeat for LOT2.

The second is to use Expanded view and manually move around and hide (click the - tab when hovering over a thought) any thoughts which aren't linked to both. On the positive side, you can then save that expanded view for later.
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119

expanded view is what I was looking for :

it does take some clicking around to hide unwanted items, but the result is there (in all it's dynamic, force-directed clickability ;-), that's what counts.

Thanks very much !

I'm satisfied.

All there is to do is have TheBrain do Jumps jumping from the right side, not just from the left, for better visibility, and it will be perfect !

Will that be in version or I wonder ... ;-)


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