BigMind by Blue Tags, USA is in the line of Three-In-One products like MagicalPad or Popplet. It’s designed as a tool for mind mapping, outlining, and note taking.

General information …

If you are not familiar with the mind mapping technique see how Tony Buzan, (often seen as the inventor of mind mapping although there are early beginnings already some hundred years ago) suggests the following ‘guidelines’ for creating mind maps.


Others don’t see Tony Buzan as the inventor of mind mapping and verify their opinion by mind maps found hundreds of years ago. See this link
Roots of Visual Mapping

  • 01 Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
  • 02 Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
  • 03 Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  • 04 Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
  • 05 The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  • 06 Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
  • 07 Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
  • 08 Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
  • 09 Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
  • 10 Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

The app …

BigMind is offered as a free version where the number of maps is limited to three maps and a paid version named BigMind Pro where the creation of new maps is not restricted.

With BigMind you create mind maps by using one of the provided templates or by creating a mind map from scratch. To add a topic to your mind map just tap the screen. Each topic can include text and/or images. Double tap on a topic to open the menu for inserting images from the camera roll. Within Settings you can also change colors and borders of a topic to point out relevant topics and to increase attractiveness. Adding related (child and sibling) topics is just a matter of tapping the up, down, or side arrows next to each of the topics in your mind map.

The features …

Here is a full feature description of BigMind.


Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

The cons …

When tapping on the screen the radial control comes up and it’s pretty much confusing to have invisible functionalities below your finger. The better way is to present a context menu which is seen as the standard solution for a well-designed user interface.


Further cons …

  • Transfer of BigMind maps to other mind mapping tools is not supported.
  • Files cannot be stored on cloud storages.
  • Files cannot be transferred to other iOS devices because sending in the proprietary file format is not supported.

There are some more features missing but the above mentioned already are severe flaws so that the app cannot be recommended for most of the users. Even in schools where collaboration is indispensable it cannot be used with benefits.

Summary …

BigMind is an easy-to-use app for starting mind mapping for younger people because of it’s limited features. So it cannot compete with apps like iThoughts HD by Craig Scott, UK.
Usually your requirements increase fast and so it’s more sensible to start with a more professional approach. iThoughts HD for example is as easy to use as BigMind but offers tons of useful features without the necessity of moving through a complex user interface.

It sounds a bit strange that we see this in the company’s app description in the AppStore:

Using Trash, Prevent accidental deletion
Isn’t this a feature which is implemented in nearly all apps?
Password protect your mind map, prevent important information leakage.
I don’t think that anyone will manage sensitive information with this tool which needs to be secured.

Related links …

Review of iThoughts HD

Review of MagicalPad

Review of Popplet

Note taking

Thanks a lot for dropping by.