How to Share Your Mind Maps for Collaboration

You created a mind map. Congratulations! So you like the share your mind maps with others? How would you do that? 

Today you learn how you can share your mind maps to work on the content with others. Let's dive in immediately.  

A mind map is a great way to visualize information. You can outline a lot of information and present it in a simple format.

The map shows you everything in one overview. But if you are working on a map that others need as well, you have to be able to share the map. Here are 6 ways you can share your mind map.

How to Share Your Mind Maps for Collaboration

6 Easy Ways to Share Your Mind Maps for Collaboration


0. Print your map and mail it 😉

This one is easy. A little old-school for sharing files, but it works. You simply print your map, mail it, and wait a day for others to receive it. This way other people can have a look at your map. 

I know it is not that eco-friendly, so we better skip this one quickly and move on to the real ones you may want to use.


1. Share An Image

When you create a mind map on your computer you probably use a tool. This mind mapping tool is one of many people that you can choose from. 

Just on our website, we have a list of over a dozen mind mapping tools!

This means that if both you and the recipient of the map both use mind mapping tools, there may be a problem. The tool of the other person may not be able to read your mind map file. 

That is why you should check this. If the other person doesn't need to change the map, you can always send a plain image of the map. 

You can either export the map to a JPG format, or you create a screenshot. Email this image and you shared your mind map!


2. Share As PDF

Images are a good way to share a map. Another way is to create a PDF file from the map. This way you probably have a smaller file size. Also, the resolution is better (meaning the map looks better when you zoom in). 

Especially with large maps, you need a higher quality of the map. Details from large branches are not that good to read on a screenshot. A PDF file makes it easier to zoom in and read details. 

Again, this map is not editable. So this may not be the best option to share when you want to collaborate on a map. This changes a little bit with the next sharing option.


3. Create A Word Document

Sharing a map is easy when you can work on the map together as well. But what if the other party doesn't have mind mapping software? How can you share a mind map then? 

You can export the map to a Word document and email that to a team member.

When you share a map this way, you transform the radial outline of the mind map. You turn it into a linear Word format. 

I know you lose the nice overview of the mind map! 

To tackle this problem, you can create an image from the map and attach that to the Word document. 

The benefit of sharing a map this way is that the receiver of the map/document can go through the map and edit parts of it. Also, they can see all the notes you added to the map!

In the PDF or image outline, you can not see any of the notes attached to the mind map. They show up in the Word document as plain text. This is a huge benefit!

Once the map is edited and mailed back, you can import the Word document and create another mind map again (when the recipient did not mess up the format of the document too much...).

Let's have a look at how you can share the map even better and become more productive!


4. Share The Map File Itself

The best way to share a map is to have the same mind mapping software installed. This way you share the map and the other can use the real mind map (and not a PDF version of it). 

It depends on the operating system you have if you can do this. Fortunately, many tools are available on Windows and MAC these days. Have a look at the software page for which tools to use. 

Like with the previous ways to share a map, you send the file to the other person. They edit the map and send it back to you. 

This provides a "safe" way to share information between the two of you. 

Of course, you can also save the map to a cloud solution both of you can access. This allows you to share the map even easier!

Still, you continue to have a mailing back and forward with the map. In the next solution, you learn how to tackle that problem. 


5. Collaborate Online Through Your Tool

Now we are getting to the nice sharing methods. Before, it was nice to share using an image, PDF, or file. Now things change.

When you like to work together with others on a map, you can also collaborate online! There are two ways to do this. 

You can start using an online mind mapping software solution. Or use a desktop tool that has online collaboration options.

Here are some of the online mind mapping tools you can use:

These tools give you the ability to create a mind map online and share that map with others. Everybody with access to the map can edit and update the map. Usually, this is done via a team member account or a secret link. 

By the way, online solutions are platform-independent. This means that if you use it on a MAC, Windows, or any other computer, you can use them. As long as you can use a modern-day browser on your device.

Or if you prefer to use a desktop tool, here are good solutions:

  • Mindmanager (Windows, MAC)
  • MindMapper (Windows)
  • XMind (Windows, MAC)

(download these tools from the download page)

These tools let you create the map on your own computer and share it with others. They can work on the map when they feel like it.

Changes made to shared maps normally update the map in real-time. So when you share a map and go to bed, you may wake up seeing an updated mind map! Even when you sleep, your information will be updated and improved! Isn't that amazing?

I really like this way of working together. Ideas evolve by sharing knowledge in a single map. 

There is one thing even better than this...


6. Collaborate in real-time

In the previous sharing method, you learned that you can work on a map together. The way this is done is by sharing a map that both of you can edit.

This sixth way of sharing is even better. Both you and the other person get online and work on the same map simultaneously!

Working together has never been this good. You add information to the map. The other person does as well. The result is a map that grows before your eyes! This is even better when you have a couple of people do this at the same time.

For instance, when doing a brainstorming session. You provide the basic outline for a session. You hop on a Zoom or Team call and start working on the map together. Ideas are shared. Ideas of others create new thoughts in your head. You share those as well. After a short session, you created a very powerful overview as a group.

This can be done using the online services or the desktop solutions discussed before. 


To Conclude

Often a mind map is a personal piece of work. You don't share all your maps. But, you may want to do this with your (meeting) notes, planning, or brainstorm outcome.

Sharing your work can be as easy as emailing a mind map or giving someone access to it online. You only have to know who you want to share your map with. 

Do they use a mind mapping software tool? Or are they new to mind mapping? 

What is the goal of sharing the map? Do you want them to contribute? Or do they simply have to see what you created?

Knowing this will help you to identify which sharing method you can use. 

My question for you is: do you share maps and how do you do this (from now on)?

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