Mind Mapping

The mind map shape library is a premium feature available to Basic, Professional, Team, and Enterprise accounts. Please see our pricing page or contact our sales team for more details. Create a mind map to expound on a single idea to create a web of thoughts, innovations, and conclusions—all without ever using a mouse.


Lucidchart’s flexible mind mapping feature empowers you to organize your ideas through visualizations. Import an existing text outline to start, or use keyboard shortcuts and create a mind map as you brainstorm. Either way, mind maps allow you to keep an organized record as your creativity flows.


As you probably already know, you can use mind maps for anything from brainstorming a screenplay to planning a business. Mind maps are especially useful for documenting stream-of-consciousness thinking because they allow you to connect your thoughts as you jump back and forth from one idea to another. Instead of taking pictures of a messy whiteboard or stuffing sticky notes into a folder, Lucidchart’s intuitive canvas lets you skip the mess and make as many changes as you want. Brainstorm with collaborators in real time or publish your mind map on a blog. Regardless of what you choose to do with your mind map, revision history ensures you no don’t need to worry about fleeting ideas or lost work!

The template above demonstrates how mind maps can also help you organize the various components that make up a comprehensive digital marketing campaign. Large marketing campaigns – and most business projects – require collaboration across various teams. Yet, sometimes it’s hard to remember all the departments, teams, and stakeholders, especially at the beginning of a project. This template demonstrates how mind maps help you can break down daunting projects or tasks to better understand each individual component.

Let’s say you need to plan a budget for your new business venture, for example. You’ve secured investors and feel excited to begin, but you’re still unsure how to divide the business budget between departments. Instead of arbitrarily assigning amounts to departments, you can use a mind map to break down each team in the department, as shown above.


For example, you can see that content marketing, paid search, social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and SEO all fall under the “digital marketing” umbrella. Although they’re similar, each of these teams has a different headcount and resources they need to succeed. Mind maps let you parse out the details so that you understand each department’s needs in context. Maybe you forgot about Snapchat ads when you began brainstorming marketing techniques. By breaking down the “social media” umbrella into specific platforms, you can catch silly mistakes and better estimate exactly how much money the marketing department needs each quarter.

If you want to add complexity to your mind maps, consider using conditional formatting and icon set on your mind map to save time when formatting your document. You can set simple rules such as “if a shape text contains the word ‘digital’ change the shape color to blue,” or you can link spreadsheet data to your mind map and create complex rules that react to changes in a live data source like Google Sheets.

Once you’re done, easily transform your mind map into a professional slide deck with Lucidchart’s presentation mode. If you’d rather switch your mind map back into a text outline, you can also export your mind map.

Click here to use the digital marketing mind map explained in this section, or browse additional mind map templates here!

  1. Open the Image manager (click “+ Shapes” in the toolbox or press the “M” key)
  2. Turn on the Mind Mapping library and press “Save.”
  3. From the left toolbar, select a mind map shape and drag it onto the canvas.
  4. The text is immediately highlighted to enter custom text, press enter when finished.
  5. Click and drag the parent of a branch to move a section of the map.

  6. Collapse children branches of a node by selecting the parent node and either pressing “Z” or clicking the “-” symbol in the bottom right corner of the node. Please note: children branches cannot be expanded or collapsed while in view-only or comment-only mode.

  7. Customize the color of each mapping level by clicking on a shape in your mind map, then using the color customization bar at the top of the canvas.

  8. Select “Auto Layout” from the Shape Options panel to reorganize all branches back to the center.
  9. For maximum mind mapping space, try fullscreen mode.

    Try Fullscreen mode in Lucidchart

If you have an existing outline you can easily turn it into a Lucidchart mind map! Do this by using one of two methods: select a TXT file or copy and paste a text outline.

To Import a .txt file:
  • From Microsoft Word, choose Save As and change the format of your file to .txt
    Download .txt file in Word
  • From Google Docs, select File > Download as > Plain Text (.txt).
    Download a .txt file from Docs
  • In Lucidchart, select “Import” from the Mind Map shape library in your Toolbox.
  • Choose your .TXT file, then click “Import Mind Map.”

To copy and paste a text outline:

  1. In Lucidchart, select “Import” from the Mind Map shape library in your Toolbox.
  2. Copy and paste your outline into the text field.
  3. Click “Import Mind Map.”

Formatting an outline

Lucidchart recognizes tab or space indented outlines. We recommend choosing one indentation style for a single outline. See "Formatting" for more information.

Lucidchart quickly converts any mind map into a Plain Text or HTML text outline. To export your mind map text, follow the instructions below:

  1. In the Mind Map shape library, select “Export."
  2. Select your desired outline formatting (Plain Text or HTML).
  3. Highlight the text and use Command-C to copy the outline to your clipboard.

Import problems

  • Bulleted or numbered lists: Currently, Lucidchart does not support outlines with bulleted or numbered lists. Your outline must use either Tab or single space indentation.
  • Copying from Google Docs: There is an odd behavior with Google Docs where Tab separators must be added to each line as you are building your outline. If you create a list and then indent lines of text with the Tab button afterward, Lucidchart registers those lines of text as still being on the previous indentation. To add indentation after creating a list, use the spacebar.

Export problems

  • Multiple parents: One idea can be connected to multiple parents. However, when the file is exported to a text outline, Lucidchart only attaches the idea to one of the parents.
  • Multiple mind maps: If there are multiple mind maps on one page, Lucidchart will generate a separate outline for each mind map and they will all appear in the export text box.
  • Non-mind map shapes: It is possible to draw lines from mind map shapes and connect them to non-mind map shapes. However, non-mind map shapes will not appear in the text outline.
  • Tab : Create child idea
  • Enter : Create sibling idea
  • F2 : Edit text
  • Shift+Enter : Carriage return
  • Arrow Keys : Navigate through map
  • Z : Collapse or expand children ideas

Lucidchart recognizes tab or space indented outlines. We recommend choosing one indentation style for a single outline. Below are examples of both styles that you can copy (Ctrl or Command + C) and paste (Ctrl or Command + V) to test.

Tab indented mind map outline


     Parent 1

          Child 1a

          Child 1b

     Parent 2

          Child 2a

          Child 2b

Space indented mind map outline


 Parent 1

  Child 1a

  Child 1b

 Parent 2

  Child 2a

  Child 2b

Sample .txt file

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