Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a unique feature of Lucidchart, available to Basic, Professional, Team, and Enterprise accounts. See our pricing page 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.

Mind Map Example in Lucidchart

  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.

Use keyboard shortcuts to build your mind map! It may take a few minutes of practice.

  • Tab : Create child idea
  • Enter : Create sibling idea
  • F2 : Edit text
  • Shift+Enter : Carriage return (creates a new line of text within your shape)
  • Arrow Keys : Navigate through map
  • Z : Collapse or expand children ideas
  1. Click and drag the parent of a branch to move a section of the map.

    Click Parent
  2. 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.

    Collapse Mind Map
  3. Select “Auto Layout” from the Shape Options panel to reorganize all branches back to the center.
  4. Customize the color of each mapping level with the Shape Options panel.

    Customize Color
  5. 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 using one of two methods: select a TXT file or copy and paste a text outline.

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

Sample .txt file

.txt file from Microsoft Word

Download .txt file in Word

.txt file from Google Docs

Download a .txt file from Docs

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. Copy and paste your HTML code or plain text as desired.
  3. Copy and Paste your Outline from the textbox.

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.

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

Root

            Parent 1

                        Child 1a

                        Child 1b

            Parent 2

                        Child 2a

                        Child 2b

Space indented mind map outline

Root

 Parent 1

  Child 1a

  Child 1b

 Parent 2

  Child 2a

  Child 2b

 

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