TechRepublic blogger Andrew Makar recently wrote about the top mind mapping apps for the Android tablet. Fortunately, there are plenty of mind mapping apps for smartphones as well. I’ve found MindNode Touch to be the most effective mind mapping solution for the iPhone, because it requires a minimum of taps and adjustments to create a map. Let’s take a look at how to use MindNode Touch.

Create a mind map

Here’s how to get started with MindNode Touch on your iPhone:

  1. Download MindNode Touch from the App Store for $9.99 (USD).
  2. Open the MindNode Touch app, and then tap [+] to open a starter screen where you can begin creating your mind map. Figure A shows the first node of the mind map, which includes easy-to-follow directions to edit the node and create a new node.
  3. Figure A

    The MindNode app starts with a new node.
  4. Double-tap the node to edit the name of the node. Tap Done after you’ve entered the name.
  5. You’ll notice a blue dot on both sides of the node. Tap and hold one of the blue dots, and then slide the node border to adjust its width.
  6. Tap the [+] sign to create a new branch on the node (Figure B).
  7. Figure B

    Tap the [+] sign to create a branch.
  8. Double-tap between the two blue dots, enter descriptive text for the branch, and then tap Done.
  9. You can create sub branches the same way you created a branch: tap the [+] sign, and then enter descriptive text. To enter another sub branch, double-tap the name of the main branch to display the [+] sign, and then repeat the process to create another branch under the one you just created (Figure C).
  10. Figure C

    Create sub branches from the main branch.
  11. Tap Documents to exit the map. Your mind map will appear in the Documents list, with the same file name that you gave the node.

Use MindNode Touch tools

MindNode Touch isn’t a very elaborate mind mapping app, but it does have some tools you can use to be more productive. These tools include:

  • Change map layout: Slide the Smart Layout to ON to organize your map layout automatically. Slide it to OFF to let your map be free form.
  • Share maps: Tap Share to display the following MindNode Touch app’s sharing options.
    • Email Document — This will export your mind map to a blank email. Select a format that the recipient can understand, preferably PNG or Adobe PDF if you’re sending it to non-MindNode users. MindNode Touch will convert the mind map to the format and attach it to a blank email, ready for sending (Figure D).
    • Figure D

    You can send a mind map via email.
  • Send to App — Choose a format as your Export Type, and then select the iPhone app you want to use to open it.
  • Send to Dropbox — Next, select an Export Type. When the files and folders of your Dropbox account appear, tap Copy. MindNode touch touch copies the mind map in the format you selected to your Dropbox account.
  • Send to Camera Roll — This will send a PNG version of your mind map to your iPhone’s camera roll.

Manage mind maps on your iPhone

If you’re like me, you’ll end up with a load of maps on your iPhone — and even if you send the important ones to Dropbox, you may still need to delete some files.

Open the MindNode Touch app to view the thumbnails of all the maps on your iPhone. From here, you have the following management options:

  • Tap Date to arrange your maps by date
  • Tap Name to arrange your maps by name
  • Tap Edit, and then tap a mind map thumbnail to select it. You can tap Delete to delete it (Figure E) or Duplicate to make a copy of the mind map on your iPhone.

Figure E

Maps reside on your iPhone until you delete them.

Synchronize mind maps

You can also synchronize your mind maps with Dropbox and MindNode Pro if you want to work on your maps with one device. Here are the following synchronization options:

  • Tap Dropbox, and then select a destination folder for the map you want to synchronize with Dropbox.
  • Tap MindNode Pro, and then follow the directions that appear on your iPhone screen to setup MindNode Pro on your Mac for synchronizing maps.

Mind maps on the go

MindNode Touch for the iPhone could be the next step if your traditional note taking and project management apps aren’t getting the job done. The app lacks some high-end features (most noticeably graphic elements), but it’s lightweight, nimble, and easy to use.

What mind mapping apps do you use? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.